RAYNERS LANE in Harrow might not sound like a GAA hotbed but the giveaway is the pub, or rather its name.
The Man of Aran is the centre of activity for St Gabriel’s GAA club according to clubman Kevin Canty, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s London senior hurling final clash with Robert Emmetts. With the influx of Irish people noticeable since the recession took root, the London GAA scene is experiencing a boom.
“It’s noticeable without a doubt. You’d notice the amount of guys coming over, and London GAA is thriving as a result,” he said.
“We won the Nicky Rackard this year and the team could be better next year. They’re in the Christy Ring next year and they should be pushing to win that. There’s the likes of Michael Walsh, who played for Cork last year, Martin Finn from Dromina, Colm Forde from Clare and Aidan Ryan from Galway.
“The standard’s been improving for a while and you’d expect that it’ll keep improving for a while yet.”
Canty’s helped in that regard. The Corkman played Munster championship hurling only three years ago against Tipperary before he moved across the water.
“I made a couple of phone calls before going over and basically was sorted with a job through the GAA.
“There are two or three hurling championship games every Saturday in Ruislip during the summer, and the buzz is great.
Canty namechecks The Man of Aran as a good starting point for any prospective emigrants.
“It’s Ambrose Gordon’s pub and you’d always bump into someone to talk to if you wanted a chat about hurling, or if you wanted to be pointed towards a hurling club.
“It’s only natural if you’re an Irish person in London that you’d like more Irish people to come to London. A lot of lads in my club would be from Galway originally, they’d hook up with Gabriel’s when they come across.”
Canty is back studying in Ireland now, but London will beckon again in 2012.
“I was there from September 2010 to last month, and now I’m back in the University of Limerick studying woodwork teaching, but I’ll head back next May or so after my exams.
“My boss in London said there’ll be work and I’ll have to make money for college during the summer, so I’ll be going back to work. And to hurl for Gabriel’s.”
And this weekend’s final?
“Everyone in London would see Emmet’s as favourites.
“They’ve got a lot of good players during the year and they have most of the London senior hurling panel — the likes of Shane Ryan, Kevin Bolger, Michael Walsh.
“But we’re looking forward to it. We’ve trained well. Emmetts are strong favourites but we’ll give it a good go.”
London SHC final (tomorrow): Robert Emmetts v St Gabriel’s, Ruislip, 3pm.
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