A team of non-Irish born hurlers from London is set to take part in the GAA World Games for the first time this weekend in Waterford.
The bulk of the squad have played for London in the past in the All-Ireland Feile, with some also featuring in Senior and Junior London squads.
It's been a hectic and special time for London captain Seán Howlin whose girlfriend Kelly gave birth to their first child Ava Grace recently. "It caps off a great few weeks for me, with the birth of my child and then to find out I was captaining London," he told The Irish Post.
"Then on a personal note it's a recognition of what I have put into this, and my club hurling over the years, to be looked upon as a leader of this group of lads."
London are placed in Group B, alongside Pearse Óg, NCGAA, Allentown, Canada and New York.
Step into the unknown
Seán says it's a bit of a step into the unknown in terms of knowing much about the opposition.
"For us it's a complete unknown," he said.
"It's hard to comment on it, because London might have more games - on that fact we might have more hurling than the rest.
"That's the only thing we can judge it on, but other than that it's a complete unknown to us - we don't know how good teams are."
Seán says it's great to be involved, especially with the family connections to the squad.
"Coming from Kilburn and Fr. Murphy's - those would be strong family clubs," he said.
"Michael O'Dwyer's father Mick would have done a huge amount at underage level over the last 30 years, and Brendan O'Connor there as well. Something like is testament to them as well. Then from our own family, the Howlins have been a part of Fr. Murphy's for the last 40 years.
"My Dad was manager and won Senior Championships, now Jimmy is manager and Darren and I are on the team. I'm secretary of the Fr. Murphy's club as well, so bringing in the clubs into this county team as well is great to see."
Seán also is thankful to all those who have helped ensure the team will take part at the World Games next week.
"I'd also like to thank the players for their dedication, to Jimmy and Bernard for giving up their time to coach us, Tir Chonaill Gaels and The Shamrock club for the use of their facilities for training.
"Also all our sponsors and the county board, as without money and backing from these two this would never have happened."
The team is one of seven teams from Britain Gaelic Games, with Parnells and Fr. Murphys Ladies Footballers; Tir Chonaill Gaels Mens footballers; and the Camogie teams of Fr. Murphy's, Tara and Thomas McCurtains also involved.
LONDON: Chris Weller, Francis O'Dwyer, Darren Howlin, Liam O'Brien, Alan Callanan, Aaron Roche, Ultan Coonan, Michael O'Dwyer, Seán Howlin (Capt), Conor Howlin, Jack Doyle, Stephen Walsh, Aidan Callanan, Charlie Rose, Seán Freeman.
— Waterford City & County Council (@WaterfordCounci) July 17, 2019