Frequently asked questions

What is Gaelic Football?


Gaelic Football is the most popular field sport in Ireland and is played on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. It combines some aspects of soccer, rugby and basketball but there are significant differences. It is played with a round ball and both hands and feet are used to control and pass the ball. There are 15 players on each team, with only 1 referee. Learn more on our training page




What is Hurling?


Hurling is one of the oldest sports in Ireland and is also known as the fastest grass field sport in the world! The pitch is very similar to a Gaelic Football pitch though the equipment is different. A hurley (a wooden stick) is used to strike the sliotar (a small ball) with the aim of scoring points or goals with H-shaped goals at each end of the pitch. View our Training Page for a video run down on The Rules of Hurling Explained.

See our own Cormac Gaston's Cheeky goal in KL during the AGGs in 2019 on our News & Media Page




Where and when do you train?


Our regular training facility is in An Phu, D2: Khu thể thao An Phú 250 Đường Mai Chí Thọ, Khu phố 3, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam When possible we also train at RMIT University in D7 on Saturday mornings: RMIT University Vietnam, Saigon South campus 702 Nguyễn Văn Linh, Tân Hưng, Quận 7




Who can come to training? Is it too late for a non-Irish person to learn to play?


We accept all Gaelic sporting abilities from absolute beginner to Inter-County level player. We welcome all nationalities and have players from America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, England, Philippines, to name a few! We have Ladies’ Gaelic Football, Men’s Gaelic Football and Hurling and hope to grow the Camogie side of the club! Don’t worry if you have not played before, we have something to offer all levels of the above sports! We also encourage people of all levels of fitness to attend. Take a look at our Social Media Page to have a sneak peek!




Is there a social aspect to Gaelic or is it just sports?


Saigon Gaels are a community-based sporting club. As well as training and competitions we host regular social events and other initiatives to support our club community, the wider Saigon Gaels and Irish Community, and anyone else who wants to get involved! Take a look at our Membership Page for more details!




How did Gaelic football start?


The origins of our sport is dubious as it was passed on from generation to generation with no official documents of how to play. However the establishment of the GAA, Gaelic Athletic Association occurred in the late 19-century by a group of sporting enthusiasts who wanted to protect the Irish language, culture and sport. This era in Ireland was particularly turbulent as we continued to be occupied by the British as a colony. So in 1884, in a small hotel in the South of Ireland, the official rules and regulations were grounded to the sport we love and play today.




How did Saigon Gaels become a team?


Our story is similar to many GAA teams abroad. The Gaels struggled for years to establish a solid group of people to commit to regular training sessions and tournaments. In 2011, however, motivation by one past female member allowed for a stable ladies team to train and compete all over Asia. Since then the city of Saigon has seen a burst of expats in the education and I.T. sector establishing themselves and this has had a positive effect on our club. Increased numbers of Irish people and the Saigon Gaels association with the Vietnam Swans (AFL, Australian Football) has seen our membership thrive in the past few years, and our community can only get more substantial.




Why should I join your club?


Gaelic Football is a very dynamic sport that improves your aerobic fitness significantly after a while. The other side of our club is the social aspect with many events and tournaments being held year round that allows our members to travel around Asia. Along with highly qualified coaches, top range facilities for training and a growing community with likewise interests those who join our team feel a sense of community and most of all, make great friendships along the way.




Who can I contact to know more info about the club?


So there are many ways to get in contact with the Saigon Gaels GAA Club. Take a look on our Contact Us Page




What is life like in Saigon?


Life in Saigon can be very enjoyable. It is a tropical climate with 2 seasons - hot and wet or hot and dry! There are an abundance of opportunities (aside from current COVID-19 restrictions) for travel around the country and region. Within and close to the city there are several tourist attractions that are very popular amongst expats and locals alike such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Vietnam War Museum, Independence Palace, Mekong Delta, Mui Ne beach town, Phu Quoc tropical island.




Where should I live in Saigon?


Popular districts include the central Districts of D1 and D3 which are close to many attractions and offer opportunities for quick and easy transport, walking in the primary areas to explore different parts of the city, and steeping yourself in the Saigonese way of life. D2 and D7 are popular among expats, particularly those who work in these districts, including those that work in International Schools. Find out more here




Is Saigon a safe place to live?


Like any large, busy city, there are safety concerns. Overall Saigon is a very safe place to live. Some notable things to be careful of are phone, handbag, wallet snatching - as applies to any big city. Driving is another area to be cautious. Driving can be a bit hectic at times as there are a LOT of motorbikes on the roads and road laws aren’t abided by to the same extent as in some other countries. N.B. It is a legal requirement that you have a Vietnamese issued driving licences to drive here legally and to be insured. Once you have a full driving licence in your home country, you can apply to go your motorbike test in an official facility and be issued a permit within two weeks.




Where to work?


Many, though not all, of our players work in language centres or International Schools. If you get in touch with the club we are happy to give more personal and specific direction, if possible.




How is the food in Vietnam?


Saigon is a melting pot for food with influences from Vietnam, Cambodia, and other parts of Asia. A quick Google of Vietnamese food will surely have your taste buds ready to explore! There are also many western and other international food options in case you are looking to get a taste of home or just try something different. The central districts such as D.1 and D.3 you will find the best street food vendors in the city with a fraction of the price you would spend in a restaurant. The best attitude with food in Vietnam is to taste it once, and you will be pleasantly surprised with what your palate enjoys. The expat districts, D.2 and D.7, is what you would expect in any westernised area with more options in regards to Veganism, Vegetarianism and allergy substitutions. Compared to the rest of the city the prices of food are generally higher but still within a suitable price range. Overall, if you don’t enjoy Vietnamese food after a while, you have a wide range of cuisines such as Italian and Mexican.




Is there an opportunity to play hurling and camogie with Saigon Gaels GAA Club?


As of 2020 Saigon Gaels GAA Club is offering members the opportunity to play both hurling and camogie.




When and where do the hurling and camogie teams train?


There is no fixed day for hurling and camogie training due to uncertainty surrounding venues due to Covid-19. We hope to get a weekly slot organised as soon as possible.




Do hurling and camogie teams train together?


No. Teams will train separately more than likely on the same day.




When are the hurling and camogie tournaments/matches?


The main hurling and camogie tournaments are hosted at the AAG’s in November. We have never entered a camogie team yet but this is our goal for the next possible tournament. Our hurling team won the Senior AAG Hurling Championship in 2019 for the first time in our history and we aspire this to be a tradition we build on.




Is equipment needed to play?


Saigon Gaels provide the basic equipment to play. We provide balls needed for both ladies and mens Gaelic football. We also provide a limited number of helmets and hurleys for hurling and camogie.




How can I get involved?


There are many ways to get involved. You can help out at an event, use your skills to improve the club, or join our committee! Please contact us if you're interested in volunteering your time! Take a look on our Contact Us Page.