GAA President visits local schools

GAA President Nicky Brennan visited schools throughout county Roscommon last Friday as part of the GAA president’s launch of Féile Peil na nÓg. He had officially launched the tournament at a function in Carrick-on-Shannon on the previous Wednesday and he was rapturously received at Scoil nAingeal, Boyle, at Rahara NS, at St. Paul’s Boys NS in Castlerea, and at Fourmilehouse National School on Friday afternoon. More than 30 Roscommon clubs were represented at the launch of Féile Peil na nÓg in Carrick on the Wednesday evening. The representatives, some of whom will participate in the Féile competition, proudly wore the jerseys of the Roscommon colours. A collage of colour thus greeted President Brennan to the Bush hotel. Elphin, St. Aidan’s, St. Michael’s, Éire Óg, Western Gaels, and Kilglass Gaels were some of the clubs represented on the evening. Tommy Moran, who recently retired as President of the Connacht Council, was master of ceremonies. Minor board players from Four Roads, St. Ciaran’s, Roscommon Gaels, Michael Glaveys, Boyle, St. Croan’s, St. Brigid’s, St. Faithleach’s, Tulsk, and Kilbride were also some of those who represented Roscommon at the launch. Mr. Brennan described being present to launch the event in Leitrim as ‘a great honour’ and noted that Féile na nÓg competitions are very important events on the GAA’s national calendar. He spoke in this context of the indelible mark that participation in the competition leaves on those who participate in it. Mr. Brennan praised the families that host the participants and spoke graciously about the voluntary spirit that sustains the Gaelic Athletic Association.  The President of the GAA spoke for some time about immigration and argued that integration of young immigrants – Brennan described them as the ‘new Irish’ – is the greatest challenge facing the Association. A crowd of 300 attended the launch of Féile Peil na nÓg. ‘I am honoured to be here in Carrick-on-Shannon to launch Féile Peil na nÓg. Féile is a very important event in the GAA calendar,’ he said. ‘Statistics and studies published in Ireland in recent years show that volunteerism is under pressure in this country. Thankfully this hasn’t affected the GAA very seriously: our clubs are very healthy presently. I encourage GAA clubs here in this part of the country to contact new people in their areas; many people who are new to areas are perhaps afraid to impose themselves on clubs but are willing to participate. Clubs ought to approach these people and ask them to become involved,’ he said. ‘GAA clubs also have a responsibility to include the new Irish. This is the huge responsibility facing the GAA at the moment: we must integrate the new Irish into our communities and clubs,’ said the President. Representatives of Coca-cola, which sponsors Féile Peil na nÓg, also addressed the launch.