What Killeavy did with the numbers on their jerseys is GAA at its best 2 years ago

What Killeavy did with the numbers on their jerseys is GAA at its best

There's a great phrase in soccer that says no-one ever fails in the game, they just find their level.

The same can be said of football and hurling too. When you see how much a reserve championship means to a player, young or old, you get that the GAA is a home for men and women of all abilities.

But the GAA goes one further. In fact, it goes hundreds further. Yes, we like to bang on about how special Gaelic Games are and we love to brag about the community aspect of it all and, most importantly, the amateurism. It's true though, there can't be another association like it where a senior men's club championship win means more to the people off the pitch as it does to the ones on it.

With the GAA, it doesn't matter if you've never even stricken a ball, there's a place for you in the club and there's definitely a job for you.

So when a team takes to the pitch at any grade, there's vested interest from hundreds more because you've coached them, your kids are playing, your friends are, you're the secretary, you're treasurer or you're the one who put the nets up beforehand. The club is about so much more than the 15 to 21 lucky enough to get to do the fun part on a Sunday and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the magic of the GAA.

That's why it means the world to everyone from the sub 'keeper to the ones who made the sandwiches for the club lotto whenever you get a sniff of success. You built that success together.

In Armagh, they get that.

Killeavy won the intermediate football championship in the Orchard County last year with a 1-13 to 0-11 victory over Silverbridge and it meant as much to past players as it did to current players. It meant as much to everyone because this is what happens in the club.


And the players get that too.

That's why, on the pitch, the footballers who are in the privileged position of representing Killeavy on the field take the rest of the club with them.

On the back of their jerseys, within the number of each player, the name of all club members are imprinted.

There are different names on different numbers so they could fit in every member - every member who has contributed to the success as much as the players themselves.

They also turned it into a handy fundraiser - 10 quid for a name, 30 quid for a family of five to have all their names in it.

In the end, they had around 400 members sign up and, in the end, there were 400 members with them on the pitch as they won the club's third intermediate championship title - just their second of the last 30 years.

This one was for all of them. This one was for the club.

Main image from Armagh GAA.