The annual Cúchulainn Cup is Ulster GAA’s flagship cross-community project. It involves maintained, controlled and integrated schools from towns across Ulster coming together to play gaelic games in cross-community Cúchulainn Cup Teams. The Cúchulainn Teams are made-up of fourth year boys and girls who do not currently play gaelic games. Thus it serves as an introduction to football, hurling and ladies football, while also encouraging young people from different backgrounds to inter-act and play as a team. Regretfully many of these teenagers, although living in the same Communities, have little meaningful interaction. Through this project the teenagers develop lasting friendships while learning new sports, culture and playing together in a mutual team effort.
Cúchulainn teams have been coached collectively for six to eight weeks by Ulster GAA and county board coaches. Preparation for the Cúchulainn Cup Blitz taking place at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena, Cookstown on Wednesday 13th April, is ongoing.
This year six Cúchulainn Teams will converge in Cookstown to compete for the Unite Against Hate Cúchulainn Cup. Teams taking part include: Armagh Cúchulainns; Belfast Cúchulainns; Cavan Cúchulainns; Derry City Cúchulainns; Enniskillen Cúchulainns and Roe Valley Cúchulainns. Over 150 players are involved representing twenty schools, and of course their Cúchulainn Team.
In its fourth year, the Cúchulainn Cup project has proven hugely successful resulting in lasting friendships, and better understanding of the GAA. Buy-in from county boards and local GAA clubs has encouraged young people to continue their involvement in the GAA by linking with schools. Each year we are providing greater opportunities for the groups to continue to integrate following the end of each year’s programme. To date over 700 teenagers have taken part in this very worthwhile initiative.