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The Geansaí 2015

  • 2018-12-17T19:30:00+00:00s at 2018-12-17T19:30:00+00:00 on RTÉ One
  • 2015-10-19T04:00:00Z
  • 25 mins
  • 3 hours, 45 mins
  • Ireland
  • Documentary

Once a year some of the smallest and most far flung communities in the country come together to compete, collaborate and support each other but most of all to celebrate being themselves - Islanders.

From north to south off the Wild Atlantic Way almost three thousand people continue to live on off-shore islands. Every September for the last 18 years islanders have organised an "All Island Football Tournament". This year, Inis Turk, over 15km off the coast of Co. Mayo, with one of the most spectacular GAA pitches anywhere, played host to 9 islands, who sent men's and women's Gaelic Football teams with all their supporters. A very special island weekend tournament is a huge challenge for the host island. Inis Turk has a population of only about 50, so finding lodging for over 300 visitors, not to mention the rest of the neccessary logistics, is a feat in itself.

Island emigration sharpens the challenge for the competing islands to be able to field a team. Even at 11 a-side, substitutes are sometimes a unachievable luxury. Despite the difficulties, the Comórtas has become an important part of every island's calendar. For months ahead of the tournament, up and down the coast, football and fitness training is squeezed into the busy summer island season. Men and women, wearing their own island's Geansaí with pride, put in a huge effort, supported by their own island communities. Some even travel home from abroad to take part. Clare Islander Olof Gill is currently working in Brussels. He plays not only for his adopted city with Brussels Gaels in the European GAA Leagues but also stays loyal to his home Island team and has great hopes for Clare Island in this year's tournament.

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