Meet Sheffield's first-ever Gaelic football team and find out how YOU can get involved

Members of the Sheffield GAA gaelic football team at one of the group's training sessions.
Members of the Sheffield GAA gaelic football team at one of the group's training sessions.

Love football but fed up with players diving on the slightest contact? Wish the sport still had its aggressive side?

Then a newly-formed Sheffield sports team may have the answer - final preparations are underway as St Vincent's GAA get ready for their first-ever season competing at Gaelic football.

Members of the St Vincent's GAA gaelic football team pictured at one of the group's meetings.

Members of the St Vincent's GAA gaelic football team pictured at one of the group's meetings.

The team has grown from a Facebook post by former high-level Gaelic footballer Niall Murphy who said he was amazed that a city the size of Sheffield didn't have a team after moving to the city five years ago.

Now, four months on the team will hold a launch event at the Garrison Hotel, Hillsborough Barracks, on Friday, before taking to the field for their first competitive game in March.

Kevin Kennedy Ryan, originally from Atlanta, United States, but now of Kelham Island, will be one of around 40 members hoping to don the St Vincents' shirt for the new season.

He said: "Niall Murphy used to play for County Wexford back in Ireland and he's been over in Sheffield for four or five years but never had the chance to play and he put a call out on Facebook.

"It sort of grew from there and we had our first meeting at The Grapes pub, on Trippet Lane, and there were around 15 people who turned up. We decided we would go hell for leather in terms of promoting it and at the next meeting, a couple of weeks later, there were 40 people."

The sport is played by two teams of 15 players, on a rectangular pitch.

The objective of the game is to score by kicking or punching the ball into the other team's goal, which is a net under rugby posts, for three points, or between the two upright posts above the goals for one point.

Players advance up the pitch by carrying, bouncing, kicking, throwing and soloing - dropping the ball and then toe-kicking the ball upwards into the hands. Positions are similar to those used in football with teams made up of a goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders and six forwards.

Kevin, 27, said: "It's a bit of a mix between football and rugby. It's a bit more physical than football but less than rugby.

"I love it and it's great that there's now so much interest in the sport in Sheffield."

Kevin added, the club was also in the process of setting up a women's team and will play its home games in Concord Park, with the season running from March to September.

"Our fixtures are still to be confirmed but we'll be playing against teams such as Nottingham, Leeds and York. We hope to have everything confirmed by the end of next week."

Kevin alsothanked those who donated to the club's fundraising campaign for its kit.

"It's all come together in the last few weeks. We launched a fundraising page and we had donations and sponsorship from all over the place, including lots of people in Ireland," he added.

The group's season launch will be held at the Hillsborough Hotel, Langsett Road, on Friday, February 2 from 7.30pm and Kevin said everyone was welcome.

Visit www.sheffieldgaa.com for more information or search Sheffield GAA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.