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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Athlone to host European GAA football finals this weekend

Over 350 players are expected to take part.

There's a footballing festival taking place in Athlone this weekend.
There's a footballing festival taking place in Athlone this weekend.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

FOOTBALL TEAMS FROM 20 different countries will begin arriving in Ireland today ahead of the European Gaelic Football Championship finals this weekend.

The event, which takes place in Athlone Institute of Technology, will feature some 70 games in both the mens and ladies codes as 350 players from 27 teams come together to celebrate The Gathering and Athlone’s designation as a European Town of Sport for 2013.

Speaking ahead of the event, taking place over two days, President of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam O’Neill said:

“It is an exciting period for the GAA in Europe to reach the climax of their season in Ireland. It provides a fantastic opportunity for their Irish players and non-Irish players to be a part of the GAA Gathering celebrations.

“The promotion, development and enjoyment of our games in Europe is clear for all to see and I wish all players, teams and officials a warm welcome and the very best of luck in Athlone.”

The competitions will be played at three levels (senior, intermediate and junior) amongst the men, whilst the ladies football will be played in one competition.

The senior grade will feature clubs with a majority Irish players and longer playing histories, whilst the intermediate grade will feature clubs that have a good mix of Irish players with experience and native players who have grown and developed significantly in the last few seasons.

The junior games feature clubs that have grown over the last few years and, according to the European Board, have put in significant coaching and development over the years with most having a majority of non-Irish players.

Every ladies football team has at least some non-Irish born players with up to 35% coming from varying backgrounds in Europe and further afield according to the European Board.

Check out the match programme here >

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Steve O'Rourke

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