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About

“Is fiú agus is féidir”

Éire Óg CLG is a community-centred, progressive and ambitious G.A.A. – Gaelic Football club which was formed to provide a home for Gaelic games and related activities in North and Central London.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the club, either as a player or supporter, please mail us

Our club base is in the London Irish Centre and we train in our full size GAA pitch Downhills Park, N17 6APand at Highgate Wood School all weather facilities N8 8RN.

Our vision is that everybody has the opportunity to be welcomed to take part in our club, to participate fully, to grow and develop and to be inspired to keep a lifelong engagement with our club and with the Gaelic Athletic Association.

We are a volunteer led organisation with an aim to promoting Gaelic games and Irish culture in the London community. We are always keen to hear from new players and supporters who wish to get involved in the club.

ÉIRE ÓG IN THE COMMUNITY:

LONDON IRISH CENTRE – Since the club was founded in 2011, The London Irish Centre has been encouraged and promoted our development in every way. It has been a home for our club AGM’s, fundraisers and social events and we have always been given a homely Irish welcome. The London Irish Centre has been a ‘home away for home’ for the city’s Irish community for over fifty years. Established in the 1950s to meet the welfare needs of the huge wave of Irish emigrants arriving in Britain, the Centre has changed to meet the changing needs and interests of the city’s Irish community.  The Centre’s cultural programme encompasses every aspect of Irish life, from literature to music, from dancing to film, and now – through Éire Óg CLG – Gaelic games.

HOLLOWAY GAELS LADIES FOOTBALL CLUB – Our sister club, Holloway Gaels LGFC, together with Éire Óg have made huge strides over the past number of years to forge a great, sporting relationship. In October, 2014 we held a joint club fundraiser at The London Irish Centre where members from both our clubs paired off and competed against one another to become Lord and Lady of the Dance. The very successful fundraiser was the perfect setting to launch the joint venture in promoting our native games at Downhill’s Park GAA pitch. We hope to continue this great partnership into the future as we aim to achieve success both on and off the playing field

THE AISLING PROJECT The Aisling Return to Ireland project was begun by workers in the London Irish Centre and Arlington house, the biggest homeless hostel in Europe which has been home to more Irish men than any other building outside Ireland. The Aisling Project out to Irish people who are vulnerable, isolated and alone; they provide supported holidays in Ireland for long-term emigrants, fulfilling what is for many a dream of seeing their homeland again as well as helping long-term emigrants resettle in Ireland. The Aisling Project kindly provides a minibus service to Éire Óg on match days, as well as helping out in a many different roles within our club, particularly through club volunteer, Pete Middletion

PIETA HOUSE, SELF-HARM AND SUICIDE PREVENTION – Éire Óg CLG is delighted to be associated with the Pieta House initiative that is so valuable to the Irish community at home and across the world.  In May 2014, Cricklewood’s Crown Moran Hotel hosted London’s first ever Darkness into Light 5km walk event, in which a large number of Éire Óg players and members took part. The club continues to promote the work of Pieta House by wearing Darkness into Light t-shirts during our pre-game warm-ups. Our club is extremely mindful of the many pressures that our members face and we do our utmost to promote positive mental health through the work of our very diligent Club Welfare Officer, Damian Shannon who is always contactable via email at: welfare@eireoglondon.org

HISTORY

North London has always had a strong Irish connection, particularly in Camden and Islington, and there has been a GAA presence here over many years.  After Holloway Gaels GFC ceased to exist some years ago, there was a large football-shaped void left amongst the Irish community in this part of London.

A group of former Gaels players, who had been only played football at underage level, got together under the direction of Luke Callinan, a London-born Irishman with strong Clare roots, and began to have a weekly ‘kick-about’ in Finsbury Park.  They soon realised the appetite for something more structured, and the potential any new club would have, and they approached Gary Dunne, a Laois man based at the London Irish Centre, for help and advice.  Over some months, the club gradually began to take shape, with the addition of Islington-based Armagh man, Conor McGinn, and experienced GAA administrator, Paddy Corbett from Mayo, to the steering group.  All the time the core group of players – whose ambition and determination drove the project – diligently trained every week in Finsbury Park, in anticipation of being part of something new and special, and that finally came to fruition when Éire Óg CLG registered with the London GAA County Board in February 2011.

One of our founding members, the club’s life president, Conor McGinn explained how the name Éire Óg, was chosen: “We had gone through several different options but none seemed to be hitting the mark. Then we thought about why we were doing this and what we wanted to achieve.  Éire Óg, meaning ‘Young Ireland’, was originally the name for the group of men who were the early instigators of a cultural revival and awakening of national consciousness that was about pride in Ireland and Irishness.  Rooted in that ‘Young Irelanders’ tradition, we also thought about the ‘Young Irish’ of today and the fact that we wanted our club to be home for them, whether they are the young Irish men and women who are emigrating or those young 2nd generation Irish who have been born here in London and want to express their identity through our national games. So Éire Óg sums up who we are and what we are about.”

Our motto “Is fiú agus is féidir”, which translates as “It is worth doing and it can be done” really sums up our clubs ethos and strong work ethic that has led to Éire Óg to develop into the vibrant club that it is today, both on and off the field. We currently compete in the London Junior Football Championship, with a very realistic desire throughout our membership to gain promotion to the intermediate ranks in the very near future. For a club that is still in its infancy, it took a few years for us to establish ourselves as a competitive team within the junior ranks. The early days saw some harrowing defeats that didn’t inspire confidence to those who donned the green and blue jersey, but persistence prevails: In the last couple of years, with numbers growing in the membership, the club is beginning to thrive. In 2014, we just came up short in the County semi-final, as we lost out to rivals Moindearg, who eventually went on to win the championship. On that basis, the future bods well for Gaelic Football in the small pocket of North East London as we aim to make a realistic push towards our first piece of silverware.

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