Triumph of Brian Óg's in All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship a 'breakthrough' for city

The triumph of Steelstown Brian Óg's in the All Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship final has been hailed at Stormont as a significant breakthrough for football in Derry city.

SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan said: "The Foyle constituency and Derry city have not been renowned as hotbeds of GAA success. Despite the heroic efforts of players, coaches and volunteers, clubs from the city have not been able to make the breakthrough at county level. That has now changed utterly.

"Steelstown Brian Óg's, which is a club that was formed only 35 years ago, has encountered no shortage of adversity on and off the pitch, and it is now champions of Derry, champions of Ulster and champions of Ireland.

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"That can and will inspire more people in Derry to get involved and to stay involved in Gaelic games."

Steelstown players celebrate their All Ireland Intermediate Football Final win over Trim at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2206GS – 060

Mr. Durkan said it was uplifting to join supporters not only of Steelstown but of other clubs and sports in Croke Park to see 'history being made' as Brian Óg's emphatically defeated Trim on Sunday.

"What made the occasion all the more emotional was when the victorious captain, Neil Forester, invoked the influence and inspiration of Brian Óg McKeever, who tragically passed away over 13 years ago and who the club is named after. To see the McKeever family there in the midst of the celebrations was truly humbling.

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"While [Sunday's] triumph is, of course, a testament to the efforts of all those who are involved with Brian Óg's at every level, it is also a testament to the work of all those who are involved with all our clubs across Derry city and beyond.

"The role that they play in developing our children not just as players but as people cannot be overstated. The analogy of little acorns and great oaks is well worn, but never has it been more appropriate.

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"I am sure that Steelstown's success will inspire every club from every sporting code, but the real measure of success will not be the number of championships and trophies that are won but the number of lives that are improved. All sporting organisations and clubs deserve much credit for the hugely positive role that they play in our communities, and they require more support in order to keep doing so."