Irish Examiner view: A sporting chance to bring Belfast communities together

GAA in east Belfast
Irish Examiner view: A sporting chance to bring Belfast communities together
East Belfast GAA Club is cross-community and is challenging traditional models. File photo. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

When Dave McGreevy sent an idle tweet over breakfast asking if anyone was interested in setting up a GAA club in unionist east Belfast, he was blown away by the response.

There was only one rule — the club would be cross-community and open to all. It clearly struck a chord.

Last week, East Belfast GAA Club played its first game against St Michael’s in Co Down. They lost but the club has shown that sport plays a real role in bringing communities together.

The club is challenging many traditional models. Its new president is Linda Ervine, an Irish-language enthusiast who is from a unionist background in east Belfast.

Its motto “Together”, which is written on the crest in English, Irish, and Ulster Scots, sends a powerful message of inclusion to all communities.

And, best of all, it has generated significant interest. Formed as recently as May, the club is already fielding men and women’s teams in hurling, camogie and football.

The formation of the East Belfast GAA Club shows, once again, that sport is a potent way of bringing communities together.

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