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‘Na Gaeil Aeracha Will Never Judge You, You Are Welcome Regardless Of Who You Are’

Ireland’s first explicitly LGBTQ+ inclusive LGFA team are recruiting more members after a successful inaugural year.

A tweet, seven determined people and a want to create an understanding sporting environment for the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

That’s what sparked Na Gaeil Aeracha’s inception in 2020.

Chairperson Karl Shannon’s social media message exploring the interest in an LGBTQ+ inclusive GAA club garnered significant likes and comments, jolting the idea from a thought to reality.

Now in their second year, The Rainbow Gaels are amidst a recruitment campaign. Two of their upcoming taster sessions are already at max capacity, a fact that manager and vice chairperson Emma Loo says reflects the mass of necessity for their outfit.

“We decided to host taster sessions for perspective players because it is a daunting task joining a new GAA club, especially if you haven’t played in years” she says.

“Our first session went really well and we had over 50 people attend and we just really positive comments and feedback afterwards. Then there was such an interest that those sessions are booked up even just in the past week.”

“Because of that I would say to anyone looking to join to keep an eye out on our social media because we will be letting people know if there are any free spaces available and there is also an official registration form which can be found in our Instagram bio.”

“We really were just over the moon with how much of an interest people are taking into our club.”

The first of its kind in Ireland, the Dublin based team was born to “create a safe and inclusive space to play GAA as well as getting active, making new friends and just over all having fun.”

Loo stresses that while they do compete in official LGFA competitions there is no judgement in their remit when it comes to age, ability or sexuality, just an engaging and welcoming environment open to all.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you are welcome” she says.

“Allies are welcome, to play, to support, or even just share our social media posts. We welcome everyone and in the club itself we don’t know who or what gender they have or what sexuality, we don’t question that at all.”

“As a whole in Ireland there just seems to be a systematic culture of homophobia which is embedded in every aspect of society. We definitely want to see a change in all areas, not just sport but we just want to see LGBTQ+ inclusive as a common word all around.”

“This club Na Gaeil Aeracha is for everyone and just all about the love of sport.”

Now pursuing a men’s team too in tandem, closing dates for registration are March 31st (GAA) and the 1st June (LGFA).

Alanna Cunnane

Alanna is a Journalism student in Dublin City University and is passionate about all sport - in particular Ladies Football and Soccer! Alanna has made contributions to Ocean FM, the Final Whistle, the Sligo Champion and the Connacht Telegraph! She even has hosts her own podcast called 'Are You Still Listening?'
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