Mayo native Alan Jennings teaches English in a university in Clermont, and having moved over two years ago, he joined up with the local gaelic football team, the Clermont Gaels.
The side, who have won the Intermediate Championship in France for the past four years, are thriving, and Jennings decided to document their journey over the course of a year.
He put together a documentary, entitled ‘C’est Pas Le Foot!‘ which translates to ‘It’s not football!‘, inspired by the locals’ reluctance to pick the ball up off the ground.
Speaking to Pundit Arena GAA, Jennings spoke of why he felt it was important for the publicity of the sport on the continent.
“People from home knew about it in the UK, the US and Australia but literally nobody knew that there were leagues all over Europe as well.
“In the last 5 years or so the sport has exploded on the continent and it’s only getting more and more popular.”
This competitive championship is not just a recreational activity for ex-pats to get to know other Irish in the local area. The majority are French, who take it up as a competitive sport.
“I wanted to showcase the fact that the vast majority of people playing our sports in Europe are not Irish. Very few of the clubs have more than a handful of Irish players with many sides boasting 100% local teams.”
“The best thing for me however, has to be playing GAA with a team that is 99% made up of French players. Seeing French lads crying their eyes out when we failed to qualify for the senior finals by a single point is something I won’t forget, it’s amazing to see foreigners who love what we consider to be a sport that only Irish people care about.”
You can view the documentary, which covers the action both on and off the field, here:
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