THE St Mary’s club in Aghagallon last week won two prestigious GAA awards.
And not only were they a tribute to the hard work of the club but also the local community.
St Mary’s won Club of the Year - for medium sized clubs - in the Irish News Club and Volunteer Awards 2013.
The Club Volunteer of the Year award went to club secretary, Gerry Lavery.
It was a fantastic day for St Mary’s at the ceremony which were held at the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast on Friday.
The club could not believe it when not only did they win Club of the Year but when their club secretary’s name was announced they could not control their joy at the clean sweep for the South West club.
Dessie Marshall, club vice-chairman said: “St Mary’s is honoured to have been recognised by the Irish News for all their hard work over the past few years.
“We are a community based club who has the community of Aghagallon at the heart of everything we do. The club’s theme for 2013 is ‘Have Fun’ a very simple, but a powerful message.”
If was a fitting tribute for secretary Gerry Lavery who, having held a number of posts within the club, has been secretary for a number of years.
Club Chairman, Pat McKenna, said this was the first time they had gone forward for these awards and couldn’t believe that they won both.
“We were absolutely delighted,” said Pat. “It has given the club a real gee-up.
“It’s such a big honour to receive. It recognises all the hard work in the club over the last couple of years and it is also an award for the community.”
With around 350 members St Mary’s have eight football teams from under eight to senior level who play in the Antrim League.
There are also two Camogie teams who compete in the Armagh League.
Apart from the sporting side the club does a great deal of work in the community.
Recently they had a tidy up in the area with the local council supplying litter pickers and bin bags and they gave a £100 to a girl going to the Special Olympics.
Their recent duck race proved a great success and raised £7,500 for club funds and they will soon be holding their second Golf Classic at Edenmore in Magheralin.
“It’s all about the future of our children and their children,” said Pat. “We want to develop the clubhouse and get more involved with the local community, showing them what the GAA is all about.”