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Locals honoured in prestigious GAA club awards

May 18, 2010


By Brónagh Murphy

Two local club volunteers have been honoured at the prestigious Irish News Club & Volunteer of the Year awards.

Maureen Moley from Dorsey Emmett’s GFC took the top prize in the Small Club Volunteer award category while John Daly from Dromintee GFC received the Volunteer of the Year award for Large Clubs.

The Irish News Awards is an annual initiative which recognises and rewards GAA clubs, schools and volunteers throughout Ulster for their commitment to Gaelic games and their community, irrespective of their playing ability.

The acquisition of these awards is a reflection of the dedication and commitment of Maureen and John to their respective clubs and epitomises all that is good at the grass roots level of GAA clubs in south Armagh.

Both winners were accompanied by family members and club colleagues to receive their award at a presentation ceremony in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast on Friday 7th May.

John Brolly, Marketing Manager of The Irish News, told those gathered that the awards are tangible proof that clubs, volunteers and schools are the foundation of the GAA.

“The Irish News Club & Volunteer awards have proven to be overwhelmingly successful as recognition for the hard work of the winning clubs, volunteers and schools. The awards are a great celebration of the vibrant communities that are created by schools, clubs and volunteers right across Ulster,” he said.

Maureen Moley, Dorsey Emmetts

Maureen Moley from Dorsey Emmetts picked up the accolade for Small Club Volunteer of the Year 2010.

A tireless and dedicated member of Dorsey Emmetts GFC, Maureen is deeply entrenched in the day-to-day running of the club.  Her dedicated and never-say-no approach to all aspects of club life led her club colleague, Lorna Markey, to nominate her for the award.

Modestly, she says she views the award as not just as a reflection of her personal contribution to Dorsey Emmetts but that of all the club members who give freely and voluntarily of their time, week after week.

Club History

Dorsey Emmetts was first formed around 100 years ago and played its first recorded match on St. Patrick’s Day 1917 in Caffrey’s Meadow, near Dorsey school.

During the 1940s, Maureen’s father-in-law, Michael Moley, was a team member but as many young men during that time had to travel to England and further afield to find work, the club could not continue.  However, Maureen says her father-in-law often spoke passionately about those early days and was delighted when the club was reformed in 1999.

At that time the club had no field or facilities but possessed an unwavering will to see Dorsey Emmetts taking its place again within the GAA.  The men’s team played on the council field in Crossmaglen and in 2001 when the first ever underage team was formed at under 10 level, the players lined out on a field on loan from a club member.

“Those members of that first team are the backbone of the club today,” Maureen explains.  “They weren’t joining a big club with ultra modern facilities, it was literally a borrowed farmer’s field, but they played for their club with as much passion and pride if not more, than the bigger, more established clubs around us.”

The club undertook a massive fundraising drive in 2003 with the aim of acquiring a football field and club premises.  With tremendous dedication and hard work, this project was brought to fruition and today Dorsey Emmetts is firmly established on the Roxborough Road in the heart of Dorsey.  The field is named after one of those hard-working visionaries and first Club Secretary, Rory Magee, who worked tirelessly but sadly did not see the project completed as he passed away suddenly in March 2005.

Valued

Maureen is keen to point out that the club provides an opportunity for all members of the community, not just those interested in football, to become involved.

“Everyone is given an opportunity to progress, whether it is on the football field or taking part in Scór, their talents are encouraged and showcased.  Everyone is valued,” she said.

“We have had some memorable games and won trophies and these are great moments.  But that euphoria is short-lived and once the excitement of the victory dies down, the continuous feel-good factor is going down to training nights and seeing the field full of young children enjoying themselves, proud of who they are and their home place,” she added.

“It takes hard work and tens of thousands of pounds each year to be able to provide this sporting facility for the area,” Maureen says.  “Our committee works hard to fundraise and keep the club going, they are the driving force behind the scenes.

“It isn’t down to one person, it takes teamwork and the award given to me by the Irish News is accepted on behalf of all those within the club who volunteer and give their free time to the committee, fundraising, coaching, whatever needs to be done to keep the Emmetts going forward.

“I hope this award will raise people’s awareness of the club and encourage others to get involved,” she added.

