Celebrating Gaelic Football


Yesterday’s post was about Hurling, a Gaelic sport loved and played by the Irish. However, the Irish people we met on our very first night out in Dublin also mentioned Gaelic Football. After hearing that we’d be in Donegal later on in our trip, they showed excitement of what we’d experience because they people of County Donegal would be on a high from winning the Gaelic Football Championship against County Mayo the week prior.

Sure enough, all throughout the county, we saw the colors sported and signs hung:

bst of luck

A convenience store wishing “all the lads” some luck.

neb at tge

Even the pharmacy proudly displays the local colors.

Car flags

Car flags. Hey, we do this in the states!

this same care

The same car detailed with tape supporting the team’s colors!

we are guilty of this ,too. The whole care in colors.

In Green Bay, we are guilty of this, too. There’s always some guy who wants to paint his car the team colors.

Or just while you are out dining.

We even experienced it at lunch in a pub.

But this whole time, I thought Gaelic Football was just soccer played by the counties in Ireland, rather than throughout Europe.

But boy was I wrong.

I learned this our first night out in Donegal Town. Rob and I went out for a couple of pints. We settled in to MJ’s Bar and ordered a couple of ciders. I spotted the sports section of a newspaper sitting on the bar. We missed out the Packer game the day before, so we decided to flip through it to see if the score was in there. We knew it was a fat chance since the paper wasn’t an international one.

When the bartender {which we later learned was also the owner of the bar} found out, he told us that we couldn’t find the scores in there. But he turned on the TV and flipped to a sports station. I was thought it was so nice that he was going to help us find the score. But it was better yet – a replay of the game was on!!!!


I told the locals that their team colors are the same as mine! (Notice the dun na ngall banner? It’s the Gaelic spelling of Donegal.)

It wasn’t until talking with a local in that bar that I learned that Gaelic Football is not just Football played amongst counties within Ireland like I had thought…

It’s a whole different sport!

In fact, Gaelic football is more like Hurling! After doing some research, it appears that it is scored the same way as hurling and the ball can be touched with the hands occasionally.

And the people of Donegal are very proud of this win.

We saw many signs about “bringing Sam home” while driving around the countryside. We inquired about this at the bar and learned that it’s the name of the trophy. To explain it a little further, the owner of the bar played a song that was written for the team. It is actually copied from a song about a man from Senegal who is said to sell the best fake Rolex watches and sunglasses, but wants to get back to Ireland.

Jimmy’s selling watches… Jimmy’s selling chains… Jimmy’s gonna sing about Molly Malone again…

This song was written by a man from Donegal, but he wanted to change it up a bit to support his team while living abroad:

Jimmy’s winning matches… Jimmy’s winning games… Jimmy’s bringing Sammy back to Donegal again…

The Jimmy he refers to here is Jimmy McGuinness, the manager of the Donegal Gaelic Football Team. And of course, Sammy is the trophy {the Sam Maguire Cup}!  Here’s the video. But I warn you… the song will be stuck in your head for days!

One of the locals said that I should sing this for the Pack in order ensure a trip to the Super Bowl this year. Such as:

Green Bay’s winning matches.

Green Bay’s winning games.

Green Bay, bring Lombardi back to Titletown again.

Hmmm… That just might stick.

Another night in Donegal Town, Rob and I stopped at the Scotsman’s Bar. After the few locals in there left, we had the bar to ourselves and chatted with the bartender. Apparently, he’s in a band called FREE WHISKEY. I absolutely adore this name for a band. Can you imagine having your band banner up while you are performing and people coming over to listen because they saw a sign that read “Free Whiskey”? Genius.

In any case, his band wrote another song about Donegal Gaelic Football called Half Cut Sam. He pointed us to their You Tube video. Not only is the music good, the video is very well done! Check it out:

What a cool place for us to visit only a week after Donegal won the Championship. I can’t imagine how crazy the pubs were the week prior! The Irish do love their sports. What’s more?

None of these athletes are paid.

That’s right. They are all just regular people with regular jobs like farmers, accountants, construction workers, etc. They are people who have the passion for their sport and want to play for their pride of their county. You gotta love that!

What is your favorite team sport to play?

What is your favorite team sport to watch?

How do you celebrate your favorite team’s win?


5 responses »

  1. I first had to laugh because you were at MJ’s bar, we have a bar by the same name in my tiny little town of Sterling 🙂 That’s crazy how their athletes are not paid. Look at what ours make?!? I think they shouldn’t be paid the insane amounts we pay. It is a sport after all. I say give that money to our armed forces, someone that could really use it rather than athletes that make crazy amounts of money so their wives can be on a show called “Basketball wives” and act like complete idiots! ugh!!

  2. Pingback: Irish Food « Season It Already!

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