John West Féile Ambassador, Limerick hurler Cian Lynch (r), and Whitehall Colmcille’s Ella Troy at the launch of John West Féile, 2021 at Croke Park. (Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)
Hundreds of Derry schoolchildren will contest matches over the next two weekends (August 21 and 28) in the battle for John West Féile county honours.
Camogie and hurling (Féile na nGael) take centre stage next weekend, with football (Féile Peile na nÓg) competitions running on August 28.
Clubs nationwide will showcase the GAA stars of the future as they battle it out for the chance to play in Croke Park in October.
Derry’s John West Féile finals will be staged at several venues across the county with the hurling at Drum, Kevin Lynch Park and Owenbeg.
The Féile Peile na nÓg football will be played at Owenbeg and Celtic Park and the Ladies Gaelic Football final is being staged at Owenbeg.
Organisers of the 2021 Féile have honoured their commitment that no child would be left behind this year after the pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 festival.
This year’s event is being run on a county basis, with the age grade moving to under-U15.
It is backed by John West Féile ambassadors and inter-county stars, Kilkenny’s Denise Gaule (camogie), Limerick’s Cian Lynch (hurling), Armagh’s Aimee Mackin (ladies football) and Galway’s Shane Walsh (Gaelic football).
This year’s festival also marks 50 years of the Féile camogie and hurling competitions.
To celebrate this, club representatives from the counties which participated in 1971 – Dublin, Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Limerick, Clare, Cork and Galway – will play in a hurling/camogie blitz in Tipperary’s Semple Stadium on October 25.
In addition, clubs from all 32 counties will be selected to play in Croke Park over three days at Halloween – based on participation in Féile, not on whether teams win their county events.
This is the sixth year of John West’s sponsorship of what has grown to become one of the biggest underage sporting events in Europe.
“Féile highlights the importance of sport in children’s lives and that is something John West is truly passionate about,” said John West Ireland General Manager, Peter Rooney.
“We pride ourselves on supporting children taking part in sport and make a conscious and continuous effort to highlight the importance of young people continuing to play into teenage and adult years.
“The cancellation of the 2020 John West Féile due to Covid came as a big disappointment to hundreds of young footballers, hurlers and camogie players all over Ireland, but we remain proud to promote the philosophy that every player should participate at a level fitting with their age, skills and strengths.”
GAA President, Larry McCarthy, insists that one of the great benefits of a lifetime involvement in the GAA, is the friendships and memories made as a result.
“As a competition, Féile has been superb at living up to this from its earliest days. To reach its 50th anniversary is a significant milestone and generations of players have experienced the joy of being a part of Féile na nGael and Féile Peile na nÓg.
“Restrictions mean that it will have to be run differently. But we will still be able to enjoy the games and the skills and talents of our young players from the hundreds of clubs and communities they proudly represent.”
Please note, all dates and venues are provisional and attendees are advised to check with their local Féile co-ordinator or County Board before attending matches.
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