Three parishes came together recently in Glenamaddy Community Centre for the launch of the new Northern Gaels GAA Club. The club is an amalgamation of Glenamaddy, Williamstown and Glinsk GAA clubs at underage level under new chairman, Alphie O’Brien and his hard-working committee.
PRO Anne Marie Crehan said the move was necessary in order to provide regular football for young players locally.
“We have Glenamaddy, Williamstown and Glinsk. The three have come together out of a need for more players at underage level because none of the three have had adequate numbers for the last few years and they’ve had to concede games.
“Williamstown and Glinsk had come together in the last two years but then decided that even with two teams together there still weren’t sufficient numbers so they decided to bring Williamstown on board as well,” she said.
A committee of 12 was formed last September and has met regularly since. The committee has been working behind the scenes in order to ensure the amalgamation went as smoothly as possible.
“As you can imagine there are politics involved (laughs). When you have two clubs there’s a certain amount of politics, but when you have three even more so. We formed a committee that was made up of an equal proportion of representatives from each of the three parishes,” said Anne Marie.
Every aspect of the new club was looked at including Northern Gaels’ new club colours and identity.
“No club wanted to have just their colours involved so we came up with a brand new jersey and a brand new crest.
“We have (come up with) a new name because we found it was going to be very difficult to put together Williamstown, Glenamaddy and Glinsk so we just decided to go with something completely different to form a new identity so that all of the three parishes felt equal in it. Because we’re north-east Galway we went with Northern Gaels. It sounded like a good name and everyone seemed happy with it”.
The club’s chairman is Alphie O’Brien from Glenamaddy GAA, the secretary is Gabriel Trayers from Glinsk and the treasurer is Paul Kennedy from Williamstown. The club will continue to be democratic when it comes to the election of club officials going forward.
“We’ve agreed that we will hold onto each of the positions for a three-year period and then we’ll rotate and elect new members again”.
“We wanted to use the expertise that was there to get it off the ground. Everyone is working well together. The chairman is from Glenamaddy, the secretary is from Glinsk and the treasurer is from Williamstown so it’s a very equally balanced committee,” said Ann Marie.
As stated at the recent launch by the chairman of all three adult clubs, Northern Gaels has been established for the good of underage development in the northern Galway parishes and Ann Marie said that this would be the priority going forward.
“We have a coaching officer and we want to develop football skills from underage, so from U-6 right up along. They’re all doing very well at the moment, they’re really enjoying it, and they’re all getting a run-out. We’re not conceding any games on the basis that we don’t have enough players. They’re all very proud of their new kit, they’re very proud of being part of this new identity, this new club and they’re all really doing their best and going out there and playing loads of games!”
The new club has the full backing of the three adult clubs, who have put aside parish pride in order to support youth development. Ann Marie said it wasn’t easy but the right decision was made in order to safeguard the future.
“We do have the adult clubs’ backing which is great. Initially I think people had to consider it at a deep level because of the pride of parish and that whole sense of identity and you’re giving up something that has been worked on for years. But again, the adult clubs can see that this is the only way forward and that if you want football into the future you have to start with the younger ones and you have to invest in giving them the skills and giving them the games if you want them there for the adult club in years to come,” she concluded.