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Cheering on Dublin: An Evening of Gaelic Football

April 04, 2014

Over the rainy Dublin weekend, I attended a Gaelic football match between Dublin and Cork. Gaelic football is a sport unique to Ireland and involves players moving the spherical ball up the field by dribbling, bouncing, kicking, and passing. The players then score one point by sending the ball through two posts, which resemble the American football field goal posts, or three points if they manage to get the ball past the goalie and into the net, which resembles a soccer goal and sits below the two posts. Although I sound knowledgeable about the sport, my classmates and I learned the rules by observing the warm ups and Googling “Gaelic football rules” before the start of the match.


As we walked from our apartment complex to the stadium, which was about 30 minutes away, we bought Dublin hats, scarves, and flags from a sidewalk vendor to wear during the game. The crowds walking towards the stadium were clothed in Dublin’s color, powder blue, or Cork’s color, red. Our newly acquired souvenirs did not help us completely blend in amongst the crowds, but at least we had something to show our self-proclaimed allegiance to Dublin. 

The stadium, Croke Park, towered above the small neighborhood homes and I could not help but think that it resembled the arena for the Quidditch World Cup in the fourth Harry Potter film. Student tickets for the game only cost ten euro, which made the event budget friendly and an excellent way to experience an important aspect of the Irish culture. 
 Sporting Dublin gear at the Dublin versus Cork Gaelic Football match

As we took our seats, it became clear that an intense rivalry between Dublin and Cork existed. Unlike American professional sports, Irishmen play for their city’s team out of pure pride and do not receive any form of payment. The loud cheers from the crowd and the screams at the referees and players exemplified the passion and pride the fans held for their respective cities. Since our seats were only two rows from the field, avid fans surrounded us and their cheers rang in our ears, which made the game that much more thrilling. The match lasted seventy minutes and ended with a Cork victory.

Since I am a huge sports fan (Go Steelers!), I greatly enjoyed taking part in the Gaelic football experience. Being in a stadium surrounded by my friends and the enthusiastic fans made me feel as if I was back at home and cheering on one of my favorite teams. Hopefully for the next match I attend I will be wearing the colors of the winning team!
 Croke Park before the game
 After Cork (red) scored on Dublin (blue)

Abigail Marchione is the Spring 2014 MOJO for Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at DePaul University.

Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
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