Welcome to the pride of the Singapore Gaelic Lions. The SGL was formed in 1997 and has grown to become one of the largest Gaelic Athletic Association clubs in Asia. Their 200+ members represent Singapore in the sports of Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie. The membership hail from all over the world, including Asia-Pac, Europe and North America.
Once a Lion, Always a Lion.
What is GAA?
The Gaelic Athletic Association, in its modern form, was started in 1884, as an amateur sports and cultural association. However, the sports themselves precede the organisation by many centuries with references to Hurling from the 8th century.
The Sports under the GAA banner are Football, Hurling and Camogie, Handball and Rounders. It is the largest sports association in Ireland with 2,800 clubs and over 800,000 members in Ireland and overseas.
Gaelic Football is the most popular and is played by 250,000 men and women. In Ireland, it is played as a game of two halves over 70 minutes with 15 players aside. It is played on a rectangular pitch with posts akin to those used in Rugby. The objective is to score the most goals (similar to soccer) and/or points which are counted as over the bar and between the posts. One goal is the equivalent of 3 points. A player may take 4 steps with the ball in hand before they have to either bounce, solo, hand-pass or kick the ball into play. While there are some changes to the format for the Asian game, the same basic rules apply.
Hurling is the oldest of Irish sports and dates from pre-Christian times. It is played on the same rectangular pitch, posts and objectives as Gaelic Football. However, the game is played using an ash stick between 30 and 37inches long with a broad paddle end. This stick or hurl is used to carry or hit the sliotar which is similar to a hard, dense tennis ball, weighing about 4oz. It is one of the fastest field games in the world and has approximately 100,000 players. The women’s equivalent is called Camogie and uses a slightly smaller pitch and hurl.
What to expect from your first football session?
Once you’ve made the decision to come to your first session and then procrastinated a few times, the next biggest issue is finding the pitch. Give yourself a bit of extra time, especially if you’re heading down to the Dempsey pitch. It’s at the very end of a small lane.
You’ll arrive a bit harassed after all the extra driving around and wander down to find the squad togging out. If it feels like your first day at school again, don’t worry, the big boys don’t bite. Your Captain will make themselves known to you and do introductions to other players. The Coach will be shouting at everyone to get the boots on and start warming up while the players will be discussing what they got up to last night.
The usual format for a football session is warm-up, practice some drills and finish on matches. Those who’ve played in Ireland tend to start off cocky and then the heat bring them in to line. Rugby and soccer players find their skills easily transfer but no experience is necessary to play this game. There is room for every player and every ability.
You will sweat, a lot. Training on the equator is a damp business. Make sure you’ve taken hydration on-board in the hours before training and refer to our health and safety section for tips. There’ll be water breaks throughout but if you need to take a minute as you adjust, that’s encouraged. Safety first!
Each session lasts about two hours and you’ll finish your first one a bit shell-shocked with all the names and new techniques. You’ll also be exhilarated at having met so many great people who are friendly and welcoming and are as sweaty and tired as you. They remember their first time too.
What to bring
- Water bottle
- Bug Spray
- Football boots or Trainers
- Sport wear
- Sports towel
- Positive attitude!
Let’s be honest, more than half the club are members just so they can get involved with the craic. I mean, who joins a sports club to get fit? That’s why we have a Social membership just for those with the fear of a football but with a mad desire for fun.
Now, tagged on to the end of every tour is the Party Bus – it’s noisy, it’s sweaty, it’s sing-y and it definitely involve some body surfing.
Back at home base, take your pick.
We have our very own Amazing Race, a Take Me Out extravaganza, club bonding weekends to Sibu (as you do) and the standard fare of Table Quizzes, Christmas Parties, Awards Nights, and Charity Fundraisers.
There are those with an element of sport such as the Bill Niko Cup Compromise Rules game against the Wombats, the AP Games which is a full day of mixed sports and mixed teams and lastly, a gang of hoofers taking part in the Singapore Marathon.
All these are on top of the going-away parties, Hen and Stag weekends, Friday night post-work heading down to McGettigans, drinks AND Fitness AND Training.
Did I mention we like to have a good time? Have a look at some of the photo galleries and you’ll get the idea. The SGL Calendar will keep you up to date with all the future carry-on too.