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THE GAA’s 125th anniversary will be celebrated by Irish News readers this month when they will help select the best 125 footballers in Ulster of all time.
This ambitious initiative, which has been endorsed by the Ulster Council, will see our county correspondents appraise the footballing talent from each of the nine counties.
Our readers have an integral role to play in this 125th anniversary initiative when they will be asked to sift through the annals of Ulster football and pick their 15 best-ever players from their own county.
Readers do not have to assemble a one to 15 formation, but will simply be asked to choose their best 15 players. When all the votes are collated, the top 30 players from each county, making a total of 270 overall, will be printed in the Irish News before a panel of experts whittle them down to the top 125 footballers of Ulster.
Ulster Council chairman Tom Daly gave his seal of approval to The Irish News’ anniversary celebration plans.
“I am delighted with this fantastic initiative by The Irish News which we endorse and fully support and which brings a further focus on our efforts to ensure that the GAA 125 is celebrated at all levels of the GAA in Ulster,” Daly said.
“This will be followed by a further initiative to celebrate hurling excellence in Ulster, again with a focus on great players down through the years.”
Daly added that the idea will “rekindle memories and provoke a lot of interest and debate” among GAA fans throughout the province.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and to have their say,” said Daly.
“Our many GAA clubs in Ulster have a special contribution to make to ensure that the names of great players from their own locality, and particularly players from the distant past, are put forward.
“Discussing and debating nominees at club level would be a thought-provoking exercise which would be of real interest in terms of reflecting on each club’s own social history and the contribution made by its great and notable players over the years. I wish the adjudicators well with the unenviable task of coming up with a final list of 125.”
Reader voting, either online or by post, will commence later this month when full details will be outlined.
The 30-strong list from each county will be published early next month before the unveiling of an eight-page celebration of our best 125 players of Ulster.
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: “This is an initiative which we believe will generate a huge debate across the nine counties of Ulster in the coming weeks.
“To be named among the top 125 players of all time in the province would be a massive accolade, so we are anticipating a very strong response from our readers.”