Connemara Gaels Keep The West Awake in Boston
Connemara Gaels GFC are based in Dorchester just outside Boston and have been providing Gaelic Games to the Irish community in the Boston area since 1961. They are a well-known club in the American GAA community.
The Connemara Gaels have strong links with County Galway in Ireland, with the majority of members coming from the Connemara region and the link with Galway GAA is obvious.
The Connemara Gaels club was set up in 1961. The first meeting was held in Doggin’s Pub on Columbia Road in South Boston. The elected chairman was Collie Conneelly from Carraroe in Galway. Pat Lydon from Carna in Galway was the team’s first manager and Collie Folan, from Carraroe in Meath, was the captain.
Colours and Crest
As is the case with any GAA club jersey, the Gaels take great pride in their white and green colours, and the crest is a Connemara Ram with the Rocky Hills of Connemara in the background.
Connemara Gaels Home from Home
The Gaels train just outside of Boston, at a local elementary school in Braintree Massachusetts and play matches at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, Massachusetts. The Connemara Gaels are based out of JJ's Irish Pub and Grill in Dorchester. JJ's is where all of the club meetings are held and where the players and members go after matches for dinner and a few drinks.
Factfile: Players and Members
The Connemara Gaels have 3 teams of players, aged 17 years and older, participating in the Boston Championship at Senior, Junior A and Junior B levels.
There are 93 full members registered plus many more social members.
The Connemara Gaels have won honours at all levels they have competed in:
· 5 Senior Championships (1972, 1973,1997, 2001, 2013)
· 1 Junior A Championship (1978)
· 2 Junior B Championships (2002, 2010)
Traditions and Characters
The Gaels have many traditions. New members are required to sing a song at the first night of training. After matches everyone goes back to JJ's Irish Pub and Grill in Dorchester where DJ Connie plays the tunes. "Stand By Me" and Avicii's " Wake Me Up" being the club’s anthems. On special occasions Peter Lee, the 2017 senior manager, will give his rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" on top of the stools in JJ's.
Stephen King from Roundstone in Galway has been a key member of the club since 1987. Stephen was Chairman of the club on several occasions for a total of 17 years. John "Soup" Conneely, the current Chairman of the club is catching up on him with 10 years served as Chairman.
Some notable former players are Galway All Ireland winners Sean Óg De Paor and Declan Meehan. Both won a Boston Senior Championship with the club in 1997 and impressively went on to win the All-Ireland with Galway in 1998 and 2001.
Also 2016 GAA/GPA Opel Football All-Star Nominees Paul Conroy, Danny Cummins, and Damien Comer of Galway and Robbie Kiely from Tipperary were previous players for the Connemara Gaels.
Looking to the Future
Looking to the future, the Connemara Gaels are always aiming to grow and improve the club. In 2016 the Gaels fielded teams in the Boston Championship (Senior, Junior A, Junior B) for the first time in their history. The club has grown a lot bigger in the last few years with additions of players emigrating from Ireland and also getting local American players involved.