Thirteen players from across the UAE will represent the Middle East for the GAA World Games, taking place in Ireland later this summer.
The Middle East team was confirmed on the back of a series of trial matches held in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, with manager James O’Connell selecting a strong squad for the third-ever staging of the competition.
League winners Abu Dhabi na Fianna provide six members to the squad, with Ronan McGinty and Ciaran McGinley among the players who impressed over the course of the domestic season.
Jumeirah Gaels, beaten by a point against Abu Dhabi in the league decider in February, have four representatives on the team.
Galway natives Keith Kelly and James Shaughnessy add composure, workrate and skill to the side, who will face the tough task of challenging teams like New York, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Over 97 teams totalling 1,300 players are expected to travel to Ireland’s South-East for the initial stages of the GAA World Games from July 28 to August 1, with the finals taking place on August 2 at the 82,300 seater capacity Croke Park stadium in Dublin.
MIDDLE EAST GAA TEAM
Keith Kelly, Ronan O’Brien, James Shaughnessy, Paraic McEnery (Jumeirah Gaels), Ronan McGinty, Eoin McEnery, John Warburton, Ciaran McGinley, Kieran Breslin, Cian Tobin (Abu Dhabi na Fianna), Stephen Keane, Shane Horgan (Dublin Celts), Kieran Sheridan (Al Reem Shamrocks).
Barrelhouse Rugby Club and Academy has kept busy following the end of the 2018/2019 season by collecting and donating items to children’s charities.
After the club’s end-of-season gala dinner and awards night, the rugby club has collected toys, games and books to donate to the children of Mediclinic Hospital in Healthcare City, Dubai. Club members and academy students’ families generously donated 14 boxes of items. With the support of The Box, and the Mediclinic administration, team members lead by the club chairman paid the children a visit on the 23rd of May, wished them a quick recovery and handed out the gifts.
Community service is always in Barrelhouse’s list of priorities. Engaging in and giving back to the community is one of their annual goals. “Barrelhouse has grown in the past couple of years to have a kids academy, matured to have a social responsibility program, and a netball division, looking forward to future endeavors with our club” said Andy Stanely, Chairman of Barrelhouse.
The curtain came down on the 2018/19 Ultimate Athletics season with an event, which saw dramatic races in the Ultimate 60m finals and the trophy presentations for the overall league winners.
A packed crowd at the Dubai Sports City athletics track watched as gold medals were handed out to the Men’s Masters overall league winner Jason Castillo, for the third year in a row, and Emma Jordan who finished top of the Ladies Masters League. In the Senior Men’s league competition first place went to Sadiq Bagudu running out of Middlesex University. Nikita Manian won the highly competitive Under 17 girls league ahead of friend and close rival Megan Dingle. In the Under 15 Boys League, Jean-Christopher Reymond, who trains out of Abu Dhabi Club took the top spot and will be competing in Gothenburg later this year.
Beijing high jump Olympian Martyn Bernard was in attendance to hand out medals to the athletes, who will be taking a break until the first event of the new season, which kicks off in October. He said: “Knowing that you’re going to be competing against a lot of nationalities, it opens up kids’ mind-sets. What I took when I was younger, growing up in a small town, was when I got to the International stage I was able to travel the world and talk to people from all sorts of backgrounds, which opens your perspective on life – which is what events like these do.”
Also on hand to offer words of advice was three-time British Long Jump Champion JJ Jegede who had this to say to the young athletes: “If you want to make it, it’s all about the mental side, there’s a lot of setbacks, you might not always win. You’ve got to keep going and when your body changes you’ll develop physically and mentally, so keep setting goals and keep striving for more. Enjoy the process.”
As well as individual honours there were awards for the clubs and schools with Best Secondary School being awarded to Dubai College. Best Primary School was picked up by King’s Dubai who collected the most points over the season and Best Club was won by Desert Club.
Ultimate Athletics, sponsored by New Balance, also educates young athletics with theory workshops with sports science-qualified coaches, nutritionists and physiotherapists.
Photo Credit: melissalearphotography.com