An intergenerational day for the Gaels
On Saturday, May 21, the DC Gaels had a full day of football, hurling, and camogie out in the early summer heat, alongside several games for the kids put on as part of our youth development season. The result was a wonderful atmosphere that's familiar to most GAA clubs in Ireland, but not necessarily to ones in America--an intergenerational, full family affair. The games brought everyone from current players to Gaels veterans who played decades ago, now with their kids in tow to help them learn Gaelic games. Thanks to the great work done by our youth development team over the past year, there was a large group of kids out to play some matches alongside the parents and their cohort on the big pitch.
The first game of the day was between Baltimore and DC's hurling squads. The grass on the main pitch was fairly long and made roll lifting more or less an impossibility, leaving quick jab lifts as the only real option. Since the DC hurling panel is so robust this year, it played two entirely different teams in the first and second halves of the game, ensuring that new players got their chance to get out on the pitch and have a go at our local rivals. In the first half, a strong defensive back line and good passing let the forwards to their work, racking up a small lead over Baltimore. The second half squad finished the job well, and despite a few conceded goals, continued to reliably knock points over for a comfortable fifteen point win in the end.
During the hurling match, the women got their football match kicked off against Baltimore on the second field. The footballers made clever runs and made use of short passes to keep the ball moving up the pitch. Although facing a particularly tough opponent, the women had the opportunity to get some game time in practice important skills under pressure.
On the other pitch, DC's men's footballers took the field against Michael Collins. Although the Alexandria side was a little shorter on players than the boys in blue were, the game was by no means a forgone conclusion. Michael Collins' forwards put the backs under pressure throughout and several runs made it past the keeper. Despite the pressure, DC responded coolly in the early summer heat to move the ball intelligently into the mids and forwards, who slotted over points from near and far and rattled the net on more than one occasion. The game finished with a win for DC, 4-16 to 3-9.
On the second pitch, the camogie team also took on local rivals Baltimore. Facing the same fairly long grass, roll lifting was somewhat out of the question and scrums sometimes got stuck down as the ball was disinclined to go too far on the ground. Still, the women did well winning their own puckouts and stringing together strikes and handpasses to let off a few shots on the goal.
The day wasn't dominated by the adults either! The kids from the Gaels' youth league got their own chance to set up some goals and play a few games on the second pitch, under the supportive and watchful eyes of the parents. There were games for everyone from the very young children, who you couldn't help but smile at running about, to the older kids and teenagers, who played a five-a-side game of hurling with a few assistants from the hurling squad.
All in all, the day was a great success, and (I believe) the first day that the DC Gaels have hosted competitive matches for every single code, including youth!
Many thanks to the referees who offered their time and boundless patience to officiate the games, and many thanks to Gary Dize for taking wonderful photos. Find links to albums below!