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33 Famous Irish Sports Players and Celebrities played Gaelic Football and Hurling

Ireland has always had a penchant for its domestic games of Gaelic football and hurling, as have some famous Irish film stars and other sports.

County Meath, dating back to 1670, has the earliest record of Gaelic football, while hurling has been popular in Ireland for more than 3000 years, with the first record dating back to 1272 BC.

Ireland also has world stars in golf, soccer (soccer), snooker, rowing, rugby, darts, Australian football, athletics – and famous stars from television, big screen and stage, as well as singers, comedians and band members.

But many of them grew up on Gaelic football and hurling, or in a family steeped in the GAA. You may know them from another area – but may not know that they loved playing Gaelic football or hurling.

Who was it?

Who Made Crossbar History at Croke Park?
Who won an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship with Kerry but became celebrities in another sport?
Which 2 players – an Irish Rugby International and English League Footballer – played in the same Gaelic Football Club?

Which professional footballer once led an Irish GAA youth team to Australia?
Whose father played for Wexford Hurlers?
Which talented hurler from Waterford played for Reading, Hull City, Wolverhampton Wanderers?
Who won the Ulster Minor Football title with Derry – and became a successful football player and manager?

Which film and Hollywood actor recorded a hurling message in support of his home club?
Can you name the popular UK TV presenter who once hurled for Wicklow?
Which minor and U21 footballer for Roscommon was on a Channel 4 comedy series?
Which Irish rock band lead singer is Mad in the GAA after playing minor for Dublin?
Which bandleader won a Leinster U21 football championship with Westmeath in 2000?

Are you a parent? Which world champion has a daughter who plays camogie? And which band singer with 14 number 1 singles in Ireland and Great Britain watched his son play Gaelic football in Croke Park?

Here are 33 Irish stars and celebrities with a penchant for the GAA.


  • 1. Shane Lowry – The Open Champion 2019

Shane Lowry celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning the Open Championship on day four of the 148th Open Championship at the Royal Portrush in Portrush, Co. Antrim. (Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Lowry played Gaelic football and hurling with his local Clara GAA and is now the proud official partner of Offaly GAA.
He is the son of Brendan Lowry – All-Ireland Football winner 1982 Offaly v Kerry.

  • 2. Paul McGinley – was the 1997 Golf World Cup winner (with Padraig Harrington) and was on the victorious European Ryder Cup teams in 2002, 2004 and 2006. In 2002, he sank his 10-foot putt on the 18th hole around the Secure victory for Europe. In 2014 he was the victorious Ryder Cup captain.
    McGinley loves Gaelic football. When he visited Croke Park in 2016 to support his club team Ballyboden, he said: “I played for Ballyboden, from the U12 to the senior class, I played a few senior class games before I got injured and that has mine Career restricted. ”He played at Croke Park as a teenage player.

PaulMcGinley Padraig Harrington Irish golfers Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington

  • 3. Padraig Harrington is one of the few three-time golf major winners – winning The Open in Great Britain in 2000 and 2008, and the USA PGA Championship in 2008 and the 1997 World Cup.
    In an interview here, Harrington speaks passionately about his favorite sport, hurling, with his colleague Feherty.
    Feherty: Paddy’s favorite sport
    Harrington was playing Gaelic football, and in an extraordinary clip here – he took a free kick while playing at Croke Park with Colaiste Eanna against St. Vincent’s Secondary School in the Dublin Colleges Finals?

Rugby union

  • 4. Mick Galwey
    Mick Galwey. Rugby star – played 113 times for Shannon, 130 for Munster – and 41 caps for Ireland. In 1993 he was selected for the Lions tour to New Zealand.
    Mick Galwey won an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship with the Kerry Gaelic Football Team in 1986 and also played for his club and his district at U18 and U21 level.

    Mick Galwey rugby and GAA player Irish legends Mick Galwey and Gary Halpin

  • 5. Rob Kearney
    Irish International – and professional players with the Australian side Western Force.
    In Gaelic football he played for his club Naomh Mhuire and with Cooley Kickhams and Seniors and for Louth in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship.
    Rob Kearney rugby and GAA player Rob Kearney lands to earn Ireland’s bonus point [Picture: Inpho]
  • 6. Tommy Bowe
    Played for Ulster and Ospreys, as well as Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. He has made 69 appearances for Ireland, 5 for the Lions and 245 professional club appearances
    He played Gaelic football and represented Monaghan at U16 and minor level.

    Tommy Bowe Irish Rugby International Tommy Bowe of Ireland scores the attempt to win during the RBS Six Nations game between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on February 27, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)

  • 7. Simon Zebo
    Irish national rugby player and Munster Pro, Simon Zebo played alongside David Meyler for St Michaels GAA Club (see below)

Simon Zebo


  • 8. Dennis Taylor
    Known for his big glasses that helped him play snooker, Taylor won the 1985 World Snooker Championship and defeated Steve Davis 18:17 on the last black ball – after he had previously been 8-0 behind in the game. In 1979 he had previously lost the final against Terry Griffiths.
    In his younger days, Taylor played Gaelic football for Na Fianna in Coalisland Tyrone and was selected to play for the Tyrone County’s minors in the 1960s.

    Dennis Taylor of Northern Ireland sets up the match ball during his second round of the World Snooker Championship match against John Parrott on April 22, 1989 at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield, UK. (Photo by Howard Boylan / Getty Images)


  • 9 and 10. Gary and Paul O’Donovan Skibbereen,
    He won gold at the World Championships and silver at the 2016 Olympic Games. This year Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy are the lightweights with an Irish gold medal in the double scull at the European Championships in Varese, Italy.

In a 2016 interview, they said, “We did a little Gaelic football for a while” before focusing on rowing.

(Credit Image: © INPHO / Morgan Treacy)

Special mention to parents :

  • Bonus. Derval O’Rourke
    Record-breaking Irish athlete
    Indoor world champion over 60 m hurdles (2006), silver medal winner at the European championships over 100 m hurdles in 2006 and 2010 and bronze medal winner at the European indoor championships in 2009 and 2013.

    2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships, Scandinavium Arena, Gothenburg, Sweden 01/03/2013
    60m hurdles semifinals
    Derval O’Rourke
    Mandatory Credit © INPHO / Morgan Treacy

    Derval talked about helping her daughter by letting her play with Camogie / hurling over the weekend.
    “It’s so hard to compare athletics or Olympic sports to GAA. I was a professional Olympic track and field athlete for years, but now I have young children and when my daughter plays Camogie I see the difference it makes in the community, so I have no illusions about the importance of GAA. “

Part 2 – features 12 English footballers who all love or have played Gaelic football or hurling or both.

Part 3 shows stars from film, television, stage and comedy who love their Gaelic games.

See more:
Gaelic football,
Gaelic games,
Sports personalities,
Top 33,

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