They say the GAA is an organisation that reaches out like no other and testimony to this was the success of the Asian Games and the O’Neill’s European Championship Finals in Malaysia and Holland recently.
The 17th annual Asian Games took place over the weekend of October 26th in Kuala Lumpur in south west Malaysia, while the weekend of November 10th saw Maastricht in south Holland host the European Gaelic Football Championship.
The Asian competition saw 60 clubs from all corners of the continent including representatives from Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Seoul, Jakarta and Singapore, battle it out in both men’s and ladies’ codes. County Longford was represented in the competition with eight players from the county leaving their mark on the tournament including Padraig Brady from Ballinalee based club Sean Connollys who was part of the men’s side that captured the Asian Chmapionship, Abu Dhabi Na Fianna.
Longford Slashers’ Leonard McCoppin who also represented Abu Dhabi Na Fianna, was unlucky to see his side suffer defeat in the final of the hurling series, while Willie Noonan (Forgney and Signapore Gaelic Lions), Francis Brady (Killoe and Singapore GC), Richard Feeney (Ballymahon and Mongolian Khans) and Sean Brady (Sean Connollys and Abu Dhabi) all impressed throughout.
There was also Longford representation in the ladies’ competition, with Caroline Bowler lining out for Singapore GC, while Barbara McElvaney (Ballymore and Signapore GC) scooped the prestigious Ladies’ Player of the Tournament Award.
Two weeks later and the focus was on Maastricht and the European competition where Belgium took top honours in both the men’s and women’s event. Longford was also amply represented, with Newtowncashel’s Ferghal Walsh and Tara Skelly lining out with Amsterdam and Munich respectively while Ballymahon man Noel Grehen captained his Malmo side to European Shield glory.