Gaelic shifts into higher gear

The Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club enjoyed a very successful run in 2008 with its strongest membership numbers to date, an exciting league and championship, and a trip to Toronto to compete in the International Powerscreen Tournament.

The annual men and women’s League competitions which are the main focus of the CIGFC season have been running since 1998 and are contested on Sunday afternoons at the Rugby Club in South Sound.

The league programme runs from January through to the finals weekend in early June and is enjoyed by participants of different skill level and nationality.

Players from the Cayman Islands, Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada, the US, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand compete to make this one of Cayman’s leading multi-cultural sporting competitions.

At the recent AGM, Howard Byrne stepped down as chairman of three years. ‘He put a tremendous amount of work into the Club and a lot of our success is largely accountable to him and his passion for the game,’ said newly appointed chairman Brian Hurley.

Byrne will now take on the position of vice-chair alongside Lisa Heavey.

During the AGM, The Cayman Brac Relief Fund was chosen along with two other charities to receive a donation of $1,000 from the club.

Mark Laskin, executive director of The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund was presented with the cheque on Tuesday.

‘We greatly appreciate the generosity of the members of the Gaelic Football club and their kind donation to the recovery of those who were so badly affected by Hurricane Paloma in the Brac,’ he said.

Hurley hopes to take the club to new heights in 2009.

The first event he will oversee is the annual Digicel Mixed 9s Tournament, in which 10 teams will compete for the Pete O’Neill memorial trophy.

These teams are comprised of men and women, of all abilities and beginners are welcome to go along and learn how to play gaelic football.

‘It’s a great day out for all the family and a great opportunity to introduce new friends and colleagues to the game,’ Hurley said.

‘It’s on Saturday 10 January and I encourage anyone interested in either entering a team or participating to let us know as there are plenty of spots open on the various teams.

‘Over 142 players competed in the 2007 Digicel Mixed 9s event, so we are hoping for an even bigger and better event this time.’

Another chance for newcomers to learn how to play is the Digicel League Orientation Day on Sunday, 18 January.

‘In the past, this has proven hugely successful in giving newcomers to the sport a run out and this day also greatly assists the committee in trying to chose as ‘balanced’ teams as is possible for the league.

‘This should be a great day out for all and we encourage anyone interested to come along and try out the game with a few of our veterans on hand to show them the ropes and get back in the swing of things for the league.

‘Joining the Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club is an excellent way to get fit, meet lots of different people and enjoy some great nights out!’ And you don’t have to be Irish to get involved.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the club should contact Brian Hurley at [email protected]