Astro Park have teamed up with Bubblefootball.ie to bring you a quite spectacular, hilarious and very energetic new sport called…you guessed it, Bubble Football.
Aidan McDevitt, Marketing and Operations manager for Astro Park, says the partnership will result in the running of exclusive Bubble Football events at Astro Park.
The founder of bubble football in Ireland, Robert Garvey, was on hand at the launch to explain where the idea came from.
Bubble football originated in Italy where Robert saw it, and he decided to bring it to Ireland. They are the only company in Dublin providing the activity, and Robert says that bubble football is very similar to soccer but with an added twist: it’s like a blend of soccer, GAA and rugby.
Robert says that he constantly hears from people about how soccer is turning into a sport where you can hardly tackle anymore, and that players are constantly diving. “Bubble football is the opposite of that, we encourage them to duck and dive, it’s part of this new game.”
“It’s a new and innovative sport in the country,” says Robert. “The idea is that the player has a transparent inflatable bubble suit that covers their upper body. This protects the player and the other players, and it makes it more difficult for players to squeeze past the opposition. The suit only covers the upper body, so your soccer skills are still required.”
Because there is very little chance of injury, no referees are required to manage the games. Robert tells me that there were a few Airtricity League referees taking part in the tournament at Astro Park. “There are no free kicks, the nature of the game is to nudge your opposition out of the way to get access to the ball,” he says.
Not being much of a footballer myself, like most of the onlookers I was in stitches as the players fell, bounced and rolled around the pitch. It looked like the crowd around the pitch were having even more fun than the players.
I spoke to some of the players after their game, and it turned out they too had a great laugh.
Keith Hodsen said: “I thought it was brilliant, great craic. Even though the other team were a lot bigger than us and they could easily knock us over, it was great fun.”
Aaron O’Neill said: “I think it’s great craic to be honest. You can’t really get hurt inside the bubble even though you are breaking each other up. At the end of the day you are still playing a game of ball, so it’s fairly competitive, and great value too. It should get really popular.”