Leinster the team to beat in Rounders inter-pros

GAA’s ‘most inclusive game’ attempting to build on solid foundations

The Leinster Rounders team

The inter-provincial fixtures of the GAA’s ‘most inclusive game’ get under way in Abbotstown on Sunday and it’s Leinster who are the team to stop.

For the last number of years Leinster have dominated the inter-provincial Rounders series but have a Connacht team standing in their way, who have representation from six clubs including ladies from last year’s senior ladies’ champions, Breaffy of Mayo.

And it’s that gender mixture which, according to GAA Rounders president Michael Dowling, offers a unique opportunity for the game to grow.

“We realise we have the most inclusive game in the GAA’s armour. The only GAA game where men and women can play on the same team in our mixed game. To me that is a unique selling point with our game,” says Dowling, who is in his final year as president.

“Imagine a boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son all playing together on the same team. We have some of those combinations playing our game.

“The possibility of playing with your family, on the same team, male and female is a unique part of our game.

“Another reason for the growth in the game is that you can extend your playing career. It is true to say that GAA Rounders is a game that you can play throughout your life and at a competitive level as your body allows. Some players are coming into their own in their forties when they have long given up on playing other GAA codes.”

There are currently 52 clubs with 94 teams across all competitions but it’s the pick of that crop throughout the four provinces who will be in action on Sunday.

Should Leinster get past Connacht, Ulster are the favourites to stop them should they overcome Munster.

The southern province don’t have a senior club at present but are still expected to provide a tough challenge for Ulster, who go in as strong favourites boasting the men from Erne Eagles of Cavan and Carrick of Monaghan who contested last year’s All-Ireland men’s final.

The first semi-final between Leinster and Connacht takes place at midday, followed by Ulster’s clash with Munster at 2.0. Entry is free.