Dolan’s win Ulster Bank funding prize

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SEAN DOLAN’S received a timely boost ahead of next Wednesday’s crucial Division Two Relegation Play-off with Limavady when it was revealed the Creggan club was one of four runners-up in the ‘Ulster Bank GAA Force’ initiative.

Michael Wilson reports

The award sees the Creggan club receive a support package of £4,400 which will be used to upgrade existing facilities at Piggery Ridge. The club has already plans in place to replace access to the all weather training area and may choose to replace the dugouts which were damage by vandals last season.

Speaking after announcement of the award, club chairman Hugh Wilkinson, said it was a major boost for city club.

“Sean Dolan’s has been at the heart of the Creggan community since the day it opened its gates,” explained Mr. Wilkinson.

“We are all truly delighted and overwhelmed to have been awarded an Ulster Bank ‘GAA Force’ support package. This support package will help us renovate and make full use of our grounds and clubhouse and it will make a very positive contribution to our community.”

The overall winner of Ulster Bank GAA Force was St. Joseph’s GFC Ederney, Fermanagh while the three additional runners-up were St. Joseph’s OCB GAA Club (Dublin), Lattin Cullen GAA Club (Tipperary) and Kilglass GAA Club (Roscommon). The initiative was introduced this summer to coincide with Ulster Bank’s sponsorship of the GAA Football All-Ireland Championships.

Dolans have endured a difficult season during what is only their second at Intermediate level and face a crucial clash against second from bottom Limavady Wolfhounds in Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

Still finding its feet at the higher grade, the club enjoyed a superb 2010 when they completed a clean sweep of Junior titles in the county and including a first ever Championship victory when they defeated Drum in the decider.

The club fields teams of all ages from juniors to seniors and recently introduced ladies football teams while among some of the new community initiatives underway at Dolans are ‘Try Out Days’ which are designed to encourage people from ethnic minorities living in the area to come and join the club.

The Ulster Bank GAA Force initiative was open to GAA clubs across the island of Ireland with clubs asked to submit their entries on Ulster Bank’s dedicated GAA website – Entrants were asked to provide details of their club’s plans to make improvements, outline the role of the club in their locality and the benefits the make over would have on the club and the wider community. The first 100 clubs who registered also received a mini support package to the value of £100.

As well as offering financial support, the Ulster Bank GAA Force initiative is aiming to show the power of team spirit by bringing local communities together over the October half-term holiday weekend to carry out improvements to their GAA club facilities. Helpful, downloadable tools and information on how to build a team of helpers for each club are available on the Ulster Bank GAA Force website. 

Also speaking at the announcement, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Ulster Bank GAA Force Ambassador said: “This is the first time an initiative like this has been set up across the country and it has proved to be a massive success, attracting entries from 378 GAA clubs across the island of Ireland.

“Clubs across the country have been struggling to maintain and improve facilities in recent years due to funding difficulties. Ulster Bank GAA Force is playing a role in providing a helpful hand by bringing the community together to get behind their local club.

“I am delighted to present the support package to Sean Dolan’s and I wish them every success in the future.”

For further information and to access behind the scenes footage and analysis of the 2011 GAA Football All-Ireland Championship, go to