The Stockholm Gaels secured their third consecutive Nordic gaelic football championship last weekend, which is deemed to be one of the most tightly fought European regional GAA competitions.
The Swedish team defeated hosts Malmo in both the ladies and men’s finals, thus bringing home the titles in both sexes, which came as a huge delight to chairman Philip O’Connor.
O’Connor spoke of the fighting spirit portrayed by both teams during the tournament, and also paid tribute to the other teams involved.
“We went through the season unbeaten, but that doesn’t come close to telling the story – we were down and out both here and in Oslo in June, but we came back to win it,” O’Connor said.
“The standard keeps getting higher and higher, and this was the closest yet. We might be the champions, but any team here today would have been worthy of this title.”
The numbers participating in Gaelic Games across Europe has doubled in recent years, with over fifty clubs now registered across the continent, excluding both Ireland and the UK. It is almost certain that the recent wave of emigration, particularly amongst young graduates, has been a contributing factor in this rise.
The Dublin man had huge praise for Tallinn GAA, with the club from the Estonian capital currently participating with just a single Irish player on their side – Leo O’Neill from Antrim.
“To see the Estonian club progress so far, so fast is the greatest victory of this year. They are living proof that these great games of ours will soon be the property of the world,” O’Connor said.
Stockholm Gaels will now be confident of causing an upset in this year’s European Gaelic football championship, with the first of these tournaments taking place next month in Copenhagen.
RTE were also present during last weekend’s victory for the Gaels to record their triumph, with the side set to appear in a new radio documentary produced by Pat O’Mahony, entitled ‘A Silver Lining’.