AGM- Weds Jan 26

A message to the Gaels of Stockholm! Your club will hold it’s AGM in the Dubliner pub on Wednesday 26 January at 1830. We will summarise what has happened in the past year and lay out our plans for the future.
Everyone is invited to attend, and paid-up members will have a chance to choose our course for 2011.
This is your club. This is your chance to make your voice heard.
Be part of it.

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New Year, New Season!

2011 opens with a bang next Thursday January 13 with the first of three indoor training sessions at the Fotbollshallen facility in Spånga. Fotbollshallen is top-class indoor artificial pitch suitable for seven-a-side games, and during the hour we have booked it from 2130 to 2230 the emphasis will be on shaking off the winter cobwebs and getting some game time under our belts to start the year. Following on from last year’s hurling exhibition at Östermalm, we will be practicing both codes side by side in the beginning of the year to give everyone a chance to try them out. New players are welcome as always- for the Swedes, you can check out this video which we got from Gothenburg GAA (a couple of dodgy spelling mistakes and you’re not allowed to throw the ball, but you’ll get the picture!).

The Fotbollshallen is located in the grounds of Spånga IP- as you can see from this map, it's a short walk from the tunnelbana station in Tensta on the blue line or the the pendeltåg station at Spånga itself.

In other news, the club committee is meeting soon to set up the AGM and to start the planning process for the year ahead, together with the European County Board and the other clubs in Scandinavia. We are also looking for pictures for a book about our club that is due to be published in the summer, so if you have any good snaps from last season you’d like to contribute, feel free to e-mail them to philip at

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Season’s greetings at season end!

Thanks to all who have played such a big part in this hugely succesful year- though the 2010 season is over,  you can still find out about Gaelic games here on the site or by e-mailing stockholmgaa[at] We look forward to welcoming more Swedes into the club as they discover that the tough, physical nature of our games suits the viking spirit perfectly! Check out the videos on the Gaelic games page for an introduction, or simply head down to the Dubliner or the Liffey where the Irish lads would be more than happy to tell you all about it!

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ECB Congress 2010- LIVE on!

The ECB Congress has now come to an end and the Stockholm Gaels would like to thank the board and delegates for attending, as well as the viewers from all over Europe who followed events live here on the site. As soon as we have had a chance, we will post the video broadcast during the sessions on Saturday and Sunday- until then, check out the introductory video that opened proceedings on Saturday morning.

[flv: 480 360]

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Prizegiving and celebrations as hurling takes hold

The 2010 season came to a close and the planning for 2011 started in earnest with a game of hurling at Östermalms IP and a prize-giving ceremony at the new Irish Embassy in Stockholm.

The Gaels prepare for the first hurling clash in 15 years in the city.

As the winter chill began to bite on October 30, around twenty hardy souls took to the field with their camáns for the first game of hurling in Stockholm for almost 15 years.

Club sponsor Liam Kennedy, who took part in the last hurling game to take place in the Swedish capital all those years ago, threw in the ball to start the new era of hurling and despite some wonderful scores from distance, the Scandinavian Select eventually beat the Stockholm Gaels representatives, powered by a couple of quick goals at the start of the second half.

From there it was on to Hovslagargatan 5, where Ireland’s Ambassador to Sweden, Mr Donal Hamill, welcomed the Gaels for a prize-giving reception. The Ambassador first presented the medals for the recently-completed Ambassador Cup before turning his attention to the team that won the Scandinavian championship.

In a break with tradition, club captain Kevin Carroll stepped aside as the John Ahearn trophy was presented to Karl Lambert as the trophy is named in tribute to Karl’s friend John, who tragically passed away on a visit to Stockholm to celebrate St. Patricks Day some years ago. Specially commissioned by the club, it is hoped that the John Ahearn trophy will be comepeted for every year in Scandinavia, subject to agreement from the other clubs in the region

A huge thank you to the Ambassador and to Embassy Second Secretary Ragnar Almqvist for organising the event, to the Ambassador’s wife Bernadette who as always was a wonderful hostess, and to the staff at the Embassy.

The John Ahearn Trophy, on display at the new Irish Embassy in Stockholm.

In another great coup for the Gaels, the European County Board will hold their annual congress in Stockholm on the first weekend in December- more details about activities around this great event coming soon.

Planning for the 2011 season has already started, and with the Embassy behind us and a great pool of talent at our disposal on and off the pitch, next year will be another great year for the Stockholm Gaels.

Be part of it.

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Defeat By The Danube But Gaels Aren’t Blue

The final weekend of the competitive season saw the Gaels depart Arlanda on Friday night for Budapest and the most daunting sporting challenge of the year – the Pan-European Gaelic Football Championship. A side weakened by injury and absence but strong on resolve and self-confidence touched down in Budapest determined to keep the club flag flying as long as was possible, and once again expectations were exceeded.

