KUWAIT: Players from the Kuwait Harps GAA club proudly returned late Saturday night from their most recent GAA tournament with two trophies in hand. The final tournament of the season, The Middle East GAA Championship, was held in Bahrain last weekend, April 10th to 12th 2014, in association with the Bahrain Irish Festival. The weekend saw almost 500 players from Qatar, Sharjah, Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Riyadh, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi competing in the biggest tournament of the season for both men and women. The Kuwait Harps, proudly represented by 40 players, once again left teams across the GCC open mouthed as they dominated in three divisions of the championships.
The club saw great success in Kuala Lumpur last October, returning home as champions in both the mens’ and ladies’ intermediate competition at the Fexco Asian Games. Their participation in Round 3 of the Middle East League held in Abu Dhabi late January saw the club secure the Junior Cup in both the mens’ competition and the ladies’ competition. This success was continued in the Dubai Duty Free Gaelic Games in March where the club secured title of Ladies’ Intermediate Champions. Last weekend saw the Kuwait Harps once again excel leaving Bahrain with the title of Ladies’ Intermediate Champions, Men’s Intermediate Champions and runner-up of the Men’s Junior Cup. The success of the weekend was not possible without the dedication of club members and the club administration. Now with almost 65 players, the Kuwait Harps are growing in strength and numbers, evidenced by their sheer success this season bringing home an outstanding seven trophies and two runnerup titles. As one of the smallest and most international clubs in the Middle East, the Kuwait Harps are overcoming adversity tournament after tournament.
As the only club in the Middle East without sponsorship and entirely player- funded, the Kuwait Harps have left clubs from across the Middle East baffled. Chairperson for the LGFA (Ladies Gaelic Football Association) Pat Quill personally addressed the Kuwait Harps teams in Bahrain. “It is fantastic to see so many teams here this weekend enjoying this fantastic game. It is a game we take for granted in Ireland. It’s a scary thing leaving home and it is a comforting thing for your families at home to know that you have linked up with a GAA club abroad. And not just for Irish players but for international players as well. It is fantastic to see so many players from England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, America, Australia, Asia and the Middle East taking up this sport.
Your club has really grown and that is down to you the players and of course your club administration. Congratulations to all of you. It is a proud day for the GAA.” A special thank you to the club administration team under the leadership of Neil Bergin club chairperson, Claire Sinnott, Roisin Reville, Harmony Ritchie, Lewis Barret and Ciaran Bradley, the coaching team Dave Murtagh, Rob Murphy, Caroline Murphy andJoanne Maxwell all who work tirelessly to develop the players and promote the club. A special mention also to the fundraising committee, Brendan Burns, Shauna Nelson, Derbhile Canty and Ronan Gormly for their hard work this season.With the Gaelic Football season officially over the Kuwait Harps will begin their player recruitment for September.