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Home away from home | GAA abroad in 2020 - your stories

Today's Saturday Panel focused on the international network of GAA clubs from Astoria to Jakarta.

John Duggan was joined by New York GAA Chairperson Joan Henchy, and the vice-chair of Asian county board Paraic McGrath to speak about the GAA's presence around the world, and how they are using their community powers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

5 May 2019; Referee Conor Lane with team captains Niall Madine of New York and Paddy Durcan of Mayo before the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between New York and Mayo at Gaelic Park in New York, USA. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

For many Irish people travelling abroad for work or to study, the local GAA club is often one of the first ports of call. It can be an important hub for networking and has helped many people to lock down their initial accommodation, or first job in new surrounds.

GAA abroad in 2020

Sharing her experiences in New York, Joan Henchy told OTB that this tradition is far from dying out - and that if anything there's been a growth in the number of players seeking social connections and a chance to play football and hurling with NY teams.

Paraic McGrath explained that across Asia there are Thai and Vietnamese kids playing gaelic games, as their player pool expands beyond the local Irish communities.

10 August 2016; Givenolé Leost of France in action against Tobias Horn of Germany during the Etihad Airways GAA World Games 2016 - Day 2 at UCD in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Overseas GAA is no different to the rest of the sporting world as COVID-19 restrictions mean that activities have been suspended.

"There's always a fight in us and there's another battle we'll overcome," McGrath told OTB, stressing their commitment to continuing the growth of the sport on the 'other side' of the current disruption.

We asked for your experience of playing gaelic football and hurling away from home, as ever you didn't disappoint, and shared your stories from around the world:

 

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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