By Linley MacKenzie
All roads lead to Moycullen this weekend for the annual Galway football festival for clubs from Gaeltacht regions.
Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta kicks off today (Thursday ) for five days attracting thousands of visitors to the Gaeltacht village where they will celebrate all things Irish, language, traditional music and dance and, of course, Gaelic football.
This year’s festival promised to be more competitive than previous years with a record number of 34 teams which have all qualified on a county basis.
A series of matches will showcase the best of Gaeltacht Gaelic football teams at senior and junior levels, with 16 women’s teams and 18 men’s teams, in addition to the Masters.
A host of GAA legends will be present throughout the festival, including Kerry legend and current broadcaster Dara Ó Cinnéide, along with household names Paul Clancy, Ray Silke, Seán Óg de Paor, Seán Ó Domhnaill and Kevin Walsh.
The main sporting area will be at the football pitch in Baile Dóite, Maigh Cuilinn, with an array of entertainment taking place throughout the festival, including a schools’ football competition, a children’s play area, a treasure hunt, horseshoe throwing, Tráth na gCeist, historical walks, golf outings, fishing trips on Lough Corrib, set dancing and a farmers’ market showcasing local food and craft makers.
The festival marquee in the heart of the village will serve as a hub of entertainment, with traditional music concerts and a Céilí Mór taking place with musicians including Mike Denver, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Mhaigh Cuilinn, Blunderbrau, Na Ceannabháín, Beartle Ó Domhnaill, Aerach, Marcus Hernon and Don Stiffe.
Visitors will also enjoy some traditional Irish dancing with set dancing with Tony Ryan and ‘An Cailín Gaelach’, the annual Queen of the Seven Counties of the Gaeltacht.
TG4 will provide live television coverage of the finals on June Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday and these events are also broadcast worldwide via TG4.tv, while RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta will broadcast both the regional qualifiers and the national finals, held over the June Bank Holiday.
As an All-Ireland event, under the auspices of Croke Park, the cup will be presented by Uachtarán an Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Liam Ó Neill, who will attend the finals on Monday.
(Source: Galway Advertiser)