Orang Éire, based in Kuala Lumpur, was the first Gaelic Football club in Malaysia. Johor Malaysia have recently formed a second team in Johor Bahru. Established in 2007, OE is made up of talented athletes from Ireland, Malaysia, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, Vietnam and other countries. The name, taken from the Bahasa word for ‘people’ and the Irish word for ‘Ireland’ first represented Malaysia in the 2007 Guinness Asian Gaelic Games; a major event on the Irish sporting calendar which saw over 500 players on 48 teams competing from throughout Asia in front of 2,000+ spectators in a two day tournament in Singapore.
Orang Éire also first hosted the KL Challenge Trophy in November of 2007, an annual invitational tournament which will be held again on the 21st March, 2015. Since 2008, the club has gone from strength to strength, competing in the Thailand Invitational tournament and coming second in the South East Asian Games which were held in Ha Noi in June ’08. They travelled to Penang in October ’08 with 4 teams to compete in the 2008 Guinness Asian Gaelic Games in which the men’s came away winners of the Men’s B Cup and received a much sought after award; the inaugural “Asian Club of the Year” award.
In May 2009 – OE hosted the South Asian Games in KL, and the OE ladies won the games, beating Singapore in a close final match.Later that year, at the Asian Gaelic Games in Bangkok, the ladies doubled their numbers entering 2 full teams into the tournament, the men added a further 2 teams. The ladies A lost in a very close semi-final match against Japan 3-2. Orang Éire player, Jenn Collins, earned the club it’s first All-Star award.
2010 was a year of continued growth for the club, with the Ladies’ teams in particular going from strength to strength. The hard work paid off when the Ladies won the B plate at the Asian Gaelic Games in Hong Kong for the first time in the club’s history. The ladies club continued to thrive, winning 2 further B plates at the AGG’s in 2011, in Seoul (winning 2 All Stars) and 2012, in KL (winning 3 all stars).
In 2012, 2013 and 2014 the club hosted three successive Asian Gaelic Games in Kuala Lumpur. The tournaments were overwhelming successes, leading to the 4 committee members who arranged them being inducted into the Asian County Board Hall of Fame.
Orang Éire have had a kid’s team since the club was first formed, and have recently started a youth team to bring in local teenagers to join the small, but growing, Irish contingent! The kid’s play in tournaments a couple of times a year, with the Asian Gaelic Games 2014 being the most successful effort so far. With 3 Kids teams competing, they showed skill and ability beyond their years winning many games impressively against the Singapore cubs. The Kids club goes from strength to strength and many of them will go on to graduate to playing with the adult teams.
Gaelic Football is a type of football played with both hands and feet using a round ball which is slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It combines the skills of Australian Rules Football, rugby, soccer and other ball sports, incorporating a healthy amount of physical contact with considerable skill and finesse. Originating in Ireland, but now played all over the world, the most popular version played in Asia is 9 a-side games which is a fast-paced and exciting game for both players and spectators alike. Rugby-type goalposts are used and scores are attained by scoring a goal (similar to a soccer goal) worth three points, or a point, by kicking the ball over the cross bar (like a rugby conversion – except that a point may be scored from open play). The ball must be punch-passed or kicked to members of your own team. When defending, one hand may be used to get the ball out of another player’s hands.
For more information see the GAA website.