Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta takes place this weekend in Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen) in County Galway.
The tournament is the annual Gaeltacht football competition held over the June Bank Holiday weekend. Last year’s edition was hosted by An Rinn in County Waterford when Donegal side Gaoth Dobhair defeated the hosts in the final.
This year’s competition will see Gaoth Dobhair attempt to make it three in a row. Their side looks a strong outfit as they look set to include their county stars as Donegal’s Ulster quarter final date with either Fermanagh or Antrim does not take place until the 22nd of June. Their county stars include Neil, Eamon McGee and Odhrán Mac Niallais while ex county star Kevin Cassidy looks set to make the journey to Moycullen. They tackle Galway’s Mícheál Breathnach in the quarter-finals
Last year’s runner’s up An Rinn will shorn of several of their stars due to county commitments. Donie Breathnach who made his championship debut for the Waterford hurlers in last week’s draw with All Ireland finalists Cork will not make the journey as the replay for that game has been set for next Sunday.
An Rinn will also be without their county football contingent as Liam Ó Lonáin, Tadhg Ó hUallacháin and Lorcán Ó Corraoin prepare to take on Clare in next Saturday’s Munster quarter-final against Clare. They will also be missing those with Leaving Cert commitments. They take on Kerry side An Gaeltacht in a quarter final clash this Saturday.
Mayo side Kiltane will be the unusual position of sending both their senior and junior footballers to the Comórtas. Their sides ran out winners of both junior and senior competition at the Mayo Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta last month. They were beaten by An Rinn at the semi-final stage last year and will hope to go one better this year.
Donegal side Cill Charrtha will also look to mount a challenge on this year’s Comórtas have won the Donegal Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta recently. Their squad may include county panelists Paddy McBrearty, Ryan McCugh and Mark McCugh.
As hosts Moycullen will receive a bye into Sunday’s semi-final where they will meet Cork side Cill na Matra or Cill Charrtha. They will hope the extra day’s rest will help them into Monday’s final as they aim to reach their first final since 2011. They have not won Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta since 1971.
The action gets under way tonight with the clash of Maigh Cuileann and Oileáin Árainn (Aran Islands) in the junior competition. The semi-finals in the senior competition will be shown live this Sunday evening on TG4 while the finals of both the junior and senior competition will be shown live on Monday afternoon, also on TG4.
Beyond the football, there will be plenty of “ceol agus craic” as their will be several other events taking place including the Cailín Gaelach along with plenty of music. Mike Denver kicked off proceedings last night and with 34 teams descending on Moycullen, it looks set to be an excellent weekend in Galway.
Peadar Breathnach, Pundit Arena.