You may not be familiar with Gaelic football, but those who love the game worship it as much as fans of any other sport. That love is obvious in Ireland, but it has also made its way to the UAE, where Gaelic Games have steadily grown. Jumeirah Gaels are one of the clubs in the Middle East GAA that embodies the passion for the sport.
“Back home, it’s an amateur sport. People give their lives for this sport, but don’t get paid for it. So they have to get up in the morning and go to their day jobs,” said Killian Coleman, co-founder of Jumeirah Gaels.
“It’s a sacrifice to do that and I guess that’s where the passion comes from. Out here, it’s no different. It’s phenomenal. I think the structure, the professionalism of Gaelic in the UAE, along with the quality of players, it’s gone through the roof particularly in the last three of four years.”
Jumeirah Gaels are a relatively new club, having formed in August last year when Coleman and four friends came up with the idea.
Coleman was born and raised in Ireland, but was living in Qatar for eight years with a couple of those friends before moving to the UAE 15 months ago.
The club has now expanded to include around 50 men and 30 women. The members make up three men’s teams – two competitive and one social side – and two ladies squads.
In just their first season as part of the Middle East GAA – which contains teams from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain as well as the UAE – the A side won the junior league to earn promotion to the intermediate league, while the ladies teams competed in the final tournament and will formally join the league next season, which begins again in September.
“For both men’s and ladies, it was fantastic,” Coleman said. “We started our training in August with seven or eight guys and you need 12 on a squad. It was slow, but we started to pick up a couple guys and started to build to 16 or 17 in September and 20 in October.
“We won the league in juniors and it was what we aimed to do at the start of the year, so it was very successful all around.”
The social side, of course, is also a big aspect for Jumeirah Gaels, who enjoy themselves at the get-togethers with other Middle East GAA clubs following end-of-month tournaments, which Coleman calls a “mini Irish festival”.
“It’s usually a fantastic night and there’s good camaraderie between the teams,” he said. “It’s the Irish saying, ‘having the craic’. There’s plenty of it on those nights.”
Though the season is now over, Jumeirah Gaels will resume training in August and encourage all interested players to attend on Wednesdays from 19:00 to 21:00 at Dubai Sports City and Fridays from 08:00 to 09:00 at Jumeirah Lake Towers, behind Armada Towers.
Learn the basics of Gaelic football:
►Similar to Australian Rules
►Each team consists of 15 players but in the Middle East, teams usually have 12 players with nine-a-side matches.
►Played on a pitch up to 145 metres long and 90 metres wide. The goal-posts are lower than in rugby but higher than in football.
►The Gaelic football is smaller than a normal football and can be carried in hands for a distance of four steps before kicking the ball back into the hands, allowed only once in succession. Men can only kick the ball up to their hands using their feet, while women can pick up the ball off the ground. The ball can also be kicked or passed to team-mates.
►A goal is scored when the ball is put over the crossbar by the foot or hand for one point or under the crossbar into the net by the foot or hand, resulting in three points.
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Hundreds will flock to the iconic venue in the capital on Friday from 17:00, for ActionHA, where you can not only enjoy exciting duels on the track but also performances from the Arab world’s most prominent artists including Ali El Sayed, Maya Diab and Saad Lamjarred.
And there’s still time to join them with tickets available to buy with general admission at Dh150, and VIP package priced at Dh300.
The schedule will certainly keep you busy throughout the day with great entertainment and shows. And if that’s not enough, you can also feel what it’s like to be behind the wheel on the famous F1 track by signing up for their special drifting classes.
On top of that, one lucky winner in the raffle draw will be going home with two Abu Dhabi Hill tickets for this year’s Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.
The Yas Marina Circuit is no stranger to staging top events.
Earlier this month, 10 international drivers from across the globe battled under the lights against 20 best drivers from the region in the Drift AllStars that proved to be a big hit in its inaugural edition.
Other hugely popular events on their calendar include the Color Run, TrainYas and Yas Drift Nights as well as their highlight – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
And ActionHA will be no different. “The ActionHA is in partnership with MBC and Yas Island and this is something that will be quite unique,” said Mohamed Al Hadhrami, corporate marketing and
“This will be something quite special for those who come to Yas Marina Circuit on Friday. People will find that it will be an entertaining festival with hip hop and pop music, comedy and magic shows and drag and drifting.”
Top local stars will showcase their drifting and drag skills that will impress the spectators.
“Besides watching, people who hold a valid driving licence, can also experience what it feels to drag race at a discount price, under the supervision of qualified instructors,” he said. Tickets can be purchased at www.yasmarinacircuit.com, any Virgin Megastore, or at the gates. And Al Hadhrami insists it will be a memorable occasion.
“It really is something for everyone and it really is a one-of-its-kind event,” he said. “You’ll find people of different nationalities and it’s family event that they can enjoy. We want to show that Yas Marina Circuit can be utilised for a community event and not just for those who love motorsport.”
With summer on the way, the session offers all yoga lovers a chance to escape the heat and exercise with the beautiful backdrop of Downtown Dubai.
Imagine doing a tree pose or upward facing dog while having Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the rest of the Dubai skyline in your range of view.
Whether you’re an experienced yogi or just looking for something different, rooftop yoga is the perfect way to unwind from work or relieve stress.
The 90-minute class is mixed-level, so there will be something for everyone. You won’t be drenched in sweat, but you’ll get a workout to that will have you feeling fit and healthy.
Just bring a yoga mat, a water bottle and be prepared to get quality teaching from one of Urban Yoga Dubai’s expert teachers, who for this session, will be Brittany.
James Chandler, general manager of Talise Fitness at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, said: “Fitness has become such an important part of the Dubai lifestyle and people are always looking for something new.
“At Talise Fitness, we are focused on innovation and we want to offer some real value to the Dubai community, so the rooftop yoga was a natural evolution for us.
“Giving people access to some of the best yoga teachers in one of the most beautiful settings in Dubai is our way of encouraging more people to stay active.”
The session starts at 19:30 and runs until 21:00 on the mezzanine-level terrace of Emirates Towers.
Members and package holders of Urban Yoga can pay Dh50 for pre-booking and Dh70 on the day, while non-members are required to pay Dh85 beforehand or Dh99 as a walk-in.
To register, visit www.urbanyoga.ae or call Talise Fitness at 04 319 8660 and check out what all the buzz is about and experience the spin on the fitness craze for yourself.
What: Rooftop yoga with Urban Yoga Dubai
Where: Talise Fitness, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, mezzanine-level terrace
When: Monday, May 9 from 19:30 to 21:00
Contact: For more information and to register, visit www.urbanyoga.ae or call Talise Fitness at 04 319 8660