Thousands of footballers taking part in the John West Féile Peile na nÓg final

Ambassador John West Féile and Mayo footballer Lee Keegan pictured with Whitehall Colmcille’s Killian Green ahead of the John West Féile Peile na nÓg Gaelic Football and Women’s Football Finals 2022, taking place at nine venues in Kildare and Dublin this weekend end. Eighty-eight club teams (including Lee’s club Westport) from Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA will compete. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Eighty-eight club teams from Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA will take part in the 2022 John West Féile Peile na nÓg Gaelic Football and Women’s Football Finals at nine venues in Dublin and Kildare this weekend.

What has become one of the biggest underage sporting events in Europe is once again returning to regional venues for its final stages this year – and for the first time since the pandemic.

Nearly 2,000 footballers will descend on the GAA from St. Peter’s to Ballyboughal, St. Jude’s, Templeogue, Kilmacud Crokes, Naomh Olaf, Sandyford and the GAA’s National Games Development Center at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown.

The Kildare sites are the County GAA Center of Excellence in Hawkfield, Clane GAA, St. Kevin’s GAA in Staplestown and Allenwood GAA.

Mayo’s competing clubs are Westport (boys) and Claremorris (girls).

John West says he is delighted with the return of Féile Peile na nÓg to regional cinemas. Throughout his sponsorship, John West has focused on the importance of nutrition in fueling young athletes while encouraging children to participate in Gaelic Games.

John West Féile retained the move to the Under-15 age class in 2022, introduced last year to ensure children who missed out due to the pandemic in 2020 had the chance to compete in 2021. Round players and handball also made a return to John West Féile this year.

This is the seventh year of John West’s sponsorship of Féile, which brings together thousands of young Gaelic pitchers, camogie players and footballers in a celebration of the GAA’s community ethos through underage competition.

GAA President Larry McCarthy said Féile has been an integral part of the GAA calendar for 50 years.

He added: “It nurtures the love for our games and ensures that friendship and memories are among the main benefits of being involved in the GAA. Generations have known the joy of being part of Féile na nGael and Féile Peil na nÓg, and I look forward to seeing this great achievement continue in all of our clubs.

“Our thanks to John West for their support in promoting this iconic competition and to the National Organizing Committee for their work on John West Féile 2022.”

Women’s Gaelic Football Association president Mícheál Naughton said the importance of sport had been underscored by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“John West Féile encompasses so many key elements of life, with an emphasis on fun, friendship and participation. Players will make new friends and reconnect with old friends. John West Féile will provide a once again to young players unforgettable memories.