This week sees the launch of our new NYPD GAA Ground Zero Commemoration jersey. The NYPD GAA club has a proud history dating back almost forty years since it was established by a small group of dedicated Gaels who were also serving officers in New York’s Finest. The jersey commemorates the 23 NYPD officers who tragically lost their lives on 11 September 2001 at Ground Zero.
The NYPD Gaelic Football Club was started in 1969 by a few Bronx policemen who were actively playing for their county teams in New York City. Mike Moloney from Clare, Dan Kiely from Cork, Galway native Mike Burke and Cavan‘s Mike Cassidy were the founders of what is now one of the NYPD’s largest fraternal sports teams. It is also proud owner of one of the best known GAA club jerseys outside Ireland.
The concept of Gaelic football in the NYPD started when Irish men who worked for New York’s civil service jobs wanted to play football yet represent their respective agencies. So the NYPD, FDNY and the NYC bus companies all started teams. Games would be played in Van Cortland park in the Bronx and Flushing Meadow park in Queens.
In 1970 the future Chief of Department of the NYPD John Timony of Dublin started playing. In the early days, team shirts were provided by the NYPD Emerald society.
As with many overseas GAA clubs the flow of players reflects emigration from Ireland and the economic situation. In 1974 both these factors led to the teams being disbanding due to the economic situation of NYC and lack of players coming over from Ireland.
In 1990 the NYPD Gaelic Football club was reformed by NYPD members, Kieron Croke (Galway), Noel Moloney (Clare, son of Mike Moloney) Marty Mahon (Mayo) among others.
The team began to play its games in Gaelic Park and raised money from door entrance fees to support their charities. The first check the NYPD team presented was for $3500 and was given to the NYPD PBA union for the widows and orphans. As time went by the team began to play against the Boston police and the Hartford, Connecticut police. The team gear was provided by the NYPD Emerald society.
Proudly Honoring The Jersey
In September, 2001, P.O Glenn Petitt a member of the NYPD Gaelic Football team was killed while assisting victims at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Since then, the NYPD jerseys proudly carry the 9-11 emblem as well as the NYPD logo.
The #23 jersey was retired in honor of the 23 members of the NYPD killed on 9-11, and this jersey is now presented to dignitaries, Heads of State and honorees at special events. We have presented our jersey to the following:
- President George W Bush
- Vice President Joe Biden
- Vice President Mike Pence
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
- An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
- An Taoiseach Enda Kenny
- President Michael D Higgins
In 2002, NYPD Club Chairman, Paul McCormack (Donegal) and Garda GFC Chairman Eugene O Sullivan (Kerry) arranged the first ever trip to Ireland for the NYPD Team. Paul formed a relationship with O’Neills that continues to this day, to provide team gear to the club.
Supporting our Charities
All NYPD revenue from jersey sales goes to our charities. Since 1990 the NYPD Gaelic Football Club has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities and worthy causes, including:
- The Crumlin Children’s Hospital
- Letterkenny General Hospital
- Templestreet Children’s Hospital
- The Ronald McDonald House (Children’s Cancer)
- NYPD Widows and Orphans Fund
And we hope to continue to raise money for charities for many more years to come.
Links With Ireland
In ’02, fifty club members traveled back to Ireland for what was an emotional and inspiring trip to the homeland in the aftermath of 9-11.
In 2005, Paul and Eugene organized a bi-annual international police tournament consisting of teams from the NYPD, Gardaí, London Metropolitan Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The teams compete for the Tom Langan Cup, and the venue alternates between Dublin, Belfast, London and New York. One of our proudest moments was in October, 2013, when our NYPD GAA team played in the tournament at GAA Headquarters in Croke Park, for the first time ever.