Kuala Lumpur did not know what hit it when this year’s Asian Gaelic Games, sponsored by Fexco, saw the arrival of more than 900 football and hurling enthusiasts, who were there to compete in this great celebration of Gaelic games, attended by Irish Travel Trade News.
The local organising committee, led by Asian Gulf Board Chairman Paraic McGrath and his members, put on an event that won justifiable praise from all – in fact many said it ranked as one of the best ever in the 17-year history of the event.
The Asian G Games are now one of the largest in Asia: this year had over 65 teams from 27 GAA clubs taking part in football, hurling and camogie. The games took place at the superb facilities at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & County Resort on six grass playing fields side by side.
Teams competed on a league basis on day one, with a knockout competition on day two. The competitive spirit was at as high a level as one would find in Croke Park on any All Ireland Final day.
The teams who won through to the Finals paraded around the pitch accompanied by a local pipe band, and the legendary Gaelic Games commentator, Micheal O’Muircheartaigh, was on hand to give the event one of his iconic commentaries.
In the Ladies Final victory went to the Singapore A team who had a very convincing seven goals and two points win over Seoul, who scored five points.
In the Mens Final, between Singapore and Qatar, it was a ding-dong game with neither side giving an inch, but when the final whistle went it was the Singapore team who were the victors, with eight points to seven for their rivals.
The games were supported from Ireland with Martin Skelly, Chairman Leinster Council GAA, Pat Quill, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Helen O’Rourke, Chief Executive Ladies GAA, and Tom Daly, International Operations Director, all present at the games.
The games concluded with a dinner for all the participants and visitors in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the social action was good as it was on the pitch.
Great credit is due to the GAA, because there is no other body on the island of Ireland who could have provided the Irish expats throughout Asia with such a tremendous event. Plans are afoot to repeat the event in Kuala Lumpur again next year.
Malaysia was a great host country for these games.