With the end of August came the end of the Korean gaelic football season and this year Laochra Busan GAA did itself proud taking narrow second places in both the men’s and women’s national leagues. However, as September hit, there was one last competition that some members of Laochra GAA were still training for: the FEXCO Asian Gaelic Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Compared to the fledgling Korean league, these games take Asian GAA to a new level. This year 65 teams from 18 different countries took part in three days of games, with teams bracketed according to competition experience. The grounds featured 6 different pitches, in constant use, official referees and commentators flown in from Ireland and a well-staffed physio tent that was on hand for all the aches and pains of the competition.
The Malaysian heat and 100% humidity meant games were kept short and fast. Competition ran high. Laochra’s men, having fallen short of a full team, joined with members from Japan Nippon GAA and played bravely through 4 intense matches. The ladies, with the help of three outside recruits, fought equally hard and at the end of the day were rewarded by being placed top of their bracket having won every game.
The play offs saw Laochra’s men go out under high pressure from Singapore and the ladies lose their semifinal to the eventual winners, Japan. However, spirits were quickly raised by the electric atmosphere of the crowd as we watched the senior competitors play out their finals. In all, it was an incredible experience of international sport for this small club.
So, Laochra Busan had much to be proud of at the end of the season. Celebrations were loud at the formal end of season Awards Night and for good reason. Still a relatively young club, 2014 has seen the membership continue to grow and diversify with members hailing from 4 continents and making the trek to weekly training from all over Gyeongnam province. Not only improving on the pitch, Laochra members should also be proud of the club’s charity work; visits to a local orphanage and fundraising (to the tune of 1.6 million won) were as much a part of Laochra’s year as the football.
We look to continue growing as a football team and as a member of the community in the 2015 season and so encourage anyone who has an interest in sports to give us a go! No experience is necessary; all you need is some sportswear and a sense of enthusiasm. Contact us at: www.facebook.com/LaochraBusanGaa or visit our website laochrabusan.weebly.com
Article by Rosamond Clay/ Photos courtesy of Busan GAA
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