The Manhattan Gaels GAA club was formed in late 2012 by an ambitious group of individuals whose passion for Ireland’s traditional sports was the inspiration for a new organisation with a fresh attitude.
Availing of the huge population of young Irish and Irish-Americans living both in Manhattan and its surrounding areas, the club quickly developed a vibrancy and a structure, launching a successful weekly training session which was well attended despite the brutal cold of Randall’s Island.
An early sign of the club’s incredible potential arrived on February 1, 2013 when over 200 people gathered in the popular Lower Manhattan bar, Beckett’s, to raise money for the Hurricane Sandy victims of Breezy Point.
Affiliation with the New York County Board was completed by a provisional committee and then on February 27, the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Manhattan Gaels was convened at the Irish Consulate on Park Avenue, electing the following officers to the first ever Manhattan Gaels board.
Uachtarán: John Murphy
Cathaoirleach: Greg McIntyre
Leas Cathaoirleach: Ryan Canavan
Rúnaí: Oran Kennedy/John Fitzgerald
Oifigeach Cultúrtha: Neasa NicDhonall
Oifigeach Caidreamh Poiblí: Corina Galvin
Cisteoir: Brendan Loud
Oifigeach Eadaí Spoirt: John Riordan
Oifigeach Peil na mBan: Brittany Doherty/Teresa Ryan
Oifigeach Iomáint: John Riordan/Paul Stanton
Oifigeach Cluiche Corr: Katie Shivnan/Oran Kennedy
Oifigeach Eachtrachaí: Ger Shivnan/ Tim Spelman/Katie Gassert
An Claraitheoir: Maurice Barron
Oifigeach Teicneolaíocht Faisnéise: Keith Pyke
Iontaobhaithe: Peter Ryan
Iontaobhaithe: Maura Kelly
The club began to pick up momentum in the spring with more players committing to the cause as the NY Junior B Football league and championship campaigns approached. John Riordan took on the role of men’s football team manager and Damian McCaughey was deservedly handed the captaincy.
With the remarkable support of the Gaelic Players Association, a brand new set of team gear was designed, manufactured and shipped from Ireland by O’Neill’s while frantic registration of a whole new panel of players continued apace.
The historic day finally arrived on Sunday, April 21 when the Manhattan Gaels beat Rockland at a sunny Gaelic Park in a thrilling league game that was only decided at the death by the skipper and star midfielder, Damian McCaughey, whose late goal gave the new club a memorable 1-12 to 3-4 victory.
The honor of the first ever score in a Manhattan Gaels jersey fell to McCaughey’s midfield partner Conor Hickey, the Corkman sending the first of his two points in off the upright.
That encouraging start was followed by an enjoyable summer of competition and camaraderie, including some memorable wins up at the Park and an unforgettable day of football and fundraising in Breezy Point which was organized by the GPA.
A successful championship group stage campaign ultimately led the Gaels to a Junior B final appearance in August which – despite ending in defeat – was a fantastic day for the young club. Missing several key players, the Gaels still managed to make it difficult for Longford who eventually proved themselves to be the better team on the day.
A consolation wasn’t far behind, however, and on Sunday, October 13, the Manhattan Gaels returned to Gaelic Park to clinch the Junior B league title courtesy of 1-13 to 2-6 victory against Celtics. The newest club in the New York GAA was the last team to leave the Park on a winning note, the gates closing to GAA teams for the winter as the Manhattan Gaels led by McCaughey brought the cup back down on the 1 Train to the city to celebrate.
The Manhattan Gaels’ mission is to promote all the games of the GAA for the benefit of both experienced players and complete newcomers. We take special pride in introducing football and the GAA to Manhattanites who would never have experienced the game normally.
This will be our focus as we continue to grow and develop a ladies football team as well as an underage system while also promoting the language and culture of home to as many people as possible.
We look forwarding to welcoming you to the club!
Bígí linn, beidh fáilte is fiche roimh cách!