USGAA Newsletter: July 2019
Guinness – USGAA Partnership Continues
Guinness has a long history with the GAA in Ireland. We are proud to be a part of supporting the games that define Irish culture and spirit, and have brought together so many people from all different backgrounds in the U.S. As part of our celebration of 200 years in America, we opened a brewery in Baltimore. The focus of the brand-new Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, MD, is to combine 259 years of Guinness brewing experience with American beer creativity. The U.S. is the world’s epicenter of beer innovation and American brewers excel at re-interpreting traditional styles and creating new ones. With that in mind, we thought it was time to open our first stateside brewery since 1954. Our site in Baltimore takes everything we’ve learned in Ireland and ups the ante with an experimental 10-barrel brewery, taproom, restaurant — and a barrel house, enabling us to experiment using our centuries-old expertise in aging beer in wood. With a team of the most talented brewers the U.S. has to offer, we are working to explore the limits of beer creativity while always honoring our heritage and our founding principles: Quality, Integrity, and Passion. Visit us at guinnessbrewerybaltimore.com to learn more!
Best of luck to all the teams competing locally and nationally this year and, as always, celebrate our games and our beers responsibly!
Divisional Update – Boston Northeast
The Boston Northeast season got underway in early April with the Pat O’Brien Cup and the Junior C hurling championships. Aidan McAnespies won their third O’Brien Cup in a row with a comfortable victory against the Wolfe Tones in the final. In a one-day hurling seven-a-side blitz, reigning USGAA Senior Hurling Champions, Tipperary, beat Fr. Tom Burke’s in the final.
The junior C hurling saw early victories for Worcester Fenians and Hartford, with the defending champion New Hampshire Wolves yet to play. There are 6 teams in the region competing in a robust junior C hurling championship.
The Seán Óg’s club was formed last year to provide a conduit for players coming through the youth ranks to transition to adult football, and this year a hurling team was added. The hurlers will compete in the junior C division, while the football team competes at junior B level and both are comprised entirely of players born and bred in the area.
A Gaelic football club was also formed in Portland, Maine, the Portland Fomorians. The city now boasts a hurling club, football club, and an underage club in the Maine Gaelic Sports Alliance. The MGSA will be hosting a weekend in Portland with games for all ages in July. What is a Fomorian you may ask? The Fomorians are a supernatural race in Irish mythology, and hopefully their supernatural powers will take hold with the football team!
At underage level for the first time the region will send a girls team to the U14 Feile competition in Ireland. The last 3 years have seen a boys team travel to compete in the tournament, this year is a first for the girls and a great development for the sport. In a world of so many choices for sports, it gives the players coming up from U10 and U12 something to keep them involved at U14 and beyond. The underage spring leagues have also commenced in the area with St. Brendan’s, the Irish Sports Youth League, and Trinity Milton playing regularly scheduled games in hurling and football. These games are refereed by minor players who were recently certified by USGAA referee coordinator, Hugh Duggan, who traveled from Florida to run a course recently and certified a dozen referees.
The championships start in June, with a resurrected intermediate football championship that will feature Shannon Blues, Cork and Christopher’s. There will be cups to be won in 10 codes and grades from Senior football to Junior C hurling over the summer, and the next 6 weeks will see plenty of Gaelic sports action at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, the HQ for the GAA in the region, as well as around the area with junior C hurling and junior B football clubs hosting games in their respective cities.
2018 Champions were:
Men’s Senior Football: Donegal
Ladies Senior Football: Connacht Ladies
Senior Hurling: Tipperary
Junior A Football: Cork
Junior A Hurling: Galway
Junior B Football: Galway
Junior C Hurling: New Hampshire Wolves
Lots happening and lots to look forward to this summer in Northeast region!
Divisional Update – Philadelphia
April 15th was our 7-a-side tournament in all codes. This year’s 7 aside was the largest competition to date for our tournament and featured 3 pitches with teams traveling in from Boston, New York, DC, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Winners were Football – Young Irelands Philadelphia; Hurling – Father Tom’s Boston; Camogie – Baltimore Bohs; Ladies Football – Notre Dames Philadelphia.
