Back L-R, Jarlath Burns, Vice-Principal, St Paul’s, Noel Doran, Editor, Irish News, John Rafferty, Head of PE & Sport, St Paul’s, Oliver Mooney, Principal, St Paul’s, Martin McAviney, Ulster GAA President
Front L-R, Students Conor Boyle, Gregory McCabe, Louise Kenny, Aimee Mackin and Ciaron O’Hanlon
St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook has been named as the Best Second Level School, in the highly contested Irish News Club & Volunteer Awards. The awards initiative, now in its second decade, recognises and rewards GAA clubs, schools and volunteers throughout Ulster for their commitment to gaelic games and their community irrespective of their playing ability.
At a special ceremony in Belfast, Principal of St Paul’s, Oliver Mooney was presented with the award by Noel Doran, Editor of the Irish News, who congratulated all the clubs, schools and volunteers that received awards adding that ‘the Irish News Club & Volunteer awards are tangible proof that our clubs, our volunteers & our schools are indeed the foundation of the GAA.’
He added, ‘the Irish News Club & Volunteer Awards have proven to be overwhelmingly successful as recognition for the hard work of the winning clubs, volunteers and schools. The awards are a great celebration of the vibrant communities that are created by schools, clubs and volunteers right across Ulster.’
Mr Mooney, who was accompanied to the presentation ceremony by representatives of both boys and girls Gaelic teams at St Paul’s, spoke of the dedication, commitment and drive of the students of St Paul’s. Mr Mooney said that the promotion and development of gaelic games was part of the lifeblood of the school, and paid tribute to the extensive support offered by local GAA clubs which is critical to the long term success of the school.
Head of PE and Sport at St Paul’s, Mr John Rafferty, thanked the Irish News for their commitment to gaelic games, and their support of schools through the Club & Volunteer Awards. Mr Rafferty paid tribute to the commitent of staff at St Paul’s to the development of gaelic games and to the massive contribution of parents and families who support students involved in teams.
Martin McAviney, Ulster GAA President commented, ‘Comhairle Uladh CLG are delighted to partner the Irish News Club & Volunteer Awards which recognise the work and vision of the GAA grassroots in Ulster. I commend the Irish News on this excellent venture and I would like to congratulate the winning clubs, volunteers and schools.’
Attending the awards at the Wellington Park Hotel was Paddy Tally St Mary’s University College who offered words of advice and support to the clubs, schools and volunteers attending.
As a winning school, the students were awarded a £1,000 Irish News development cheque, and a £1,000 O’Neills Sportswear voucher.
SMALL CLUB AWARD WINNER – Thomas Davis GAC, Corrinshego
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Gowna GFC
MEDIUM CLUB AWARD WINNER – St Marys GAC, Aghagallon
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Silverbridge Harps GAC
LARGE CLUB AWARD WINNER – Cumann Pheadair Naofa, Warrenpoint
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Killyclogher St Mary’s GAC
CLUB AND SCHOOL INITIATIVE AWARD – Killyclogher St Mary’s GAC
SMALL CLUB VOLUNTEER AWARD – Cormac McMullan (St John’s GAC, Drumnaquoile)
MEDIUM CLUB VOLUNTEER AWARD – Gerry Lavery (St Mary’s GAC, Aghagallon)
LARGE CLUB VOLUNTEER AWARD – Brendan Smyth (O’Connells GAC, Tullysaran)
SCHOOL, PRIMARY – Mount St Michaels PS, Randalstown
SCHOOL, SECOND LEVEL – St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook
Principal of St Paul’s, Oliver Mooney is presented with the Irish News Clubs & Volunteers Award for Best Second Level School by Editor of Irish News, Noel Doran.