History

Naomh Pól History

Members of the St Pauls branch of the CYMS founded St Pauls GAC on the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1941. At the inaugural meeting held on the 31st August that year records the first officers as;

Chairman Jim Mc Conville
Secretary Jim Gough
Treasurer Jim Hagan

Prominent in that first committee was Brian Moore (RIP) former club president and former Antrim County Chairman.

During the war years there was a shortage of material to make rigs, however the club were able to purchase a set of red and white hopped jerseys - the club colours to the present day. The club began life as a football club, but within a few months hurling was introduced, and indeed our first major success was the County Junior Hurling championship of 1945 which was followed a year latter by (1946) by the County Junior Football championship.
More success followed in the 1950s.

The 1960s would be regarded as a quite decade in the clubs history but the 1970s were anything but quite.

In the early 1970s the decision was taken to leave our spiritual home of the Lower Falls and move to pastures new in Andersonstown. This proved to be a farsighted and wise decision. On The 15th July 1979 Paddy Mc Flynn, Uacharan Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, opened the clubs new pitch and social center. The seventies will also be remembered of the loss of two of the clubs greatest stalwards, Jim Murray and Jack Mc Cartan.

The club settled into its new home and commenced what turned out to be a hugely successful youth policy. Through out the 1980s the club won underage titles in both football and hurling the highlight being the winning of the 1987 Féile Na nGael title in county Clare.

1983 saw the commencement of the Jim Mc Conville Cup - a competition for the respective club minor football winners from the Nine Ulster counties.

In 1985 the clubs new handball courts were opened and we are now renowned as a handball stronghold and in 1989 St Paul's clubman Jim Nelson managed the Antrim senior hurling team that reached the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final of that year.

The youth policy of the 1980s led to the club's most successful decade to date the 1990s. We won our first county senior football title in 1994 and followed up with two more senior football titles in 1996 and 1997.

Today the club plays in the top divisions of the Antrim leagues in both football hurling and Handball and provide top class players to Antrim county teams. We also now have active Camogie and Ladies Football teams.

Cumann Naomh Pól Peil Gael na mBan was established in 2003.

Brian Coyle and Donna Coyle set out to give opportunities to girls in West Belfast to participate in Irish sporting culture and become members of one of Antrim's most successful and biggest Gaelic clubs, St. Paul's.

St Paul's has now proven to be leading the way in the development of ladies Gaelic football in Antrim. St Paul's quickly stamped their authority in the county and province under the management of Brian Coyle and Barry Mc Greevy, making their way through to the Ulster Junior Club Final in only their second season to face formidable opponents in Monaghan's Iniskeen, and narrowly lose by 3 points.

2005 was a significant year of achievement as titles were picked up at all age groups from under 10 to ladies. That year St Paul's were privileged with the attendance of an Uachtarán Geraldine Giles and Eamonn Mc Cartan, Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland at the annual presentation evening to celebrate this success.

St Paul's ladies has a concrete underage structure and school links programme that has led to the thriving development of the club within West Belfast.

Their under 14 teams have dominated Antrim Féile and so for four consecutive years headed to Féile Peil na nÓg where they gave a superb account of themselves. St Paul's have also given a strong commitment to the development of the county team providing no less than ten players at any of the age groups.

In 2005 Ladies Football along with all Gaelic codes in St Paul's GAC were awarded the Gold Club Mark Award by the Sports Council for Northern Ireland. The first for any Gaelic Club to achieve. This was in recognition of the standard of coaching, development programmes and juvenile structures in situ.

St Paul's ladies have integrated well with the men's club and the equality that is shown to ladies is manifested in the success that they have achieved in this short period of time

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