THIRTY-TWO WOMEN traveled to Chicago last September with one goal in mind: pouring a pint of Guinness into a giant silver cup. And after almost a dozen years of playing Gaelic football with the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle, the Gaels did it. They won their first national championship.

Gaelic football, a fast-paced sport imported from Ireland, combines rugby and soccer and allows players to kick, slap, and pass the ball with hands and feet. “Your skill level doesn’t have to be high to play,” explains veteran Kate Starbird. “It’s easier to teach than soccer, and unlike rugby there’s no tackling.”

“We have a great camaraderie amongst the teammates and our opponents,” says last year’s coach Meg Seyler.
“After a hard match, we’ll share a pitcher and laughs.” And many of the women who make up the Seattle club, unique because it’s dominated by American players, haven’t a drop of Irish blood. “All you have to do is have a love of Irish bars,” says Starbird. “If you can’t tolerate that, you probably won’t stand a chance.” Grab a pint yourself and see the Gaels in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15, or at the Gaels’ open field day on March 30.

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