It’s 50 years since a Gaelic football team played in east Belfast, and some 400 years since the last known hurling match – St Colmcille’s football team closed as the Troubles descended on Northern Ireland, and there’s been no record of hurling since the Gaelic lord Conn O’Neill’s rule in the 16th century. Gaelic games, associated with the nationalist community, might seem like unlikely sports to back in the historically loyalist area.
Yet last week the East Belfast GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club finished its first season triumphant. The club was formed in May after a series of conversations between friends Dave McGreevy and Richard Maguire, trying to do something about their lockdown boredom. McGreevy, a keen player of “Gaelic”, as Gaelic football is known, had moved to east Belfast with his fiancee. “Richard and I grew up with Gaelic games; we’re at an age where we’re both thinking about kids, so you would want a local team.”
Our coach says, ‘I don’t care where you go on a Sunday – all I care is that you’re up for playing camogie' Kimberly Robertson, East Belfast GAA