Sligo County Council honours Sligo U20 footballers with civic reception

Back 14/06/2022 @ 22:18 | mainnews | Sligo County Council honours Sligo U20 footballers with civic reception
The Sligo U20 footballers were last night honoured with a civic reception from Sligo County Council in the County Council Chambers to celebrate their victory in the Connacht U20 football championships.

The reception was hosted by Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor, who was himself for many years a mainstay of the Sligo gaelic football team, first as a player and more recently as manager of the county team in 2018 and 2019.

Councillor Taylor was accompanied by Councillors Marie Casserly, Declan Bree, Martin Connolly, Thomas Walsh, Thomas Healy, Tom Fox, Martin Baker, Gerard Mullaney and Michael Clarke. Councillor Casserly's son Luke was a member of the successful U20 team.

In addition to members of the U20 squad led by captain Jack Lavin and their management team led by Dessie Sloyan, the reception was at attended by a number of members of the Executive of Sligo GAA led by Chairman Sean Carroll and Secretary Bernardine McGauran. 

Speaking in response to Mr Taylor's comments welcoming the teams Mr Carroll said "It is a great honour to be invited here today for this Civic Reception to mark the historic achievement of our county U20 footballers in winning the Connacht Championship this year. This is Sligo’s first ever success at this level and indeed the first Connacht title we have won on home soil in history. When I think back to that evening many memories flood back…..the tension, the frustration, the excitement and then the pure joy as Sligo people got to celebrate together following a dramatic win.

Those moments and emotions I speak of are precious and it is fitting that those who generated them are recognised here this evening. Long before that glorious evening this journey started in schools, clubs, then through to development squads, minor squads and up to late last year when this group started to prepare in earnest for the 2022 season. I want to pay tribute to the parents and club and county coaches who assisted these young men along the road. Most especially I would like to thank Dessie Sloyan and his management team who left no stone unturned to make sure these lads were as well prepared as possible. That diligence manifested itself in the efforts of the players who showed incredible resilience along their journey, not least on that Connacht final evening when all seemed lost at one stage. 

The GAA is rooted in the communities of this county as is evidenced by this group of players and their management who hail from all corners of Sligo. Sligo GAA has been delighted to partner with Sligo County Council’s initiative to highlight all that our great county has to offer and encouraging people to come back or relocate here. Some of the players here this evening were part of one of the videos produced as members of the 2021 Connacht minor winning team. We in Sligo GAA recognise the role we can play in this and as an organisation will strive to improve and be a central part of “the Sligo story” – Retaining and returning people in the county.

I’d like to thank Cathaoirleach Paul Taylor – himself a former county football star and former senior county team manager – and the County Council for this event this evening. Striving to be the best you can be is a continuos journey, but it is important to mark the wins along the way with occasions like this. I look forward to the future with much optimism when hopefully additional successes can be brought to our county."