Irish Name : Ellan Vannin Gaels
English Name : Ellan Vannin Gaels
Pitch : Isle of Man
ELLAN VANNIN - Manx Gaelic for the Isle of Man.
GAELS - An ethnic group in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, whose language is one that is Gaelic.
Before the arrival of the ELLAN VANNIN GAELS in the summer of 2006, Gaelic football was a rare sight on the Island. A previous incarnation, `MANNIN GAELS` (though not connected), had competed in the Lancashire league during the 1990`s. Due to lack of funding and facilities, the competitive `MANNIN GAELS` disbanded late on in the decade.
There was still an appetite for Gaelic football on the Island though with regular training sessions amongst a core group of 10 to 20 during the summers of 2005 and 2006. As the numbers grew and the players became hungry for competition, it was decided to `give it a go`. The club was formed at an informal meeting in July 2006. Straight away the GAELS set about plans to get some much needed competitive games and started to promote the game to the wider audience on the Isle of Man. Initial sponsorship deals were struck to kit out the team, and some attractive local press coverage ensured that the club was moving in the right direction.
In August 2006, a party of 30 headed to Birmingham for what was to be the inaugural game. Sean McDermott’s provided the opposition in this friendly encounter, with the GAELS narrowly losing by 2 points. Further friendlies followed, with members of the Lancashire county board in attendance to gauge the standard of the GAELS. In March of this year the GAELS achieved objective number one: Acceptance into the Lancashire County Junior competitions. It was just reward to the club who had worked tirelessly on and off the pitch.
On an Island known for its diversity of sport and top class facilities, the GAELS knew that they would have to approach some local clubs with a view to a ground share. After some constructive meetings, VAGABONDS RUFC invited the GAELS to use their facilities at Glencrutchery Road, Douglas. A link was formed between the clubs, which ensured the GAELS could host games on the Island.
The 12th of May 2007 was to be an historic occasion for the club as they travelled to Liverpool to play the much fancied John Mitchel’s in their first ever competitive fixture. However, this junior championship game taught the travelling GAELS a harsh lesson as John Mitchell’s ran out easy winners. Beaten soundly on the day, the club were under no illusions as to what they needed to do to be competitive on the field.
After some intense training, the GAELS prepared themselves for another milestone as they were set to host the first ever competitive fixture on the Isle of Man. Oisín from Manchester provided the opposition, in a highly entertaining game in which the GAELS ran out winners by a single point.
So its a case of `onwards and upwards` for this progressive thinking club, with plans afoot to host their own end of season tournament which is hoped would attract a large number of teams from both the UK and Ireland.