Calgary Chieftains Gaelic FC: Looking forward to a busy season
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Eamon O’Keeffe is the secretary of the Calgary Chieftains Gaelic Football Club. I recently met up with him at the Unicorn Pub on 8th Avenue in Calgary which sponsors the team.
“We have a busy season coming up,” said Eamon. “The season kicks off at the Western Canadian Championship Tournament in Vancouver, on June 26 and 27 with men and women’s teams competing from Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Seattle and Vancouver.
“During the Calgary Stampede, we’re going to throw a one-day event on July 17 for the Alberta teams since players from Edmonton and Red Deer will be at the Stampede.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity to get together for a game, which will take place at the Calgary Irish Rugby Club, where we do all our club training.
“We’re also planning a fundraising sports day in July, where we invite everyone to come out and enjoy the afternoon. Plans are also being made for our annual golf tournament sometime in the summer.”
On July 31 and August 1, the Western Canadian Championship Finals will take place in Red Deer. This is the first time the Championship Finals will be held in Red Deer and they are putting a lot of effort into insuring that it will be a good show.
The men’s team play for the Tom Butler Trophy and the women play for the Tom Gibbons Memorial Trophy.
Eamon said, “Our Calgary Chieftains women’s Gaelic football team compete at the same tournaments as the men. This year, their new coach is Joe Whelan, and reports are that they have a very strong team with good numbers coming out to all the training practices.
“Hopefully they will get some good strong competition from the Edmonton ladies team this year. The Vancouver ladies have two teams and they are always very strong and present a tough challenge when we travel across the Rockies.
“Seattle also has a ladies team, but Calgary seems to be able to hold their own against them. However, Vancouver tends to be the big problem, so we will just have to wait and see how the year pans out.”
He said, “The Edmonton Wolfe Tones Men’s team are very strong this year, since they have had an influx of newly arrived Irish Gaelic players. As a result, they can field two and maybe three teams, whereas Calgary is just shy of two teams.
“We had hoped to have a Gaelic team competing from Lethbridge, but unfortunately, that has fallen-through the cracks. So, hopefully we can keep the interest going through the summer and get the team started-up next year.
“There is also a possibility that the Dennis Walsh Memorial Tournament that was cancelled in Edmonton at the end of May, may be played in Lethbridge in September. The Dennis Walsh Memorial Tournament is only competed for by the Alberta teams.”
Eamon acknowledged the support the club has received from the Irish Cultural Society saying, “We are very grateful to the ICSC who allow the Chieftains to run our fundraisers at the club. These fundraisers are very important to our club.”
For more information about the Calgary Chieftains men and women’s Gaelic football teams, call Eamon O’Keeffe at (403) 369-5371 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at: www.calgary.gaa.ie.