Renault GAA World Games Day 1 Roundup
By Eoghan Tuohey
The 2019 Renault GAA World Games were opened in style in the heart of Waterford city yesterday evening, July 28th.
All 84 teams marched from the Waterside car park, through the Apple Market and into Arundel Square, cheered on the entire way by hundreds of spectators, adorned in a colourful sea of flags, bunting and posters.
Four marching bands, the Celtic Drummers, the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife & Drum Band, the City of Waterford Brass Band and the Barrack Street Band were intermittently positioned throughout the ocean of energy and excitement as the cohort of some 1300 players and members of management made their way through the spine of Ireland’s oldest city.
All players and team officials were met in Arundel square by the Taiko Drummers for the official opening ceremony of the Renault GAA World Games 2019. There were a few short words from John Pratt, Mayor of Waterford & Niall Erskine, Chairperson of the World GAA Committee. An array of entertainment followed featuring the South African Teams, Dónal Lunny & Mairtin O’Connor & the stars of the show, the Mount Sion Choir.
Many teams were joined by juvenile members of their Waterford twinning partners, which strengthened the links between visiting and local clubs ahead of their social and cultural evening, of which 45 Waterford clubs are involved, on Tuesday evening, the 30th July.
The scene which greeted teams as they approached the final stretch into Arundel Square was a magnificent spectacle, complimented by the glorious sunshine which blanketed the city centre.
The games kicked off this morning at 10am, and in total, there were some 1100 players involved in over 100 matches played across the seven pitches. In the Irish Born Camogie division, Middle East and Australasia have emerged already as the front-runners here, with convincing victories across the day.
In the Native Camogie competition, US-based Twin Cities and the Warriors have sprung rapidly from the traps, and will be thrilled with their opening displays, which set them up nicely heading into the second day of competition tomorrow.
The Irish hurling segment played host to some thrilling encounters, with the Middle East and Australasia occupying the top spots, albeit with Middle East having a game in hand heading into Day 2.
Heartland are sitting pretty in the native hurling section of the tournament, while the German hurlers will be reasonably satisfied with their opening performances, having claimed one win from their initial two encounters.
The Australasian contingent have been consistently strong across their competitions, and the Irish Ladies' Football division is no exception. They remain unbeaten, closely followed by Parnells of Britian GAA.
Across the four groups that compile the Native Ladies' Football competition, Australasia, Toronto, Empire State and Liberty Ladies are in front thus far.
Unsurprisingly, Australasia also sit pretty atop the Irish men's football pile following the conclusion of day 1, but only through scoring difference, with Asia Tigers and Middle East hot on their heels.
In our most populous event, the Native men's football, the six groups remain closely competitive, with Sean McDermott's, New York Freedom, Eire Og, New York Liberty, Tir Chonaill Gaels and France impressing during the opening exchanges at the WIT Arena today.
The action resumes from 9am tomorrow, entry is free all week, and everyone is invited and encouraged to get involved in what has been a wonderful event to date.