Monday, March 21, 2011

Galway Hurling Club of Boston Celebrates 100 Years

Just over a century ago, Joseph Coen arrived in Boston from Ardrahan, County Galway, and founded the Galway Hurling Club.  Thousands have followed the same path since then, and charted the course of the club over the past 100 years.  Last Saturday evening 500 people thronged Florian Hall to celebrate the historic occasion.  People traveled from near and far, including Ireland and New York to be present for the event.  Reaching right back to the founding of the club, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren of Joseph Coen were in attendance.  Also present were Chairman of the Overseas Committee, Joe McDonagh, Galway County Board Chairman, Joe Bergin, and Galway hurling stars of the 1980’s, Conor Hayes and Sylvie Linnane.  North American County Board Chairman, Joe Lydon, and Boston North East Division Chairman John Farrell were also there to mark the occasion.

Josie Fahy, a member of the club for 32 years, did a fantastic job MC’ing for the night.  Joe Bergin addressed the crowd and talked about the connections between Galway and Boston and how with the economic struggles at home, it is comforting to know that young hurlers who choose to make the journey to Boston will be in good hands connecting to a club this side of the Atlantic Ocean.  Joe McDonagh, Overseas Committee Chairman, addressed the crowd with a rousing speech.  McDonagh talked about the different eras of the Galway Hurling Club and named the people involved in guiding the club over the last century as though he knew each and every one personally.  McDonagh also recounted a recent visit that he paid to San Francisco to commemorate the first winners of a NACB championship, San Francisco in 1960, and recalled that it was Galway that San Francisco defeated in the final that year.  Joe paid tribute to a central figure in the history of the Galway Hurling Club and the North American County Board, the departed John Hehir.  McDonagh made his view on the issue of most Boston teams not traveling to the NACB finals in Chicago in 2010 clear by appealing to the clubs of Boston to recognize the legacy of John Hehir by participating in the 2011 finals. 

The crowd celebrated well into the night with music from local entertainer, Dan Hallissey.  100 years is a long time in any language and is a real testament to those who have steered the club through thick and thin during that time.  An interesting point of note is that Galway Hurling Club of New York celebrates it’s centenary in two years time. 

GAA Overseas Chairman Joe McDonagh addresses the crowd.

Conor Hayes and Big Jack Hanlon

Sylvie Linnane and Ollie Ahearne

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