DUP mayor backs local GAA team

Published Wednesday, 14 March 2012
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Loughgiel's hurlers are set to travel to Croke Park this weekend to take on Co Offaly side Coolderry in the All-Ireland Club Hurling final - with some extra support from a previously unexpected quarter.

DUP mayor backs local GAA team
DUP mayor Ian Stevenson is put through his paces by Loughgiel's Liam Watson. (© UTV)

Mayor of Ballymoney Ian Stevenson is a DUP councillor who recently found out his grandfather played for the Loughgiel Shamrocks, prompting him to go to his first GAA match in February and watch the side in the semis.

"I didn't know anything about it until somebody spoke to me from Loughgiel and said that my grandfather actually played in 1926-27," the mayor told UTV.

I am the mayor of Ballymoney and I am there for everybody, so I don't believe that you should pick and choose what you do and what you don't do.

Ian Stevenson, DUP

"It was an experience because obviously I'd never been there before, but I was very warmly welcomed and received by the people there."

Having followed in his party leader's footsteps in attending his first GAA game - after Peter Robinson travelled to Armagh for the McKenna Cup final in January - Mr Stevenson is now also set to attend the hurling final.

"As long as Loughgiel get the right result and he sees a good match, sure that's all that's important," Loughgiel's star player Liam Watson, who has been helping the mayor brush up on his hurling technique, said.

The Shamrocks have won the All-Ireland title just once in the club's 97-year history, back in 1983, but they'd be delighted to impress all their followers and add some more silverware to their cabinet on Saturday.

© UTV News
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