Article from gaa.ie
Onlookers at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis will witness GAA history unfold as New York will be the first underage hurling team to travel to Ireland to compete in the Connacht GAA Hurling Club Féile on June 30.
In all, 24 promising juvenile hurlers will make the journey from The Big Apple to compete amongst Connacht’s future stars, 12 of which featured on the New York winning Gaelic Football Feile team that took place last weekend. They have been drawn to face St. Dominics (Roscommon), Caiseil Gaels (Mayo) and Castleconnor (Sligo) in the group stages.
New York’s preparation for the Féile began back in February with almost 40 children taking part in trials amongst five underage hurling clubs in New York. The team consists of players from all five clubs and is managed by Joe Grace, a Tipperary native and talented club hurler who moved to the states in 1985.
Damien Coleman, Director of Hurling for Connacht GAA, made the trip over to New York on numerous occasions, taking training sessions and coaching workshops with the team on Randall’s Island.
“On recent visits to New York, you can see the skill development improvements in all squad members which is a testament to their juvenile board, management team and coaches for the work that is going on,” Coleman says. “Serious co-operation between all GAA clubs throughout the city happens in order to bring this to fruition”.
Gaelic Games continues to prosper in the States and in New York in particular with boys and girls hurling and Camogie teams competing from Under 8 right up to adult level. Progression like this is a testament to the coaching and development of Gaelic Games Stateside with Emmet Conlon, the New York Hurling Development Officer, having witnessed the strength of hurling grow.
Conlon said: “This is the first time an underage Hurling team from New York will be competing in Ireland and there is great excitement here. It is great promotion for Hurling Development in New York.”
There is now more than 400 GAA clubs operating outside of Ireland. The young hurlers of New York get to fly the flag for the great work being done to spread Gaelic Games overseas.