Féile football festival set for throw-in

It’s the turn of Laois and Offaly to host the 42nd Féile na nÓg competition with this year’s opening group games starting tomorrow afternoon.

O'Moore Park in Portlaoise will host some of this year's Féile Peil na nÓg finals on Sunday.
O'Moore Park in Portlaoise will host some of this year's Féile Peil na nÓg finals on Sunday.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

THIS YEAR’S INSTALMENT of Féile Peil na nÓg, the national festival of underage Gaelic Football, commences in the Midlands tomorrow afternoon with the opening group games taking place as Laois and Offaly serve as the host counties.

The U14 competition, which is in it’s 42nd year, will see 4,000 boys and girls participating in 268 matches over the weekend. The finals programme takes place on Sunday with ten games down for decision on Sunday in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise and in the Portlaoise GAA grounds.

Clubs in the neighbouring counties of Kildare and Westmeath are also assisting in hosting visiting clubs and staging group games. The annual Féile Parade will take places through the streets of Portlaoise tomorrow night with a crowd of up to 10,000 people expected to attend. In total there are six divisions in the boys competition and four divisions in the girls competition.

The competing clubs in the prestigious Division 1 boys competition include St Brigid’s, led by former Dublin star Keith Barr, current AFL star Tommy Walsh’s club Kerins O’Rahilly’s, Dungiven from Derry, Galway’s Salthill-Knocknacarra, Cork outfit Ballincollig, Tyrone side Moortown and O’Donovan Rossa from Antrim.

Offaly quartet Ferbane/Belmont, Clara, Edenderry and St Broughan’s also feature in Division 1 while Killeshin Gaels, Portlaoise, Portarlington and St Paul’s are the Laois representatives.

In Division 1 of the girls competition Foxrock Cabinteely from Dublin will be joined by last year’s finalists St Val’s from Cork, Monaleen from Limerick, Rathmore (Kerry), St Laurence’s (Kildare), Westport (Mayo), Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare) and Galway champions Claregalway, along with local clubs that include former Féile ladies champions Portlaoise, St Rynagh’s and Tullamore.

As well as representatives from each of the 32 counties, there is a strong overseas contingent with sides from New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Hertfordshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, London, Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Scotland in action. London will have boy’s teams from both North and South London while London and New York field teams in both the boys and ladies competitions.

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