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Club Profile – O’Connell’s GAC Tullysaran
Tullysaran club is one of the oldest GAA clubs in Ireland. The GAA was formed in 1884 and Tullysaran is proud of the fact that our club was one of 9 Armagh clubs to attend the very first County Board meeting in 1889.
O’Connell’s GAC is based in rural county Armagh and the club serves an area of approximately 5 square miles along River Blackwater and the Tyrone border. The Tullysaran club draws its players and supporters from this rural area and at times as a club we have struggled to survive. Our club was forced to close down from 1960 to 1968 due to the effects of emigration and since the club reformed we have taken great pride in our club. We have overcome many challenges and potentially devastating setbacks and we wear our red and white colours with pride.
We have a vibrant club participating in all aspects of GAA in Armagh County and although our games were played at many locations throughout our history our grounds have been located in the Townland of Artasooly for a number of decades. O’Connell Park consists of clubrooms and modern playing facilities and the activities provided within its perimeter are at the centre of community life in Tullysaran. Currently O’Connell’s GAC provides for men’s senior football, ladies football and camogie. In addition to the senior teams the club provides coaching at underage level for all of these different aspects of Gaelic sport and we have had numerous underage team and individual successes. The senior footballers are current holders of the Division 3 Junior Shield and our camogs are holders of the Fr. Tom Soraghan Shield having won the 2013 Senior County Championship for the first time in club history.
Tullysaran GAC celebrates its 125 anniversary in 2014 and the club continues to play an active role in the promotion of Gaelic games in Armagh and we currently have over 300 playing members. Due to the increasing numbers of players and driven by the desire to provide the best possible facilities for the players, the executive committee commenced a pitch development project a few years ago. The extension of facilities consists of a second full size playing pitch with floodlights and spectator fencing and a smaller warm up-area. This project was officially commenced in 2009 and is now completed. This pitch development is the culmination of many years of planning and preparation as the club members had been working hard for a number of years to secure the necessary funds to enable us to carry out this extension of facilities.
The necessary land was purchased from the Armagh Parish in 2007/8 and our members organized a Prize Draw and a Gala Ball as part of a massive fund raising drive. This fundraising was crucial to the overall project as without it we would not have reached the stage where we could meet the conditions required to apply for and secure substantial funding awards. The trustees, committee, members and players of O’Connell’s GAC are extremely grateful to our funders and well done to everyone who played any role in bringing this project to fruition. The club continues to strive to provide the best possible facilities and services for the club and community and Cumann Tulach Saráin Le Chéile (Club Tullysaran Together) is an ongoing fundraising strategy that continues to raise steady funds to meet the financial shortfall regarding the new pitch project. The club is indebted to all those who donate to this scheme and additional subscribers to this ongoing initiative are still required because a substantial financial shortfall remains.
O’Connell’s GAC is planning a number of 125 celebratory events this year and we look forward to the official opening of the new pitch later this year. The grant award from Sport Northern Ireland under the Places for Sport Programme was crucial and made this project possible. Additional funding from Armagh City & District Council and Ulster Council was also central to the completion and overall success of Tullysaran’s pitch development project.
Currently the club has 3 main sponsors who are CMP (Commercial Motor Products), V&S Bouncies and (PWT) Philip White Tyres and there are also a number of team sponsors to whom we are also indebted. Stan Corrigan has shown great devotion to the club and he has sponsored the Tullysaran Annual Golf Classic for many years. Anyone who has assisted, supported or sponsored the club in any way throughout its history has contributed towards the longevity of our club in Tullysaran. Go raibh mile maith agat.
In addition to the new pitch we also have a Trim Trail situated in O’Connell Park. The Big Lottery’s Community Wildlife Programme gave Tullysaran substantial grant assistance and the purpose of BIG Lottery’s Community Wildlife programme was to bring local people together to discover, enjoy and protect the wildlife in their local area and this project was launched in February. This programme funded projects that improved rural or urban environments for people to enjoy and also projects that got people more active and healthier. With the help of £10,000 from the BIG Lottery and sponsorship from Mark Curran of Commercial Motor Products, O’Connell’s GAC Tullysaran has done just that.