It may come as a surprise to some people to learn that the national sport of Ireland is not, as is generally supposed, drinking. Nor is, it would be appear, soccer, given the country’s 5-2 drumming at the hands of lowly Cyprus last week.
No, the passion of the Emerald Isle forever lies in the great game of Gaelic football, an exciting, high speed ball game that is usually described as a cross between rugby and soccer with a pinch of aussie rules thrown in for good measure. All you ever wanted to know about the game and more here.
It may also surprise a few readers to learn that this weekend Shanghai Rugby Football Club out in Pudong will play host to the 2006 Asia Gaelic Games. Started by some hardy Irish expats over 10 years ago, the tournament has grown in numbers and prestige to become Asia’s largest amateur sporting event.
From Dubai to Japan, Singapore to Beijing, this year will see a plethora of teams from all corners of Asia competing in various men’s events and a women’s tournament. Having said that, of course, the only teams you need concern yourself with are Shanghai’s own Saints and Sirens, the local guys and gals that have been training oh-so-hard all year to keep the cups on home soil.
So for a fantastic weekend and the chance to enjoy a uniquely Irish sport, head out to the Shanghai RFC in Jinqiao, just opposite the Carrefour. There will be play all day Saturday and Sunday. Final will start at 3 on Sunday — admission is free and there will be cheap food and discounted drinks on sale all day (which is always good). And don’t forget to cheer for Shanghai!
Photo by Shanghai Streets.