San Isidro Gaélico - Bringing Gaelic Football to the river basin of Buenos Aires
By Eoghan Tuohey
Founded in March 2017, the San Isidro GAA club is built on a foundation of Irish heritage, an amateur ethos, inclusion and community. Inspired by the falling participation numbers of young people in more traditional Argentinian sports, caused quite often by elitism and high levels of competitiveness, the Gaelic Football club was set up to provide an outlet for locals to socialise, participate and exercise in a fun and novel way.
Situated north of Buenos Aires, San Isidro is a town rich in history and sporting prowess - one where they view sport and physical activity as a healthy vehicle toward integration, socialisation and an essential complement to education. The amateur ethos of the GAA and Gaelic Football specifically was a driving force in inspiring the initial founders to set up the club, as family and the opportunity for all to get involved is the cornerstone on which the club sits.
Less is know of the rich Irish heritage that exists in places like Argentina than say, the US, but it's roots run deep. Those with ancestry are fuelled with determination to keep that aspect of their culture alive, and so bringing this very Irish idea to the locality was certainly a novel move, in an area where there was no trace of GAA until very recently.
The San Isidro Gaélico Club's chief goal is to expand their reach and encourage as many local people as possible to join them and help the game grow in the region. They intend to travel to the 2019 Renault GAA World Games in Waterford and represent their community and region with pride here. Family and community training sessions take place every Sunday, with everybody getting involved, while their World Games team trains separately then, preparing themselves for the challenge to come in the summer.
They intend to lead by example, and encourage people from all backgrounds, not just those of Irish descent, to get involved and to spread their reach to neighbouring towns as well. Their passion for the game is infectious, their enthusiasm rife. Even with limited resources, they have bought into the culture and the amateur ethos that encompasses the association, and have created a sense of belonging that exists in GAA clubs all over the world, which draws people towards them. They're off to a great start, let's hope it continues!