THE fourth annual All-Britain Competition epitomised everything positive about the GAA’s past, present and future.
The event took place at Greenford at the weekend with over 100 youth teams competing, and many core values were in place in what proved a real show of just how far GAA has come in mainland UK.
Teams warmed up with side-by-side sprints, O’Neills balls were labelled in permanent marker and games were played with traditional one-on-one marking.
Yet for all the old-school measures, the future of Gaelic football looks set to evolve with this ever-changing world, and that can only be a good thing.
Female referees, multiple ethnic backgrounds and teams made up of both genders – everything pointed to a modern attitude towards our beautiful game.
The quality of football on show wasn’t bad either, with St. Bernadettes of St. Albans popping over some impressive scores in particular.
St. Mary’s of Manchester played as well as their sparkling kits suggested they could, while St. Teresas also looked sharp and well-disciplined on Friday morning.
However, the most rewarding factor from the sideline view was the sheer desire of these youngsters to play Gaelic football, with teams bursting onto the field upon every final whistle, eager to get on with their next match.
It seems youngsters of all ages and backgrounds on these shores have taken to the game as though it were their own. Participation is on the rise and the fourth instalment of the ABC event was undoubtedly a success, with schools and clubs coming from all over the land to take part.
No doubt the clubs and schools involved will come back next year with a fresh batch of GAA enthusiasts, while some individuals will return bigger and better.
The pictures will also feature in The Irish Post's July 18th and 25th editions.
Photos: Malcolm McNally