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Monday Night Football: Spanish GAA club set for La Liga half-time show

The Éire Óg Sevilla club are to play an exhibition game during the interval of next Monday’s clash between Sevilla FC and Granada.

Image: Barrington Coombs/EMPICS Sport

GAELIC FOOTBALL WILL be the unlikely source of entertainment for spectators at next Monday’s La Liga game between home side Sevilla FC and Granada.

Members of the Éire Óg Sevilla club will partake in an exhibition match at half-time of the soccer tie at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

The event is part of a marketing plan undertaken by Sevilla FC to attract foreigners as new members of the club.

Throughout this season the club have dedicated each home game to a different country and next Monday is Irish day.

The Éire Óg players will partake in a seven-a-side game during a six-minute slot in the interval.

The teams is made up of expats and native Spaniards based in the city but one of their players, Clonmel native Tommy Barry, will be in action in the game on the Andalucian coast despite being currently based in Madrid.

“I’m working here in Madrid since the start of last May, having been in Seville for about three and a half years before that,” Barry told TheScore.ie.

“I got involved with the GAA club in their very first season in 2010. I’d still be in contact with the Seville lads but wasn’t able to travel down as much recently because I was involved playing rugby up here.

“But when I heard about the game next Monday night, I said I couldn’t miss it. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to play at half-time of a La Liga game.

“So I’m getting the fast train down to Seville after work on Monday and the the night bus back, which is a six and a half hour journey. Then I’ll be back in time for work in Madrid on Tuesday morning.”

Club secretary Kevin Lenane, a native of Ardmore in Waterford, is the founder of the club.

“It’s a stroke of luck really that we got roped in. The Sevilla FC marketing team visited the Irish bars, The Merchant and O’Neill’s, last week to spread the word about it.

“The bars mentioned to them about the Gaelic team being in the city and they then got in contact with me. There’s a huge buzz amongst the players about it.

“I moved over here in 1999 and set up the GAA club in 2010. Initially it was all expats but over the last few years that’s changed and now 50% of our panel would be Spanish which is great to see.

“As regards players from Ireland,we have a goalkeeper from Mayo, a good few lads from Tipperary, and then others from Laois, Dublin and Meath. We also have a Scottish player involved as well.”

The game is the centrepiece of Irish celebrations  on the night with any Irish fan who turns up for the game able to gain access for €5. The Irish flag will be hung from the stadium flagpole, the Irish Ambassador will be in attendance from Madrid and traditional Irish music will be played before the game.

The game is being broadcast live on Marca TV while the Éire Óg team will be playing in new jersey’s sponsored by the O’Neill’s Irish pub and OPEN school of languages Seville.

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Fintan O'Toole

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