It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Gaelic Athletic Associations around America are out in full force. Here are some pictures from some of the clubs’ appearances in various parades over the weekend. Do you have some pictures from your events this weekend? Send them to email@example.com
In any article like this, it’s important to tell people when and where the club meets, info this article offers in its first paragraph. Doing so helps bring out those with casual interest or allows Irish ex-pats to catch up to the local club.
Has your club been featured, past or present, in the local media? Send me a link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s March, and that means a slew of articles and news stories are popping up that offer mainstream America a glimpse at hurling and gaelic football.
NEW JERSEY: Students at Kean University can learn more about hurling thanks to a new club that’s started at the school.
As one might expect, the various U.S. clubs are happy to oblige with such interview requests. They need all the publicity they can get, and St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to talk to America about getting connected to their Irish roots.
Here at Hurley to Rise, I want hear about all these interviews. Send me links to articles, video clips and even radio interviews.
Why send them to me? Well, the more exposure your club gets, the more people will find you.
One new club is located at Kean University in Union, N.J., and the university’s online newspaper featured the club in a helpful article that will help the club recruit new members.
It was especially great that Dave Lewis, the club founder, explained the GAA is more than a sporting league. ““The GAA [Gaelic Athletic Association] community is so supportive of one another and they want the sport to grow and get bigger and make sure people have a very genuine cultural experience.”
Hurling is drawing interest in other English-speaking countries too. Across the globe in Christchurch, New Zealand, there’s a surge in play as Irish ex-pats arrive in the country. Read all about it this article from The Press.
Eamonn Gormley, a fellow whom I’ve thanked numerous times for his amazing “Fastest Game on Grass” video, has just completed a new book on the gaelic games, where he offers a plan to push hurling and gaelic football into the global mainstream — and that, of course, means bringing it to America as well.
BRING IT ON: Eamonn Gormley’s new book “Waiting to Launch” provides an outline to introduce hurling and gaelic football to a wider American audience.
Gormley, who hails from Lurgan in County Armagh, came to the U.S. to work in Silicon Valley and soon became one of the North American County Board’s key people — serving as the national public relations officer and serving as the Western division chair. He also starting up a national collegiate league and served as its chair.
With those experiences, he saw how quickly Americans took to the sports and he began to wonder why the GAA failed to bring their sports to an international audience.
“Two things need to happen first,” Gormley said in an chat interview. “One is to get a national governing body established and to stop this silly partition between New York and the rest of the country. The other is to get the games onto mainstream cable networks at peak viewing time in an edited highlights show with American presenters and American production designed to appeal to first-time viewers.”
Gormley said that bringing GAA competition to a U.S. cable network would only cost about $5 million, and he expects the GAA could throw in $1 million. From there, he believes corporate sponsors could put together the rest. “Entirely achievable,” he said.
Gormley isn’t fooling himself though. He agrees that getting them on TV would just be a step to a larger goal. “(It) would raise their profile out of obscurity and while it may not put them on a par with soccer, it would at least put them in the same league as lacrosse or rugby,” he said. “If we could make them Olympic sports that would be ideal, but that’s a medium to long term project.”
He talks even more about the book in an interview with the Irish Examiner.
Here at Hurley to Rise, I also wrote a series of posts on what the GAA needs to do to introduce the gaelic games to a greater American audience. Check out the stories here:
Between you and me, I’m stoked to read Gormley’s book. My series was just hitting on some ideas I had on my own. Gormley, on the other hand, has been in the trenches with the organization and dealt with its politics. Without a doubt, he’s got a better grasp on the GAA, its failings and potential. Don’t pass up a chance to read “Waiting to Launch.”
Have you read the book yet? Got any ideas for a GAA American initiative? If you do, leave a comment below.
Next we can look at the 10 greatest hurling moments according to the broadcasters of the Sunday Game. http://youtu.be/ajeagHCk15g (Warning, this is a bit of a long video thanks to the great intro.)
If you don’t mind some gaelic football mixed in with your hurling clips, then check out 2013′s best tackles in the GAA. http://youtu.be/RBiDK5NHsIo
But hold on a minute … we do have a few American clips to show you!
Eamonn Gormley, who brought us the fantastic 1-million-plus viewed “Fastest Game on Grass” video, hit the fields in Cleveland, the host of the 2013 North American County Board finals and brought us two great videos.
First up, we have the camogie champs. http://youtu.be/QyyJsSxMqnE
Then take a look at this compilation of moments from the NACB finals weekend.
We especially enjoyed the lengthy interview with GAA president Liam O’Neill. http://youtu.be/OjqIcuG80is
And of course, why not relive the All-Ireland hurling final. The championship was settled in a replay match between County Clare and County Cork. Their first attempt to determine the year’s champions ended in a draw, so they had to play it again a few weeks later. This is the entire un-edited game. http://youtu.be/Rv9FGy9MqOY
Just wanted to drop a note to my hurling friends from all around the country as they gather in Cleveland this weekend for the North American County Board finals.
The annual event was in Philadelphia last year, and I was able to attend several matches that weekend. It was a great time, and it was nice to be able to see other teams, shop for some new equipment and learn a little more about the gaelic games.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t make it to Cleveland this time out due to a work project that has basically stretched from April until now, with prospects of it continuing on until Thanksgiving. In fact, that project and a nagging heel injury has kept me from hurling all together this year.
If you’re looking for information on the Cleveland events, go here first. You should also check out the NACB Facebook page for live updates of the game.
I wish good luck to everyone, but I really hope the Baltimore teams clean up!
Word just came out that the Penn State football team will square off against Central Florida later this fall. Not to exciting, really. Just another football game, right?
Not exactly. In 2014, the Nittany Lions are planning to take their opening game on the road. And not just down to Florida either. They want to leap across the pond to Croke Park, Ireland’s legendary stadium in Dublin.
Here in the United States, we pretty much assume that European countries aren’t terribly interested in what we Americans call football. We think they’re all crazy about what they call football and what we call soccer.
And while that soccer is popular in Ireland, Croke Park is primarily used for a whole different kind of sport. Two sports in fact.
One sport is called hurling. It’s a 3,000-year-old game that is the likely forebearer of hockey (both the ice and field versions) and lacrosse. Hurling is what this very blog is dedicated to. In “Hurley to Rise,” I look at how hurling is being played in America, offer tips on how to play and provide some guidance to the fledgling teams that are popping up.
The other sport Croke Park is known for is also called football, but it’s not anything like what Penn State plays, and its only a little bit like soccer. The Croke Park version of football is commonly called Gaelic Football outside of Ireland.
Both sports attract huge crowds to Croke Park, which can seat more than 82,000 spectators. The sports are collectively organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association, a group dedicated to preserving and strengthening Irish culture.
Gaelic Football follows pretty much the same rules as hurling, except that it has no stick and the ball is more like a soccer ball. Instead of hitting the gaelic football, you kick it. Other than that, the games are quite close in rules and playing style.
Now you might think this is all rather quaint. They play these nice little sports on their nice little island and no one pays any attention to them.
But you’d be wrong, because here in America, they’re actually becoming fairly popular.
There are gaelic sports clubs in the Nittany Lions’ and UCF Knights’ back yards, for example. In fact, there are a lot of teams all across the United States. You can find a list of U.S. hurling teams here, most of which are organized by American divisions of the GAA.
And if any of this seems remotely interesting to you, contact those teams and find out how you can get on the field (or simply come out and watch a game). They will, without a doubt, be happy to have you.
Finally, I invite all you Penn State and UCF fans to take a look around this blog and learn even more about hurling. Then, when you’re off to Ireland next year, you’ll have plenty to talk about with the natives.