WHEN the Dublin footballers decided to go on their team holiday in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, one Westport man saw a wonderful opportunity.
Paul Broderick (28), who is the Chairman of the Cayman Islands Gaelic football club, saw an opening for an occasion to remember — a match with the reigning All-Ireland champions.
Feelers were duly put out, Dublin readily agreed, and the game took place on Sunday last on Grand Cayman.
“To think we saw them playing in one of the greatest All-Ireland finals ever a few months ago and now here they were, playing against us, it was surreal,” Broderick told The Mayo News last night.
“We were over the moon when they agreed. It was such a huge boost for our club and a huge honour for me as club chairman.”
While the Dubs undoubtedly had the upper hand in the game — there is only a population in the region of 50,000 on the Cayman Islands and only a couple of hundred of those are Irish — it was a wonderful opportunity for the club to showcase Gaelic football at its highest level. The second half saw a few switches being made; the former Westport dual star being one of the locals to don the navy blue while Alan and Bernard Brogan made cameo appearances for the Cayman Islands.
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy even put in an appearance on the field, and it all helped to make it more than just a game.
“It was a wonderful occasion,“ admitted Paul Broderick, who grew up in Carrabawn in Westport.
“The Dublin team and all that travelled with them are a huge credit to their county in the way they conducted themselves, and in the way they got involved in what was the biggest day in our club’s history.”
In the region of 500 people were at the game on Sunday while a function afterwards for both teams was attended by Cayman Islands Premier, McKeeva Bush.
The Cayman Islands club has been in existence since 1999. They run internal men’s and ladies’ leagues during the year and are the current All-Caribbean Gaelic football champions after victory over Jamaica.
Broderick, an accountant by profession, played football and hurling with his native Westport and hurling with Mayo for a number of years prior to his departure to the Cayman Islands. Other Mayo natives involved with the club are Colm Moynihan from Ballina and Rosie O’Connor from Kilmaine.