European GAA set to gather in Athlone in October for 2013 O’Neills European Gaelic Football Finals in flagship “Gathering” event
AIT, Westmeath GAA and the European GAA are making final preparations for weekend of October 19th/20th as Athlone, Co. Westmeath prepares to host European GAA’s season finale – the 2013 O’Neill’s European Gaelic Football Championship finals.
Over 500 players representing almost 20 countries in more than 30 teams are expected to take part along with travelling friends and club members who will be joined by many families of Irish players based in Europe. Over 80 games will take place over two days at the Athlone Institute of Technology campus in what is the largest “Gathering” event in Westmeath this year.
This major GAA event in Athlone will see the town become not only the centre of Ireland, but also the centre of Gaelic sports in Europe for the weekend. It is the culmination of another fantastic Gaelic games season in Europe that has seen participation from almost 70 clubs in 24 countries.
Looking forward to the event Liam Ó Néill, Uachtarán, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael 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.
Pat Quill, Uachtarán, Cumann Peil Gael na mBan echoed these sentiments adding “Gaelic games continue to go from strength to strength in Europe and Ladies Gaelic Football plays a key role in this growth. The fastest growing sport in Ireland has a strong and diversified identity in Europe and we are glad they can come “home” for their European Finals.
According to Brian Sheehy, Meath native and Chairperson of the European GAA “this year’s finals will be a celebration of an amazing season on all fronts for European GAA. Throughout the year in all codes, the players, clubs and officials have put in huge effort, commitment and sacrifice and it is brilliant to end the playing side of our season with a big marquee event such as this in the magnificent facilities at AIT”.
Looking forward to welcoming the visiting teams, Gordon Brett, Head of Sport at AIT said “we are delighted to welcome everyone to AIT where they can experience the superb sports and other facilities that has already hosted the Sigerson Cup and Community Games this year”. “This will be the largest event in Westmeath’s celebration of the Gathering and fits in perfectly with Athlone’s celebration of it’s designation as a European Town of Sport for 2013 which Westmeath GAA is proud to support” added Sean Sheridan, Cathaoirleach of Westmeath GAA