ENDA Muldoon is hoping the GAA’s new National Urban Programme can help the Oak Leaf County can tap into the massive potential for talent that exist within Derry City.
The Ballinderry man - one of the county’s greatest ever players - is one of two coaches, the other being Aidan McLaughlin of Claudy, who have been employed as part of the new Programme which is seeing an investment of €200,000 as part of the continuing effort to raise the profile of Gaelic games and participation levels in urban bases across the island.
Galway, Sligo, Dublin, Athlone, Drogheda, Bray, Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Waterford are also involved in the project which will see the employment of 13 people nationwide.
And the children of Derry City will certainly be learning from the best this summer as Muldoon is the most experienced and decorated member of the county’s senior football squad. The only active footballer outside of Tyrone and Armagh with an Ulster Senior Championship medal to his name, the Shamrocks club man can also boast an All-Ireland Under 21 title, two National League medals, an AlI-Ireland club crown and a 2004 Allstar awards to his name.
Muldoon took time out from his preparations for Derry’s Ulster Championship semi-final meeting against Armagh this Sunday to explain how much he is looking forward to his new role.
“From a Derry perspective there’s so much potential here in the city,” explained Muldoon.
“When you look at the numbers of children living here and see their enthusiasm for Gaelic games you realise just how big an opportunity it provides. I’m from a small rural parish down by the loughshore and when you think of the players that those areas have produced for the GAA in Derry, then you can only imagine the potential just waiting to be unlocked here in the city.
“Hopefully Aidan and I can play a role in that regard. I know the clubs in Derry City do a lot of great work on the ground and hopefully we can help them build on that,” he said.
Derry County Board chairman John Keenan welcomed the appointment of both Enda and Aidan to their new roles and outlined the challenges that the GAA faces in increasing activity in urban centres.
“The city environment poses its own challenges with Gaelic game having to compete with so many other attractions,” explained Mr. Keenan.
“This programme will see a range of activities being organised in the city including a focus on traditional games, other recreational activity and seminars.
“With the majority of the population now resident in urban areas it is vitally important that our games are strong in these areas, complimenting the traditional strongholds dotted across rural areas of our county,” he added.