Gaelic Football in the Middle East
The first recorded game of Gaelic Football was played in Saudi Arabia in 1994, with the first Bahrain Games played the following year. From this point on Bahrain/Dahran, Dubai Celts and Abu Dhabi na Fianna played Gaelic Football throughout the 1990’s on an ad hoc basis in both Dubai and Bahrain every year.
Men’s Football has adapted from 11-a-side football, to 7-a-side and now settled on 9-a-side with three substitutes. During the 2000’s Gaelic Games continued to be played at the Gulf Gaelic Games in March in Dubai and the Bahrain Games in November as well as in Abu Dhabi. Over the years the Arabian Celts, Oryx na hEireann Qatar, Clann na hOman, Al Ain GAA and Naomh Alee Riyadh were formed and joined the league and in latter days, Kuwait Harps, Sharjah Wanderers LGFC and the first indigenous team in the Region, Oman GAA were all set up. This is a very encouraging development, and is a model on how to develop the GAA in the Region by introducing our Irish Games to non Nationals, and developing their skills and talents.
Dubai Celts and Abu Dhabi Na Fianna joined forces twice over the years to play against the Irish Defence Forces and the Dublin Senior Footballers. On two occasions a Middle East Select Team has played against the 2012 All Ireland winning Donegal team and the 2013 All Ireland winning Mayo team.
Ladies Gaelic Football in the Middle East
When the Middle East League first began the number of Ladies squads participating was greatly smaller than it is now. Over the past number of years, the game has grown considerably and we now have ten Clubs in the Region with Ladies squads. The league consists of three tiers; Senior, Intermediate and Junior to encourage participation from all levels and skills. There are now over 200 ladies players in the Middle East. Each year the competition intensifies and the skill levels & standards are improving with each tournament.
The key areas of difference to note are:
Coaching & Refereeing Qualifications
We are working hard to get some coaching resources specific to Ladies Football to add onto the website, however, in the meantime, please see the GAA and LGFA website resources & publications section where there is a huge amount of information available on Coaching.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS