GAA has become the largest amateur team event in Asia with over 700 taking part. At this year's 15th Asian GAA Games, held in Hong Kong, the winner of the men's football competition was Dubai.
Fourteen Asian countries competed in the Asian Gaelic championships, in both football and hurling. They included teams from Qatar, Singapore, Dubai, Japan and this year India made its first appearance.
Niall Meaney, from Crusheen in County Clare was one of the triumphant Dubai players. He said "We should have it in Dubai next year, but it’s a bit expensive for people to get to. And they’ve done an amazing job here, isn’t the organization fantastic.”
Qatar was also a force to be reckoned with during the championship with a large influx of Irish coming from the Kentz engineering group. Also Dalian, in the northeast of China has had its local growth grow due to the arrival of Irish Intel workers there. The demographic of the Asia players is a little unexpected. They are from professions usually associated with rugby such as investment bankers, lawyers or senior management.
Shane Harmon, chairman of the Hong Kong GAA, which organized the event said "It has gone really well. We have had 65 teams on five pitches, and 1,400 people through the gates. More than 700 players are playing in what is now the largest amateur team event in Asia.”
Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, former Deputy Prime Minister Dick Spring, Minister of State Martin Mansergh and a cross-section of international am