Gaelic lovers tackle American competition once more

Gaelic football in the Cayman Islands will showcase its talents abroad. 

The Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club will be sending a national team to compete in the 2014 North American Gaelic Athletic Association National Finals. The Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Massachusetts – located just outside Boston – will serve as the venue on Aug. 29-31. Matches, which will occur over the Labor Day holiday weekend, are being overseen by the Boston Northeast Division of the association and represents the largest international gaelic football event outside of Ireland. 

Cayman is one of over 120 teams at the competition and over 2,500 people are slated to take part at a site that features five playing fields. The event serves as the climax to the regional American season, which started in April, under the North American County Board. Clubs from across the United States, who qualified for the spectacle from various divisions, will be in action such as Clan Na nGael in San Francisco and St. Pat’s GFC from Cleveland. The event is also a festival of Irish sports as squads tackle traditional games like hurling and camogie. 

It should be noted that Boston has the largest and most active group of gaelic football players in the United States. According to the association, there are 22 adult clubs fielding 40 teams with more than 1,000 registered participants. Squads feature many Irish emigrants, along with locals who have taken up the sport as adults. Boston also boasts a burgeoning junior segment with several growing clubs. 

This will be the second consecutive time Cayman will compete at the nationals. At the 2013 event in Cleveland, Ohio, the local squad was eliminated in the opening stages. Among the biggest supporters for this year’s team is LIME, who sponsor the local leagues, with staff members Eugene Nolan, Eamon Wilson, Carolyn Lawe-Smith and Colin MacDonald recently giving local club members like Kevin Guirey, Karlie Kennedy and David O’Connell a warm send-off. 

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Gaelic football has a strong following in Cayman. From left, Eugene Nolan, Eamon Wilson, Kevin Guirey, Karlie Kennedy and David O’Connell, Carolyn Lawe-Smith and Colin MacDonald. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED

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