Hurling in the news: San Francisco, Charleston and the Marines

CITY BY THE BAY: Tom Carroll, who plays on San Francisco's Na Fianna hurling team, at a practice on Tuesday. The team won the North American County Board championship last year. (Photo by Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal)

Three articles popped up in the news recently about hurling.

SAN FRANCISCO: First up, the Wall Street Journal offered a look at the inner workings of the San Francisco hurling scene. You can read it here.

As I understand it, the teams highlighted in the article are almost entirely composed of Irish-born players. The teams are further supplemented by summer players who come to the U.S. to play in the hurling club for the season.

That’s certainly a great way to win a title!

I only hope that all those Irish players are also working as coaches for their adopted city’s home-grown players. I know we Americans need all the help we can get.

MARINES: The website,, reports that a hurling team comprised of U.S. Marines will be participating in a big hurling themed festival in Ireland. They’ll be mingling with (and playing against) players from Ireland and other countries.

It’s the first time I’ve heard of the Marines’ team, called “The Wild Geese,” but it shows how the sport is spreading into the U.S. mainstream.

SOUTH CAROLINA: A third story has surfaced out of Charleston, S.C., where a new club is forming. You can read the article here.

I’ve been to Charleston, and I can tell you I wouldn’t want to play hurling in that heat.

Thanks to Brandon Salfai and Denis O’Brien for pointing out these articles!

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No pay for hurlers

With the Irish financial crisis deepening, U.S. immigration officials are being especially watchful of Irish nationals showing up in American airports.

BORDER CROSSING: Liam Watson of County Antrim’s GAA was detained in San Francisco for hours recently. U.S. immigration officials were worried he was in America to hunt for work.

In this news story from the Irish Independent, Liam Watson, an Antrim hurling player, was detained while entering the country in San Francisco. He was with a group of All-Star hurling players coming to the U.S for exhibition games this weekend.

“I told them I wasn’t aware of that and was only coming in for a week to play hurling but they kept saying I would have to go home straight away. They thought I was out looking for work,” Watson told the newspaper.

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A belated wrap-up of the hurling championships

Blaming the rough economy in Ireland, some fans decided tickets for this year's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in Dublin's Croke Park were left unsold. For more details, click the image.

It’s been a while since I updated, and you’ll have to forgive me for that. I’ve been wrapped up in personal projects and then my area of Pennsylvania had a few tropical storms roll in, which resulted in localized flooding.

The damage to my home was more of an inconvenience than anything, but enough to keep my mind off of hurling and all the excitement that happened in this great sport.

Heck, I haven’t even picked up my hurley in weeks.  And while I’ve been putting in my hurling effort on the back-burner, the rest of North America has been picking up the slack

In early September, hurling and gaelic football teams from around the United States and Canada converged on San Francisco for the North American GAA Finals.

Here’s a look at some of that West Coast action, which included at least a few East Coast teams:

The event was hosted by the San Francisco Gaelic Athletic Association. The winners list can be found here.

The games, by the way, didn’t include clubs from  the New York GAA, because that organization is considered a separate “county.” That’s probably good since that area, which also serves some of New Jersey, is teeming with Irish-born talent that would likely crush the up-and-coming North American squads.

You can also read the experience of one of the GAA officials at the game here.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the 2012 North American finals will be held right here in Pennsylvania, with the Philadelphia teams serving as hosts.

A few weeks later over in Ireland, the big leagues held their finals. The 2011 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship was a rematch from last year as the Kilkenny team took on the lads from Tipperary. Don’t worry, I won’t reveal the end — just in case you missed it.

Here’s part one of an edited telecast of the game:


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