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Gaelic Football Club - est. 1975

About Ottawa Gaels


The Ottawa Gaels GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club was formed  in 1975. Our club aims to promote Men’s, Ladies & Youth Gaelic Football, as well Irish culture in Ottawa and the National Capital Region. The Ottawa Gaels is a community of athletes and supporters that gather to celebrate and play this beautiful Irish sport.

For Irish emigrants, the Ottawa Gaels club offers a home away from home and for Canadians of Irish heritage, the opportunity to connect with the Irish community and culture. But regardless of your heritage – even if you have no connection to Ireland – this is a sport for all athletes looking for a new challenge that lets you easily transfer skills from soccer, volleyball, basketball or other team/field sports.

While the Gaels hold several inter-club games, the Ottawa Gaels face teams from Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Brampton, Durham, Etobicoke and Buffalo to compete for the coveted Toronto GAA Cup each year. The Ottawa Gaels Women’s team currently hold the record for the most number of league wins, and there remains a special spot for the cup in the Gaels trophy case in the Heart and Crown’s Snug Pub on Clarence.

Ottawa hosts one of the league’s favourite tournaments called the Mike Robinson Tournament each fall to close the season. The tournament will be held in the Fall of 2014.

History of the Ottawa Gaels

The Ottawa Gaels club was founded by a group of Irishman, led by Galway man and long time Ottawa resident, Pat Kelly. The founding group and the foundation of the Men’s team included John Keenan, Don Kavanagh, Frankie Casey and Brendan Mulhall.

New life came to the club when Breda Kelly, Pat’s cousin, arrived from Ballygar, Co. Galway. Breda started the women’s team in 1988 and the women have been a forced to be reckoned with every since. Breda has been the lifeblood of the women’s team and a fierce, talented footballer for over 25 years.

The Youth football program started in 2000 and was led by Youth Development Office, Robbie Chaisson. Robbie was an enthusiastic, talented footballer and a teacher in the Ottawa Catholic School Board. He found a champion in the school board in Bob Thomas, Director of the Physical Education program, who added Gaelic Football to the Gr. 7 & 8 Phys Ed curriculum. Thanks to Bob Thomas and the supporting efforts of Robbie Chaisson, Jarlath Connaughton, Joe Diffey, Noel McGinnity, Mark Lanin and Dermot Guinnane for making this program a success. There is no other school board outside of Ireland that offers Gaelic Football in Phys Ed. Each year over 300 Gr 7 & 8  boys and girls play in a on day city-wide tournament; a sight to behold for any football enthusiast.

For a full history of the GAA in Canada be sure to read The History of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Canada by John O’Flynn.