The GAA across North America has never been stronger with powerhouses in football in the major cities, and hurling as a sport also developing across Canada and the United States. The O’Neills jersey is a familiar sight among Irish communities and awareness is also growing among homegrown players who have less of a connection with Ireland.
Here are nine clubs and associations blazing a trail…
Given the huge Irish connection in New York, Gaelic Games have always been an attraction and generations of students headed Stateside for the promise of some dollars, a job on a site and a weekend playing ball.
Did you know? New York GAA made history in 1947 when the All-Ireland football final was played at the famous Polo Grounds featuring Cavan and Kerry.
In 1990 the NYPD Gaelic Football club was reformed after a sixteen year gap. The team now plays its games in Gaelic Park. Since the loss of 23 NYPD officers in 9-11, the NYPD jerseys proudly carry the 9-11 emblem as well as the NYPD logo.
Did you know? The #23 jersey was retired in honour of the 23 members of the NYPD killed on 9-11, including P.O Glenn Pettit a member of the NYPD Gaelic Football team, and this jersey is now presented to dignitaries, Heads of State and honorees at special events.
Brooklyn Shamrocks, founded in 1955 in Brooklyn. Initially the club featured a strong Kerry influence but recently there has been an increasing Ulster influence in the club.
Did you know? A New York Times edition of January 1, 1902, included an account of a Gaelic football game at Madison Square Gardens between the Kickhams of New York and the Emmets of Brooklyn and we believe this to be the earliest documented recording of Gaelic games being played in Brooklyn.
The Toronto Gaels rose from the ashes of the old Garryowen club in 1987. The club has faced some tough times, but thanks to the work of dedicated club members, there has been a strong resurgence in the subsequent years.
Did you know? This summer the Toronto Gaels made the headlines in social media and GAA media circles when they exited the Toronto Championship after a free kick shootout was used to decide their drawn game against St Vincent’s.
The USGAA is the governing body responsible for promoting the sports of Hurling and Gaelic Football in the United States (except NYC). There are over 130 adult and youth clubs under its administration.
Did you know? Each year up to 2,500 children aged U6 to U18 participate in the Continental Youth Championship (CYC) Tournament with hundreds of games organized over the course of the 4 day tournament. These teams travel from USGAA, NY and Canada.
The Ulster Gaelic Club is one of the most well-known GAA clubs in North America. It was established in 1987 and since then has grown its base rapidly to provide a battery of Gaelic games for the Irish community as well as immigrants and locals interested in our games.
Did you know? The Club’s Hall of Fame is extremely well decorated with All-Ireland winners including Kevin Hughes, Stephen O’Neill, Shaun O’Neill and Barry Duffy.
The club was set up in Boston in 1961 by a group of Gaels with a strong background in the west of Ireland.
Did you know? Notable former players include 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.
The Chicago Parnells Gaelic Football Club was founded in 1988 by a number of men interested in creating a new junior club in the Windy City. Parnells amalgamated with the Chicago Celtics (an all American born team) in 1996.
Did you know? A long and distinguished list of current and former players includes a number of senior All Ireland winners, including household names Neil Gallagher and Kevin McManamon.
Aidan Mc Anespie Gaelic Football Club Boston was formed in 1995 and has grown to have the biggest membership of all the clubs in the city. The club is named in memory of the Aghaloo GAA club in Tyrone, whose member Aidan McAnespie who was shot and killed on his way to a match.
Did you know? Playing in the Tyrone colours, Peter Canavan, Gregory McCartan, Ollie Murphy, Chris Conway, Philip Loughran, Barry Malone and Dermot Heaney have played for Aidan McAnespie GFC over the years.