A Corrézien from Bugeat at the European Gaelic Football Cup

A clever mix between rugby and football, Gaelic football appears to be a minor sport in France but stands out as the Irish national sport.

Praised across the Channel, it is one of the three team sports of Gaelic culture alongside hurling and a version of handball. « In France, we play 11 against 11. In Ireland, it is played at 15. A match consists of two periods of 35 minutes each, explains Sylvain Touquet, a player from Bugeat. Three points are awarded when the ball, round and weighted and able to be kicked or kicked, enters the goal, then a point when the player scores over the poles.

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Gaelic football: the « reason for living » of the Irish

It was during his studies in Dublin that Sylvain Touquet discovered this sport and fell in love with it, a « reason for living » for the Irish. On returning to France, he joined his first club in Clermont-Ferrand at the age of 22. He will remain there for eight years.

Then things speed up. « Gaelic football has been spreading across the country for a few years, he says. There are between thirty and forty clubs, both male and female, organized into four divisions. Women’s teams remain more complicated to develop even if the selection is both regional and national.

Sylvain Touquet will take part in the European Gaelic Football Cup in Spain in July.

amateur gamers

Regional championships, as in Brittany due to the proximity to England, national and international federal championships, are organized and the French know how to show the momentum: the Occitanie team reached the semi-finals of the World Games in 2019!

« It’s a real recognition for our clubs because between the big organizations in Paris or Lyon, we have shown that the regional teams know how to push in front of the British players. »

After the World Games in Waterford, Ireland, this marketing manager will be alongside his teammates from the Occitania selection for the European Championship to be held from July 14 to 17 in Pontavedra, Spain.

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« This meeting requires significant organization and suitable infrastructure with five or six pitches. We will play around two games a day », announces Sylvain Touquet, who plays as an amateur. The Occitanie team wants to shine like at the World Games.

The Occitanie selection is racing towards the European Cup

If the draw for the hens should take place within a fortnight, around thirty teams from all walks of life will be present: Germany, Italy, Galicia… And several tricolor representations: the France team, the Breton selection or still Gascony. The Occitans, meanwhile, will arm themselves with a coat of arms adorned with a duck. « It is the most present animal in the South-West and it is known for its loyalty », details the Corrézien player.

Follow the competition

To follow the Occitania team during this European Gaelic Football Championship, live transcripts will be organized by Spanish television and it will be possible to follow the « red and yellow » on the federation’s social networks.

Sabine Taverdet

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