Eire Og Seville host 2011 Iberian GAA Championship
February 10, 2011
Eire Og Seville will host the first round of the 2011 Iberian GAA Championship on Saturday February 19th 2011. Teams from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Marbella, A Coruña and Pamplona will take part in the first ever gaelic football tournament held in the city. Over 200 players will compete in men's and women's tournaments, held over one day at a modern sports facility located beside Seville's Olympic Stadium.
2011 sees the seventh running of the Iberian Championships, with a record number of teams taking part. The tournament is overseen by the European County Board and Croke Park, with all games refereed by fully qualified GAA officials especially flown in for the weekend. Games are eleven a side, last 20 minutes, and played on a full-size pitch. As the tournament format includes a group stage, semi-finals and final, winners must play at least four games. All players on each team must be living, working or studying in Spain.
Eire Og Seville - 'los verdirojos' - was formed in 2009 and debuted in last year's championship. The team features a backbone of Irish ex-pats living, working or studying in Seville, a growing number of Spanish players who've fallen in love with the sport and a sprinkling of English, Scots, Swedes and Americans.
Hosting the first round of this year's Iberian Championships will be a very proud day for all the 'verdirojo' players and fans, said club treasurer and former Waterford minor Kevin Lenane.
"We are expecting to put on a great show and feel we have a good chance of success this year," said Lenane. "We welcome the other players and teams from all over Spain and also hope as many fans from Seville as possible - especially those who might not know much about the GAA - will come along to cheer us on."
Eire Og Seville's team includes teachers, chefs, engineers, businessmen, translators, bar staff, accountants and students, with players and club members hailing from counties Dublin, Kildare, Offaly, Meath, Derry and Sligo. Most of the Irish players involved have put down solid roots in the region, with many married to Spanish partners and raising families in Seville.
Just as in Ireland, the GAA in Spain is as much a cultural as a sporting organisation, according to Eire Og Seville's chairman and former Raheny U-14 defender Conor Guckian.
"Eire Og Seville has a real community feel and brings together people from Irish, Spanish and other nationalities," said Guckian. "We welcome men and woman of any age or background who want to play Gaelic or get involved in any way. It is great to see Spanish people or other nationalities learning the game. We also hold regular social events like concerts and quizzes, which are useful for financing the club's equipment and other requirements as we don't have any sponsors or many other sources of funding."
Further rounds of the 2011 Iberian Championship will be held in the coming months in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Pamplona. Last year Madrid Harps won both the overall men's and ladies' titles. The Iberian champions then go on to compete for the European title against teams from France, Germany, Sweden and other countries.
For more information on the club, the game and the tournament see http://eireogseville.wordpress.com
or email [email protected]
High res versions of attached photos and full captions are available.
Kevin Lenane is available for interview - he is a very enthusiastic talker and very eager to chat about his passion for the GAA and Seville. His mobile number is 00 34 657 983 617.
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