April 20th was the Liberty Bell youth tournament in honor of Liam Hegarty. The tournament was delayed due to field conditions, but after a few hours of sun and a bit of reworking the schedule, the tournament was able to go off and ended with a match between Donegal and Delaware County Gaels Men’s football.
May 4th and 5th we had teams participate in NY ahead of the NY V Mayo game
The camogie match was the closest in score, ending in 2-2 2-0. The next morning Allentown started off the morning early, at 9am facing the NY Developmental Hurling Squad. Allentown was unable to keep up with NY in the wet conditions. NY was once again successful in the match following against our Donegal Senior team.
The Bill Drake Jr. Football Cup ended with Donegal defeating Young Irelands, finishing strong in the second half of the match 3-10 2-8. The teams participating included Kevin Barry’s and Delco Gaels as well.
The Allentown Tournament was well attended by Baltimore, DC, Na Toraidhe, South Jersey Rebels. Each match was competitive and we saw great development in the South Jersey Rebels since their first appearance at the Philly 7s. DC Gaels defeated Na Toraidhe hurling in the final. The day also consisted of 2 7v7 camogie matches between Na Toraidhe and DC Gaels, both matches were evenly matched with teams going score for score most of the matches. Na Toraidhe was able to walk away with two wins at the end of the day.
Hurling is well underway with developmental matches, including a first win for the new club, South Jersey Rebels, founded by Joe Harrington, formerly from Na Toraidhe, and has been a strong leader on and off the pitch.
Young Irelanders added to their sevens victory with a win in the West Coast sevens in San Diego. Na Toraidhe camogie also competed in the NY 7s and finished runners up.
Mens football will be focusing on the Senior competition for the Jim Harvey cup and the Dames are looking to travel to Charlotte for a friendly match.
Also, congratulations to the Delco Gaels on winning the boys and girls Feile competitions in Ireland at the end of June. Well done to all of the players, coaches and parents on the achievement. We’re so proud of how they represented the division and accomplished an unprecedented double.
Referee Certification – 11 Cities and 84 Referees in 12 months
USGAA Referee Administrator, Hugh Duggan, has been on the road the last couple of month’s traveling around the country providing referee certification courses in an effort to increase the pool of referees in the division. It has often been said that without referees there would be no games, and Hugh has been working hard to build a foundation that we can build on to make sure that there are enough referees to handle the load of games.
An All-Ireland Final referee, Hugh has traveled to 11 cities in his tenure of just over a year. Courses have been provided in Austin TX, Baltimore MD, Virginia, Pittsburgh PA, San Diego CA, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, Denver CO, Chicago IL, and Boston MA.
In the course of that time there have been a total of 84 referees in attendance at all classes. All active referees have to sit an exam in their codes to be certified for 2019.
According to Hugh he is putting focus on increasing the numbers of active referees as over the past 5 years, our numbers of active referees and Tutors have dwindled. It is imperative that clubs provide referees as many do not and it is an issue that needs to be addressed.
The Youth Board, Colleges, Camogie and Ladies Football need to come up with referees we can train and develop to compliment the small group of dedicated referees who keep our games afloat.
For 2020, Hugh will have at least one active Tutor in each Division, holding classes for new referees, and upskilling courses for existing.
Hugh is also asking for feedback from team managers so we can work together to improve our performance and reduce the amount of abuse given to our refs.
The USGAA would like to express our appreciation for the hard work that Hugh is doing and are asking divisions and clubs to place an emphasis on providing referees and ensuring that they attend the courses and become certified.
Reynolds Hurleys – The Story
Hurling is at least 3,000 years old, the oldest and the fastest field sport in the world. Steeped in the history, mythologies and traditions of Ireland its Irelands’ national sport. As such it is very dear to Irish hearts and not to be messed with. This gives a traditional conservatism in attitudes to the sport and an understandable reluctance to have it changed in any way. When we think of Hurling and hurling sticks we naturally think of Ash, although many types of wood such as willow, alder and yew used to be widely used up until the 20th century. Indeed Bronze and other metals were used by the Chieftains and royalty of ancient Ireland.
