Iberian ladies get back to action!

By Olalla Garcias

On a cold Saturday morning of January 22nd the European Ladies Footballers got their first taste of action for the New Year. The LFGA players of the Iberian region of Gaelic Games Europe dusted off their scoring boots and battle armour to play a tournament, long overdue, after the long break due to Covid. Gaelic Games Europe is the continental county board, founded in 1999 it has only gone from strength to strength since its inception, growing to approximately 100 clubs, spanning from Lisbon to Moscow, Rome to Gavle in Northern Sweden. The county is made up of 5 Regions: Benelux (Benelux + Western Germany), Nordics, Iberia, North West (France and Channel Island) and Central & East (Central European from Germany eastwards).
The Iberian ladies played the inaugural Winter Tournament “Terras de Trazo” in Santiago de Compostela in the North Western region of Galicia in Spain. The host club Estrela Vermelha welcomed teams from all over the Iberian peninsula for tournament, in total seven teams travelled up to enjoy the game time and festivities for the day: Estrela Vermelha, Fillas de Breogan, Eire Og Sevilla, a combined Galician team with players from Herdeiras de Dais, Independiente and Auriense, as well as the participation of three teams from Madrid Harps. It is worth pointing out the diversity too amongst the players, with multiple nationalities being represented, there is a strong Irish contingent amongst the Madrid and Sevilla teams with the Galician teams being made up predominantly of local grassroots Galician players. Noteworthy too is the geographical adversity in making trips like this regularly to play matches and tournaments with Sevilla being a 8 and a half hour drive to Santiago de Compostela one way and Madrid is nearly 6 hours one way as well.
The tournament started at 11.30 with a cold dew still on the grass with the fresh air still swirling. The fresh winter air did not deter the players from giving it their all while at the same time, enjoying the new season competition. Any sight of rust that might have accumulated throughout a long winter was quickly dispensed with. As the day progressed a fantastic level of Gaelic football skills came to the fore, with scores being taken from all sorts of magnificent angles and a wide array of nimble footwork on display, things that we have become accustomed to seeing at any tournament in Iberia or throughout Europe for that matter from our footballers.
As the sun began to slowly set over the grassy green hills of Galicia, the tournament came to a thrilling close with a stunning finale played out between Madrid Harps C and Combinado Galego. After a back and front tussle, the local Galega ladies took home the title and the bragging rights, no doubt setting up a hotly contested rivalry for the rest of the Iberian calendar. o doubt this will be the first of many contested battles on the plains of Spain, and that we can continue to grow and evolve as we would like in the sport we love to play.
Throughout the tournament the level of sportsmanship and camaraderie was there for all to see, it was like turning over a new page in a book with the last page being 2019 and the new 2022, it was good to be back.
Thank you to all the participants, as well as all those people involved in the organisation of tournaments, since thanks to them we can enjoy days as wonderful as the one lived in Santiago de Compostela, and hopefully it will be the first of many that are to come.

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