Bangor University team crowned Gaelic Football Champions

Bangor University’s Gaelic Football team are celebrating a surprise win at the British University GAA Championships in Birmingham.

Bangor University Gaelic Football TeamBangor University Gaelic Football TeamThe 20-strong squad, who had no prior competition experience, played four games over two days and topped their group before going on to beat Napier University, Edinburgh in the quarter final then Aberdeen in the semis, ending the Championship with a well fought win over Liverpool John Moores in the final.

Coach Keith Begley, an MSc student at Bangor said, “The team consists of fourteen Irish students, four of whom are hurlers and soccer players who do not play Gaelic football at home, two Welsh students, one Liverpudlian, an English jockey and an Englishman of Italian/ Ukrainian extraction, none of whom had any previous experience of Gaelic football outside of training.

“The first game of the group stages was the first time any of the team had played a match and it was also the first time that some of them had set foot on an actual Gaelic football pitch as we train on an Astroturf football pitch at Bangor.

“We were perceived as no hopers to win the competition and were joked, laughed, sneered and whistled at in our original pink jerseys. However, we played well as a team and sacrificed a lot for each other on the field of play, as well as enduring a one week drinking ban prior to the competition!”

Keith added, “The team certainly rose to the occasion and the tougher the challenge the more we enjoyed it.  We outscored John Moores by 4 points to 3 on a day where conditions were tough for both teams. Bangor led for most of the game and only trailed LJMU for six minutes.

“The Bangor team went from being competition outsiders to winning this prestigious competition for only the second time in the University's history. The most amazing point however is that we achieved this with only ten experienced Gaelic Footballers and beat John Moores, a university four times the size of Bangor with a squad of 90 players, to the trophy.

“Barry McCarthy accepted the trophy on behalf of the Bangor University team while Aaron Toner was named as player of the tournament. The weekend will be remembered forever by those involved and the party continued well into the night and following week at the team sponsors’ establishment Y Glob.”

Publication date: 9 March 2011