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Westbrook and South Portland Rec Departments to offer Gaelic Football in a first-of-its-kind partnershi
It’s not a new sport, exactly, but an ancient one that has been played for generations in the counties of Ireland. Gaelic football has now made its way to the shores of Maine, thanks to a unique arrangement between these two communities and the Maine Gaelic Sports Alliance (gaelicsportsme.com).
Gaelic football has been described as a combination of soccer and rugby and is fun, fast and easy to learn. Played on a “pitch” larger than a soccer field, Gaelic football teams can field up to 13 players each side with the object of scoring a goal, much like soccer, for 3 points, or scoring an over, much like an extra point in American football, for 1 point.
“Our goal is to bring these ancient Irish sports to life here in Maine,” says James Tierney, President of the MGSA. “It’s unique and fun and kids of all skill levels can pick it up quickly, enjoying a sport most have never tried before, no matter their heritage.”
In a first-of-its-kind agreement in the US, the Gaelic Athletics Association, based in Dublin, Ireland, and their North American county board (www.northamericangaa.com) have agreed to provide footballs and teaching materials for each community while MGSA provides coaching and logistical support. Westbrook’s Greg Post and South Portland’s Sabrina Best have committed to a safe, fun, and affordable program designed to make Gaelic football accessible to their populations.