Emerald GAA Grounds
|Location||West End Road, South Ruislip, London HA4 6QX, England|
|Public transit||South Ruislip station|
The Emerald GAA Grounds (Irish: Páirc Smáirgaid), otherwise known as Ruislip GAA (Irish: Rúislip C.L.G), are the current headquarters, and principal Gaelic games facility, of the Gaelic Athletic Association's County Board of London. It is situated in South Ruislip, west London.
The grounds is the current venue for the finals of the Toureen Mangan Junior Football Championship, the Intermediate Football Championship, the J. Reddington Senior Football Championship, the London Senior Hurling Championship, and the Nicky Rackard Cup (Level 2A), as well as British inter-provincial titles among Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Scotland, Hertfordshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire.
In 1999, the original grounds did not have any scoreboard, and dugouts were situated off the opposite ends of the pitch. The pitch itself was sponsored by Bank of Ireland, and featured their crest. Since then, A modern electronic scoreboard has been added, and dugouts have been refurnished. The ground bar has full sports coverage, including Setanta for Live GAA.
The Pitch is the home ground of the London hurling team, hosting the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship, and the NHL. The grounds is also the home of the London Football Team, and their Allianz NFL matches are held there. As well as the male teams, the female football team play in the Brendan Martin Cup, The Ladies senior football cup competition, and the O'Duffy Cup.
Railway Cup Final 2009
On the 125th anniversary of the GAA, it was decided that the Railway Cup final of 2009 would be held in England. GAA president Christy Cooney said that this was because of England's Gaelic Development:
"It's one way of acknowledging and supporting the games in Britain by having such a high profile final here with the quality players that we have.
"Secondly Britain were keen to organise a celebration for the 125th year. We’re thrilled to be staging the final here and the players will be thrilled to come and play here."
There was, on the night before the match, a gala ceremony, with tickets costing £50. The Irish ambassador to England was there, with numerous other Irish diplomatic and Gaelic games players present. The game was held the next day, with Ulster narrowly winning by three points, which upset predictions that it would be game belonging to Munster.
The GAA holds annual refereeing courses and fitness tests in the grounds. Recently, Irish rock band Bagatelle played a music festival at the clubhouse. The clubhouse hosts numerous charity events on behalf of Hillingdon. The Current manager of the grounds is Kevin Kelly, of Heston Gaels GFC>
The grounds features a renovated clubhouse, with complete changing rooms and toilets for the home and away teams respectively. There is a balcony for trophy presentations and speeches, and a large scoreboard. The grounds features special function rooms for hire. The ground floor houses a bar and dressing room, whilst the first floor holds a multi-function room. Two full size car parks are also available. The Irish national Anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, is played through speakers surrounding the grounds. The pitch is not floodlit, meaning most games are played in the afternoon.
The Grounds are scheduled for redevelopment in 2013. The cost is expected to be shared between the London County Board and Croke Park. Plans include a new 2,000-seat stand, terracing, media facilities and new dressing rooms.
- "Munster 1-08 Ulster 0–15". RTÉ Sport. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Railway Cup rolls into Britain". The Irish Post. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "London calling grows loud again". Irish Independent. 30 May 2010.
- "Ruislip redevelopment moves a step closer", The Irish World, 19 October 2012