Last weekend, Abu Dhabi was the host of the GAA World Games. The first championship of its kind anywhere. The best footballers from Canada, the US, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Australasia, South America and Continental Europe competed. The Middle East County Board, the newest county board in the GAA family did an amazing job in organising the event that brings, for the first time in the GAA’s history, International Units together from the four corners of the world.
The tournament itself featured international teams from over eight different international units, broken into groups on Day 1 - the qualifiers playoff to the final stages of Finals Day 2 of this momentous event in the GAA’s international history. Anyone could participate in the first Etihad World Gaelic Games and it was not restricted by nationality. Defnitley an inclusive not exclusive event and all nationalities from around the globe were welcomed.
A local Middle Eastern Tournament ran in conjunction with the World Games which included Gaelic Football, Hurling, Camogie, Rounders and Handball as well as a one wall handball and an Iomáin (ground hurling) exhibition. There was a Young Gaelic Football competition on Finals Day. Which demonstrated the growing popularity of Gaelic Football in across the Gulf Region. This celebration of Irish sporting culture was accompanied by a display of Irish music, song and dance on both evenings of the tournament.
A world business forum took place on Thursday 5th March that kicked off the weekend. Keynote speakers from the world of business in the Middle East & the GAA - ran in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and the Irish Embassies and Business Networks in the Region. With a focus for potential business opportunity in the region on industries such as Food and Agribusiness, ICT, Real Estate, Medical and Financial Sectors.
The Middle East County Board committee is made up of representatives from a selection of clubs across the region. The ME Board meets on a regular basis, working to support and promote all aspects of the development and progression of our Gaelic Games across the region. Our own James Kennedy is Chairman of the Middle East Board. Good man J.K we are all very proud of your commitment to Irish sport and culture.
The Arabian Celts juniors in total sent 40 children to the games representing the club against others from around the region. Along with a huge contingent of Arabian Celts supporters to the inaugural World Gaelic Games in Abu Dhabi.
Massive well done to James Kennedy, Paddy Darcy and the Middle East Board on organising the first ever GAA World Games in Abu Dhabi.