Gaelic Games – The March Goes On
Originally published for the 2006 Crawley Irish Festival
Over the last couple of years, Gaelic Games in Britain has received a major boast. London won the Nicky Rackard Cup (Hurling) at Croke Park in 2005 and the success has spurred on other teams to compete to the highest standard. More people are getting involved in GAA than ever before.
London raised the inaugural Nicky Rackard Cup at Croke Park, the home of Gealic Games, 21 August 2005. London beat Louth 5-08 to 1-05 to win the title. London went into the final as favourites, not a term often attributed to the Exiles and came out victors in a match that seemed to take everyone by surprise. Goals galore were the order of the day for London, setting the standard with some great strikes and Louth were unable to regain a foothold. With five goals and eight points, London comfortably won by 15 points.
There has been great success this year too: London Youth Gaelic Football became Intercontinental Champions when they beat San Francisco at the Intercontinental Youth Final in Boston.
Bucking the trend of recent years, a new Gaelic Football club has been formed in Hertfordshire aimed at encouraging younger players to get involved with the sport: the club organises teams for primary school ages and plans to expand next year. They also sent teams to the Feile Piele (Gaelic Games Festival) in Birmingham: hundreds of school teams attended the venue that is being dubbed “the mini-Croke Park”. Gaelic Football, and to a lesser extent Hurling and Camogie, is fast becoming a global sport.
The Celtic and Irish Cultural Society is keen to assist in the growth of Gaelic Games in Britain. We are currently finalising details for the Crawley Fleadh (taking place in November) and plan to bring GAA coaching into local schools (in addition to other events).
The Crawley Fleadh will feature a number of events to give everyone a taste of Irish culture, sports and entertainment. If there is a demand, we will endeavour to expand the activities throughout the year. More at www.celtic-irish.co.uk/fleadh.