An ancient sport helps to create a new friendship at Ballinteer St John’s. Pictures: Paul Lundy

SOUTH Dubliners turned out in droves to welcome 19 children and two coaches from Al Helal FC in Gaza on their visit to Dublin, where they played GAA against their peers at Ballinteer St John’s.

Following their highly-succcessful visit last year, the long-awaited return trip saw the kids given the best of Irish welcomes, with the Palestinian children leaving conflict behind to enjoy a ten-day trip to Ireland, with the Ballinteer leg a highlight.

There was time for a clash of ash, too, as the Gaza kids gamely picked up a hurley or two at Marlay Park.

There were also hotly contested soccergames against Ballybrack FC last Sunday, July 30, with the visiting Al Helal team losing 4-2 in an entertaining affair.

They took the loss in their stride, with their efforts on the pitch roundly applauded and cheered on by many locals.

Thanking their Ballinteer and Ballybrack hosts and the people of Dublin, the Al Helal FC coaches spoke warmly of the lifelong memories forged on welcoming Irish soil.

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