New GAA youth tournament set for London this summer

New GAA youth tournament set for London this summer

A BRITISH GAA team – whose players are mostly of African descent – is launching its first ever summer football festival involving teams from Ireland and across London.

St Paul’s Academy in South East London – which has partnered with Dulwich Harps GAA club for 15 years – is hosting an U14 boys’ nine-a-side tournament on Saturday, May 14.

The Downs GAA club from Westmeath and St Moninna GAC Killeavy from Armagh have confirmed their attendance so far, with more Irish clubs expected to take part.

Speaking to The Irish Post, St Paul’s Academy Gaelic Football coach Michael Maher said: “We wanted to offer teams that we’ve visited the chance to come to London. It’s a chance for them to take in some of the cultural sights while they’re here.”

To date, the school’s U14 boy’s team have won six London championships. Last year, the U16 side picked up the award for only the second time in the club’s history.

According to Mr Maher, the squad - which boasts just a handful of players of Irish descent - has achieved great success.

“Over the last ten-fifteen years, we’ve won numerous trophies,” he said. “We’ve picked up three All-Ireland trophies along the way as well.

“Most of our players would have heard of Gaelic Football through our primary school initiative. But they certainly don’t understand the magnitude of Gaelic Football and how important it is in Ireland. They don’t appreciate that it’s just an amateur sport until they get there.”