Stars of Film, Television series and Stage across the globe, have played and loved Gaelic Football and Hurling.
The 3rd part of our series '33 Famous Irish Sports Players and Celebrities play Gaelic Football and Hurling' shows the love for Gaelic Football and Hurling that Irish Actors, Actresses, Comedians, Rock Band singers and Television presenters have. And a couple of Leaders of the country as Taoiseach.
Some played gaelic games at a high level, winning a Leinster Under-21 Football Championship medal, we've intercounty players with counties Kildare, Westmeath, Dublin, Roscommon, Down, and Wicklow all featured here, as well as gaelic footballers from Carlow and Kerry.
Saoirse Ronan, Michael Fassbender, Paul Mescal, Patrick Kielty and Chris O'Dowd all played.
Here are numbers 24 to 33 from our list - all from the world of Entertainment - all with a love for Ireland's Gaelic Games.
24. Liam Neeson
Actor and star in TAKEN films, Star Wars movies, Schindler's List and Michael Collins - as well as more than 100 other films and TV series.
From Ballymena, County Antrim, Neeson loved the game of hurling and was a handy hurler in his school days. When his home club Cushendall Ruairi CLG reached the final in March 2016, he posted his support here:
25. Saoirse Ronan
27 year old Top Irish Actress Saoirse Ronan starred in Atonement (aged 13), Hanna, Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scots, Little Women and Lady Bird - some of the 25 and more films she has featured in already.
Raised for a time in Ardattin, County Carlow, she recalled how she played with and against the boys on the local Gaelic football teams
“From being a kid I’ve always been, ‘Well if a boy can do it, I can do it’," she explained.
"When I was a kid, I’d play Gaelic football on the boys’ team. I was like, ‘I can do it if they can!’
26. Michael Fassbender
is an Irish-actor who grew up in Fossa, outside Killarney in County Kerry. His parents moved from Heidelberg, Germany to Fossa when he was just aged 2.
Starring in more than 30 feature films, including Marvel films (as Magneto in X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix), Inglourious Basterds, Shame
and mini-series Band of Brothers and Hex.
In his early school days he played Gaelic Football with his local club, Fossa GAA club
Later at St Brendan's College, Killarney, a school with GAA past-pupils such as Pat Spillane and Paidi O’Shea, he veered away from sport, admitting he was less than studious.
“In our school you either played football on a Wednesday or took a half day, and naturally my friend Emerson and I took the half day”. But he has maintained his love for GAA and the Kingdom's (Co.Kerry) success.
27. Dara O’Briain
TV presenter and personality, comedian and host of Mock The Week
He hurled at intercounty minor level, O'Briain played for the Wicklow hurlers in his youth.
Raised in Bray, Co.Wicklow, Dara went to school as gaeilge in primary and secondary schools to Gaelscoil in Blackrock and Booterstown, Dublin and played Gaelic games there.
Back in his own local club, he played both hurling and football for Bray’s Emmets Club.
'I played from the ages of 14 to 19 with Emmets” he explained in an interview with Wicklow People back in 2004. A ‘dodgy knee’ put an end to his GAA career, but not before lining out for his county at Minor Hurling level.
28. Chris O’Dowd
Irish actor and comedian – star of the Channel 4 Comedy series The IT Crowd, and later Moone Boy; he has appeared in a host of films such as Bridesmaids, Gulliver's Travels, Mary Poppins Returns and The Starling.
O'Dowd was born and raised in Boyle, County Roscommon, and represented his county at Gaelic Football at U16, Minor and Under 21 levels, including the 1997 Connacht Minor Football Championship final.
29. Patrick Kielty
Irish comedian and television personality
From Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland,– Kielty has presented TV shows in Northern Ireland and across the UK, and has appeared in BBC’s Live at the Apollo. He has presented comedy panel game show Bad Language, Debatable, a daily quiz show, and a documentary, My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me.
Patrick Kielty was a talented Gaelic footballer in his teenage years. As a member of the Down GAA minor football team for three years, 1987–89, he was on the 1987 All Ireland Minor Football Championship winning squad.
30. Paul Mescal
The 25 year old Irish actor shot to fame for his starring role as Connell Waldron in the miniseries Normal People (2020).
