84 teams with 1,300 players from 10 regions around the world paraded from the Waterside carpark to Arundel Square on Sunday evening as the Renault GAA World Games were opened in great style.
The Parade was led by the Barrack St Band while the huge swathe of players, coaches and mentors were also kept in step by City of Waterford Brass, the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band the Celtic Drummers.
The Taiko Drummers met the teams in Arundel Square ahead of the official opening ceremony.
Mayor of Waterford Cllr John Pratt welcomed the visiting teams and hoped they would enjoy their stay in Waterford’s oldest city.
“This week, we welcome over 1,300 Gaelic footballers, hurlers and camogie players from all around the world to Waterford for the Renault GAA World Games 2019. It is fantastic to see so many teams from around the world arrive in Waterford for a week-long tournament of Gaelic games,” he said. Mayor Pratt continued: “All events will take place in the fabulous WIT Arena at Carrignore with the finals being held in Croke Park later in the week. Over the weekend we have seen some fantastic warm up games and many thanks to the clubs which have hosted and supported this. The opening parade through the heart of our City was a truly memorable occasion and Waterford outshone itself with the warm welcome which was extended. We are proud here in Waterford to be Ireland’s oldest city with our roots dating back over 1100 years. Our City and County boasts historic sites, stunning coastline and beautiful scenery as well as a vibrant and modern city centre. We are hugely excited about what the future holds as new developments and opportunities ensure our city will continue to prosper and thrive.”
He continued: “We are immensely proud of the GAA here in Waterford, as our county is involved at all levels in the various Gaelic sports. We are particularly honoured that the GAA World Games 2019 has given Waterford the opportunity to showcase what we have and allow us to extend our hospitality to the wider GAA community. We embrace the spirit of this festival of games and the ties of friendship that will be forged both nationally and internationally.“I look forward to watching exciting games being played and I hope that all players, team officials, administrators, families and supporters who have travelled here to Waterford will return home with cherished memories of their time here.
“I would like to wish everyone involved in the GAA World Games 2019 the very best of luck and hope that they enjoy tonight’s events and the week ahead both on and off the field of play.” The games started yesterday (Monday) at 10am the WIT Sports Complex at Carriganore and will continue until Thursday evening. Players will compete in “native” and “non-native” competitions in hurling, camogie and Gaelic football. The teams and their officials will then travel to Dublin for the final in Croke Park on Friday. The Waterford economy is set to benefit to the tune of €1.5million as the teams and their families and supporters are hosted by GAA clubs in the city and surrounding areas.