The Dublin Devils have already made history this season, as the first Irish team ever to reach the GFSN Cup final. They will aim to go one step further when they take on Manchester Village in the final on Saturday at 2pm in Tolka Park.
The Gay Supporters Football Network Cup (GFSN Cup) is the primary football competition in the UK and Ireland for LGBTQ+ players, and this Saturday's game also marks the first time that Ireland will host the final.
Speaking to Balls.ie this week, Dublin Devils captain Adam Kane told us about his team's journey - and about how significant a moment this game could be for LGBTQ+ representation in sport in Ireland.
Dublin Devils: Captain Adam Kane on importance of GFSN Cup final
Adam Kane has led his team through a tough campaign in getting to the GFSN Cup final, a campaign that involved away days in London and Birmingham.
The Dublin Devils' triumph over the Yorkshire Terriers in the semi-final made them the first Irish team ever to reach the final. As the most prominent LGBTQ+ football team in the country, it's a massive moment for representation of the community in sporting spheres, and the importance isn't lost on Kane:
It's a huge milestone for the club. Obviously the greater impact is that we're the first Irish club to get to the final itself.
The organisation, the GFSN, it's a UK-based organisation, we just don't have anything in our own country established enough so that we can run our own cup or tournaments, the same way they do over there. They kindly invited us many years ago to be part of that.
I think it's also good because being an Irish team and putting it up to the English and Scottish teams - you have that little bit of representing your country as well. That's part of it.
In terms of the [LGBTQ+] community, it's big and it just shows that we're not here to mess around in terms of our competitiveness. Just because we're from the LGBTQ community, doesn't mean we're not interested in sport, we're not interested in football - not only that, but we're really good at it as well!
Tomorrow afternoon, the @DublinDevilsFC will become the first Irish side to play in the final of the @gfsnUK Cup.
They'll take on @villagemancfc at Tolka Park, so we chatted to Devils captain Adam Kane about the occasion!
Kick off is at 2pm tomorrow and admission is free! 🏳️🌈⚽️ pic.twitter.com/wSaZXFIe29
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) May 27, 2022
The game will be hosted in Tolka Park, home of League of Ireland club Shelbourne.
As Kane tells us, Shels have played an important role in the Devils' journey, and they were delighted to offer their home ground to host the final.
I think especially with us playing in Tolka Park, it has that link then between the League of Ireland and ourselves in the community, that's important for everyone to see.
Shels have been very good to us over the last number of years. We play a Pride Cup every June with them, it would be ourselves against a couple of Shels legends and different people from within the club at Shels, it's always a great day out as well.
In terms of anything we've gone to Shels with to accommodate us or to help us out with, they've always been very good. We were looking for a coach a while back and got on to them, they were putting the feelers out and trying to get us sorted.
As soon as we mentioned the final to them, they were only too happy and more than accommodating to let us have it in Tolka Park.
Even in terms of getting the word out, they've been great as well.
The Dublin Devils are based in the Phoenix Park and hope to offer an inclusive environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community in which to play and enjoy football. Now in their 17th year, the GFSN Cup final run marks a major milestone in the club's history.
In Kane's personal story, as well, Saturday's game is massive. He says that it is already one of the biggest moments of his career so far - and he hopes it will only gain more significance during the afternoon at Tolka Park.
I played schoolboy growing up and played for a couple of different teams locally.
But I think there's always something about getting to a cup final. Not everyone can say they got to a cup final. I think we'll have to remember that tomorrow, to enjoy it - to win, but to enjoy it!
It's up there as one of the big moments [of his career], and hopefully it will be the biggest moment if we lift the trophy.
In the wake of Jake Daniels and Josh Cavallo's coming out, the cup run for the Dublin Devils feels like a huge moment for the sporting LGBTQ+ community on home soil.
The game at Tolka Park is free admission, and Kane and his Devils teammates are hoping to see a big turnout for the showpiece. Come 2pm, Irish fans will be watching on and hoping for one more