Italian GAA president has a ball with Pope Francis
Pope Francis has helped boost an Italian Gaelic football team after he was pictured with the team’s president and an O’Neills GAA ball – and the picture went viral when published on the internet.
GAA – the Irish sporting organisation – has a number of overseas bases, and Rome plays host to the Lazio GAA team. The team were invited to an audience with Pope Francis last month, at which Sergio Corsini, the club’s president, presented him with the gift of an O’Neills GAA ball. A photograph of the meeting was uploaded on the club’s Twitter account and ended up going viral.
The club secretary, Cormac McLaughlin, expressed the club’s shock at the reaction to the photo. He told Irish sports website The42: “We were astounded. People were on our Twitter account. My phone died very quickly because it was just red hot with notifications.
“People from Australia and America were retweeting it, the various websites were covering it, we were getting texts from back home.”
Chris Taggart, an Irishman, founded the team four years ago. Mr Taggart, originally from Castlederg, Tyrone, was living in Rome at the time and following his move to Hong Kong to teach, Mr Corsini took up the presidency.
One of Mr Corsini’s first presidential decisions was to change the club’s name from Rome to Lazio, in tribute to his love of the Lazio football team.
Earlier in the year the club applied for membership of the Polisportiva of Lazio, a society of more than 50 sports clubs representing the name ‘Lazio’.
The Gaelic Athletic Association – Ireland’s largest sporting organisation – remains one of the greatest amateur sporting associations in the world. It has more than 500,000 members worldwide, covering traditional GAA sports of Gaelic football, hurling, camogie, handball and rounders.
To find out more about the Lazio GAA team, see their Twitter account, @LazioRomeGAA or go to their Facebook page, S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico.Tags: Italian Gaelic football, Pope Francis, The Gaelic Athletic Association