Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

TG4 visit young Gaeilgeoiri Raonaithe na Croise

A programme about young Gaeilgeoiri from Crossmaglen Rangers is hitting the screens this Thursday. 

‘C.L.U.B’ airs on TG4 at 17:05 and the programme highlights GAA clubs with the most craic and the most skill.

Joanne Donnelly, the Irish and Cultural Officer with Crossmaglen Rangers, spoke to the Cross Examiner about how the programme came together. 

“We were approached last year to be a part of a TG4 programme called ‘C.L.U.B,’ explains Joanne. “It follows different clubs in Ireland and looks at the fun activities they do with children through Irish.

“We got a phone call asking if we had enough children in this area who speak Irish fluently. Of course, we have a huge number of children in the club who are fluent Irish speakers so we jumped at the opportunity.”

The TG4 crew rolled into Crossmaglen in May and this week the children, as well as some senior players, will get to see themselves on TV. 

“TG4 came out to the club and we took children from the Gaelscoil and St Patrick’s Primary School, and also from St Joseph’s, down to St Oliver Plunkett’s Park. The children were recorded playing sports and doing different fun games around the club. 

“We were then invited up to the TG4 studios in June. We took a bus of 25 children up and we had Mel Boyce and Cian McConville with us. They are both Senior Crossmaglen players and also fluent Irish speakers. We were recorded in Dublin too and it will be broadcast on Thursday night.”

Joanne said she was delighted that the club was asked to take part and that the programme gave the club an opportunity to highlight how important Irish is for many within Raonaithe na Croise. 

“It allowed Crossmaglen Rangers to showcase the fantastic underage programme that we run and the great children and families that we have as members. It was also an opportunity to showcase the revival of the Irish language in the south Armagh area. 

“We have so many young people who are being brought up through Irish and who are fluent speakers so it is a great chance to highlight the amount of Irish that is actually used here. Right up to senior level at the club, we have players who are fluent Irish speakers and you will often hear children conversing in Irish on the field during games and training.”

Joanne also revealed that the TG4 crew were very impressed by the level of Irish the young people had.

“We are very proud of how they represented their club throughout the recording; they were great ambassadors for Crossmaglen Rangers. You often see programmes made about the senior team within the club but it is so important to show the youngsters as well.”

Joanne said that the Irish language is alive and well in the club and has speakers at every level; something which is a source of inspiration for younger members.

“We have a lot more Irish in the club and a bigger interest in the language. We have a lot of people attending Irish language events in the club also. 

“At present, we have four senior players who are fluent Irish speakers. Cormac Donnelly and Tomas Hughes came through the Gaelscoil in Crossmaglen and we also have the aforementioned Mel Boyce and Cian McConville.

“It is fantastic for children to see those people, who they view as role models, speaking the language. Cian is doing his teacher training in Irish in St Mary’s College in Belfast and Mel is a teacher. For the children to see these people using their Irish language and to see the pride they have in the language is a massive thing for them.”