By Aidan Kerlin
SINCE their foundation in 1999 Glasgow Gaels had never travelled outside of the UK or Ireland to play Gaelic Football, but that changed and a small piece of history for the club was made in early March.
Bainisteoir Donald Jackman—who was ably assisted by Fionan Keane all weekend—took his Glasgow Gaels Junior team to Amsterdam to complete in the annual Den Haag Invitational.
After an early night, a dose of opera and some expensive pasta, the Gaels arrived early for the start of the competition.
First up was Eindhoven Shamrocks with the tie being settled by the very last kick of the game—Brian Sharkey coolly slotting his penalty to the roof of the net.
Next up, the Gaels face the mighty Kilmacud Crokes of Dublin. With Kevin O’Connor excelling in his new role as captain in defence and Connor Spalding linking play from defence to attack, it took two excellent goals by Aaron Brannigan and Scottish-born Jordan McCallum to win the game for the Gaels.
In the next game, momentum was slightly halted against host club Den Haag, however the highlight of the game was a majestic point from Gaels goalkeeper Dec Murtagh.
Driven by Mark Gallagher and Dermot Donaghy, the Gaels did enough in their final two games against Moscow/Copenhagen and Groningen Gaels to advance to the final against Den Haag. An early goal by Ger Cadden and a majestic display by Fearghal Kineavy at midfield was not enough as Den Haag ran out deserving winners on a score line of 1-4 to 0-10.
The highlight of the weekend was the night of the banquet where the team spent time (table) dancing, singing and sharing stories with Gaels from all over the world. Plans are already in place for next year as the club look forward to coming back if invited.
The Gaels on tour (above) who made history were: Donald Jackman (Bainisteoir), Fionan Keane (Cuidiu le Coiste), Dec Murtagh, Barry Gannon, Stephen Cooney, Ciaran Cullen, Fearghal Kineavy, Aaron Branigan, Seamus Murphy, Mark Gallagher, John Needham, Kevin O’Connor, Ger Kennedy, Dermot Donaghy, Ger Cadden, Brendan Moran, Jordan McCallum, Connor Spalding, Brian Morton, Brian Sharkey, Tony McGee