Ulster Council GAA and Canada
In February 2004 Brian Farmer, CCB President, chaired a historic meeting along with Ulster Secretary Danny Murphy (Newry, Down) and Vice-Chairman Miceál Greenan (Drumconnick, Cavan) in response to Canada being twinned with the Ulster Provincial Council by Croke Park in 2003. Danny Murphy presented the Strategy for High Performance Gaelic Football in Ulster (2003-2007) and demonstrated CD’s and materials recently developed. Many ideas were shared for potential agreements in coaching, refereeing and youth development.
One of the first actions taken by the Ulster Council was to send over two senior referees to refresh the seasoned Toronto referees and train some new brave souls willing to tog out in black. An enlightening and very informative all-day session was conducted in May of 2004.
In January 2005, another meeting was coordinated by the CCB to discuss ways of developing Gaelic games in Canada through networking with the GAA Head of Games Pat Daly (Tallow, Waterford) and the Chair of the Overseas Units, Gene Duffy (Crossmaglen, Armagh). Youth development funds were made available for local GAA communities to apply for through the CCB and the Divisional Boards.
High Performance Director Dr. Eugene Young and Games Development Manager Terence McWilliams came to Canada twice (2006 and 2007) to deliver coach education sessions. By the end of their visits, the Toronto GAA had enough trained mentors to “coach” coaches and help improve the over-all caliber of coaching that is expected by today’s athletes.
In 2009, the County Board was pleased to have Danny Murphy along with Chairman Tom Daly in attendance for our Convention in the 125th Anniversary Year of our Association. Ulster GAA completed a training and development opportunity for coaches in Toronto. The programme was delivered by Eugene Young and Diarmaid Marsden. 22 coaches attended the two-day workshop that focused on developing skills and games for understanding at the younger age groups. This work built on previous coach and teacher development programmes and referee education programmes in 2009 and 2006.
In 2010, the County Board was pleased to have Danny Murphy along with Chairman Aogan O Fearghail in attendance for our convention in Ajax, Ontario.
In 2011, High Performance Director Dr. Eugene Young conducted a Strategic Planning Meeting in Toronto, Ontario with 35 in attendance from clubs across the country.
In moving forward with the Canadian County Board’s 2012 – 2015 Strategic Plan, the President from Ulster Council and a Vice-President of the Gaelic Athletic Association (Aogan O Fearghail), the President of the Toronto Divisional Board (Sean Harte) and the President of the Canadian County Board (Brian Farmer) met with the Western Divisional Board of the GAA and club delegates from Western Canada in March 2012.
In April Séamas Ó hAnluain was appointed by Ulster Provincial Council to deliver two referees training seminars in Toronto and, for the first time in Western Canada, Edmonton on the same weekend.
In December 2012, the County Board was pleased to have Danny Murphy along with Vice-Chairman Martin McAviney in attendance for our convention in Ajax, Ontario.
In continuing to moving forward with the Canadian County Board’s 2012 – 2015 Strategic Plan a referee’s seminar took place on Saturday, April 27th 2013 with Frank McDonald travelling to Toronto to present in the Mezzanine Auditorium a the Textile Museum of Canada.
A number of Ulster referees also took charge of finals, They include Alan Nash who travelled to officiate in the Continental Youth Games along with Ronan Barry from Down. Niall Cullen from Erne Gaels in Fermanagh took charge of the Toronto Senior Football Finals.
The Western Divisional Board conducted a Club development course with Maura Kelly Club and Community Development Officer on June 8, 2013. Coach tutors Ryan Daly and Lisa Mcaliskey spent a week in Newfoundland from August 2 to 9, 2013 where they delivered programmes to youth and adults. Our Chairman, Brian Farmer, was able to visit the Club for the first time.
The County Board was very pleased to have Ulster Chairman Martin McAviney and Secretary Danny Murphy in attendance for our December 8, 2013 convention. The relationship between Ulster and the Canadian County Board has been strategic, collegial, and one that is treasured. We in Canada are most grateful.