Irish Guards GAA

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Irish Guards GAA
Gardaí Éireannach
Irish Guards Badge.png
Nickname:The Micks
Colours:Black and green
Grounds:Hounslow Barracks, London[1]
Playing kits
Standard colours

Irish Guards GAA (Irish: Gardaí Éireannach), also known as Naomh Padraig, is a British gaelic games club based in London, England. They are the representative Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) team of the British Army regiment, the Irish Guards and the first British army club in Gaelic football after the lifting of a ban on members of the British military playing Gaelic games.[2] They are affiliated to the London GAA and were founded in 2015.


Prior to 2001, the Gaelic Athletic Association had rule 21 in their official rulebook which prohibited members of the British armed forces from being members of the association or playing Gaelic games.[3] In 2001, the GAA voted in favour of removing rule 21 despite five of the six county boards of Northern Ireland voting against it.[4] The removal of the rule meant that British security and police forces were now able to join the GAA. The Police Service of Northern Ireland, following their reconstitution from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, formed PSNI GAA as the first team for British security services who had previously been prohibited from playing.[5]


In 2015, the Irish Guards moved their barracks from Aldershot, Hampshire to Hounslow in London.[6] During a tour of Afghanistan, members of the Irish Guards brought GAA jerseys and hurls with them and a suggestion was made about them having their own team.[7][8] Following their tour, they applied to the London GAA for membership to be able to play in the London Junior Football Championships.[9] They also wanted to join so that Fijian born soldiers could play "a strong physical game that would suit them".[10] However membership would not be restricted to serving soldiers and would be an open club.[11]

The case for the Irish Guards GAA was made by County Waterford-born Major Ken Fox in a presentation to the London GAA.[2] When the London GAA voted on permitting the Irish Guards to join the county board, there was a split vote 15–15. The London GAA chairman Noel O'Sullivan used his casting vote to permit the Irish Guards membership. He justified his support for the Irish Guards, stating "I just chose what I believe leads to the betterment of London and to the GAA in general."[12] Following their affiliation, members of the Irish Guards GAA team attended Setanta GFC's kit launch as well as to support their bid for affiliation with a British county board after London GAA had rejected them on proximity grounds.[13]

In January 2016, Granuaile GAA moved a motion at the next London GAA meeting to expel the Irish Guards GAA from the county board.[14] However, the Central Board of the GAA intervened to veto the motion stating that there were no grounds by which a motion in support of a club's affiliation could be rescinded.[15] The Irish Guards GAA was founded in 2015 and played their first match against Tír Chonaill Gaels in March 2016, fielding players from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.[7]


  1. ^ "Irish Guards serve up unique GAA experience in Hounslow". Irish Post. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Irish Guards: Regiment becomes first British Army club in GAA". BBC News. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Breaking: British Army cleared to field GAA team in London". Irish Post. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Rule 21 is history". BBC Sport. 7 November 2001. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  5. ^ "GAA Makes Right Move by Including Irish Guards Team; Ireland and Britain's Past Is Still a Political Minefield. but as We All Evolve, the GAA Is Correct to Be Less Exclusive". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ "Irish Guards hoping for 'good craic' after arriving at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks". Get West London. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b Mulhern, Robert (7 March 2016). "History in London as British Army unit plays first GAA game". BBC News. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Gardaí Éireannach". The Daily Cheer. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  9. ^ "British Army GAA team cleared to play in London championship". The Irish News. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  10. ^ Hello (15 September 2015). "UK's Irish Guards cleared to join the Gaelic games body, the GAA". News Letter. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  11. ^ 16/09/15 10:42am. "British Army to field GAA team in London Junior Championship". Sky Sports. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Why London GAA chairman voted in favour of Irish Guards". The Irish World. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Pictures: Irish Guards step into the British GAA limelight". Irish Post. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Granuaile club in bid to exclude Irish Guards GAA team". BBC News. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  15. ^ "British army side will remain in London GAA competition". Irish Examiner. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.