The Dublin side that won a championship title without a single Dub – but with an Argentinian star

YOU MAY OR may not have heard that a Dublin team won a county championship title without a single Dublin player, born and bred, on board last year.

St Brendan’s have a fairly unique story, it must be said.

The St Brendan’s first team.

Source: St Brendan’s Ladies GAA Facebook.

While they did have two Dubliners in the set-up in 2018, the Stoneybatter/Phibsboro outfit have representatives from 19 other counties and four countries on top of Ireland, of course.

Looking back on 2017 first though, St Brendan’s were crowned New Ireland Assurance Junior F county champions after topping their group and beating St Monica’s on a scoreline of 2-13 to 1-7 in the decider.

It was a first ever ladies county championship for the club, and was five years in the making.

In the wake of this historic feat, over 50 girls turned up to training ahead of the new season and they entered two teams this year.

Having powered through the grades, the first team reached the Division 5 final, but were just edged out by two points in extra time while the second team, plying their trade in Division 7, also contested a shield final.

They’re a pretty special bunch, and like any other club across the length and breadth of the country, there’s a real sense of family at St Brendan’s.

The St Brendan’s second team.

Source: St Brendan’s Ladies GAA Facebook.

“Joining St Brendans is like having a home away from home in Dublin,” Cavan native Sinéad Reilly tells The42.

“Having playing for years with Lurgan in Virginia, St.Brendan’s has filled that GAA void for me in the capital. I’ve met some really great friends on the team, and have travelled to the likes of Vietnam, Cambodia, Berlin, Riga, Malta and more, with some of them.

“The team has been great for many girls moving from all around Ireland to Dublin for meeting new people, as well as girls moving to Ireland for the first time

“We’re based in the Stoneybatter/Phibsboro area, so anyone looking to join a team or to fill their Monday and Wednesday evenings with something to do, please call down to us!”

Looking at the full list of counties and countries represented says it all, and there’s plenty of really interesting stories to share from all corners of the world.

  • Cavan
  • Meath
  • Westmeath (x2)
  • Tyrone
  • Limerick (x3)
  • Mayo (x9)
  • Kerry (x2)
  • Cork (x4)
  • Roscommon (x4)
  • Leitrim
  • Sligo
  • Donegal (x4)
  • Fermanagh
  • Wexford
  • Dublin (x2)
  • Kilkenny
  • Offaly
  • Clare
  • Tipperary
  • Monaghan
  • Argentina
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • Ireland
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“The Mayo girls could start up their own team!” she grins.

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One or two places surely jump out as you read through that list. Amazingly, the second team’s vice captain, Agus Lazzarini, is from Argentina and will be flying the flag for St Brendan’s in the Dublin LGFA Junior Dub Stars match in the New Year.

Having lived in Ireland for the past two years, Agus joined the team early on as she started playing Gaelic football for the first time. Fast forward, and she was named Player of the Year this year.

“Having always been passionate about sports, the idea of playing what I thought it was a mix of soccer, rugby and handball, seemed like a nice challenge,” Lazzarini explains.

“I heard GAA was quite a thing here so I decided to get on board with the full Irish experience. I can now say that joining St Brendan’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made!

“As a soccer fan, I still find it weird picking the ball up from the ground, but having said that, I’ve discovered an exciting and dynamic sport, and I’ve also met some amazing people along the way.

“This has made me realise that GAA is truly about one big family!

She added: “To be honest, I thought it sounded like an easy sport, but once you’re on the pitch everything happens so fast that I’m glad I play with girls that have such amazing skills. They’re always there to help me out.

“I’m so happy being a part of this team and to share the same sporting passion for this crazy sport!”

A home away from home, indeed. 

Just brilliant.

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