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Queen’s to make history with Colleges Festival

Getting ready to welcome both players and supporters to Belfast are (l-R) Queens Hurling player Chris McGuiness, Queens University Gaelic footballer Martin McElhinney, Queens Ladies footballer Mairead Cooper and Queens Camogie player Ruby Marie Rice.

Getting ready to welcome both players and supporters to Belfast are (l-R) Queens Hurling player Chris McGuiness, Queens University Gaelic footballer Martin McElhinney, Queens Ladies footballer Mairead Cooper and Queens Camogie player Ruby Marie Rice.

The countdown is on as Queen’s University Belfast is getting ready to become an inferno of Gaelic Games next month when it hosts the first Colleges GAA Festival in Ireland.

With only one month to go, Queen’s GAA Festival is set to be the third largest sporting event to take place in Northern Ireland in 2014.

Over 2,250 top players from throughout Ireland will participate over four weekends in Gaelic football, Ladies football, Hurling and Camogie.

This is the first time a university or college has ever hosted all four of the major higher education Gaelic Games tournaments in the same year, providing a boost to both the local economy and tourism when it begins on February 13.

The finals will take place at Queen’s Upper Malone facilities following its £13 million redevelopment.

Teams from all over Ireland are currently battling it out to make it to the Queen’s Festival weekends which throw in on February 13-16 with Camogie’s Ashbourne Cup. The Festival continues on February 20- 22 with Gaelic Football’s Sigerson Cup, Hurling’s Fitzgibbon Cup on February 27–March 1 and Ladies Football’s O’Connor Cup on March 21–22.

Three of the hotly anticipated cup finals, Sigerson Cup, Fitzgibbon Cup and Ladies Football’s O’Connor Cup will be broadcast live on TG4.

Adding to the excitement of the action on the pitch, there will be a packed programme of events to offer players, supporters and those wanting to enjoy the festivities in Belfast. Events will include music and comedy nights, talks from well-known sports personalities, advice on nutrition, mental health and wellbeing and opportunities to try other sports.

Queen’s GAA Development Officer and former All-Ireland winner with Armagh, Aidan O’Rourke, said: “Queen’s is delighted to be the first University to host all four major colleges Gaelic Games competitions in one continuous festival.

“In creating Queen’s GAA Festival we are offering a big welcome to the thousands of players who will be taking part, and to the thousands of supporters that we hope will join them on the road to Belfast. We can promise them an inferno of Gaelic Games on the pitch, with a programme of entertainment, family activities and hospitality to match.”

The current Louth manager added: “Queen’s GAA Festival will be one of the largest sporting events in Northern Ireland this year, and in creating the Festival we hope participants and visitors can make the most of their time spent in Belfast beyond the matches.”

For further information on Queen’s GAA Festival visit www.gaafestival.com

 

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