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Middle East Football Championship Preview

March 9, 2023

After more than six months of training, with endless hours of GAA chat dominating bar stools across the region in between, the Middle East GAA season will conclude on Saturday at Zayed Sports City.

The Championship in Abu Dhabi serves as the final tournament of the season, bringing an end to another thrilling year of Gaelic Games in the region.

As we look ahead to the penultimate event, there’s no better place to start than the senior men’s section, where Jumeirah Gaels enter as favourites, having lifted their first-ever senior league title in scintillating fashion last month. Despite the absence of captain Evan Duffy and Eric Lowndes this weekend, Jumeirah Gaels appear to have a full deck of cards to select from, with the influential Peter Acheson, Mike Fitzgibbon and Jack Savage in majestic form.

Reigning championship winners, Abu Dhabi, will be among the favourites to triumph on home soil. The strength and experience of Senan Kilbride, Jordan Kiely, Tom Devlin, Ciaran Treacy, and Sean Kelly will be key to inspiring their title defence.

Dubai Celts, meanwhile, will be bolstered by the additions of star men Cormac Coffey and Shane Killoran, who were missing from the last tournament at the Sevens Stadium. Niall Walsh and Tommy Cahill will be absent through injuries.

Al Reem Shamrocks have impressed all season, making the semi-finals in each of the four league tournaments, and have the potential to upset any of the top teams on their day. Keep an eye on ace marksman Danny Neville who has been a joy to watch all season.

In the intermediate division, Abu Dhabi will be the team to beat, with Qatar also shining in recent months.

The Junior A section will be another thriller, with newly-promoted Sharjah among the favourites alongside Laochra Gael and Al Ain.

In the senior ladies’ section, a kick of the ball separates Sharjah, Jumeirah Gaels and Abu Dhabi. Sharjah will be looking to seal their second championship in a row, while Abu Dhabi have glittering form on their side after recently claiming the league title.

Al Reem Shamrocks and Kerry Middle East are the favourites in the ladies’ intermediate and Junior A championships, respectively.

The action gets underway from 8am at Zayed Sports City on Saturday. The senior grades throw in from 11.40am with the ladies and men’s senior finals scheduled for 5pm and 5.30pm respectively.