Irish Centre to host celebration of 'hidden' sports in Leeds such as gaelic football

The Irish Centre is set to host an art project celebrating 'hidden' sports in Leeds, such as gaelic football and roller skating.

By Tom Coates
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 6:07 pm

The project, named Unsung Sports, will shine a light on sports which may not be the most regularly played in the city but remain at the heart of local communities.

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It will take place on 12 May at 7:30pm and focuses on gaelic football, table tennis and roller skating.

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Peter Spafford and Lizzie Coombes have contributed to the project. Credit: Lizzie Coombes

Produced by arts and social change charity Space2, it is led by writer and musician Peter Spafford and will feature music, short films, radio features and photographs.

A short film has been produced about each of the three sports by filmmaker Emilie Flower, whilst Peter has written seven new songs. The photographs that will be on display have been captured by photographer Lizzie Coombes and are said to capture the essence of the games.

Peter was amazed by the dedication shown by a women's gaelic football team he saw train in the dark and the snow in Leeds and the project aims to celebrate the passion demonstrated by teams such as the one he watched.

He said: "There they were, twenty or so women by the side of the Scott Hall Road, in almost pitch darkness doing their training. Their dedication was amazing.

"Unsung Sports is about celebrating the passion people bring to these sports and highlighting the fact that not only do these sports exist, but that anyone can get involved."

The event will also offer attendees the opportunity to meet players of all three sports to discuss involvement and the benefits of taking up sport have been outlined by Peter, who has worked with several table tennis clubs throughout the years.

He said: "For some people it’s their life. I attended a number of sessions where volunteer coaches were working tirelessly with young people on honing their confidence and skills. It was so moving to see’

"By playing sport you are constantly setting yourself goals and it’s fantastic for social interaction, so you feel better physically and mentally – a lot of people say that it brings them joy.

"I’ve enjoyed every minute – I think the arts and sports are sometimes seen as very separate – but this project brings them together in a unique way."

Admission is free but booking in advance, which can be done here, has been advised.