Ash Die-Back is a disease that threatens the very existence of this ancient game. There is no cure and it’s thought that only 1% of Ash trees will survive. Something had to be done. There are recent alternatives some better than others at emulating Ash. Reynolds Hurling has produced the best of these.
Barry Reynolds from Reynoldshurling.ie has developed a solid, composite hurling stick which is proving popular in Ireland and here in the States. Developed from a composite used in the aerospace industry it has matched the best Irish ash very closely indeed. Reynolds says its best thought of as a “synthetic Ash”. The touch and feel of the stick is remarkably close to ash. The weight, balance and strike is near identical. The sticks are more durable also, although they have to break for GAA regs and for safety reasons.
Barrys father, Kevin, made the first ever synthetic hurling stick back in 1976. His father, originally a sculpter , and Sligo hurler, has spent his life in the pursuit of the perfect synthetic Hurl, developing many products and starting his own Gaelic sports company. Barry having grown up in this environment has continued the quest. After 4 years of intense R &D the new Reynolds hurley has evolved, taking the best game in the world into its next era. For the first time sticks no longer need to be kept at the right moisture level, oiled or cared for.
In extensive tests with some of the best players its been found that the Reynolds has actually more accuracy than even the best ash, both in passing and scoring. This is down to the consistent qualities of the materials and production. The touch has been carefully engineered to be just like ash also. If you do break your hurley the next one is the same enabling you to get on with honing your skills rather than stopping to adjust to a different ash.
Barry launched these new sticks just 2 years ago and they are growing in popularity all the time. Barry sees the game growing with enthusiasm here in the states and thinks it is on the cusp of growing beyond Irish communities and the diaspora. In many ways the USA is the leading edge of the games growth.
Barry Reynolds and his products are coming stateside this year to the CYC at the end of July in Philadelphia and to the US GAA finals at the end of August in Virginia. Why not come along and see what he has done. Reynoldshurling.ie have an ad in this newsletter with offers for these events.
What’s Happening Around the USGAA
As we approach USGAA Finals in Leesburg, Virginia, on August 23rd-25th, tournament season begins to slow down – there are 5 tournaments schedule for mid-July, then a break until after the Finals.th.
To get your tournament approved, submit a request through the USGAA Website:
Denver: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie
Milwaukee: Mens Football and Ladies Football
Winston-Salem: Mens Football
Portland (Oregon): Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie
Madison: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie
Akron: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie
Cleveland Memorial Sevens
The Cleveland Memorial 7’s tournament was held on Saturday, May 11 on Páirc na Naomh at the
West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township, Ohio. The tournament is dedicated to those GAA members of Cleveland or the Midwest who have gone before us. This year was in dedicated to George Dunn, Jr of Cleveland with his family presenting Tournament MVP trophies for both the Men’s and Ladies’ brackets.
In spite of the excessive rain throughout the region and prior to the tournament which left the second pitch unplayable, but the quality of football and safety of the players was maintained. A total of 19 games played with 132 players between men’s and ladies, with 4 ladies teams and 9 men’s teams.
One of the goals of the Tournament was to promote and recruit new players. The tournament offered the stage both locally and for teams traveling in. Notably, Columbus fielded a team of relatively new players, Cleveland Men fielded 3 teams with significant first and second year payers, and Cleveland Ladies fielded a full panel for the first time in roughly 7 years.
The Men’s bracket was comprised of Cleveland (3 teams), Columbus, Detroit, Chicago Patriots, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh (2 teams). Late withdrawals came from Chicago James Connelly and Cincinnati GAA. Losers in the Men’s Championship bracket were relegated to the Shield bracket. Pittsburgh 1 beat Cleveland 1 in the Championship final, while Detroit beat Chicago Patriots in the Shield bracket.