Congratulations

Maureen’s fellow club members congratulated her on her achievement.

“Maureen is a most deserved recipient on this national award as she is involved in all aspects of the running of the club. She is a lady who never says no,” a committee spokesperson said.  “Maureen is a lady of vision and with her commitment and steely determination, Dorsey Emmetts will surely be a club on an upward trajectory.  Congratulations Maureen on this prestigious award from the Dorsey Emmetts committee and all those involved within the club. Hopefully this will be the first of many national accolades.”

John Daly, St. Patrick’s GFC, Dromintee

Dromintee man, John Daly, was awarded Large Club of the Year Volunteer 2010 at Friday’s ceremony.

A life-long member of the Dromintee GFC, John plays an integral part of the day-to-day running of the club.

He is deeply involved in the underage structure and indeed was instrumental in the initial establishment of underage football in the club.

The current manager of the under 14 squad, John is also the chairman of the juvenile committee, an active member of the social and executive committees and is the club’s delegate to the county minor board

Aside from these formal positions, he readily adopts a hands-on approach to all aspects of club life and is at the centre of the club’s fundraising initiatives.

Early years

John can trace his earliest years back to his involvement with Dromintee GFC.

His playing career with the club began at underage level and, having served the club at senior level for 23 years, he finally hung up his boots at the age of 40.  In between these times, he spent four years playing football in Australia.

It was when he retired from the senior panel that John turned his attention to establishing an Under 8 squad in the club.  Having witnessed the benefit of mini leagues in Australia, he then set about organising underage tournaments in Dromintee.

After the death of his close friend, Sean McGenity, in 2000, John initiated an under 8 tournament in Sean’s honour.  The Sean McGenity Memorial Blitz is now an established event in the calendar of local GAA clubs and last year a total of 16 clubs took part.

The club now also hosts the Thomas McCrink Under 10 and the Mickey O’Grady Under 12 Memorial Tournaments, both of which were also set up to honour deceased former members.

Inspiration

John attributes his dedication to Dromintee GFC to a number of founding members and club stalwarts who he says inspired him by their devotion to the advancement of the club.

He says it was men like Peter McArdle, Jim Hughes, Mickey O’Grady and Mickey Fearon – all since passed away – who instilled in him a love of Gaelic football.  These men, along with Benny O’Rourke, Mickey O’Rourke, Tom Wall, Derek Garvey and John McCoy, have all made enormous contributions to the formation and progression of Dromintee GFC.

Referring to his time as a pupil in St. Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, John praised the commitment and vision of Joe McNulty.  And he also paid tribute to his brother, Peter, who, he says, he has ‘always looked up to’ throughout his life.

He says it is to these men, and others like them, that he dedicates this award.

John also thanked his wife, Carmel, and children Rebecca, Jessica, Michael and Chloe, for their continued support.

“The club is a big part of my life.  To win this award is a very proud moment for me and for the many other club members who work just as hard,” John said.

“It’s nice for me to get this award after the years involved with the underage teams at the club and it means a lot because all the work you do is recognised.”

He thanked the Chairman, Peter Fearon, and Secretary, Elena McGenity, along with Peter Toale – who initially nominated him for the award – for their support and faith in him.

Charity

John and his wife Carmel are also deeply involved in charitable fundraising and often organise events in the club to benefit local charities.

An ‘over 40s’ charity match run in the club over the last number of years has raised thousands of pounds for special needs charities.

Leading by Example

Club Secretary, Elena McGenity, said: “We take this opportunity to congratulate John on receiving the Large club award, which is well deserved.

“We also thank our committee members, managers, mentors, players and parents for all their support in making our club a success.  Throughout the year we will have fundraisng events to pay for the running of the club and to provide our players with these facilities.”

Sinn Fein councillors Anthony Flynn and Packie McDonald, have also offered their congratulations to John Daly on winning the award.

“On behalf of myself and my Council colleagues, I wish to extend warmest comhghairdeas to John Daly.  Local clubs are the backbone of the GAA and we are all well aware of the commitment it takes to run such a professional organisation as St Patrick’s, Dromintee.  To all of the club members, we extend our warmest good wishes.”


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