Prague Hibernians Gaelic Football Club

Press Release

On the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Gaelic Athletic Association comes the birth of its newest member, Prague Hibernians Gaelic Football Club.

A game that is easy on the eye with players using a multitude of skills, Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both games. It originates from Ireland where it was played before medieval times, while the first set of official rules was written at the inaugural meeting of the newly established GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association).

The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It can be carried in the hand for a distance of four steps and can be kicked or hand-passed. After every four steps the ball must be either bounced, solo-ed or kicked. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar by foot or hand/fist for one point or under the crossbar and into the net by foot or hand/fist, the latter being the equivalent of three points.

It is generally agreed that a sense of belonging is vital to one's well being and happiness. However for the founding members of Prague Hibernians, the idea isn't to hold on dearly to our last thread of Irishness. It was to embrace our new surroundings by offering our fellow expatriates and Czech neighbours something new. The goal was to forge a link and to grow roots in a new country.

In most countries children dream of emulating their sporting heroes and both Ireland and the Czech Republic are no different. We all wanted to represent our local team and for us it's a chance to realise this goal while reliving past glories and making new friends. The strength in Gaelic Games is in its concentration on local communities and its reliance on volunteers who train and mentor kids from a young age. Despite being an amateur organisation it sets high standards in discipline which allows for role models to be born.

For our Czech friends; no past credentials are needed. Our aim is to grow outside of our current squad which includes; a group of Irish guys, a few English friends and one American. We hope those that come to the venue will be drawn in by the fun of the game and the comfort of the surroundings. It's an all inclusive club and we hope to emulate our counterparts in other European cities whose members are ever increasing and also include womenís teams.

The inspiration was just to train, get fit and be organised enough to have a game against another city. However it has grown into something more tangible and meaningful. We have been training every Tuesday evening at Letn· park since May of this year and we have gone from strength to strength in both numbers and ability with each session. No matter whether we have four (our first session) or 12 (our average attendance) everybody goes away from a training session with Prague Hibernians knowing they can take something positive away from it. When players got together to see the kit, they realised with a crest bearing the words Prague above a backdrop of the T˝n church that they were not only representing themselves, they were representing the Czech Republic.

We have been willing to work hard for our clubs at home, but now it has dawned upon us that we are fighting not only for our own pride, but of our new home city, our new friends, our new colleagues and our new country. We are determined to leave every drop of sweat we possess on that field to ensure we can walk off the field with our heads held high and say to everyone, that we did not do a disservice to the name of Prague or the Czech Republic.

Win, lose or draw, the first ever Gaelic Football game to be played in the Czech Republic will be a monumental event not to be missed.

The team name Hibernians was chosen as it connects the past links between Ireland and Prague, drawing inspiration from a group of Irish Franciscans who established their college in Prague in 1629 and stayed here for 150 years till 1786. They were called in Czech "Hyberni" (in English, Hibernians) derived from the Latin form of their homeland Hibernia or Ireland. This link, and memory of the college, is still recalled today by the usage of the street name Hybernsk·. We hope this will be another long chapter in Irish-Czech history.

On October 3rd with the help of the visiting Vienna Gaels we hope to share our culture and traditions with our friends in the Czech Republic. We are proud to represent this city and it would give us an added incentive to put on a show if we had some fans on the day of the game. At 16:30 on Saturday, October 3rd come support Prague Hibernians at the Slavia rugby pitch in Prague 10 and cheer on your new local team.

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Venue link:
Throw in: 16.30, Saturday, October 3rd

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