22 Jan 2016
Ciarán Ó Meachair
A new GAA club from Galway City will begin to play in men's and women's gaelic football competitions this year. Gaeil na Gaillimhe will operate entirely through the Irish language, and aims to recruit Irish speakers that have moved to the city for work or study in addition to those "as Cathair na dTreabh".
The club will host a meeting for all prospective players on 20 January at 7.30pm in Áras na nGael on Dominick Street. In addition to support from Conradh na Gaeilge, the club have secured sponsorship from Áras na nGael, while Galway GAA has offered Pearse Stadium in Salthill as a venue for their home matches. Both men's and women's sides would also have the opportunity to compete in the national "Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta," held on an annual basis between Irish-speaking clubs with the finals broadcast live on TG4.
2011 census figures indicate that four per cent of the city speaks Irish on a daily basis outside the education system, while another four percent use the language on a weekly bases. The creation of the club could be a boost for the active use of Gaeilge in the city.
"It's very exciting that gaeilgeoirí will now have the opportunity to socialise and practise their cúpla focal through sport. It's great to be beinging both the Irish language and GAA together, two things which so strongly represent Irish culture and heritage," said Shannon Grimes of Gaeil na Gaillimhe.
Gaeil na Gaillimhe is set to become the second GAA club outside the Gaeltacht to operate "trí mheán na Gaeilge" after the Dublin based Na Gaeil Óga CLG, who have been playing in the capital since 2010.
The Dublin club has grown since its foundaion with just one men's football team to currently fielding two men's football teams along with one team each for ladies football, hurling and camogie. As a critical step to ensuring their long-term existence along with creating a sense of community they have begun to build an underage team system too.