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Tribute to Sean Martin.

Friends, every club has a few people who seem to always be there doing both the seen and unseen work which is necessary to ensure any organisation continues to function and tonight we are gathered to pay a special tribute to one such person whose service has been exceptional both to our club and the wider association. That man is our very own Sean Martin

Seans father, Arthur was a founder member of the club in 1919 and its first secretary. As employment was scarce in the 1930s he along with his young family moved to Scotland for work where the rest of his family were born in Edinburgh. Happily he and his family returned home in 1946 and he, Arthur resumed his position as club secretary and retained that position until 1956. Sean took over the position in 1957 and held it for the next 41 years.

Sean has also been in charge of the money end of our club lotto since it started almost 22 years ago and as every club will tell you that the most important fixture the club has every week is “lotto night” as that’s the income which holds everything together.

Sean has also played both football and hurling for the club, acted as a referee, danced in Scor representing the club for about 10 years, ran the set dancing class until he had his hip operation a couple of years ago, ran the whist drive every fortnight, cut the grass, marked the pitch, did the maintenance and basically anything else that needed to be done.

Even more remarkably, during the 71 years he has been working for this club he has also been secretary of the South West Antrim Board, Secretary of the County Activities Committee (where he made the fixtures for all the clubs throughout the county), and when he gave that job up he took over as secretary of the County Discipline Committee.

Sean, your service to both this club and the wider GAA has been exceptional and it is my great pleasure on behalf of the club to invite you to be our first ever Club President and I will shortly be asking the president of the Ulster Council of the GAA to present you with your presidential medal on our behalf.

Dearbhail McParland

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A huge thanks to Kickhams Creggan who presented Trócaire with a cheque for £2000 which they raised during their 'Pedal the Pond' fundraiser!.

DENIS O'HARA'S compelling collection of riveting stories on the history of GAA progress in County Antrim, is titled 'Corrigan Park - A Place Apart'. The unique tome will be unwrapped at Cushendall's Parish Centre on Friday evening, October 6, at 8.30pm, and in a book launch in the St John's GAC Clubrooms, Corrigan Park, on Saturday, October 7, at 1.00pm.

The hardback book offers a fascinating insight to decades of devotion by Antrim Gaels. The narrative, the eighth book compiled by retired journalist O'Hara, has 332 pages. It includes nostalgic illustrations and images. Featured are absorbing mini-style biographies of legendary football, camogie, and hurling personalities.  

The 52 chapters have their own individual yarn of past exploits in what is a compulsively readable chronicle, with the pages almost blissfully able to turn themselves. There are 'live' interviews with many outstanding players from not only within the county but also some of Ulster's notable athletes who paraded their mesmeric skills on the old pitch at Corrigan Park.

The list includes outstanding Derry footballer Jim McKeever, Down's iconic first All-Ireland football championship-winning captain Kevin Mussen, the Mourne county's 1961 title-winning skipper Paddy Doherty, Down's 1968 Sam Maguire Cup medal winner Jim Milligan, and Down and Ulster hurling stylist Charlie McMullan.

Also highlighted are Fermanagh's Peter McGinnity, Donegal's Brian McEniff, Tyrone great John Joe O'Hagan, Derry's Larry Diamond, and Armagh legends - Joe Kernan and Jimmy Smyth.  

While the author insists the live and anecdotal recall is not the definitive article, as far as Antrim's GAA history is concerned, this extensive array of revealing recall provides, nonetheless, a valuable record of many stirring happenings.

The book touches on how the GAA games survived during the beginning of the 20th century, and then really took off in south Antrim when the County Board purchased a plot of land along the edge of the Whiterock Road in the late 1920's. The arena held the 1940's summertime Corrigan Park Week that once attracted Father Flanagan of 'Boys Town' fame.

In 1953, Corrigan Park was in the hands of the progressive St John's GAC. From there mushroomed the famous 'Top Four' football tournament. The famous Johnnies also produced an assembly line of wonderfully committed hurlers and footballers such as the Gallagher and McCallin families.

On display are the varied adventures of Antrim's glorious All-Ireland winning camogie teams, the five-title haul starting at Cappoquin. Also, the nearly men of the 1943 hurling, and the 1946 and 1951 football teams - moving on to the 1969 Under-21 county football heroes, and the 1970 Intermediate hurlers.

There is special tribute to outstanding camogie players and personalities, such as Marie O'Gorman making history as captain of Antrim's first championship-winning team, Mairead Magill (nee McAtamney), Jane Adams, Maeve Gilroy, Teresa Kearns, Mary McGarry, Bridie O'Neill, Peg Dooey, Nancy Milligan, Sue Cashman.

The male players in the spotlight include the county's first 'All Star' footballer Andy McCallin, his uncle Joe McCallin, Kevin Armstrong, Seamus 'Stout' McDonald, Paddy O'Hara, Robbie Elliott, Danny McAllister, John Butler, Sam Mulholland, Seamus Gallagher, Eddie and Des Donnelly, Sean Burns, Peter O'Hara, Eamonn and Aidan Hamill.

Also - Gilly McIlhatton, Olcan McFetridge, Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton, Seamus Richmond, Brendan 'The Bear' Donnelly, Noel Campbell, Tony McAtamney, Patsy Lynn, Randal McDonnell, Sean Gibson, Bobby McMullan, Aidan McCamphill, Niall Wheeler, Des O'Neill, Eddie Spence, and Frankie Hamill.