Carnaross Gaelic Football Club County Meath Ireland

Carnaross Jersey appears on Spanish Website

Best selling Spanish newspaper Marca recently featured an article about Gaelic Football during the 2011 Iberian Championship. It includes our own Sean Donegan who appeared near the end of the video (on right hand side of page) who explained some of the basic rules of the game and also wearing the Carnaross jersey. Sean is part of the Madrid Harps GAA team.

Click here for the link to the article


The translated article is as follows:

Gaelic Football: The Unknown Pastime of Xabi Alonso.

This sport, which seems like a cross between Rugby and Soccer, is played on pitches 140 x 90 metres, much bigger than the Bernabeú or Nou Camp.

They say that if Cristiano Ronaldo had been born in some Irish village today he would probably be working from nine to five like every other Joe Soap  and playing for his county purely for art´s sake.  As the whole world knows, he plays soccer and not Gaelic Football. The national sport of Ireland is one whose romantic spirit is continually capturing more people all over the world.

It´s possible that the Portuguese winger has heard talk of this particular form that moves the masses but in which professionalism is not allowed.  His team-mate, Xabi Alonso, is a confessed follower. As a teenager he played the game whilst he was learning English in the town of Kells. Fans of Meath, the local county team, like to say that they have an undisputed great in the Real Madrid dressing room. Some may even dare to say that it was on the pitches of Ireland where the man from Donostia developed his footballing vision and long range.

Good vision is certainly needed. This sport, which at first glance looks like a mix between rugby and soccer, is practiced on a pitch 140 x 90 metres – significantly larger than the Bernabeú or Nou Camp.

Each team consists of 15 players whose aim is to score as much as possible in goals in the shape of a “H”. The bottom part is similar to soccer and the upper part resembles those of rugby. It is played with a round ball, slightly heavier than in soccer. If the ball goes over the bar you get a point and under is a goal which equates to three points. The ball is not carried on the ground but every four steps you have to either bounce it or tap it off your foot.

But even more peculiar is the unique form of the organisation´s rules. The Gaelic Athletic Association, founded in 1884, prohibits professionalism. Throughout their entire career, players compete only for their local county team. The All Ireland Football Final draws an attendance of 80,000 spectators with all the proceeds reinvested in the promotion of the sport. The stars of Gaelic Football are heroes but they live like all other mortals.

The fan base in Spain has grown dramatically in recent years. The first club was founded in Barcelona in 2001 and now there are eight: Marbella, Seville, Coruña, Valencia, Pamplona and Madrid with two teams. The first Iberian Championship was contested in 2005 with the ladies version starting in 2008. They meet for a weekend in the city of each club and play each other over one day. As is obligatory, the day ends in an Irish pub for a handful of pints.

Last weekend they all met in the grounds of Madrid´s Autonomo University. The presence of the Irish Ambassador, Justin Harman affirms the importance of this sport in the collective identity of the Irish people. Harman recalled that at the funeral of a policeman murdered last weekend in Belfast, it was his team-mates for the Gaelic football team who carried the coffin.

Even though the Irish community has been and continues to be an important part in the promotion of the sport it´s growth, it´s growth is, curiously, down to the commitment of some Spaniards. This is the case for Javier Vincente, Madrid Harps President and Wences García of Fillos de Breogán, a Galician club formed entirely of Spanish nationals. Some of those, like Tom, confess that they had been misled when they started. “They told me that it would just be a kickabout but I´ve become hooked. It´s a complete sport and a lot of fun”.

The good atmosphere and romantic aura generated around the games so rare in sports today is what makes it so captivating. Some, the ladies in particular, say that it is a good way to reconcile sport with the learning of English as about 50% of them are Irish. Yet this is precisely one of the main problems.Many of them are just passing through and that makes team continuity difficult. Therefore, the objective now is to attract more Spanish players and thus have a more solid base. Ideally these should be people who have experience playing basketball or football but we´ll settle for anyone who wants to have a good time. They don´t promise titles but definitely a lot of fun.







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Fixture List

Sunday 25th February
In Ardcath @ 3:00
A League - Round 4
Carnaross v St Vincents

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