Feile na nGael comes West as 40,000 people descend on the Region
Guest post by Adrian Hession
The weekend of 8th/9th/10th June has been a long time in the planning for the hurling and camogie clubs of Mayo and their neighbouring counties. Its the weekend that the John West Feile na nGael U14 competition descends on the region as 6,000 players, 1,000 mentors and a total of 40,000 people will be on the move for the largest underage hurling tournament in Ireland. The finals this year will be held on Sunday 10th June, with the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan being the hub of organisation and chief host ground on finals day. Not to be forgotten, local GAA pitches close to the Connacht Centre will host All-Ireland semi finals on that Sunday with Claremorris GAA (both pitches), Kiltimagh GAA, Ballyhaunis GAA, Tooreen GAA and Castlerea GAA all being earmarked to host numerous All-Ireland semi finals in the different grades and categories.
Feile na nGael will take place in all five counties of Connacht while teams from Westmeath and Longford will also host visiting teams. In total their will be nine divisions of hurling fought out, while seven divisions of camogie will be up for grabs. Sixteen teams will be placed in each division of each code, with both Cup and Shield titles within each division available, to cater for the varying standards within the divisions. In total 32 cups/shields across the board will be presented over the weekend.
Within Mayo there will be six hurling boys teams taking part. These six teams will act as host clubs to travelling teams and will commence their group games on Friday 8th June. Tooreen and Westport are graded in Division 6 this year and will host Eire Og (Tyrone) and Cappamore (Limerick) respectively. Castlebar Mitchell’s will solely represent Mayo in Division 7 boys, as they will host Clara (Offaly). In the boys Division 8 competition, Caiseal Gaels will host Monaghan Harps while Ballyvary will host St Malachys of Derry. Finally in Division 9 boys, Claremorris will make their first ever appearance at Feile na nGael as they host South Kerry.
The camogie will see three Mayo sides forming host clubs. In Division 5 camogie, Na Brideoga in East Mayo will host Knockanana from Wicklow. In Division 6 camogie, Westport and Castlebar Mitchels will host Kilworth (Cork) and De La Salle (Waterford) respectively.
Feile na nGael last came to Mayo in 1993, and a tournament of this stature comes around only once in a generation. For more information on Feile na nGael visit www.connachtgaa.ie