Excitement grows for Ulster Club series
By Niall McCoy
ALL that was good about the Ulster club scene was very much in evidence at the Morgan Athletic Grounds last night.
The signs that it would be a good night started early as the buffet was more than the standard ham sandwiches with the chicken goujons going down well on such a bitter cold evening.
The Ulster Council had anticipated a big crowd after last year’s successful first launch, but even they were taken aback by the numbers that showed with an emergency run to the spare chairs needed before the speeches could begin.
Looking down from the podium, Aogan Farrell must have been immensely proud as he looked at his audience, a couple of hundred strong, and viewed the various different club crests and colours.
They were there from all over the province and from every level. The host county was the perfect example of the shared platform enjoyed by the teams present.
Armagh’s representatives included Crossmaglen, All-Ireland football champions, and Mullaghbawn, who had reached the final of the Ulster Junior Camogie Championship. There was no class difference here – they were just part of the one GAA family and equally important. David McKenna was no different to Pauline Quinn and Pauline Faughey.
Farrell, not for the first time, showed his class as a public speaker – as did Ulster PRO Oliver Galligan, Ulster Ladies secretary Mary Keegan and Ulster Camogie treasurer Rosemary Hughes-Merry.
Farrell’s term as Ulster GAA President ends in February, the pity is that he will not be able to demonstrate his oratory brilliance as much as he has in his term in charge.
Farrell stood on the pitch afterwards with the famous steam rising from the stands, beautifully illuminated by the powerful floodlights. A group photo took place and players and officials happily spoke to the press.
It was a great night, but just the beginning. The most important part of the night was the fixtures sheet handed out at the start. This was just the launch, we still have 62 matches to look forward to at various grades. Let the games begin.