London Girls Gaelic football team create virtual football match to remember teammate who died aged 14
By Damian Dolan
Girls from a North London GAA club have created a virtual Gaelic football match to honour their former teammate.
Chloe Quillec was just 14 when she passed away in October 2018 from a brain tumour.
Last year, her club North London Shamrocks staged a tournament in her memory, The Chloe Cup, which was held in conjunction with Holloway Gaels’ annual Ann Dunning Memorial event.
This year’s joint tournament had been scheduled to take place on 28 March, but was postponed due to the coronavirus.
Determined to find another way of remembering Chole, her teammates and Shamrocks’ underage mentors came together to make a video, recreating a football match, complete with pre match and half-time pep talks.
Their opposition was Donegal club Naomh Brid Pettigo, who helped Shamrocks make the video.
Chloe’s family has given the tribute their approval.
“They love it; they really appreciate the sentiment of it,” Shamrocks’ Eoin Hourigan told the Irish World.
“When you watch it you get quite emotional, but there’s also a fun element to it.
“You’re wiping a tear from your eye one moment, and then laughing the next.”
He added: “Chloe’s family has been blown away by how the GAA community has worked to keep her memory alive.”
Chloe, whose mother is Polish and her father is French, started playing Gaelic football in 2016 when she went along to a LGFA Gaelic For Girls six-week programme run by Holloway Gaels at Downhills Park.
She “really enjoyed it” says Eoin and that led to her joining the underage set up at North London Shamrocks.
The club hope that they may be able to reschedule the Chloe Cup tournament for later in the year, Covid-19 permitting.
It was one the player’s parents who suggested the idea of making a video, having been sent a link to a virtual game involving Naomh Brid. She shared the link amongst the Shamrocks club.
“That led to someone suggesting, how about we do a virtual Chloe Cup?’ And it just snowballed from there,” explained Eoin.
The London club made contact with Naomh Brid, who were only too happy to not only lend some advice, but also offered to edit the video.
“They were quite touched by Chloe’s story and were very supportive of what we were trying to do,” added Eoin, who is one of the underage coaches at Shamrocks and vice chairperson of the club’s youth committee.
The Shamrocks players were asked to make a short video of themselves receiving the ball, taking a solo and then moving it on. One of clips features Chloe’s brother, Matheo.
All of the video clips, together with some photos of Chloe, were then sent on to Naomh Brid.
Eoin plays the part of the referee in the video, while fellow Shamrocks coaches Patrick Walls (under 14s girls coach) and Ciara Holland (under 12 girls coach) deliver stirring team talks, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s football stadiums proving the backdrop for both.
Indeed, the sharp contrast in the landscapes ensures there is no difficulty in differentiating between the two teams – the backdrops of rural Donegal juxtaposing with the more urban landscapes of North London.
“We definitely lost the battle of the back gardens!” says Eoin.
The North London Shamrocks players came together to watch the video for the first time via Zoom, before it was circulated on social media.
“It was nice to be able to have everyone there so we could all watch it together, and the reaction to it has been fabulous,” said Eoin.
As for the result? A tense, exciting game with some great skills on display, and fittingly a diplomatic draw at the end of it all, one goal a piece.
To watch the video go to London Ladies LGFA Facebook page