Rathcoole group’s cross-border project concludes with historic football match

Phil Hamilton and George Graham from Rathcoole Friends of the Somme with Newtownabbey Community High School teacher Simon Smith, team captain William McCartney and the teachers and the team captain from St David's CBS. INNT 11-505CON
Phil Hamilton and George Graham from Rathcoole Friends of the Somme with Newtownabbey Community High School teacher Simon Smith, team captain William McCartney and the teachers and the team captain from St David's CBS. INNT 11-505CON

Rathcoole Friends of the Somme recently completed its cross-border/cross-community project as part of the Community Leadership Programme - a project funded by the International Fund for Ireland and delivered by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

The final event of the initiative involved local pupils from Newtownabbey Community High School taking part in a cultural awareness visit to Croke Park in Dublin on Thursday, March 1 followed by a football match with St David’s Christian Brothers School, Dublin.

It was the first time in the history of St David’s CBS that they had played a competitive soccer game at their school grounds.

Phil Hamilton from Rathcoole Friends of the Somme said: “The project was very ambitious from the outset and it was inspiring to see our young people enjoying and gaining knowledge of Gaelic sports. Like me, it was the first time that any of the participants had ever been in a GAA ground and we all enjoyed the experience of learning about another culture.

“The football match made history as this was the first competitive game that St David’s CBS had ever played and I am delighted that a school from Newtownabbey made this possible. The young people were great ambassadors, not only for Newtownabbey Community High School but also for the borough of Newtownabbey.”

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