Austin Stacks Welcomes East Belfast GAA Club To Tralee

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Eddie Barrett of Austin Stacks, Hannah Armstrong and Kimberly Robertson of East Belfast GAA, Mayor of Tralee Johnnie Wall, Ricky Moloney of Austin Stacks and Fergal Hegarty of East Belfast GAA at the Austin Stacks clubhouse on Saturday. Photo by Dermot Crean

A GAA club from Belfast received a warm welcome to Tralee this weekend where they were hosted by the Austin Stacks club.

Men’s and women’s teams from East Belfast GAA came down to play Rockies teams on what was an historic weekend for both clubs.

East Belfast GAA was only formed in the summer of 2020 after chairperson Kimberly Robertson sent out a tweet asking for people to join the new club.

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“The response was overwhelming and within a couple of days we had enough members for teams in all four codes,” said Kimberly.

“Now we have about 450 adult playing members with about 10 teams playing in all codes. We also have an underage programme with from under 5s to under 11s and it’s growing every week,” added Kimberly, who is originally from Boston but has been living in Belfast for nine years.

East Belfast is an ‘all-community’ club with members from both the nationalist and unionist communities.

“We invite anyone who wants to play GAA. A lot of our players are adults who have never been given the opportunity to play Gaelic games,” said Kimberly.

Cllr Deirdre Ferris, Sinead Oakes of East Belfast GAA and Pauline Barrett at the Austin Stacks Clubhouse on Saturday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Kimberly and Eddie Barrett of Austin Stacks follow each other on Twitter and Eddie suggested the club pay a visit to Tralee.

“We love it here, it’s been amazing. It’s our first big tour as a club and hopefully it’s the beginning of a long lasting relationship with Austin Stacks,” added Kimberly.

Vice-Chairman of Austin Stacks, Eamonn O’Reilly, was delighted to welcome the club to town.

“It’s a lovely, historic occasion. East Belfast GAA an all-community club and we would see ourselves as an inclusive club. It’s lovely that there’s both a men’s and ladies team here. It’s all very positive and it’s what the GAA is all about,” said Eamonn.

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Eddie Barrett said it was a significant visit by the club to Austin Stacks.

“Historically it’s something that’s very important, that we establish links between our county town and Belfast. It’s extraordinary what they’ve done in that part of Belfast. They’ve broken the perception that a GAA club couldn’t be set up in East Belfast,” said Eddie.

The club members arrived on Friday and enjoyed hospitality in Kirby’s Brogue Inn, sponsor of the Stacks senior team. They visited Banna beach on Saturday morning before the games against Stacks in the afternoon.

The men’s game was a competitive encounter which finished all square while the Stacks ladies were victorious in the other match. A great weekend then for all and hopefully it’ll be repeated soon.

Mayor of Tralee Johnnie Wall makes a presentation to Chairperson of East Belfast GAA Kimberly Robertson at Austin Stacks GAA Clubhouse on Saturday. Also included is Eddie Barrett of Austin Stacks. Photo by Dermot Crean

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A presentation of a framed East Belfast GAA jersey was made to Austin Stacks GAA on Saturday.

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