GAA World Games can showcase Derry to a global audience say County Chairman John Keenan

County Chairman John Keenan believes the decision to name Derry the host city for the 2023 GAA World Games represents a major opportunity to showcase the Oak Leaf County to a global audience.

Derry County Chairman, John Keenan. (Photo: Lorcan Doherty)
Derry County Chairman, John Keenan. (Photo: Lorcan Doherty)

Friday’s announcement that Derry had been chosen from a shortlist of three contenders, means the city and wider county can now expect an influx of more than 4,500 players, coaches and supporters for the Games which will run in the Owenbeg Centre of Excellence from July 24th to 27th next summer.

It’s a decision the County Chairman says highlights the value of the recent redevelopment work at Owenbeg he hopes will benefit the entire Derry community.

“It’s a fantastic honour to be chosen as host city for the 2023 GAA World Games,” explained the Derry Chairman, “It is a real privilege for Derry Gaels and for the wider community. Ten counties put in submissions and we were fortunate to be cut to the shortlist of Cavan, Waterford and ourselves and we are extremely grateful to the GAA World Council that they gave us the honour of hosting this very prestigious competition.

“The World Games plays a crucial role in developing and promoting our games across the world and introducing the ethos of the GAA to new countries and communities. More and more people are playing and enjoying Gaelic Games and it will be fantastic to see teams from across the world, and from so many backgrounds, come to Derry to play GAA and to enjoy what the Oak Leaf county has to offer.”

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Mr. Keenan also paid tribute to Club Derry and the other stakeholders who had played such a pivotal role in the recent redevelopment work that made Owenbeg the ideal location to host the event.

“A lot of work has already been done in the background to prepare for these Games but the real work has been ongoing for years, work that has seen Owenbeg transformed into a facility that is the envy of Ireland,” added the Derry Chairman, “That work, which means we can host prestigious events like the World Games, will also benefit the Gaels of Derry for generations to come but it would not be possible without the hard work that is constantly being undertaken by volunteers within our own county. These games are a tribute to that work which often goes unseen, but not unappreciated.

“With the number of visitors arriving for the Games, the whole county of Derry will benefit and we look forward to welcoming each and every visitor for a real celebration of global Gaelic Games.”

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“I am delighted to see the return of the GAA World Games confirmed for the 2023 calendar and look forward to what will be a fantastic event in Derry next July and a setting that I am certain all of those traveling to take part will enjoy,” said Uachtarán McCarthy, “These games play an important role in the ongoing growth and development of Gaelic games worldwide and are of great significance to the clubs and the communities that make up World GAA and are an acknowledgement and support for their promotion of the GAA. I’m sure that confirmation of the host city will sharpen the preparations for GAA clubs in every corner of the globe to be ready to be at their

best in 2023.”

Niall Erskine, GAA World Council chairperson, added: “I am pleased to announce Derry, with its storied history and vibrant cultural scene, has been chosen to host the 2023 GAA World Games. The ever-impressive playing facilities at Owenbeg, comprising of a 48-acre site, will be a hub of activity come Monday July 24 and will certainly cater for the needs of all of the GAA clubs coming home to participate. Plans are about to be set in train to ensure the games are as successful as the games of 2019.”