Steelstown – rural ideals in the city
STEELSTOWN Brian Ógs are a club that challenge stereotypes.
They are a relatively new outfit, surviving in a city well known for its love of soccer, and based in an area not far from one of the well-to-do area’s of Derry, the Culmore Road.
Yet none of their senior team play soccer, their pitch is in one of the most economically deprived areas of Ireland, and all but one of their senior team come from inside the club.
In their 25-year history they have grown from being a struggling junior club with no pitch, to a senior team with one of the finest grounds in the province.
Their chairman, Michael Heffernan personifies the club. He hails from a rural club in a hurling county, Kilkenny. He understands that living in a city makes it difficult to recreate the GAA club feeling, with the pitch at the centre of the community. But he thinks that gradually the players and members are gradually becoming more like a rural club.
“Our strength is the people that are in the club, that is the strength of the GAA,” Heffernan said.
“We are lucky that we are in an area where we have a lot of people to pick from. A lot of rural clubs don’t have that now because of emigration.
“A lot of people would think that the people who play Gaelic Games in Derry don’t come from the city. Derry is famous for being a soccer city. It is only recently that the GAA has made an impact, and that has come with us having success. Though all the clubs have benefited from the success.”
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday June 21. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here