Niall Scullion gives a final tactical briefing before boarding the flight to Budapest


Drawn in a tough group, the Gaels faced the hosts first on Saturday morning, and a young Budapest side quickly put up a strong challenge. A speculative high ball dropped over Liam Ginnane in the Gaels goal to give the hosts the lead, but the Scandinavian champions weren’t about to lie down. Colin Courtney’s left boot has been the source of many scores this season but with his left ankle bruised and swollen, he used his right to fire home first time and pull the Gaels back into the game. A Mark O’Kane penalty then put the Gaels in the driving seat, spurring his team on to win 3-3 to 1-5 and get some hard-fought points on the board.

Luxembourg were next and another hard battle ensued. With no disrespect to anyone in Scandinavia, the European sides have a head start and their skill, experience and the depth of talent available to them was apparent throughout the day. But once again the Gaels weren’t to be undone, and with Mark O’Kane shackling the Lux dangerman in midfield and his friends Mark and Jarlath giving good account of themselves in the back line and in midfield, another victory was chalked up and qualification for the semis all but guaranteed.

Tactics talk from Liam before the throw-in


In an effort to protect tired limbs and conserve energy, the Stockholm pack underwent a serious reshuffle for the final group game against Paris, who handed the Gaels only their second defeat of the season. With Niall Scullion replacing Colin Courtney at full forward and the goalkeeping duties being handled by Mark O’Kane and Declan Graham, the French side quickly conquered midfield and built up a lead that Stockholm never threatened to peg back. Keith Hearne was given licence to roam the field breaking up attacks, and Stockholm’s Marathon man revelled in the task throughout the day. Fellow distance runner Karl Lambert was also forced to cover the ground, but as usual the Sundbyberg Express was on time, every time to snuff out the Paris efforts on goal.

Marathon Man Keith Hearne


Nigel O’Reilly covered virtually every position from the full back line up to half-forward and wasn’t found wanting in any of them, as Barry Quinn and Jim Kelly scrapped hard for ball against a tough half-back line. The pair did Longford and Carlow proud as they succeeded in setting up several scoring chances for the deep-lying foward Scullion, who finsihed them off in his usual stylish manner.

A long break caused by the late arrival of Guernsey to the tournament ensued and the Gaels, by now stiff-legged and sore from the constant stop-start games against Europe’s top sides, were starting to tire at the worst possible moment. Semi-final opponents Den Haag had a big bench to call on and with plenty of energy in reserve, they set about playing the same quick-passing, hard-running football that was a trademark of the Gaels earlier in the spring. Den Haag quickly built up a head of steam and threatened to run away with the tie, but the Gaels showed the same spirit that fuelled their march through Scandinavia and threw everything at the Dutch side in a final frenzied assault.

First Ken Feely ran all of forty yards before smashing home a brilliant solo goal, and Declan Graham’s fisted effort from a rebound looked to have set up a grandstand finale only for the referee to disallow it, inexplicably giving the Dutch a free out for a square ball. The final whistle a couple of minutes later came as something of a relief to the tired Gaels, who witnessed a cracking final between Belgium and Den Haag as the sun set over a chilly evening in Budapest.

All of Europe had been waiting to see the team that had burst onto the Scandinavian scene this year, and the Gaels didn’t disappoint – every team that met them had to battle hard for every yard against them. The Viking Gaels, our ladies team composed of Scandinavians from Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Stockholm, also put on some fantastic performances in their group games.

With not a single Irish-born players in their ranks the Scandinavian girls were up against it, but they frightened the lives out of many of their opponents with their excellent technique and never-say-die attitude, and with a few more breaks from the referee and a more selfish attitude in front of goal they could have caused at least two major upsets in Europe’s premiere ladies competition. As the day wore on their tactical play improved greatly and it will be a far more confident team that returns to this stage next year as they attempt to push on in Europe.

With no flight until early Monday morning, all that was left was to enjoy the hospitality of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. A wonderful banquet was organised on Saturday night by the host club, and the following afternoon was spent relaxing and recovering in a traditional Hungarian steam bath before a spot of sight-seeing and an end-of-season dinner at the Rose Restaurant close the the Gaels hotel.

For the first time, the Gaels went to a tournament, lost two games and didn’t make it to the final, but there was no shame in any of these defeats. Much as we learned the lessons of Copenhagen, now we know what awaits us on our travels and we will be all the better prepared for next season.

Courtney's left arm- almost as quick as his left peg...

Our thanks to our hosts Budapest, and to our sporting opponents from Paris, Luxembourg and Den Haag on the day. An even bigger thank-you goes to Jim Kelly and Niall Balfe, with the former documenting the day’s proceedings, contributing a helping hand on the pitch and updating the fans at home and abroad with news of our progress, whilst Niall, fresh from his side’s victory in the Ambassador Cup, played the manager’s role to perfection, keeping everything running smoothly on the day.

Mark O’Kane’s reinforcements from Derry deserve a special mention for taking the time to come over for the weekend to help out on the playing front, but once again it was our own players who represented the club in the fantasic sporting manner to which we all aspire – with skill, flair and sportsmanship, the Stockholm Gaels took another step towards a bright future in European Gaelic Football. Be part of it.

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Balfe’s Boys Beat Kennedy to Take Title

Declan Graham under pressure from James Guanci in the Ambassador CUp decider

The old adage that goals win games held true once again as Niall Balfe’s United side beat Kennedy AB to claim the inaugural Ambassador Cup title in Stockholm on Sunday. Niall’s team netted four goals in a pulsating counter, with Kennedy’s only three-pointer coming from the boot of Brendan O’Driscoll, who along with James Guanci was appearing in his first GAA final of any sort. It finished 4-13 to 1-10 to Balfe United, who will receive their medals and trophy at a ceremony hosted by the Irish Ambassador later this month.

Liam Kennedy’s side weren’t helped by an injury to forward Colin Courtney, who went over on his left ankle early in the first half, but with both goalkeepers not afraid to move upfield with the ball, there was no shortage of attacking threats on either side.

Senior team captain Kevin Carroll was his usual industrious self, popping up all over the pitch in defence and attack for Kennedy. Despite only taking up the game a few short weeks ago, Guo Guodong was a constant threat with his speed and improvisational abilities in the Balfe frontline.

Mark Meegan beats Liam Ginnane to the punch for a vital goal.

Niall Balfe himself made a triumphant return from a dislocated shoulder to lead his side to victory, and they could even afford the luxury of  a missed penalty in the second half and still run out winners.

With Ragnar Almqvist in goal and Niall Scullion prompting attacks from the back, Mark Meegan popped up with several vital scores, including a fisted goal which put the final nail in the Kennedy coffin late in the second half.

The Swedish-Irish Society were also on hand to provide some colour for the occassion, and they kept younger family members entertained with hotdogs and soft drinks as the action went on on the pitch.

Thanks to all the players and coaches who took part in a fantastic tournament played in a great sporting spirit. A special word of gratitude to Jim Kelly and Phil Cahill, whose organisational and refereeing skills were key to making the six-week league such a big success.

Our attentions turn to Europe again next weekend, but rest assured the Ambassador Cup will be back soon with more teams and more players.

Be part of it.

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Showdown time in the Ambassador Cup!

So it all comes down to this- at the end of five weeks of hard-fought football there is nothing to seperate Balfe United and Kennedy AB, and tomorrow they meet in the final game to decide the championship. The curtain-raiser is the ever-popular pub derby between the Dubliner and the Liffey, and we will be joined by the members of the Swedish Irish Society for what should be a fun day out for all the family. Hot dogs and drinks will be served to the spectators, whilst on the pitch will be one of the most hotly-contested games of the year.

Be part of it.

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Balfe’s Boys Make The Running As Ambassador Cup Gets Underway

There was a fine turnout of players and fans at Östermalms IP to witness some brilliant football at the first round of the Ambassador Cup today. Niall Balfe’s team have taken an early lead in the table with a tremendous display scoring, whilst the Dubliner did what the Dubs found so hard and rattled the net five times in their game.

Three university students who signed up on the day gave those in attendance a lesson in point-scoring from all parts of the pitch as Balfe’s boys beat the Liffey in the second game of the day, scoring a whopping 3-17 in the process. Earlier in the day Liam Kennedy’s side met the Dubliner in a closer encounter with the pub side proving the old adage that goals win games, netting five times to take the points. Full results and table here

For all those from beyond the Pale who feel they got too much stick today, you can get your own back in the forum.

On the other seven-a-side pitch Ciarán O’Reilly put the girls through their paces, and the coming generation of Gaels (mostly under 10!) also got a good runout. Thanks to Ciarán, Lisa, Per, Mary and everyone else who took part. Rumour also has it that many of those in attendance adjourned to our sponsor pubs to recharge their batteries and watch Down take on Kildare in the All-Ireland semi-final afterwards.

We’ll be doing it all over again next week – and for the next five weeks – so bring the coffee, the kids and your boots for a great afternoon of Gaelic football with the Swedish-Irish community.

Be part of it.

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The Season Rolls On!

The Scandinavian champions go from strength to strength. The Ambassador Cup starts tomorrow, and just over the horizon is the mouthwatering prospect of testing ourselves against the best that European GAA has to offer.  If you haven’t already joined the Stockholm Gaels do it now! We have playing and social memberships, and everyone is welcome- from Ireland, Sweden or anywhere else. Use the fancy new sign-up box on the right to sign up for our mailing list, and you’ll never miss another game or event.

The 2010 season has been a great success so far, and there’s still a whole lot still left. Be part of it.

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