USGAA Newsletter: May 2019

Killian Carroll – From Mallow to Boston and a World Championship

An Irishman comes to America and wins a world championship in his chosen sport.  

Handball is not the first GAA sport that comes to mind when one thinks of Gaelic games, given the prominence of hurling and football.  Aswith GAA sports in Ireland it is amateur and in recent years the go ahead has been given to fund the building a state of the art handball facility at HQ in Croke Park.  State side the sport has a professional dimension, with games played on the WPH (World Players of Handball) circuit and over the years has attracted players from Ireland. World number one, Killian Carroll, is one such player on the circuit and hails from Mallow Co. Cork.  Carroll fulfilled a dream by winning the World Championship in Minneapolis last year, and has been based in Boston for the last 2 years. 

Why Handball

Carroll’s interest in handball started after local trainer, Billy O’Connell, who went into the pub owned by Carroll’s father in Mallow, County Cork, looking to recruit Carroll and his older brother to beef up the ranks of underage players in the local club.  The day he turned 6 years old Carroll started to play, and loved the game from the get go. Every young player looks to the greats, and for Carroll it was Tony Healy who played out of Ballydesmond, and local man, Eamonn Murphy, who trained him, and sadly passed away in 2012.  Of Healy Carroll said, “I idolized him. He was one of Irelands best and traveled to the Pro stops, but was still very much a local”, said Carroll. It was not so much power or athletic prowess that Carroll admired but the tactics used by Healy. “He thought about the game, he would take advantage of the opponent’s weakness and use the court to his advantage”, continued Carroll.  

Coming to the States

It was not the attraction of the pro circuit that brought Carroll to the states as it was his girlfriend, Aisling Kerr.  The couple met through a handball, with Aisling’s father, Martin, very much a handball enthusiast. Aisling is a Boston born and bred, and as a  result, Carroll made the decision to move across the water. Aisling is also the Games Development Administrator for the Boston-Northeast region.  The WHP circuit sees Carroll traveling once a month for competition, usually to the west coast where the tournaments are mainly held. Tucson, Seattle, Vancouver or Portland Oregon are handball hot spots in the United states and regular destinations for Carroll.  Players on the circuit come from those areas an also Juarez in Mexico. The Cordova brothers, who are based in Atlanta come from the region south of the border. Carroll worries about the future of the game here as there are only 3 colleges where it is an accredited sport, and that is what triggers people to take up the game here.  Most do not take up the sport in the United States until between ages 18 -22 and here is a reliance on the older generation to keep the sport going, in contrast to Ireland where the sport is expanding and more juveniles are taking it up.

GAA Support

Carroll feels that the GAA provides ample support for the sport of handball.  “Handball is in debt to Croke Park. Football and Hurling generate the overwhelming majority of revenue for the GAA, and the organization goes above and beyond with the financial support of the game of handball.  The fact that they fund us to promote and develop the game is great”, said Carroll. Also, by pushing the game through the GAA, there is a chance that Wall Ball which originated in New York, and is one version of handball with just one wall (and no side or back walls), could become an Olympic sport.  

At 25 years old, Carroll is still a youngster, and while winning the World title was a dream that Carroll fulfilled since his early days playing, the All Ireland is another that Carroll would dearly love to win.  “The All Ireland is run like hurling a football, making it very hard to win” said Carroll. It is played over different weekends, and players are seeded. Some make sure they peak at the right time and are in top form over the final rounds, and that is something that makes it really hard to win”, continued the Corkman.   Best of luck to Killian in his handballing and future endeavors and the continued success of the sport in the coming years.

Ladies Congress Report

A very well attended Ladies Gaelic Football Congress was held over two days in early March at the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry!  A strong and interactive representation from all the International units were present.  

The Ladies game continues to grow on both the playing and supporting aspects in Ireland. Last years All Ireland Finals had a record high attendance with the continued hard work from the Leadership, organizational & grassroots committees plus sponsors starting to bear fruit. 

Internationally the numbers playing the game also continues to grow and a clear indication from LGFA Leadership to support the International units not just grow the numbers playing but include a focus on structures, coaching & referees across all age groups. Getting more games for players, improved coaching and refereeing with a balance between the recreational/social/health aspect, and the competitive environment. 

The Congress itself was extremely well organized with lots of open communication between all delegates and very detailed and transparent reports presented. 

Friday evening included a Development Workshop on elements across the spectrum of the games including growing the game, improving coaching and referees at grassroots and administration structures/guidelines.   There was also a Youth Presentation on communications, the future of youth Ladies Gaelic Football and a pathway to senior level. 

2018 Reports – a detailed review of 2018. 

Saturday had a significant number of motions that we’re discussed in an open and productive manner, then voted on electronically.  While the majority of these didn’t specifically impact the International units, it continues to reflect the growth & organizational mindset of the Leadership of Ladies Gaelic football in Ireland & across the International units.   

International 

Rule 109 (New Rule 110):  Removing “duplicate” in first paragraph 

Players who intend to play on a temporary basis in our affiliated units in New York LGFA, US GAA & Canada GAA must complete an official permit form & have it signed by the club, County & National Secretaries. 

20x20 Campaign:

The 20×20 initiative is about creating a cultural shift in the perception of girls and women in sport. It seeks to change the subliminal bias in the Irish psyche that exists around girls and boys, or women and men, when it comes to sport.

A big Thank You to the Leadership Committee for the wonderful hospitality over the weekend. We’re excited for 2019 and beyond. 

West Coast Sevens

Around the USGAA

May sees Tournament Season continue with tournaments coming thick and fast. Currently, 4 tournaments are scheduled through the country.

Kicking off the month was the Irish Times Spring Tournament on May 5th, hosted in Chicago by the James Joyce club. Other tournaments this month include Cleveland, Allentown and San Diego.

To get your tournament approved, submit a request through the USGAA Website:

http://usgaa.org/tournament-request-form/

If you need help planning your travel schedule, here is the complete list of tournaments approved as of May 6th.

May

May 5th:

Chicago:  Mens Football

May 11th:

Cleveland: Mens Football and Ladies Football

Allentown:  Hurling

May 25th-26th:

San Diego: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

June:

June 1st:

Twin Cities: Hurling and Camogie

Charlotte:  Mens Football and Ladies Football

June 8th:

Seattle: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

June 22nd:

Atlanta:  Mens Football

July:

July 13th-14th:

Denver: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

Milwaukee: Mens Football and Ladies Football

July 20th:

Portland (Oregon):  Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

Nashville:  Hurling

September:

September 15th:

Madison: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

September 29th:

Akron: Mens Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie

Boston GAA Schedule

The 2019 Boston GAA schedule is out and can be viewed at the Chicago GAA website:

2019 Boston Schedule – or download the schedule in PDF format here.

NOTE: Schedule is subject to change.

Chicago GAA Schedule

The 2019 Chicago GAA schedule is out and can be viewed at the Chicago GAA website:

Download the schedule in Excel format here.

NOTE: Schedule is subject to change.

Philly GAA Schedule

The 2019 Philadelphi GAA schedule is out and can be viewed via the link below:

Download the schedule in Excel format here.

NOTE: Schedule is subject to change.

Sponsors Corner: Masita Teamwear

Did you Know? 

In November, USGAA Convention will be hosted in San Diego for the 3rd time, all in the last 12 years.

Other cities to host were Alexandria (VA), Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Hamilton (Ontario), Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, Syracuse, Toronto, Virginia Beach and Washington DC.