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Gaelic football championships kick into Cleveland

11:09 AM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Gaelic football championship hits Cleveland

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Gaelic football is Irish football. 

It's like soccer but the ball is heavier, there's more than one way to score, you can use your hands and it originated from Ireland just like Mark Owens. He came from North of Ireland and settled in Northeast Ohio.

"I moved here in 2001 and then married my wife Maria in 04 and been here ever since," Owens says. "I love Cleveland. I love the area and happy to stay here."

Owens also brought the North American Gaelic Game Championships to the west side of Cleveland this weekend. He spent the last six years bidding for the games and with the support of some big cities, he finally convinced the rest of the country that Cleveland is the place for Gaelic football.

Mark is psyched.

"It's turned out to be the biggest one ever with the number of teams coming in, and the the number of participants from all over the U.S., Canada and the Cayman Islands and we're pretty excited about what's going to happen the next three days."

The games will take place at Barton-Bradley Fields in North Olmsted. Nightly events will take place in Cleveland's Kamm's Corner neighborhood. It was projected  that with 80 teams coming to Northeast Ohio the economic impact will bring in 1.2 million dollars  to our area.

But according to Mark, those numbers are low.

"We're now up to 107 teams, so that number is probably  gonna go up. We're so happy to bring it to the Cleveland North Olmsted area."

With tickets as low as $10 you can watch up to 45 games a day. Over the course of the weekend, more than 120 matches will be played.  That includes other games like Hurling and Camogie.

Mark guarantees spectators will love it. "Games you've never seen in your life. I guarantee most people in the Cleveland Area and beyond have never seen the likes of this before."

Live music, food, bagpipes, kids' activities -- the weekend event is for the whole family.

Those ages 16 and under are free. 

Owens is thrilled it's finally here.

"It's a big part of the Irish culture it's a big part of our lives back home and we're trying to encourage people to get involved here in the Cleveland."

WKYC-TV

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