There has been a “sizeable increase” in transfer requests from Irish people wanting to play Gaelic games in London and they are expected to increase even further this coming autumn.
In scenes not too dissimilar from the 1980s, secretary of London GAA board Niall Erskine says transfer requests are up a massive 50% on their 2007 numbers.
“I have signed 200-250 transfer request forms for players moving from Ireland to London this year already,” said Erskine “That is double last year’s number and it won’t end at that. We are heading for dramatic increases. The number of transfers usually tapers off at this time of year as players are committed to playing with their club or county, but come September and October we expect another surge of transfer requests as people move here in search of work.”
London’s footballers are already seeing the benefits of Ireland’s rising unemployment rate when a strong Exiles side defeated Kilkenny 4-13 to 0-8 in the preliminary round of the Tommy Murphy in Freshford on Saturday.
Manager Brian McBrearty concurs his secretary: “Numbers have been on the up in the last six months because there is a recession in Ireland. The standard of football in London is quite good now.
“When people qualify out of college, they tend to want to travel. London is such a cosmopolitan place, it’s close to home and it suits people to come over. There’s work for people if they’re interested in coming over. Some travel by necessity others want to make a lifestyle change.”