Our Teams - Mens Football

Dubai Celts 2016 Men’s Football

As defending senior league champions, the men’s football club started the year with a strenuous boot camp in Dubai Sports City. Numbers were growing and plenty of fresh new faces had made the effort to endure the hour of hell for 4 weeks. It must be noted that Dubai Celts waved goodbye to club stalwarts who returned home to the Emerald Isle to settle down.

This year we opened the doors to the Middle-East Kerry Society (MEKS) and the Dubai Irish Football Club to play under the Dubai Celts umbrella. The objective here was to give these teams the opportunity to play more competitive league games across the GCC, as opposed to social tournament football. DIFC & MEKS both went toe to toe in a very exciting junior league. There was one point separating the teams, as teams prepared for the final round in Al Ain. Kerry… In true Kerry fashion, tried their level best to cause an upset… But to my delight, the Dubai Irish soccer, managed by fellow Cork man Kevin O’Driscoll!! Well done to Pat Dowling & Kevin on their efforts this year, it certainly added some spice to the league.

Last year was extremely successful as every team from senior to social had claimed silverware in many tournaments, but things didn’t go according to plan at the opening round of the Middle-East league in Dubai. Our men’s seniors were beaten by a very strong Abu Dhabi men’s side while the Intermediate were beaten by the narrowest of margins in the Intermediate after a timekeeping error by the referee… And being Irish and a hardcore GAA fan, the ref was reminded of that error on more than one occasion!! And whoever said the GAA hold grudges! Our juniors competed strongly and it was great to see our hurlers throw on the jersey after the late finish the previous night!

With very little time to drown our sorrows, we had 12 days to prepare for round 2 of the Middle-East league in Qatar. Early flights to Doha and good banter, we were all in good spirits and enjoyed the after party in Fibbers… again cup less but solid friendships were forged. The infamous “Oman 9” represented the Celts very well and were very unlucky to lose in the semi-final. 9 players??? Yes, two slept it out and missed the flight, and one just “forgot” the tournament was on…

The final tournament of 2016 was held in Bahrain. Dubai Celts had a full representation and a super weekend was had by all. The craic agus ceoil will be remembered for a long time. There was love, memorable goals, crazy refereeing, a bucket load of beers and plenty of laughs!

We regrouped after the Christmas break and decided a brunch was the best option to reintegrate lads and get to know each other even better.  Training numbers were back to the good days of 55+. The atmosphere was great the tempo was good and we were now ready for Al Ain. A bus trip was organised to bring the lads to Al Ain Rugby Club for the final round of the league and it was definitely one to be remembered for many reasons. With a few red cards, our Dubai A’s were fixed to play the B’s in the Semi final of the men’s senior and after additional extra-time, the golden score was kicked by Conn O’Hanlon to sink the A’s. Unfortunately, the Killer B’s ran out of steam and with 10 men was too big a task to defeat the Abu Dhabi A’s.

Also, a special mention to Paidi Garvey, Noel Twohig, Kieran Stone and Paulie Downes, that put their shoulder to the wheel this year to make it happen. We’ve realised it’s not all about winning. Diet plans, weight sessions, and strength & conditioning sessions have no place out here in the Middle-East. It’s about enjoying the football, the craic and playing with lads you’ve never met before and going on a journey. If success is experienced… even better, but the friendships last forever.

Finally, as we’ve gone through a big transition period this year and survived, the good news is Dubai Celts is as strong as ever. The new faces that have entered the fold are fearless and willing to make the difference.