Have you ever heard of the GAA team who play at international rugby stadiums, train under the watchful eyes of Sergio Aguero, and hit the gym with models?
Even lads from Mayo are winning medals!
Surely this sounds too good to be true, right?
St Peter’s GAA club in Manchester was founded in the 1970s. Its growth throughout the 1980s owed to Ireland’s recession, with immigration of Irishmen into Manchester fueling the club’s success.
Since the 2000s Peter’s have been challenging for Lancashire county titles and winning All-Britain championships, the last of which coming in 2012.
TJ Brennan, a member of St Peter’s, got in touch with Pundit Arena to tell the story of the club. (His Galway heritage may explain the occasional dig at Mayo).
“Our current team has lads from Kerry, Derry, Stretford, Kildare, and boasts a strong Mayo representation (I suppose they think that winning All-Britains are easier for Mayo men than All-Irelands!)
“We welcome new-comers, or people who have just taken an extended break, to the sport.”
Throughout some of the harsher winters, their own pitch at Hough End Chorlton can be unplayable, so they are allowed access to Platt Lane, Man City FC’s old training ground.
City’s senior team only recently moved out of the facility and the walls still adorn 30 foot full wall images of Sergio Aguero and Joe Hart.
“Most of our lads are United fans so they take great pleasure in slotting a point over the bar and straight into the dandruff-free head of Hart!
“In the past we have been asked “what are you guys playing?” but people now seem to recognise the sport better. Perhaps that is down to Sky Sports’ coverage of gaelic games.”
Every year the club organises a pre-season tour to get everyone back after Christmas and build momentum for the year ahead. Destinations have included The Isle of Man, Amsterdam, The Páidi Ó Sé tournament, and last year a trip North Wales organised by one of the club’s Mayo stalwarts Jason Hurst.
The latter fell on St Patrick’s weekend and was part of the region’s Irish Festival, where they played at Eirias Park; a 15,000 capacity stadium with a full eight lane running track.
The team travelled down on the Friday evening, and were greeted as special guests of the arena’s management to the Ireland vs Wales u20s Six Nations game which filled the ground.
“We all then went to bed straight after the game and DID NOT go out in Llandudno to any Irish bars! We had a game at noon the next day to play against a strong team from Liverpool.
“The arena marketed the event as an exhibition of gaelic football, which drew the locals down to watch the feast of football.
“We ran out winners, and really enjoyed seeing how a top class facility runs and how it aids match preparation.
“The arena wanted to show they could host a gaelic match, and to market themselves as an option to the top class inter county teams at home for pre season training camps.”
The team look after themselves physically, and at one of their spinning/boxercise classes in the gym last year, they bumped into none other than Michelle Keegan off Coronation street.
“We were just finishing a very hot and sweaty spinning class, and the lads where trying their best to cool down as we walked out, and we noticed that someone was standing outside the room awaiting their session..
“It was only Michelle Keegan and a personal trainer. A few mouths dropped, I am sure she was impressed with our fitness and O’Neills jerseys.
“One of the lads attempted to take a selfie but her Private Trainer put a stop to that, fair enough I suppose wanting some privacy!”
The club sounds like a great blend of craic and competitive action. If anyone in the Manchester area wants to join a successful and friendly football club in Manchester, with a small chance of meeting Michelle Keegan, you can get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, or email them at [email protected]
Thanks to TJ Brennan for getting in touch. If you have a story to tell, don’t be afraid to contact our GAA Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!