After a hectic week visiting schools across Dublin, Féile na nGael 2012 was officially launched last night in Parnell Park by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill. Children from clubs throughout Dublin listened as GAA representatives gave their thoughts on the annual hurling, camogie and handball event.
Liam Ó Néill chatted to the players, parents and coaches about the importance of the Féile and how although everyone wants to win, participating is the main attraction.
“There are many players that have won All Ireland Finals yet one question that is always asked is - did you play Féile?" he said. "This year's Féile na nGael is a big event not only for the players but for all the clubs involved and it is so important to get behind everyone that is playing."
Uachtarán of the Camogie Association Aileen Lawlor told a crowd of around 250 people how proud Dublin are to host such an important event.
"Having the Féile in Dublin this year will be a benchmark for other counties in other years,” she said. “Obviously everyone wants to win but trophies are an extra bonus. This week, I have met people I haven't seen in nearly twenty years and that’s one of the biggest benefits of playing and being involved in the Féile"
Chris Curran, CEO of GAA Handball Ireland, spoke about how great it was to be part of Féile and emphasised that handball is a major part of the wider GAA family, explaining that now hurlers, including the Dublin team, use it as part of their training. He wished everyone the best of luck with Féile, and hoped the event would inspire more people in the capital to take up handball.
Dublin will be hosting this year's Féile finals from July 5-7, with the finals of the tournament being played at Croke Park. Players will have the opportunity to play in both Croke Park and Parnell Park - pitches that their heroes have played on.
Bus Éireann's Eastern Regional Manager Joe Kenny spoke of their involvement with Féile as sponsors and looked forward to the next three years supporting the event.
“Bus Éireann is delighted to sponsor Féile na nGael for the second year and it is a sponsorship we are very excited about. Féile na nGael is a fantastic example of teamwork, pride in representing your local community, and enjoying sport in a fun and respectful way,” he said.
“Bus Éireann is at the heart of communities throughout the country and we have always supported local sporting and community events. We would like to wish the organising committee, officials, clubs participating teams and everyone involved the very best of luck.”
Throughout last night's launch, Dublin goalkeeper and 2011 All Star goalkeeper Gary Maguire gave his view on the Féile and how important it is for children across the country. Dublin manager Anthony Daly also relayed his love for the Féile.
“When the Féile was in Clarecastle a few years ago, it was huge for not only the county but for the club. My brother was involved with hosting families and to this day he is still friends with the players that stayed with him. That's what it's all about," he said.
Daly recalled how one of the GAA greats, DJ Carey, introduced some of the skills of handball into hurling. "I was caught by the great Denis Joseph on many an occasion,” he said. “The speed of him with the sliotar was unbelievable so I really think handball is a huge addition to players in hurling and camogie"
Friday, 25th May, 2012