“I’ll be supporting London, which will be strange because normally I’d be backing Mayo.” London GAA PRO Yvonne Morley is steeped in the tradition of Mayo GAA, despite being born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her parents John and Kathleen Morley are from Knock and Claremorris respectively and will be making the trip to Ruislip on Sunday to support the green and red, while Yvonne will be squarely behind the exiles’ charge to knock Mayo out of the Connacht Championship. “They’re making the trip to the game, my dad is a football fanatic and was massively involved in the GAA in Toronto and we used to make the trip to New York for the game over there when Mayo came over, but I’ll have to be supporting London this time around.”
Yvonne, who is in her first year as PRO for London and also works as a GAA development officer in the UK capital, has been working hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly over the course of the weekend. “It’ll be a manic week in the build up. Not only with the game on Sunday, but we’re launching a book chronicling the history of the GAA in London over the past 100 years. A huge amount of work has gone into that book and the launch on Saturday night is a massive thing.” The book incorporates some 30 years of work by GAA people in London, collecting facts, figures, stories and photographs of Gaelic games in the city.
The visit of one of the five Connacht sides to London each May for the championship is always a massive occasion for the exiles and this year will be no different, according to Yvonne. “We’re looking at having between 3,000 and 4,000 people in Ruislip on Sunday. There is an awful lot of work going on around it, from working with the council and police to ensure that everything is up to scratch for the crowds and safety issues. Then we’re on to the day itself, it’s a massive social occasion for the Irish people in London, no matter where they are from they come out to Ruislip for the day. We have music going on, food and drink, it’s a great day out. With Monday being a bank holiday over here there’ll be a real festive atmosphere around the place.” There will plenty to keep the large Mayo crowd who are expected to travel occupied on Sunday, with some football thrown into the mix of course too.