2021 Bahrain Games a Royal success
Host club Arabian Celts quite literally gave all competing teams at the 2021 Bahrain Games a royal welcome.
Guest of honour at the Men’s and Women’s Senior Finals was Khalid Bin Hamad, a member of the Bahrain Royal Family and son of the country’s ruler, King Hamad.
His presence at the Finals was a testament to just how highly regarded the Irish community in Bahrain and across the Middle East is.
It was a recognition too of the huge popularity of Gaelic Games in the region and the prominent role it plays in the day to day lives of the Irish in the Middle East.
“It was amazing to have a member of the Royal Family attend the event because they're such powerful well-respected figures,” said Arabian Celts Chairperson, Brendan Galvin.
“To have someone of that profile attend a Gaelic Games event here is massive. It's massive for our club and it's massive for GAA in the Middle East region and we're just so happy that he was able to come.”
The men’s Senior Final was won by Dubai Celts and the Women’s Senior Final was won by Abu Dhabi Na Fianna.
“I've been here 10 years and coming here to Bahrain for seven years and this is the first time we've won it here,” said victorious Dubai Celts captain, Barry Canavan. “It means a lot.
“We've a new bunch of lads in this year and thankfully they gave us a little injection of speed and enthusiasm so it helps us old lads to just get over the line.”
As much as the 2021 Bahrain Games was a real celebration of sport, it was also a poignant occasion too because of who could not be there.
Amanda Kinsella, a much loved member of the Arabian Celts club, died tragically in Ireland over the summer and her memory was very much to the fore throughout the weekend.
Her name was stitched into the jersies of all the Arabian Celts teams and her brother David represented the Kinsella family on the pitch in her absence.
“It's a bit raw not having Amanda around, she was a big part of the club over here,” he said.
“All of her close friends would be out here as will and they've all been greatly affected by it. Yeah, it's tough.
“It's really emotional to see her name on the back of the jersey and it really shows the impact that she made out here. Amanda loved it out here. Gaelic Football was a big part of her life and it's just an incredible gesture by the team to have her name on the jersey. We really appreciated it, it means a lot to the family.
“I'd like to think she's here in spirit. We've a big GAA family here and back home and I'd like to think she's looking down on us now and I'm sure she's smiling now.”
2021 Bahrain Games Winners
Mens Senior Final: Dubai Celts A
Mens Senior Plate Final: Jumeriah Gaels B
Ladies Senior Final: Abu Dhabi Na Fianna A
Ladies Senior Plate Final: Al Ain
Mens Inter Cup Final: Al Reem Shamrocks
Mens Inter Plate Final: Dubai Celts
Ladies Inter Cup Final: Abu Dhabi Na Fianna A
Ladies Inter Plate Final: RAK Ropairí
Mens Social Cup Final: Sharjah Gaels
Mens Social Plate Final: Janabiya Juggernauts
Ladies Social Cup Final: Sharjah Gaels B
Ladies Social Plate Final: Al Ain