The Asian Gaelic Games, KL, this weekend.
Today, the members of the Vietnam Swans and the Saigon Gaels will set off to Kuala Lumpur to contest, in a combined team, the 2012 Asian Gaelic Games. Leading the charge for the Swannies are some of our favourite Irish brothers, John Redmond, Brian Farrell, Fr O’Rielly, Ben Lynch and Daniel Ryan.
And then there’s the usual suspects who include Dave O’Shea and, controversially, Billy Crang. but don’t forget the Mega Bretta Jotta, Kyle Hackenberg and Phil Ghassab! Could be a huge weekend.
According to the Asian Gulf Board’s website,
The Asian Gaelic Games are an annual tournament held throughout Asia under the aegis of the Asian County Board.The event brings together clubs from all over the Asian region in a two day tournament in which Men’s, Ladies & Juvenile teams compete for the top honours in Football & Hurling. Over the course of the two days up to 180 matches are played on 4-5 pitches and the number of teams & standard is increasing every year.
The Asian Gaelic Games is a 9-a-side tournament, with Matches lasting 14 mins each. The games have been running since 1996 and move from city to city each year – they have been hosted in Manila, Singapore, Phuket, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Penang & Bangkok.
There are 8 trophies up for grabs over the weekend along with individual All-Stars, MVP & Club awards to be won. The top teams in the competition compete for the Derek Brady Cup, the Ladies Cup & Hurling Cup.
Over the 15 years the AGG has been running it has grown to be the premier Irish event in the Region and is the highlight of the calendar for the Irish in Asia & the Gulf. Since 2007 the event has been coupled with the new Asia-Pacific Ireland Business Forum.
The support of the GAA in Ireland has been invaluable in keeping the Games growing year on year – as well as the dedication and enormous effort of the clubs in the Region. After 15 years we have gone from a tournament of about 5 teams in 1996 to a tournament of 54 teams in 2010 – - Gaelic Games are alive and well in Asia and long may the growth continue.
Good luck to all the boys this weekend!
And, in terms of promotion of Gaelic Football in the region and linking it with the Ireland Business Forum, one can’t help but be impressed with the level of professionalism.