Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

The Curious Ear: County London

For the first time in 36 years, the London GAA football team have made it as far as the semi-finals in Connacht, playing Leitrim tomorrow. Robert Mulhern talks to former players on RTE Radio today

Gerry Rea captained the London hurlers against his home county, Limerick, in the All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final in 1973. Photograph: Kim Cunningham

Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 09:00


An offbeat radio documentary about Gaelic Games in London will air on RTE Radio 1 today. The 12-minute production for the Curious Ear programme coincides with London’s historic Connacht SFC semi-final against Leitrim that takes place tomorrow, and features contributions from one Roscommon emigrant who scored a point the last time the Exiles won in Carrick on Shannon, way back in 1977.

The production also charts the famous ‘Rea versus Rea’ battle in Ennis in 1973, when Limerick native Gerry Rea captained the London hurlers against his home county in an All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final, and ended up marking his brother.

Recorded in London, the documentary visits pubs like the Boot in Kings Cross, home to a treasure trove of GAA memorabilia, including a chair from the old Ard Comhairle in Croke Park, which is believed to have been used to Eamon de Valera.

The production also touches on the ‘phenomenon’ of emigrants playing competitive GAA well into their later years. It is produced by Robert Mulhern and Ronan Kelly.

The producers said: “Sometimes people don’t realise that London won the Liam McCarthy cup in 1901, so they are on the record and the history here is rich. When set against the backdrop of a major world centre, you get a real colourful slant of the games abroad, and the community that has developed around it is as parochial as any county at home. This documentary set out to chart just a small bit of that against the backdrop of the London v Leitrim match.”

The documentary goes to air at 2.45pm on RTE Radio 1 today, or you can listen to a podcast at any time here.

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