British Army cleared to field GAA team in London

British Army cleared to field GAA team in London

THE British Army have had a Gaelic football team affiliated to London GAA following a dramatic County Board meeting at the Irish TV Grounds in Ruislip, London, on Monday night.

Waterford native Major Kenneth Fox of the Irish Guards, an Irish regiment of the British Army, presented his case to the London County Board and their club delegates, who then registered their votes on the matter.

The room was deadlocked at 15 votes apiece on either side of the divide, meaning a casting vote fell upon London GAA chairman Noel O'Sullivan.

Mr O'Sullivan confirmed before the room that he would stick with his initial vote, which was in favour of accepting the Irish Guards to the Association.

They are now free to compete at junior level in the 2016 championship, league and cup competitions within London GAA in what can be considered a landmark case for the governing body.

The Irish Guards moved from their station in Aldershot, Hampshire, to Hounslow Cavalry Barracks, west London, in June of this year and will be stationed there for the next three years.

Since their move they have been receiving support with training sessions - which they already run twice a week - from Tir Chonaill Gaels and London GAA and they will don the clubname Gardai Eireannach on the back of their jerseys.

Their roster of players is made up of Irishmen, second generation Irishmen and some from other countries such as Fiji and South Africa.

The GAA’s Rule 21, which banned members of the British security forces from playing football and hurling within the Association, was abolished at a congress in Dublin nearly 14 years ago after being enforced for over a century.