New Gaelic Athletic Association 'county stadium' opens in London

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael) is an Irish and international amateur sporting and cultural organisation. They focus mainly on promoting Gaelic games, including the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders. The Association also promotes Irish language, music and dance. The GAA yesterday (May 28 2017) officially opened a new stadium, McGovern Park, in the English city of London. Located in Ruislip in west London, the stadium has an official capacity of 3,000 and is the largest development undertaken by any GAA unit outside of Ireland.

London is treated by the GAA as an Irish county and competes in Connacht, Ireland's least populated province, in the football championship. All of its players on the London senior panel being Irish born or of Irish descent.  McGovern Park's first game yesterday saw the home team London play visitors Leitrim in the quarter final of the Connacht Gaelic Football Championship. Leitrim were victorious over London in a hard fought match with a score of London 0-16 3-16 Leitrim. This will now see them advance to a Connacht semi-final against Roscommon on 18 June, while London enter the qualifiers. 

London actually has a long GAA history. It played in three hurling and five football All Ireland finals in the early 1900s when the All-Ireland and All-Britain champions were paired in the final. London won the hurling All-Ireland in 1901, defeating Cork by 1-5 to 0-4. The opening of the new McGovern Park ground is seen as giving an important boost for London GAA and for the GAA in Britain.

Image from Raidió Teilifís Éireann: Darragh Rooney celebrates after scoring. Other images: London GAA McGovern Park and London GAA logo.

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