Close ties between the Gaels and Glasgow University, key to success and sustainability
It’s that time a year again, the British Universities are preparing for the upcoming British championship tournament, one that Scottish Universities have experienced recent success. In 2016, Scottish Universities took home all three ladies trophies from the tournament held in Manchester [Division 1: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Division 2: Glasgow Caledonian University, and Division 3: Glasgow University].
It’s clear that Gaelic Football is going from strength to strength in Scotland and as more and more students stay in Scotland during the summer, clubs are experiencing close connections with these University teams.
The Glasgow Gaels and Glasgow University have had a close connection in the past number of years, with several key players coming out of the University set-up in both the men’s and women’s side. Both the 2015 and 2016 Junior Manager’s Player of the Year, Conal Gormley and Dan O’Hanlon respectively, were key to the Gaels Junior side double success in the League and Championship in 2016. In addition, former Glasgow Uni students, Chris Curran and Séamus Daly, among others, were key players in both 2015 and 2016 Senior Finals. Last year’s British Club Title-winning captain Siobhan Reynolds togged out for Glasgow Uni in the 2015 season while completing her PGDE in primary teaching. In fact, 12 ladies players in the 2016 Gaels All-Ireland Quarter Final panel were current or former students at Glasgow University. In addition three players in that panel were students at Glasgow Caledonian University at the time.
As well as on the playing side, the management side has always been closely connected with Glasgow University as Gaels ladies manager, Paul Gallagher, managed the University side for a number of years. In the 2016/17 season, Gaels club member and men’s player Adrian Farrell has taken on the role with Siobhan Reynolds and Annette Lloyd coming on board as assistant coaches. On the men’s side Gaels player’s Shane Moran, Dave McGovern in 2015/16, and JP Langan and Damian Kellegher in 2016/17 have taken up management of the men’s University team.
We caught up with a few of the dual-players over the weekend and asked them a few questions about their experience playing for both teams.
What is the best part about playing for Glasgow Uni?
“Meeting people when I joined the team in first year, especially those who were in the same boat as me and building frienships with the team that have lasted throughout University. Also the British Championship weekend is always a highlight!”
“Like any sport, its great to be part of a team and socialise with ladies we wouldn’t know otherwise because they are in different countries. It is also a bonus that uni plays off-season of the Gaels, so we can continue playing football pretty much year round.”
How did you get involved with playing for the Gaels?
“There has always been a good link between the uni team and the Gaels. Uni players who have played for the Gaels have always raved about it. And of course Paul, who managed the uni team and the Gaels always encouraged people to come along.”
“I stayed in Glasgow over the summer a couple of years ago and wanted to continue playing football. I knew Paul from the Uni team so I decided to give it a go.”
“I started because Paul mentioned pre-season circuits for the Gaels when Uni were preparing for British Championships, so I went along for the extra training. The rest is history!”
What are the similarities between playing for the Uni and playing for the Gaels?
“They are two groups of people that make you feel at home. Both teams have a great atmosphere at training which means we can have a bit of fun as well as working hard. The socials and nights out are always great craic too!”
“The atmosphere is similar. People are very welcoming, no matter what your skill level.”
“Very encouraging and supportive. We have county players and players who have never touch a football before, and both are equally welcomed.”
The Gaels have seen a surge in membership in recent years, what do you attribute to their success?
“It’s all about being part of the team. Going to all trainings and working hard as a team and helping each other improve.”
“There’s been really good publicity and networking.”
What advice would you give someone thinking of coming to Glasgow for Uni?
“Its a great place to come, there’s lots of opportunities to join different clubs and societies and meet plenty of new friends.”
“Join a club or society. You can meet your best mates or even future flatmates!”
If you are someone you know is interested in joining any of these teams, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.