Garvaghey Centre to host Dads & Lads regional blitz
This Saturday, the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence in Garvaghey will host the first Dads & Lads Regional Blitz, hosting 12 Social Gaelic games teams teams from the Northern region of the country.
The growth of Dads & Lads teams from 20 in 2019 to almost 160 in 2023 illustrates the strong appetite for Social Gaelic games.
Armagh’s Cuchulainns Mullaghbawn formed a Social Football team after seeing Dads & Lads advertised on social media. They started with 12 lads that had retired from playing competitively with the club, and now have a group of 30 players ranging in age and ability meeting up for their weekly Dads & Lads sessions.
“Dads & Lads has been great for Mullaghbawn, being able to meet up regularly with lads you played alongside over the years keeps you going, everyone looks forward to the weekly sessions, there’s no pressure you come along when you can," says Frank Daly, a founding member of Mullaghbawn's Dads & Lads.
“A lot of players when they stop playing became involved in coaching, and coaching is great but it’s not the same as playing. Having Dads & Lads has helped more retired players keep their connection with the club”.
“Anyone who wants to join us are welcome, it’s been great for lads that moved in to the area, we invite them to join us, it helps them get to know people in the community, make friends and become part of the club”.
“Getting out and playing the game, for the banter and camaraderie is what keeps us involved, a bit time together having the ‘craic with the lads. The older bodies are a little slower and the muscles can be a bit sore afterwards, but happy sore, you know”.
Cuchulainns Mullaghbawn are one of the 12 teams competing in Saturday's blitz, and are eagerly looking forward to what should be a great social occasion.
“We’re delighted to be going, travelling to blitzes is great craic, reminds us of our younger days, a spin in the car up the road, knowing you’re going to be playing games it builds excitement and anticipation," says Daly.
“Having the Blitzes in venues like Garvahey, is brilliant. A lot of us would never have had the opportunity during our competitive days to play on pitches like the one’s there. It’s great that that to have events like this organized by the GAA especially for us older players who want to keep playing in some way, it’s nice to know there’s something for us”.
Following the success of two National Blitzes in 2019 and 2022, there are three Dads & Lads Regional Blitzes planned for this year, with the aim of providing more opportunities for Dads & Lads to meet up, create connections and play against other teams. The Blitzes aren’t competitons.
· Northern Regional Blitz – Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence, Garvahey. Saturday 22, April 22.
· Southern Regional Blitz – Mallow GAA Sports Complex, Cork. Saturday, May 20
· Midland Regional Blitz – TUS Athlone, Westmeath. Saturday, June 10
For more information and to register interest to participate in Dads & Lads Regional Blitz go HERE.
For more information on Dads & Lads and to register a Dads & Lads team with the Community & Health Department here - https://learning.gaa.ie/dadsandlads