The Toronto Gaels arose from the ashes of the old Garryowen club in 1987, with men such as Billy Millar, Billy Gilroy and Joe Matthews to the forefront of the new club. Other former Garryowen men, such as the legendary and sorely missed Tommy White (RIP), and Paddy Callan also played crucial roles in the establishment and growth of the Toronto Gaels over the years.
The club has faced some tough times, struggling for numbers in recent years, and came very close to folding in the 2010 season. Thanks in no small part to the dedication of backroom committee staff including Shane Watters, Sean O’Molloy, Paul Deeney, Greg Callan, and Keith Barry the club battled back and has seen a strong resurgence in the subsequent years. As a result, the squad of players has expanded to the extent that the Gaels have been able to field both Senior and Intermediate teams since the 2011 season.
Colours and Crest
The Gaels’ club colours are green, white, and yellow. The jersey was modelled on the Offaly jersey and we are proud to sport the colours of the Irish tricolour.
The Gaels club crest in made up of a Celtic cross with the Irish and Canadian flags hanging from each side, topped with a banner with the club name above it. As with our club name it is instantly recognizable as an Irish Canadian club crest, and always gets interested looks from curious strangers when the lads are travelling by subway or bus to training or games with club gear bags or clothing.
Home from Home
The Gaels’ home training pitch is at Bloor Collegiate Institute beside Dufferin subway station, and they also train at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute beside Sheppard West (aka Downsview) subway station. All Toronto GAA games are played at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, near Toronto Pearson Airport.
Factfile: Players and Members
The Gaels offer Senior and Intermediate men’s football, and members were also instrumental in helping to set up the second Hurling club in Toronto (Clan na Gael) in 2016. The founding members of the club are Toronto Gaels members, and we have close ties between the clubs. The club currently operates at Senior grade and has the largest panel for men’s football in the city, with approximately 55 active members.
The Gaels participate in the Toronto GAA Men’s Football League and Championship competitions at Senior and Intermediate Grade.
Toronto Gaels manager Sean O’Molloy is also a committee member of the Toronto GAA. Members have been involved with training the Toronto Chieftains underage team. Gaels also have players managing some of the ladies clubs in the city, and we are proud of their contribution to the GAA community. Ciaran Clarke has managed Durham Robert Emmetts Ladies and Shane O’Connor has managed the Brampton Roger Casements Ladies.
Traditions and Characters
The club participates every year in the Darkness into Light 5k, which contributes to Pieta House in Ireland, and also an equivalent institution in Toronto. The Gaels host an annual Race Night fundraiser which is always great craic. The highlight being the Auction race at the end of the night, where horses named after counties (obviously influenced by where those in attendance are from) are auctioned off, before that final race is run. This is always great fun and gets everyone involved.
Building the Club Community
The Toronto Gaels have a few unique club traditions that have grown down the years. This includes an annual Ice Fishing trip which is run every January or February. This is a great team bonding exercise. They also try to take in a game as a club, going along to see one of the local teams such as Toronto FC, Toronto BlueJays Baseball etc.
The community aspect of the club is invaluable in helping members and friends. “We have a close-knit group of members who are always willing to help each other out. If someone gets injured and can’t work, needs help moving, or needs help finding work, they will always get the help they need. We also have a strong community within the Toronto GAA.”
Roll of Honour
Senior Honours since the clubs founding in 1987:
1987 League Winners
1988 League Winners
1989 League Winners
1990 Championship Winners
1994 Championship Winners & League Winners
1999 League Winners
2017 League Winners
Intermediate Honours since the Intermediate competition began in 2011:
2012 Championship Winners
2015 Championship Winners & League Winners
2016 Championship Winners & League Winners
2017 League Winners