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Thursday, June 1, 2023

‘The Away Game’ – documentary on GAA in Europe set for release

A new documentary titled “Cluiche As Baile”, or “The Away Game” in English will look at GAA in Europe through the eyes of clubs in Spain and Germany. 

It is set to premiere on TG4 on Thursday June 1st at 9.30pm. The 50-minute documentary will also be available on the TG4 player.

Produced by Jack and Cian Desmond from west Cork, and narrated by Síle Seoige, the programme delves into Gaelic football clubs in the Spanish capital Madrid as well as the region of Galicia, while also looking into the hurling/camogie setups in the German cities of Hamburg and Cologne.

The programme talks to Dungourney man Fearghal Barry, the secretary of Hamburg GAA who simultaneously plays senior hurling for the club. The documentary looks at their journey to Cologne, where they play for the German Cup.

Fearghal Barry of Hamburg GAA with players Picture: Desmond Bros
Fearghal Barry of Hamburg GAA with players Picture: Desmond Bros

“These German Cups mean a lot,” Fearghal says. “There’s a real bond between everyone here, that not only trains together and battles on the pitch together, but we share a lot of experiences together, especially being abroad.” Chair of Cologne Celtics GAA Oisín O’Mahony is a Mahon/Blackrock native. Oisín discusses what it means to host the hurling and camogie finals in Cologne. “This is the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” he says. “It’s a good chance to show off what we do as a club”.

One of the clubs competing for the German Cup is based in Darmstadt and was founded by an Erasmus student who visited Ireland and fell in love with the sport. The club is entirely comprised of German hurlers.

Colin Maher from Barnabrow east Cork, was called up on short notice to play with the all-German team when they were a man short. Talking about the team, Colin remarks; “It was really nice to see that a group of lads who might not have any connection to Ireland, that they still had an Irish spirit.” Heading westwards, the Desmond brothers look at Gaelic football in Madrid, where Mayo native Daithí Langan works as an English teacher. The captain of the Madrid Harps senior team discusses the importance of the weather to life in the Spanish capital.

Cian and Jack Desmond Picture: Desmond Bros
Cian and Jack Desmond Picture: Desmond Bros

“There are always people playing sport, walking, running, playing music. There’s always a great atmosphere.” Another Harps player in Áine, who is also an English teacher, discusses why she moved to Spain after the pandemic. “Moving away is a good chance to meet new people and learn a new language and culture.” She adds that she has no plans to move home. “The cost of living here is a lot lower than in Ireland, unfortunately.” 

The region of Galicia in north-west Spain hosted this year’s Pan-European Gaelic Football Championships. Hundreds of players travelled from across Europe, and the final was broadcasted live on local Galician TV.

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