If you want to find heartbeat of Irish sport, you will certainly find it in gaelic games at club level. Travel up and down the country and you'll find thousands and thousands of men, women, boys and girls whose lives are wholly caught up in their local club. So many of the great things that we value about Irish life - volunteerism, community spirit, pride of place - can be found in the connection between people and the places where they play gaelic games.
To honour and celebrate that important connection, Sports Direct are delighted to announce their official support of 5 clubs, covering each province in Ireland. From 2018 onwards, Sports Direct will be an official supporter of Clane GAA in Kildare, Bellaghy GAC in Derry, Listry GAA in Kerry, Ballygunner HC in Waterford and St Dominic's GAA in Roscommon. The partnership will aim to further support the outstanding work taking place at grassroots level in these tremendous clubs.
“Sports Direct are excited about our journey in supporting grassroots Gaelic Games. Our aim is to foster a positive and supportive relationship with our selected Gaelic Games clubs,” a spokesperson from Sports Direct
To promote this partnership, we're delighted to present the following two-part short documentary series with one of the clubs that Sports Direct have partnered with, Clane GAA in Kildare.
Clane has a storied tradition within Kildare GAA. They were founded in 1887, three years after Michael Cusack founded the GAA. Their lilywhite jersey would also become the lilywhite jersey of Kildare after they won the Kildare club championship in 1903. They had their greatest recent success in Kildare in 1997, just as the Kildare team enjoyed some of its greatest success at intercounty level. In this video we meet Kildare legend and Clane man Eddie McCormack, as well as Christine Reilly, who won a Kildare minor title with Clane's camogie team. Finally we meet the lovely Marie Woods, who is something of a historian at Clane GAA. Marie can trace her links to Clane back to the beginning of the twentieth century and is only delighted tell the entire wonderful history of the club.
In this video, you get a sense of the powerful emotional connections that tie the people of Clane to their club.
We'll be following up this video with a look at the future of Clane GAA, which will appear on Balls.ie's social channels in the coming weeks.