Monday, August 8, 2011

CYC a Rousing Success

By Rory O'Donnell

The 2011 CYC, the largest to date in the brief seven-year history of the competition, was a huge success. A massive amount of work went into preparing the venue. Volunteers worked weekends, nights, and, in some cases, days to ensure that the venue was looking the part. The ICC looked excellent from the fresh mulch in the parking lots to the roped of fields that were meticulously lined, and the goalposts that received fresh coats of paint. The flags of all 32 counties of Ireland fluttered in the breeze behind the goal at the clubhouse end, which was a nice backdrop to the events on the main field. Dressing rooms were set up for each field and along with the water stations in place, volunteers had their assignments, and everything was set to go. With more than 80 games to play on each of the 4 days it was impressive how the event went like clockwork. There were no delays or backups with the schedule. Games began on time with the next group of kids ready to go for the following game as everyone participating starting with parents, teams, referees, and field officials adhered to the hectic schedule.

Underage teams from all over North America competed over 4 days. Thousands of kids from Under 6 to Under 18 participated in what is the largest gaelic games event of it’s kind outside of Ireland. A significant development was the prominence of hurling and camogie during the weekend. Both sports were played at all age groups and the kids enthusiastically took up the sticks. Many of the kids displayed a high skill level in the ancient code. San Francisco in particular shone in the hurling competitions.

The big game of the weekend was the county minor football final, which was played on Friday between New York and Lancashire from England. The North American minors narrowly missed out on making the final. Lancashire prevailed in a very exciting one-point victory over New York, 2-8 to 0-13 to scenes of jubilation from the lads who traveled across the water to be there. New York teams traveled in force. The NY Celtics, St. Barnabas, Rockland, NY Rangers, and Shannon Rangers fielded teams at all age levels. Indeed there was tremendous atmosphere at all age levels with parents and relatives cheering on their children’s teams with the gusto of All-Ireland fare.

On the local front there were many of the new clubs from the Northeast involved. Trinity Milton, Na Fianna from Brighton/Allston, Wayland, Acton, Hartford, John Boyle O’ Reilly’s from Springfield, and St. Brendan’s Dorchester entered teams along with the well established Irish Sports Youth League, themselves based in Canton. There were three days of glorious sunshine and on the finals day the rains came down, but did not dampen the spirits of the players and parents involved. My own kids are outside all day long now hitting balls with the hurleys and practicing their Gaelic Football skills! There were winners and losers on the field but at the end of the day the biggest winners were Gaelic sports. With so many youngsters coming away with a love for the games of Gaelic Football, Hurling, and Camogie the future looks very bright indeed.

A skilled youngster with the Boston U8s.

Trinity Milton's Declan Walsh U8.

This U14 from San Fran can play the old code.
The youngsters of Trinity Milton Youth GFC.
The ISYL Boston girls versus Rockland NY.

The ISYL Boston U8 Hurlers.

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