RAF Aldergrove’s Gaelic first


After 91 years RAF Aldergrove was able to play its first game of Gaelic football in a GAA tournament held in the Republic of Ireland.

A team from RAF Aldergrove broke new ground on 4 Jul when for the first time in its history the Station took part in a competitive game of Gaelic football. The Security and Emergency Services Ireland Forum (SESIF) sports competition was held at the Garda College, Templemore, Co Tipperary as part of a bilateral engagement event. Other sports played as part of the competition included running, tug of war, swimming and an obstacle course but the main event was the GAA competition.

As the whistle blew for the first Gaelic football game, the heavens opens which made a very difficult game even harder, but luckily the 80 year old referee didn’t see the many infringements from each side. After some early end-to-end play and goals from both teams, Aldergrove’s fitness began to pay dividends and late goal from Corporal Ryan Stewart and Group Captain Cass in the second half saw Aldergrove win at the very first attempt!

The second game came along far too quickly; the sun began to shine and thinking that this game was easy we came down to earth with a bump. The Fire Service North team had obviously played before and taught us lesson or two. Unable to keep possession and unable to get near the opposition meant for a very one-sided affair and a heavy defeat for the Aldergrove lads. Undeterred and with unwavering sense of belief the third game against the Ambulance North team was a much closer affair, and resulted in a closer final score, with only the superior technical skills of the Ambulance team being the difference.

Group Captain Cass, Station Commander RAF Aldergrove said “We have been keen to start a Station GAA team this year as part of our refocused outreach programme. This event was the perfect springboard to kick things off and we hope to play some local teams in a series of friendly matches this year.” The RAF Aldergrove team managed to win 2 out of the 5 games they played and lost in the final of the Plate. This was a remarkable achievement given that they had only managed to fit in a single training session with a GAA coach prior to the tournament. 8)
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