Around the World in 80 Clubs: Zaragoza GAA, Spain (#41)
"We guarantee mighty craic and good football."
If that motto on their Facebook page doesn’t sell the idea of representing Zaragoza GAA to both expats and newcomers to Gaelic Football and Hurling, then frankly, we don’t know what will.
Mighty craic and good football are just two of the reasons that make playing for Zaragoza GAA attractive, of course.
A new club, only formed last year, it has the benefit of being located in a beautiful city in northern Spain that’s less than two hours by public transport away from the big two, Barcelona and Madrid.
Naturally enough, clubs from those two cities are Zaragoza’s biggest rivals, although the less said about a recent encounter with Madrid Gaels, the better (more on that one below).
It’s still early days, however, and with a growing group of committed members, the future is looking bright for the new boys of GAA in Spain.
Club PRO Simon Leonard was recently in touch to tell us a bit more about the small (for now) but committed group inside the Zaragoza dressing room, including a tale about a certain player who improvised impressively when he found himself without a pair of gloves before the club’s very first game.
Focus on Zaragoza GAA
Club Name: Zaragoza
Year established: 2016
Number of members: 18
Biggest rivals: Barcelona Gran Sol, Madrid Gaels
Biggest representation from a club/county in Ireland: Limerick
Most famous ever member(s): Conor Portley (ex-Limerick minor footballer). Mighty lad.
Most memorable moment in the club’s history: Beating Barcelona Gran Sol in the second game in the club’s history.
Most eye-catching scoreline in the club’s history: Madrid 7-10 Zaragoza 0-00. That might not actually be the official scoreline, I’m not sure how much Madrid scored to be honest.
Player who makes the longest commute to training: John Dorgan. One hour, every Saturday morning.
Most dedicated club person: Ben Mulholland. Happy to put football before his studies!
Loudest in the dressing room: Alan O’Rourke, who loves reminding us all that he went to school with Damien Duff.
Number of romances that started in the GAA club (feel free to name names): Zero! Jim Kilduff tried to chat up some of the girls from the Madrid Gaels team. They were having none of it.
Duck to water award – Best new player who had never played GAA before: Daniel Castán. He scored a goal against Barcelona Gran Sol.
Best story involving a club member that’s fit for print: In the club’s first ever game, on a very wet day, Alan O’Rourke couldn’t find his football gloves at home on the morning of the game.
In the end, he brought a yellow pair of rubber gloves instead.
By the way, he still played crap.
While you're here.
Watch the second episode of SportsJOE Live with Ronan O'Gara, Andy Reid, Dion Fanning and Colm Parkinson here.
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