In Ireland, the loyalty to our country is so strong, it has even been given the nickname of Loyalty to the Land.
The name of the club is in part a play on words.
The name ‘Ulster’ is a reference to the island nation, but is also a nod to the Irish nation.
The motto, ‘In the Land of the Lads’ is also in reference to a slogan used by the Nationalist Irish Republican Army during the war.
“The name ‘Lions’ is actually a nod at the ‘Lion of Ireland’ the Irish National Anthem,” said Conor McCarthy, Head of Development at Ulster Football Club.
“That was an anthem of nationalism, and that has been our motto since we were formed, it was an honour to be associated with it, but we’ve had to do it as a way of saying that the club and the Irish community have a lot of respect for the other side.”
It’s very powerful.
It’s like a powerful anthem for people in the north-east of Ireland, people who are part of the nationalist movement in that area.
“It was an idea put to McCarthy, who has been involved in the club for the last 15 years, and has even helped develop players, after he heard a story of a boy who had a tattoo of the lion on his forearm.
The club has been on the pitch for just over four years now, but has had a lot to celebrate as the national anthem has become the most played song in the country.
It’s a theme that will be repeated at a special celebration on Sunday when the club will celebrate their first-ever national championship.”
Our aim is to be at the forefront of this, we want to be a beacon for the Irish and Irish people and the future of this country,” said McCarthy.”
We are in the middle of an incredible journey.
We are the first club in the county, so it’s an exciting time.
“I think we’ve always been a club who is really proud of our heritage and heritage heritage.
We pride ourselves on being Irish-Irish, we pride ourselves in being Irish, and we pride in being loyal to our community.”
As a club we want people to understand that we are Irish-English and we want them to know that.
“The Lions have been in the top flight for a number of years now and they have only recently become an international club.
The team started playing football in 2014, after playing in a number-one division in the second tier.”
They have been on and off the pitch together for years, we’ve got a lot in common, we’re all very close friends, and it was very hard to see the team disband,” McCarthy said.”
When the first team disbanded, we all sat down and decided that it was time to move on and we all had our own goals.
“Then after a couple of years we realised that this was going to be the right move, and then we got on with it.”
The club was founded in 2012, and since then they have played in the first division and promoted themselves to the top division.
“After the first season, we went into the second season and had a good start to the season, and the fans have come back, the fans are excited, the players have come in, they have all been really committed and are excited to come back and be part of it again,” McCarthy continued.
“With the fans coming back, we have a great chance to take it up to the next level.”
They have only played in a couple more league games this season, with a couple away fixtures coming up.
The Lions are currently seventh in the table, three points behind the top four, with two games in hand on the leaders.
“This year we’ve played in four games so far, we will have a fantastic game against Kilkenny on Sunday, hopefully we can put a few points on the board,” said James Connolly, who joined the club from Ulster.
“Hopefully we can get to the semi-finals and go into the final.”
“I’ve been here for almost 15 years and this is my first club, I’ve never been in it before, I know it’s very difficult for the club, but I’m really excited for this challenge.”
You have to get out there and play your best football and you have to play with a lot more passion, it’s a tough game to play in, but it’s something we are all here for and we’re determined to make sure we get the best out of it.