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Gaelic Spirit Resembles The Power of the FA Cup

By 27th January 2015January 8th, 2020No Comments
John Mitchells (Liverpool) All British Junior Champions 2014

John Mitchells (Liverpool) All British Junior Champions 2014 Due to play in Croke Park in February


Gaelic Spirit Resembles The Power of the FA Cup

Brian O’Sullivan – Experience Gaelic Games

Its just over one hundred and thirty years since the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded.

Things have grown from strength to strength since the seven founding fathers met in a

billiards room in a Thurles Hotel on November 1st 1884.The spirit of the games still spreads

like wildfire through a forest.

Friday the ninetieth of January 2015 will always hold a special place in the hearts of

Cambridge United fans. The university town hit the headlines by drawing with Manchester

United. It was one of those classic David v Goliath moments in a competition that captures

the imagination of the small towns and the city lanes.

Merseyside Men

The Gaelic tradition of David v Goliath resembles that of its FA Cup counterpart. On that Sunday

as Liverpool FC battled it out with Bolton Wanderers another team from Merseyside were

experiencing the Gaelic tradition of giant killings.

John Mitchells united the city of Liverpool, in GAA terms, on the same Sunday they defeated Moate –

All Whites (Westmeath) in the All-Ireland Junior Football semi-final at Navan. February

14th is normally set aside for romance. This year romance is alive and well; John Mitchells

will be at, GAA HQ, Croke Park battling for Gaelic pride and honour.

One would think that being a British team they would be travelling to Dublin alone. Far from

it they will be joined by Kilburn Gaels (London) and Fullen Gaels (Manchester) for the most

romantic weekend in the Gaelic calendar.

The Irish in Britain have come alive in recent years and regularly challenge, and win,

Intermediate and Junior Club titles across  on native shores. They capture the unique spirit

of the GAA abroad.

Long Lasting Tradition

Being an indigenous organisation the GAA abroad thrives off a steady flow of emigration

from Ireland to Britain. However the infrastructures have been in place since the foundation

of the association. John Mitchells have been in existence since 1904 and have carried the

pride of their homelands sporting traditions without fail in the intervening one-hundred and

fourteen years.

But generally speaking the seed was sown in the aftermath of World War II when the Irish

left in throngs to rebuild London, Manchester and Liverpool. They were coined “The Men

Who Built Britain”. Today we look back on them as “The Boys Who Brought Gaelic Craic”

to County Kilburn.

The FA Cup offers the low league teams a shot at the giants. Bradford City tamed high flying

Chelsea while Cambridge United’s draw with the aristocrats Manchester United

ignited the spirit that is often seen within GAA circles.


Manchester United’s line-out was worth €190 Million while Cambridge United put eleven

men out with a Gaelic price tag – priceless. Many of their stars sprang up through the clubs

academy ranks. While Kilburn Gaels, Fullen Gaels and John Mitchells largely survive off

Irish expats, there is a growing participation of Gaelic games at Juvenile level. Things look

bright for the future of our games abroad.

It has always been the dream of the British Gaelic scene to have steady flow of talent

emerging from their own ranks. Tony Grealish was one of their first produce. He had a

unique sporting career. Born in Paddington to Irish parents he had the honour of captaining

Irelands soccer team.

However he is best remembered for his exploits in getting Brighton & Hove Albion to the FA

Cup final, at Wembley, in 1983. Amazingly a few years earlier Grealish lined out at the

famous stadium for a London Gaelic Football side in an exhibition match against a travelling

Irish selection.

The spirit of the GAA abroad is alive and well. Taking the scalp of Irish teams keeps the

flame burning. Should you find yourself around Dublin on Valentines weekend, you’ll see

first-hand that romance is alive and well.



Author cormac

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