Naomh Pol CLG - Saint Paul's GAC
Based in Holywood, County Down, St. Paul's GAA club encompasses the towns of Holywood, Bangor and Newtownards. The first club in Holywood was organised in 1927, carrying the proud name of St. Colmcille. The teams' strip was made up of black shorts and black shirts with white collars. This early club team also sponsored a handball team and a drama club.
Although successful in the early days, the club continued for a mere decade. It was revived in 1948 under the title of Holywood's Patron Saint, St. Laiseran, whom had established the Priory in the seventh century. The revived club lasted for another decade but withdrew from the League in 1956.
The highly successful Thomas Russell Gaelic Club was formed in 1962 and soon earned the name 'the Holywood Giant Killers'. Early success did not continue - the club struggled on until 1976 when it was decided to withdraw from the Antrim League.
The next milestone in the story is the foundation of the St. Paul's Gaelic Football Club in 1979. St. Paul's is an amalgamation of the Holywood, Bangor and Newtownards clubs. In 1963 the Scrabo Harps club was founded in Newtownards. The Bangor club was founded in 1963 and remained active in the Down League until 1978. From its inception, St. Paul's has been a very successful club fielding up to five teams in the Down All County and East Down Leagues and Championships.
Originally the Holywood teams played on a small pitch known as Burke's Field, situated on the town side of Spafield Terrace. Later a move was made to Maguire's Field, which remained the Holywood Gaelic Field pitch for many years. The pitch was small, only 92 metres by 60 metres, uneven and marshy - virtually unplayable for nine months of the year! The field was below the ancient raised beach of Belfast Lough, between Pebble Lodge (now 'The Parks' apartment building) and the town dump at Spafield.
In 1972 the Roads Authority decimated the cricket grounds (which were alongside the Gaelic pitch) by driving the Holywood by-pass over the pitch. The Gaelic Football Club generously allowed the Cricket Club to use parts of their ground for 25 years to continue playing.
By the early 1990's St. Paul's was a well-established club. The club realised that the inferior playing facilities of the old Maguire's Field were completely unsatisfactory to meet the growing player participation of Gaelic football in the area. The Foundation for Sport and the Arts promised a grant of £50,000 to upgrade the ground. This grant was dependent on the club raising, from its own membership, a minimum of £10,000, which it did through a very successful draw.
The club has made significant strides in recent years, including the transition of a pitch cherished by opposing teams for all the wrong reasons, to one that is rightly the envy of many in Ulster. The ground is named after the late great Patrick MacNamee, Uachtarán of Cumann Luthchleas Gael (1938-1943) and dedicated Holywood Gael. In 1997 work was started on the new grounds. A playing area of 130 metres by 85 metres being created with the first game on the new grounds played in May 1999. Grants of £60,000 from the Sports Council for Northern Ireland and £25,000 from the North Down Borough Council have contributed towards state of the art dressing rooms. Spectator accommodation has been provided on the natural banking along the Belfast Road side.
The dressing rooms were completed for the start of the 2002 season finally realising the vision of many dedicated members past and present in building a high profile and progressive club ideally placed to be successful both on the field of play and in its contributions to the wider community. The fine campanile of St. Colmcille's Church overlooks the magnificent green sward, with its black cloth of Belfast Lough shimmering in the sunlight below the Antrim Hills. This is indeed an imposing approach to Holywood and a worthy tribute to the members and friends of St. Paul's Gaelic Athletic Club, whose goal is to provide facilities to compete with the best.
Some highlights of recent seasons include:
- The Seniors footballers gaining promotion to the Third Division of the Down All County League in 2006 for the first time in the clubs history
- The clubs first Championship victory (U16 East Down B Championship - 2004)
- The formation of the clubs first Senior Ladies football team in 2005
- The commencement of hurling coaching in the club for the first time for children aged 7-10 in 2007
Naomh Pol CLG - St. Paul's GAC
Uachtarán / President:
Cathaoirleach / Acting Chairman: Paddy Hunt
Rúnaí / Secretary: Paul Collins
Club Website : www.stpaulsgaa.com
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomh Pol CLG Club Crest
Our Official Club crest was designed by club member Shauna Kelly. Shauna was the winner of a competition organised by the club's underage development team in 2003 to design an official club crest. As winner Shauna receieved a GAA International Rules jersey along with the honour of having her design be produced into the official club crest.
The new crest encorporate's emblems of St. Colmcille's Church (Holywood), a boat (Bangor) and Scrabo Tower (Newtownards) - representing the three towns that the club serves.