Try Ireland’s favourite sport at Cardiff training sessions in 2023

Shake off those World Cup blues, and the post-Christmas slump, with a trip to Pontcanna Fields in the new year

A bagpiper walks in front of two teams walking onto the field of play. Behind them flies the flags of Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Contenders: St Colmcilles reached the semi-finals of the Gloucester championship this year.
Source: St Colmcilles GAA

A Cardiff-based team are inviting newcomers to try Ireland’s favourite pastime: Gaelic football.

St Colmcilles are one of two GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) teams in Wales, both of which are based in Cardiff.

The team, active in its current setup since 1956, run mixed-gender training twice a week throughout the year.

The rules of Gaelic football are somewhere between association football and rugby.

Rory McKenna, a coach at St Colmcilles, described the sport as a “High-speed running game using a combination of accuracy with the feet, physicality and dexterity with the hands.”

Highlights of Kerry v Galway in the 2022 All-Ireland Final

Gaelic football is Ireland’s joint-favourite sport alongside hurling and association football. This is according to research conducted for the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index.

As well as a strong Irish contingent, St Colmcilles has several first-team Welsh players.

McKenna said these players are from a football and rugby background.

He added that Gaelic football is a good alternative for players “who are fed up with being at the bottom of the ruck on a Saturday morning.”

St Colmcilles are looking to grow the sport in Cardiff and are actively looking for players new to the sport.

“Give us two months with you,” McKenna said, “and we will have you playing for a position on the pitch.”

This will be a welcome invitation for many wanting to participate more in team sports.

According to the National Survey for Wales, adults in south Wales have the highest sporting demand, with 35% saying they want to participate more in sports.

McKenna has one tip for anyone looking to join the squad: turn up.

“If you’ve ever played anything with a ball,” he added, “with space awareness, in a team environment, turn up, come out, we’ll train you.”

Training is set to resume in the last weekend of January. Follow St Colmcilles on Instagram for exact dates.