ABC 2016

ABC 2016

May 08, 2016

Press Release


Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy coming ‘home’ as Cups take Pride of Place again at GAA All Britain Championship Tournament 7th – 10th July 2016


Tír Chonaill Park, Berkeley Avenue, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 0NZ


When the Gaelic Athletic Association’s All Britain Championships take place at Tír Chonaill Park, ground of Tír Chonaill Gaels GAA Club, London on Thursday 7th July to Sunday 10th July 2016 it will attract almost 2000 youth participants from schools and GAA Clubs all over England, Scotland, and Wales with an invitation cross- community Ulster team, Cúchulainns participating. The Tournament will be graced this year again by the presence of the Liam MacCarthy and Sam Maguire Cups. The presence of the Cups named in their honour in London could not be more appropriate in the year of the 100th Anniversary of 1916. It will also include an extra day of competition.


The presence of the two cups resonates deeper than the notoriety of their names. They highlight the enormous contribution of the GAA community in Britain in the development of the organisation. The full contribution Britain made to the GAA is not popularly and fully known. Many would be surprised to know that the contribution of both Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy was made almost entirely in Britain with many others at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century, a period when London won the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in 1901 (see attached from ABC Programme for full article about Liam MacCarthy and Sam Maguire)


Supported by ESB, The Irish Post and O Neills Sport, the ABC is no ordinary Tournament with music and dance again included in this year’s festival. with the support of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, who will participate from 1830 – 2100 on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July from 1830 - 2100. The music, when combined with Ireland’s great sporting tradition, mirrors some of the great cultural gatherings of Ireland’s past, a tradition going back many centuries to the time of the first Tailteann Games at the Hill of Tara almost 2000 years ago. Those games were established by KingLugh in honour of his mother, Queen Tailte, where Ireland’s culture gathered in a grand festival – runners, jumpers, spear-throwers, skilled horsemen, hurlers, footballers; brilliant harpists, singers, orators, and story tellers.    


The very essence of the GAA is a continuance of that cultural tradition that goes into the ages of Ireland’s past to rekindle and preserve that spirit for future generations, Central to that spirit is of course not just sport, but music, art, poetry, craft, language and dance, which the inclusion of Comhaltas at the ABC tournament recognises.


It is also central to the aspirations of Gaelic tradition to offer the great spirit and inclusivity of Irish culture to other countries and people.  Following the War of Independence in the 1920’s the modern  Tailteann Games were established, with a Government Minister specifically assigned to oversee them, and the Hogan stand at Croke Park was built for the first Games in 1924, when thousands for people visited Ireland to participate. Central to those games, which rivalled the Olympics at the time, was to reach out to all countries across the world to participate.


The ABC tournament and its participants, is again a continuance of that tradition, a demonstration of that positive contribution to culture outside Ireland.


It is noteworthy to see so many participants in the ABC Tournament who are not born in Ireland or of Irish heritage, participating. They are attracted to the benefits of all that is great about Irish culture and its great sporting tradition. Indeed the host Club, Tír Chonaill Gaels have a full team of players selected from non- Irish born talent.


The importance of the ABC tournament can be demonstrated by those attending from GAA Headquarters in Croke Park. At this stage it is anticipated that those present will include: Aogán Ó Fearghail, President of the GAA, Michael Hasson, President of the  Council of Ulster and Vice –President of GAA, Helen O Roarke, CEO Ladies Games, Pat Daly, Director of Games, and Frank Burke, Head of Coaching and Games. The games will also be attended by Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall, and Celine Byrne of the Irish Abroad Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs.


It is also noteworthy that this year London Irish Rugby Club’s new GAA team, Gael Londain, will also compete. The Club was officially launched on Friday 06th May at Hazelwood by Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, and is a further demonstration of cross- sporting community support by London Irish Rugby Club and the GAA, which was also demonstrated by players from both codes appearing on stage together in Trafalgar Square during St Patrick’s Day festivities. (details attached)


In addition to the Tournament and Comhaltas, there will also be coaching sessions by ESB’s Ciaran McManus, Offaly intercounty footballer, and also referee coaching for starters. On Friday 8th photos will be taken with both cups.





The Games Schedules for this year’s tournament are as follows:


Thursday (10.30 a.m.): Primary Schools;


Friday (10.30 a.m.): Secondary Schools;

            (3.00 p.m.): U-8/10 Boys Gaelic Football;


Saturday (10.30 a.m.): U-12/16 Boys Gaelic Football;

                                         Ladies Gaelic Football (All Ages);


Sunday (10.30 a.m.): U-14/18 Boys Gaelic Football

                                      Hurling/Camogie (All Ages).


Brendie Brien, Secretary Provincial Council of Britain says:


“We are enormously excited about this year’s All Britain Competition, a Tournament that is going from strength to strength. Because of its popularity this year we have extended the tournament by an extra day. It is wonderful to see the youth of Britain thrive through Irish sports. We are also delighted this year to welcome London Irish Rugby Club’s new team, Gael Londain, demonstrating how Gaelic Games in general are going from strength to strength and also showing the importance of cross sporting community support between both codes of sport. In the 100th Anniversary year of 1916 nothing could be more positive than that, and it is something we are proud of. We are extremely grateful to our main sponsors, The Irish Post, O Neills Sports and the ESB and we hope that the community will come out to support this wonderful occasion”



All Enquiries to Lloyd Colfer, Secretary of All Britain Competition Committee,

& Community Development Administrator,

London G.A.A.

07872 600073


Kind regards


Michael Kingston,  

All Britain Competition Committee PRO, 00 44 7814 898225.


Sent on behalf of John Gormley, Chairman of All Britain Championship Committee; and Brendie Brien Secretary, Provincial Council of Britain;