USGAA to Name Trophies in Memory of Past Members

by Aug 19, 2019Division News, Finals, GAA, Gaelic Football, Hurling, Ladies Football, Men's Football, USGAA News

John Hehir

Tom O’Donoghue

Ruairi Flanagan

August 19th: Leesburg, Virginia:

In advance of its forthcoming National Finals, USGAA today announced the naming of a number of National Championships after individuals who contributed to Gaelic Games in the US.

USGAA has embarked on a program to acknowledge the important contributions of many individuals to the growth of Gaelic Games in the US. Over the coming years, past members will be honored by the commemoration of different championship trophies with their names in recognition of their service to the organization.

“While Gaelic Games in the US has grown exponentially in the last 15 years, without the dedication and work of our past members, the foundations for that growth would not have existed”, said USGAA Chairperson Bernie Connaughton. “As we continue to develop and expand as an organization, it is only fitting that we recognize the importance of their contributions to our success.”

The honorees for 2019 are:

Senior Hurling: John Hehir

A proud Galwayman, from the village of Ardrahan, John Hehir arrived in Boston in 1954, and immediately got involved with the Boston Galway Hurling club. He was one of the founders of the then North American County Board, attending the first General Meeting in 1959.

Subsequently, he served North American GAA in a number of positions, including Chairperson from 1966-69. In later years, John regularly filled the position of Convention Chair at numerous NACB Conventions, a role he discharged with a calm and assured manner, navigating through many passionate discussions.

Senior Football: Owen Treacy

Originally from Carrickmore, Tyrone, Owen Treacy dedicated the best part of 50-years to both Philadelphia GAA and North American GAA. After coaching the Tyrone club to 4 North American Senior Football titles, Owen embarked on a notable career as an able Administrator, culminating with a spell as North American Chair from 1991-93.

He had the honor of being the first North American delegate to attend a Central Council meeting, when NACB was granted Central Council status in 1993.

Intermediate Football Tom O’Donoghue

Pittsburgh-based, but Listowel-born, Tom O’Donoghue represented Pittsburgh GAA on the Midwest Board in the mid-1960’s. His time on the Midwest Board coincided with the prominence of Midwest teams at National Finals – where they provided the dominant teams, winning 6 out of 8 Senior Football titles between 1962-69.

Tom served in a number of roles for the North American Board, including the position of Chair in 1976-77.

Junior B: Ruairí Flanagan

Born in California, to a family steeped in GAA tradition through his father Bill (Former USGAA Honorary President) and mother Kathy, Ruairí Flanagan first played for the Sarsfields club in Millbrae, California, before joining the newly formed Eire Og club.

After spending time in Dubai, where he was an active member of the Dubai Celts team, Ruairí was living in Australia at the time of his tragic passing in 2013.

Eire Og’s subsequent success at the 2016 USGAA Finals was a poignant moment for all that knew Ruairí. as Eire Og won Junior Football honours with an all American-born team that had come up through the Youth ranks with Ruairí.

“Each of these members served our Association in different but important ways.” said John O’Brien, one of the founding members of North American County Board in 1959. “Our goal in 1959 was to create a structure that brought all GAA people under the one umbrella. This then led to the emergence of events like this coming weekend’s USGAA Finals, where teams from each corner of the US compete for a National Championship.”

Founded in 1959, USGAA (previously North American County Board) is the Governing body of Gaelic Games in the US, outside of the area under the jurisdiction of the New York GAA Board.

With approximately 8,500 members at all codes, ages and levels, the pinnacle of the year is the UGAA Finals. This year’s showpiece event will see 115 teams play over 100 full-scale Championship games, as they compete for 20 National Titles across all 4 codes: Camogie, Football and Hurling.

To learn more about the 2019 USGAA Finals, in Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia, (from August 23rd-25th), please visit:

To learn more about USGAA activities throughout the year, please visit: