All-action Gaelic sports on show at Thai Polo Club
Last Saturday, May 19, saw teams from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Shanghai and Taiwan take to the immaculate playing fields of the Thai Polo Club to battle it out for the South Asia Gaelic Football Championship.
The Gaelic sports of football and hurling are the national sports of Ireland and not surprisingly, given the widespread Irish diaspora around the world, teams can be found from Dublin to Dubai and Beijing to Buenos Aires. Thailand’s own team, the Bangkok-based “ThaiGAAs”, were founded 5 years ago and, having previously played host to the All Asian Gaelic Games in Bangkok in 2009, last weekend welcomed teams from south east Asia (and a few other locations) to the Pattaya debut of this fast-paced, exciting sport.
Thailand on the attack against Singapore B in the ladies Plate final.
The Thai Polo Club was in glorious condition thanks to Khun Akarin and his hard-working staff. The torrential rain that had visited Pattaya during the week stayed away and the games kicked off under blue skies.
160 players took part in the men’s and women’s tournaments and it was no surprise that Singapore, one of the powerhouses in the Asia-Gulf region, triumphed in both men’s and women’s tournaments. Malaysia were battling runners-up in both competitions, with the Thai ladies picking up the 3rd placed plate, and the Thai men, who had previously put up the display of the day against Singapore, losing out in the 3rd place play-off to the Viet-Celts thanks to a controversial goal.
Singapore open the scoring in the ladies final against Malaysia.
Thailand did however come out on top in the “poc fada” hurling competition with Eimear O’Higgins and Shane O’Mahony hitting the winning sliotars (hurling ball).
The awards dinner was held in the recently refurbished Hall of Fame at the Hard Rock Hotel with the celebrations continuing throughout the night across Pattaya.
Special thanks to sponsors The Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce, the St Patrick’s Society of Bangkok and Laem Chabang based electronics company Wisetek, and to the management and staff of the Thai Polo Club and The Hard Rock Hotel.
Next up for the ThaiGAAs is the Asian-Gulf Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur 26-28 October. For more information on Gaelic games in Thailand check out www.thaigaa.com or email John at [email protected]
Thailand’s men on the charge against Viet-Celts.
Malaysia charge down a kick in one of the preliminary matches.
The victorious Singapore men’s team. (Photo courtesy of Steve Murphy)
Thailand ladies receive the Plate trophy and their medals at the presentation held at the Hard Rock Hotel, Pattaya.
High scoring Singapore kick yet another point against Malaysia in the men’s final.
Fans and players cheer on from the touchline.
Challenging for the ball at the restart.
The Thailand men’s and ladies teams pose for a group photo.