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GAA President’s Awards 2019

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Congratulations to our Club Chairperson, Deirdre McGrath on receiving the distinguished President's Award for her services to Camogie and the GAA.

These prestigious annual awards, organised with the support of Club Championship sponsors AIB and broadcast by TG4, affords Uachtarán CLG with an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network.

Aghaderg GAC & Ballyvarley HC, Down

Deirdre is a member of Aghaderg GAC & Ballyvarley HC and was brought up in a traditional Gaelic Family in Bryansford, County Down. Her late father, Arthur Brannigan, was heavily involved in the local GAA community. At the age of 11, he took Deirdre to the All-Ireland Hurling Final in Croke Park and this is where her love and passion for the GAA began.

Deirdre founded camogie in her home club Bryansford, in 1970. She held the post of club secretary and attended coaching courses in Gormanston to learn the skills. In 1973, Deirdre was awarded the first ever Sports Personality Award in Down and in 1977, Bryansford Camogie Club was awarded Club of the Year.

In 1974, Deirdre took on the role of County Secretary at Down Camogie and remained in the post until 1977. During this time, she saw Down Minors win their first ever All-Ireland Final in 1974 and in 1976 the All-Ireland Junior Premier Championship.

Married in 1975 into a family with very strong Gaelic tradition and moved to Ballyvarley, a townland in the parish of Aghaderg where hurling was very prominent. Her husband Francie played hurling and so they both shared their time volunteering in the GAA. Francie also managed the Bryansford camogie team to success, a team which Deirdre played on, winning leagues in 1975, 1977 and 1980.

After having two children, Mark and Sheelagh, Deirdre decided it was time to think about starting camogie in Aghaderg, where she now lived. Through the decades, there was a history of camogie in the Banbridge/Ballyvarley area and in 1984 Deirdre formed a camogie team in Aghaderg, giving it the parish name. She took up the camogie secretary role in Aghaderg Club and her husband Francie managed the team.

The first competitive match was played in 1985 and in 1988, Aghaderg won the Novice Championship. In 1989, they won the Junior League and Championship unbeaten and then the Intermediate Championship in 1991. During this period, Deirdre remained on the Aghaderg GAA club committee and was also an executive committee member of the Banbridge Sports Council for many years.