The 2017/2018 Middle East GAA season kicks off in Dubai on October 05th with what will be another record breaking year for the region in terms of participation numbers, clubs and teams.
Dubai Celts play host to the first tournament of the year which will take place across two days and two venues. The action begins with 'Thursday Night Timber' on October 5th at Dubai Sports City with the Hurling and Camogie proceeding from 6pm and running until the early hours when the first tournament winners of the year will be crowned at Senior and Intermediate levels. Friday morning at 8am sees the football season kick into gear with 32 men's football teams participating across four divisions along with 38 ladies teams participating over five divisions.
All in all this will bring the competitive playing numbers to over 1200 for the weekend which will be the largest to date and again breaks new ground for Middle East GAA, a trend which has seen participation increase year on year and looks set to continue into the future Along with this the Dubai Celts will also host social tournaments for all codes. Unfortunately, it is still too hot for the Juveniles to join the fun at this stage of the year but they will be participating in organized tournaments in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi later in the year when even more records will be broken . The Middle East Board also welcome another new club for the region who will have their first competitive action in Dubai, Al Reem Shamrocks will play in the men's and ladies Junior Football competitions in this their inaugural season.
On the event, Dubai Celts Chairman Stephen Twomey commented "We're expecting a huge crowd this year. There will be in excess of 490+ fixtures played over the 16 hours and we'll have one big party after it. The build up here in Dubai is picking up and the Irish community here are looking forward to the event"
With Middle East PRO Cathal McGee further commenting, "We are delighted with the expanding participation numbers, the Middle East Board and the clubs of the region will continue to support and facilitate the growth of GAA games out here. Our main aim in inclusivity and to make sure that Hurling, Football and Camogie are available for all ages, all abilities and all nationalities in the Middle East".
The tournament will end on Friday evening with a huge 'Evening Brunch' at the ICC Cricket Dome at Dubai Sports City where over 1000 players and supporters are expected to attend and be fed and watered into the early hours with the entertainment on the night being supplied by the famous Dubai based PaddyMan. Tickets are available over the weekend at Dubai Sports City, it is advised to get them early as there will be no ticket sales on the door on the night.
All that remains is to wish all participating teams well for the season ahead, with further league tournaments taking place in Bahrain, Al Ain, Oman, Qatar & Sharjah culminating with the season ending Championships in Abu Dhabi in April or 2018.