Gaelic Football

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San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Club
The Texas Gaelic Football begins its season on March 8th, with the Houston Gaels visiting the San Antonio San Patricios. And ClanDonnell will be there!

The sport is still new in Texas. The Texas League has only four teams - San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas. That makes for a three game season, followed by a North American tournament in Boston. But it is growing in popularity. Teams from 40 cities and nine leagues will be in the North American tourney.

For the uninitiated, Gaelic football (which to the Irish is just plain "football") is random mayhem. It is a tad like soccer, except that a player can carry or dribble the ball to an extent. A player can also pass, either by hitting the ball with a fist or a foot. And it is a contact sport - and players expect to be hit if carrying the ball. The game can get quite brutal.

The official football rule book, adopted by the Gaelic Athletic Association, is 108 pages. Do not bother reading it. The quickest and easiest way to understand the game is to watch this 4 minute video. It shows non-stop action, with a few hints and rules scrolled on the screen. It is entitled Gaelic Football - The Original Beautiful Game.

I love that the San Antonio team calls itself the "San Patricios". That's St. Patrick in Spanish, but it means much more. ClanDonnell includes a subchapter on the San Patricios, and someday I'll add a blog entry about them. The football team's use of the name means that the team members recognize that Texas and American (and Mexican) history is complicated.

The Houston - San Antonio game is during the South Texas Alamo Irish Festival. The San Antonio team invited ClanDonnell to be on the sidelines. I expect the team will want ClanDonnell to buy the first round of beer after the game. I also expect that ClanDonnell will oblige.

Visit San Antonio Gaelic Football Club,
North American Gaelic Athletic Association, and
Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association.


The San Antonio San Patricios played two games at the festival, dividing itself up as "A" and "B" teams. I was manning a book-booth at the festival, so could only watch bits and pieces of the games.

This cost me: I met up with some of the players at the Lion & Rose after the game, and I had to buy them a round of drinks. It was worth it, though. These guys were so sore they had a difficult time standing up. It was nice to see young men with bodies less functional than mine.