FORMER Carrigtwohill GAA player Shane O’Mahony is playing a key role in promoting GAA in Bangkok, since the Cork man moved to Thailand in 2009.
The East Cork man plays a key role in helping ensure the GAA continues to thrive in Thailand. Shane is currently a committee member within Thailand GAA.
“I am on the committee. I was PRO for a number of years. I am still involved with organising tournaments, training and social events,” revealed the GAA enthusiast.
Shane loves his new life in Thailand.
Playing GAA ensures he can combine the best of both worlds.
The GAA scene in Thailand has improved immensely in recent years revealed Shane.
“It is a fantastic place to live. As soon as I found out that there was a GAA team in Bangkok, I joined immediately.
“The club was a lot different then. I remember going training and having about seven or eight players down at training.
“I used to get to training by motorbike taxi, boat, and sky train. The club now boasts over 50 members and we could have between 35 and 50 down at training, both men and ladies.
“We have people from about 15 countries playing and training with us. The Irish community is great here.
“It is a very close-knit group.”
Thailand GAA are very active participants in Asian Games tournaments and they often travel to other major cities to participate in annual tournaments or even to play challenge games.
Combining travel with playing GAA is an added bonus declared the Cork man.
“There are two major tournaments held every year which are the South Asian Games and the Asian Gaelic Games.
“We also travel to play other teams in the region for challenge matches or they might come here to Bangkok.
“If the sporting action resumes we are due to travel to Manilla in the Philippines and we are scheduled to return to Kuala Lumpur for the Asian Games again later this year.
“We hosted the South Asian Games here in 2012, 2015 and 2016. We will do so again this year depending on the current circumstances.”
Shane and his colleagues in the Thailand GAA are always keen to attract more home-grown players to participate in GAA.
Their policy appears to be working as many native players are attending training sessions and making an impact on the squad, declared Shane.
“Our numbers are always growing. We encourage people to bring friends to training in order to expose more people to the GAA and to show them how much fun it can be.
“We have local Thai players who are really loving playing GAA.
“We have a range of players, from beginners to inter-county players playing with us.”
There are currently five Cork natives involved with Thailand GAA.
They are all keen GAA enthusiasts who meet up regularly to follow the fortunes of their beloved inter-county teams back home.
Shane loves playing with his fellow Rebels.
“We have five Cork players involved with the club in total.
“Aileen Kearns, Ciaran Griffin, Peter Ahern and the Irish Ambassador, Tony Cotter, who is also a Carrigtwohill man.
“Tony is a great supporter of the GAA and has been very supportive of our club. He always comes to our events to show his support.
“Peter is from Blackrock and Ciaran hails from Glanmire. We meet up for as many games as possible.
“The GAA is a fantastic outlet for Irish people living abroad. It has made life so much easier for me being away from home.
“It is like a family away from home. Not only is the sport side of the GAA a great help, but we also have an amazing social scene.”
Shane played for his beloved Carrigtwohill GAA Club for many years.
He has great memories of his playing career with Carrigtwohill.
“I have fantastic memories of playing with Carrigtwohill. My grandparents Dan and Mary O’Mahony live in West End which was right next to the pitch.
“I used to go to the pitch every day during the summer holidays and have a puck around with my cousins Killian and Michael.
“We lived down there and Grandad would always come out and keep an eye on us. I loved playing both hurling and football.
“I played all the way up until I left Ireland in 2008. Some of the best times of my youth were spent down the pitch in Carrig or wearing the blue and gold jersey representing my parish.
“Carrig has always been a great club. Our success at intermediate in 2007 and senior in 2011 were amazing days for the village.
“I still closely follow their fortunes. My dad Denis O’Mahony, gives me all the weekly updates. He also sends over DVDs of the games.”
Shane has great memories of playing with former Cork senior hurler star and Carrigtwohill legend Niall McCarthy. They met up when Niall visited Bangkok a few years ago.
“Niall was a fantastic player and still continues to be a great ambassador for the GAA. He is a great club man. You could always rely on him to perform for both club and county. He is still active in the club and does great work. I grew up across the road from Niall and I don’t think I ever saw him without a hurley. Niall visited Bangkok a few years ago and it was nice to catch up with him.”