Kids underage Gaelic football was given a massive boost this year when a joint Department of Foreign Affairs and GAA grant was awarded to the Seoul Gaels to further develop their underage program which is now into its third year and going from strength to strength. The grant has made it possible to introduce Gaelic football as a PE sport and set up after school programs in schools for the first time ever in Korea. The program is just 2 months old but already the top International schools are taking part, including Asian Pacific International School, Dulwich College, Seoul Foreign School, Dwight College and Korea International School.
The feedback from the kids has been amazing and they are taking to the sport surprisingly well with year 6 and 7 from APIS now playing full length 14 a side games every week for PE. They are getting "stuck in" just as much as kids back home and Gaelic football has become a popular alternative to soccer for many students. The challenge will be making the program self sustainable after the grant money runs out but so far things are looking very positive. If you would like to introduce Gaelic football into your school or have any suggestions on how we could further develop the sport and protect the ground made please contact us.
Our Saturday kids club has also been growing steadily and we added a new under 8s kids team this spring for the first time. We already have 14 kids between the ages of 4-8 enjoying the sun and fun every Saturday at Apgujung Jamwon Han River Park. Our over 8 team is improving every year and we hope to organize a fun blitz with the kids from the other schools later in the year. Also if the interest is there it may be possible for another group of kids to make it back to Ireland to play the half time game at the Connaught final again. Watch the space. In ten years time Korea might be winning the world games recently introduced by the GAA!!!
*Conor Melvin is Development Officer with the Seoul Gaels and Manager of the Kids team. Should you wish to get involved with the team, you can do so by contact Conor, firstname.lastname@example.org