Owings Mills couple brings ancient Irish games to town
SUSAN C. INGRAM 23.MAR.04
Lucy Prendeville of Owings Mills didn't know what camogie was when her
Irish grandmother told her she should learn to play it.
of camogie, which is the woman's version of the Gaelic game of hurling,
is 100 years old this year. Because of the efforts of Prendeville and
her husband, Tadgh, camogie, hurling and Gaelic football are now
available to sports enthusiasts in Baltimore.
Said to have
originated in Galway in the 1500s, Gaelic football is younger than its
cousin sport of hurling, which is believed to have been around at least
since the fifth century and was popular with Vikings, who periodically
Gaelic football is traditionally played with a
ball that is a bit smaller than a soccer ball, and on a field a bit
larger than an American football field.
The ball can be carried
in the hand, but not for more than four steps, after which it must be
bounced on the ground or off the foot. It can also be kicked, or hit
with the hand. The field has goal posts, and striking the ball over the
post scores one point. Hitting it under the post in the net scores three
Games are an hour long, with two halves separated by a
Hurling and camogie are played on the same
field. They generally have the same rules, but hurling uses a "hurl"
stick and a smaller ball.
Following a visit to her grandmother in
Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, a few years ago, Prendeville returned
to Baltimore with a mission.
"I went to a meeting of the D.C.
Gaels and said I wanted to start a camogie team," she said. "That was in
And so she did.
Now the Washington D.C. Gaels
Gaelic Athletic Association has a women's camogie team, along with their
men's and women's Gaelic football teams.
But that wasn't enough
for Prendeville. After striking up a friendship with Tadgh, her future
husband and native of County Kerry, Ireland, the two began car-pooling
to D.C. They were the only two Baltimoreans in the club.
said, we should think about starting a team in Baltimore," Prendeville
And so they did.
Well, the pair got married first,
in 2002, and the Baltimore Gaelic Athletic Association was officially
off the ground last year.
The association practices at the
Patterson Park rec center on Wednesday evenings through the end of April
from 7:30-9 p.m. It alternates between Gaelic football and
camogie/hurling each week. All teams are co-ed.
are forming four teams of nine members each for summer league games.
The Baltimore Gaelic Athletic Association is promoting the Irish sports.
Members of the group recently participated in Baltimore's Irish Parade
in the back of a pick-up truck with a 15-foot plywood mock-up of a hurl
Prendeville said that Baltimore's Irish cultural groups
and pubs have been very supportive of the organization. She pointed out
that people don't have to be from the Emerald Isle to play Gaelic
Most members are between 20 and 40 years old, but there
is no age limit. A youth league is planned for the future.
experience is necessary. You don't have to be Irish. You just have to
want to try it," she said.
For more information, go to
www.baltimoregaa.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call
410-902-7264. The membership fee is $30 per year.