The Ladies bracket was comprised of Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh (2 teams). The Ladies played a league format with the top two teams advancing to a final. The Final placed Pittsburgh 1 versus Pittsburgh 2 where both teams opted not to play the final.
GDA Update – Boston Northeast
Boston Northeast – Feile Teams
Approximately 8,500 boys and girls footballers descended upon various clubs in all the counties of Connacht at the end of June for the 2019 Feile Peile na nOg. 358 teams from across Ireland, England, Australia, and the U.S. took part in the historic three-day festival of Gaelic Football for Under 14 teams.
Two teams, 24 boys and 20 girls, from the Northeast GAA division made the almost 3,000 mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean to represent their clubs, their families, and their division in the competition. 2019 marks the fourth consecutive year the Northeast GAA division has been represented in the Feile by a boys team; while the girls team will be paving the way for all the division’s young female footballers to come after them as they become the first Northeast GAA girls team to participate in the competition.
The format of the Feile sees each traveling team (from outside the host province) being paired with a “host club”. Players from each traveling team stayed with the families of players from their host club’s Feile teams for the two nights of the competition. This year, the Northeast GAA boys team was hosted by Tuam in County Galway, while Curry in County Sligo hosted the girls team.
The Girls Feile team made the semi-final of their competition and were outdone by Delco Gaels Philadelphia, who went on the win. Congrats to the Philly girls on your victory. The boys once again made the quarter final game, but that was as far as their journey took them. It was another fantastic experience for our young players at the 2019 Feile Peile na nOg. The Feile has become an integral part of the development program for our youth players as they move through the age groups.
USGAA Finals Draw
On June 29th, with 55-days remaining to the opening game at the 2019 USGAA Finals, a record 111 teams were placed in the drum for the draw.
With 95 championship games expected to take place over the 3 days, many exciting games will unfold at Morven Park, however one of the most intriguing first-round games is surely the Junior Hurling clash between Mid-Atlantic rivals – Coastal Virginia (Current USGAA Junior C Hurling Champions) and DC Gaels (also former NACB Champions).
This is definitely a game to keep an eye out for when the schedule is published.
Registration & GDO Updates
As of July 1st Registration is now complete for the following categories:
• Determination of Resident v Non-Resident
• Social Members changing to playing Members
• Sanction Players
• Permit Players
The Registration deadline for American Born Players who have not registered with a GAA Club before remains August 1st.
In the following weeks watch out for a communication on Team Rosters for Finals. The players included on each team roster must only include those registered on Stack Sports per then deadlines above.
USGAA Coaching seminars
This month USGAA Games Development in association with Munster GAA launched a series of coaching seminars throughout the county. Taking place in our 6 non-GDA divisions (with invites going to GDA divisions), the seminars are expected to take place in Fall/Winter 2019 and Winter/Spring 2020.
Each weekend would comprise of a Football/Ladies football and a Hurling/Camogie coach selected by Munster visiting each location providing in-class learning and on-field practical learning.
Attendees will include current adult and youth coaches, players who may want to develop their abilities to coach, and others that are interested in learning from a coaching perspective.
Contact your division to find out more
Did you Know?
…that prior to the formation of Canadian GAA in November 1987, clubs from Canada participated in the NACB Championships.
The 3rd NACB Hurling Championship was won by Montreal in 1961, with further multiple successes for St. Michaels and Garryowen, both Toronto-based clubs.
Indeed, the second-ever NACB Convention took place in Montreal, with Toronto and Hamilton (Ontario) also hosting subsequent Conventions.
The return of Canadian clubs to USGAA finals in the 2010’s has seen victories in all codes for teams ranging from Vancouver to Toronto.
As we move past the July 1st deadline for registering Sanction Players and converting Social Members to Playing Members, the last remaining deadline of the Playing Season is the August 1st deadline to register first-time Homegrown Player.
New Homegrown players may register after August 1st, but their participation is restricted to Tournaments and Challenge games – they are not eligible for USGAA or Divisional Championships.