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Spórt an tSathairn / Saturday Sport

useful phrases

There are lots of great sports programmes on both Telifís na Gaeilge, and on Raidió na Gaeltachta, but they can be a little challenging for anyone learning Irish (to put it mildly!). This is because sports presenters generally tend to speak a mile a minute, in any language! Read the short article below with some very useful vocabulary before you watch the video above.


Spórt an tSathairn / Saturday Sport

There are lots of sports programmes, and sports bulletins, on Raidió na Gaeltachta, but 'Spóirt an tSathairn' is probably the most important programme for die-hard sports fans at the weekend. Spóirt an tSathairn goes out every Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm and gives running updates on the main matches going on during that time. Listen to RnaG on 93.2 FM in Ireland, or via the internet outside of Ireland.


Cláir Spóirt / Sports Programmes

For someone learning Irish sports programmes might be the most challenging to listen to of all, probably more challenging than listening to weather bulletins even! Sports presenters have to be able to comment at the speed of a match and very often they don't slow down too much once the match is over either! So if you find it difficult to catch a word of what they say ná bí buartha, that's par for the course, (to use a sporting expression)! The only way to get better at listening to Irish is by listening to Irish, so hang in there!


Give yourself a fighting chance!

If you are going to make the effort to listen to sports programmes in Irish make sure that you give yourself a fighting chance by being familiar with some of the main vocabulary beforehand. You will need to know the names of the main sports; and words to do with counties, provinces and teams.


Stór Focal / Vocabulary

Here are a few words that will most definitely be required:

Iomáint / Iománaíocht / Hurling

Camógaíocht / Camogie

Peil Ghaelach / Gaelic Football

Peil na mBan / Women's Football


Comórtais / Competitions

Craobh / craobhchomórtas / championship

Craobh iomána na hÉireannn / the All-Ireland hurling championship

Sraith / League

An cluiche ceannais / The final

An cluiche leathcheannais / The semi-final

An cluiche ceathrú ceannais / The quarter final

Babhta a haon / a dó etc / Round one, two etc.

Roinn A, Roinn B / Division A, Division B


Páirceanna / Pitches

Páirc an Chrócaigh / Croke Park (Dublin)

Staid an Phiarsaigh / Pearse Stadium (Galway)

Páirc Uí Chaoimh / The main stadium in Cork

Staid Semple / Semple Stadium (Thurles)


Na Cúigí / The Provinces

Listening to sports programmes is a great way to become familiar with the names of the counties and provinces in Irish. (Listen out for Cúige Laighean (Leinster) on the video above).

Cúige Chonnacht / the province of Connacht

Cúige Mumhan / the province of Munster

Cúige Uladh / the province of Ulster

Cúige Laighean / the province of Leinster


Ábairtí áirithe / Certain sentences

There are certain phrases and sentences that tend to crop up a lot on sports programmes. This short list will get you started on the road to becoming familiar with some sentences that you will likely hear more than once in any sports programme:

Fuair foireann na Gaillimhe an lámh in uachtar ar fhoireann Bhaile Átha Cliath / the Galway team got the upper hand on the Dublin team (i.e Galway beat Dublin)

Bhí Gaillimh taobh le ceithre fhear déag / the Galway team were down to fourteen men

Tabharfaidh Ciarraí aghaidh ar Bhaile Átha Cliath Dé Domhnaigh seo chugainn / Kerry will face Dublin next Sunday (i.e. Kerry will play Dublin)

Chuir sí an cic saor thar an trasnán / She put the free kick over the crossbar

Bhuaigh siad craobh an chontae anuraidh / They won the county championship last year

Chríochnaigh siad ag bun na sraithe / They finished at the bottom of the league


Another sentence you are likely to hear quite often on a Saturday sports programme, where the presenter is jumping about from match to match all over the country is:

Beidh muid ag coinneáil súil ar.../ We will be keeping an eye on... 



Even if after reading the above you find the video waaaay too fast I hope that you won't be disheartened! Listening to sports programmes is challenging, and it will take quite a bit of time to tune your ear in. Don't expect to understand every word, or even every second word, for quite a while.

When learning Irish I know that listening to Irish is one of the best things that you can do to become fluent in Irish. Try to find a programme that you like, and listen for just a few minutes each day for a month or so. If you find Raidió na Gaeltachta too difficult for now don't be disheartened, this just means that you're not ready yet. Maybe take one of my courses: Beginner Irish is the place to start if you are just starting to learn Irish; Beyond Beginner Irish is for intermediate level. Or for the more advanced have a look at the Literature and Poetry courses. (Click here for information on each of the courses). If you've any questions at all don't hesitate to contact me!

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