London teams go close as World Games in Waterford showcases global reach of GAA

London teams go close as World Games in Waterford showcases global reach of GAA

The GAA world descended on Waterford last week for the Renault GAA World Games with the GAA in Britain playing its part in the festivities.

WIT was the venue for the bulk of the games with the ultimate prize of a game at Croke Park for the finalists in each competition.

The Homegrown Championships provided the backbone of the challenge from the GAA in Britain with London making it through to a final against New York in the hurling, albeit one that ended with a comprehensive win for the boys from the Big Apple.

London had already defeated New York earlier in the competition but the final at Croke Park saw a reversal of that result with New York taking the win by 4-10 to 2-6. Three goals in the opening stages of the match by New York’s Nick Corbett, Dylan Grace and Gearoid Kennedy left London with an uphill task but moments after Aidan Callanan had a goal disallowed for over-carrying, up popped Jack Doyle to smash home a goal from the left hand side.

However, when New York’s James Breen lashed one home past Chris Weller in the London goal moments before the interval, it looked as though the title was heading across the Atlantic. London rallied in the second-half as they attacked Hill 16, Callanan with a peach of a score as they attempted to lessen the deficit and although the Parnells man claimed London’s second goal with a fine solo effort they ultimately came up short.

In the football it was a similar outcome with two New York panels making it through to contest the homegrown final. What makes that all the more remarkable is that a number of the New York players competed in the Continental Youth Championships in Philadelphia the previous weekend, fending off jet lag to take part in five days of matches.

After meeting in the All-Britain Homegrown Championship Final earlier in the summer, Tir Chonaill Gaels and Sean McDermotts were bidding to make it to a Friday decider at Croke Park and after winning their respective groups they met in the quarter-finals where the London side edged matters by 2-8 to 1-9 only for TCG to be denied a final spot by New York Freedom by 5-11 to 3-9 in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile it was heartbreak for Parnells as they suffered a narrow 2-7 to 1-9 loss to Australasia in a superb Ladies final for Irish-born players. They took an early lead when Hannah Noonan cut inside to fire home the opening goal of the game, only to be immediately pegged back by a goal at the Hill 16 end by Clara Fitzpatrick.

Caoimhe O'Reilly, who was superb throughout between the posts, had to be at her best to deny what looked a certain goal for Australasia but was ultimately beaten for a second time by Yvonne O’Connell, however points from Noonan and Claire O’Brien ensured Parnells headed to the break two points to the good.

O’Brien launched an inspirational score for Parnells midway through the second-half as they tried to maintain their lead in energy sapping conditions but four points in the final seven minutes proved the difference as Australasia took the honours.

Week to remember

The GAA bills the World Games as ‘a celebration of our worldwide community’ and with over one thousand players from all four corners of the globe taking part, there's little doubt that this week long festival of GAA achieved that in spades.