All Britain Championships

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All Britain Championships

July 07, 2014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

    

Press Release (with accompanying photos)

 

GAA All Britain Championships, 11th – 13th July 2014

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 Friday 11th July to Sunday 13th July 2014 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 playing an invitation Britain team during the Tournament. On Friday 11th July at 1645 an attempt will be made to break the world record for the most amount of players in a Gaelic Football match.

 

Supported by ESB, The Irish Post and O Neills Sport, the ABC is no ordinary Tournament. The organisers have made a particular effort in 2014 to include music and dance in this year’s festival, with the support of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, who will participate from 1800 – 2100 on both Friday 11th and Saturday 12th July.  Their 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, including members of the South African Olympic team, and several others Olympians.

 

The ABC tournament and its participants, is again a continuance of that tradition, a demonstration of that positive contribution to culture outside Ireland. Indeed one of the ABC sponsor’s, ESB is running a competition which  highlights the great reach of Irish indigenous sport where the prize is a South African Gaels GAA Shirt, donated by the first All-African team to visit Ireland, who went on to win the International Dubai Gaelic Games 2014 Intermediate Football Championship, beating Riyadh.The South African Gaelic Sports Association was established in 2014 and supports teams in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban (Zulu Gaels). There is a pool of more than 200 South African players as well as Irish and other expatriate players. They believe that Gaelic football, a sport which is perceived there to combine the skills of two sports that previously divided South Africa (rugby and football), has the potential to fulfil a vital role in the country’s social development. Similarly in Britain 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: Liam O Neill, President of the GAA, Martin McAviney, President of the  Council of Ulster and Vice –President of GAA, Helen O Roarke, CEO Ladies Games, Paula Prunty, Games Manager, Karen Togher, Fixtures Manager, and Ann Gibney, Secretary for Overseas. The games will also be attended by Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall.

 

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. And on Friday 11th July 2014 a world record attempt will take place for the most amount of people participating in a Gaelic Football Match. Starting at 1645 it will require players to play for a minimum of 10 minutes. All players, young and old, will participate in a unique occasion in Irish culture, again demonstrating its strength abroad.

 

 

Michael Kingston,  

All Britain Championship Committee

michael.kingston@dwf.co.uk, 00 44 7814 898225.

 

On behalf of Brendie Brien, President, Provincial Council of Britain; and

John Gormley, Chairman of All Britain Championship Committee

04.07.2014