He won a list of Global Nominations and Awards for his Normal People performances. Since 2017, Paul has acted in quite a number of theatre productions.
Paul is from Maynooth, Co.Kildare, where he has played gaelic football for his club at all levels from underage to Under 21 and Senior. He has been selected to represent Kildare at Minor and Under 21 Football, and Mescal's skills as a defender have been praised by experienced pundits and players alike.
31. Danny O'Reilly The Coronas
The Coronas are a top Irish rock band based between Dublin and London. They have released five studio albums, Heroes or Ghosts (2007), Tony Was an Ex-Con (2009), Closer to You (2011) The Long Way (2014), Trust The Wire (2017) & True Love Waits (2020).
The band members are: lead singer and guitarist Danny O'Reilly , Graham Knox and Conor Egan.
Danny said his first passion was Gaelic football. He recalled last year, that if things had gone differently, he “might have played senior Gaelic Football for Dublin. All the way through school, I was mad into GAA.” He did play for Dublin in the Minor league and made it to the All‑Ireland final.
32. Niall Breslin
founder of The Blizzards, lead singer Niall Breslin is listed as a Singer-songwriter, television personality, former footballer.
- Known as Bressie, he is a former Westmeath Gaelic footballer.
Breslin wore the Westmeath shirt, representing the county in Gaelic football at Minor, and U-21 Championship levels.
He won a Leinster Under-21 Football Championship medal with Westmeath in 2000. Breslin was also a professional rugby player with Leinster Rugby, and represented Ireland at Under-21 level in the World Cup.
33a. Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Mayo Taoiseach - Enda Kenny - would go on to lead Fine Gael and the Irish Government - serving Dail Eireann from 1975 to 2017.
He was Minister for Tourism 1994–1997.
He was elected as leader of Fine Gael in 2002, which was in opposition from 2002 to 2011.
Fine Gael came to power in government following the general election in 2011.
At just under 59 years and 11 months on accession, Kenny was the second-oldest person to have assumed the office of Taoiseach for the first time.
As Taoiseach, on 17 May 2017, Kenny announced his intention to step down as party leader, effective at midnight.
In early life, Enda Kenny (born 1951) was born in Derrycoosh, Islandeady, near Castlebar, County Mayo. He was educated locally at St Patrick's National School, Cornanool N.S, Leitir N.S and at St. Gerald's College, Castlebar. He attended St Patrick's College, Dublin, qualifying as a national teacher and was an undergraduate student at University College Galway. He worked as a primary school teacher for four years.
He loved Gaelic Football and his county of MAYO
Enda Kenny played football for, managed and coached his local club Islandeady GAA for many years.
And in 2016 gave an emotional plea to his beloved Mayo to 'end the long hunger' ahead of Sunday's All Ireland Final".
- 33b. Former Taoiseach Jack Lynch
Irish Taoiseach and FF leader Jack Lynch was a famous All-Ireland winning Cork hurler and footballer.
Jack Lynch had been the third leader of Fianna Fáil from 1966 until 1979. He served as Taoiseach from 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979, Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1966 to 1979, Leader of the Opposition from 1973 to 1977.
Born on 15 August 1917, he passed away on 20th October 1999.
He loved both Gaelic football and hurling, and was a duel player.
He played hurling with his local club Glen Rovers and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1950.
Lynch also played Gaelic football with his local club St Nicholas' and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1946.
He’s the only player in the history of the GAA to win 6 All Ireland Senior medals in a row.
Honorable mentions to Parents :
Nicky Byrne Westlife
Irish boy band, formed in 1998. The band has sold over 55 million records, with 14 number 1 Singles and 8 Number 1 Albums
In 2018, here Nicky was supporting his son who was playing Gaelic Football at Croke Park.
Bonus Cristiano Ronaldo -
tried hurling while on a pre-season in Ireland, while with Real Madrid – perhaps he could have played at weekends with The Madrid Harps GAA Club at the time.
Bonus 2. Prince William and Kate Middleton played hurling and Gaelic Football in Galway
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a go at two traditional Irish sports, hurling and Gaelic football, on the third and final day of their official visit to the country.