Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gaelic Football All Stars Coming to Boston

Saturday, November 29 2014 is lining up to be a day to remember at the Irish Cultural Center.  The cream of Gaelic Football talent from Ireland, along with adult and underage players from Boston and New York will be part of a celebration of the GAA and the sport of Gaelic Football.

Kieran Cox puts the players through their paces.
The 2014 All Star team was picked last week and features 5 players from champions Kerry, 4 from beaten finalists Donegal, and 3 each from semi finalists Mayo and Dublin.  These players along with the 2013 All Star team, will play at the ICC in a game featuring the cream of gaelic football talent from this year and last year.  Boston Northeast Board Chairman, John Cunningham, feels that the event represents a massive opportunity for the local division to promote and grow the games in the region.  “As we continue to grow our games in the Northeast it is vital that we be able to host more games of this magnitude and I am confident that that everyone will see from this game that we are more than capable of doing so” said John.  “By allowing us to host inter county games it will greatly enable us to promote the GAA and advertise our underage programs to a greater audience.  It also affords our underage players the chance to meet and practice with top caliber players from the GAA, and will encourage them to continue playing the games into adult level” continued the chairman. 

John also indicated that an event of this magnitude provides a spotlight in which the Boston Northeast division can shine in with the presence of senior members of the GAA and the cream of the country’s talent.  “It is a great honour for me as Chairman of the Northeast Divisional Board to welcome both the 2013 and 2014 All Stars to Boston.  I would like to thank the executive committee from Croke Park for allowing us to showcase our facilities at a GAA event of this magnitude” added John.
Getting the abs in order.
Of course, the weekend will be about more than the stars from Ireland.  The home based players from Boston and New York will also get the opportunity to show their stuff.  John has been impressed by the response from the local players and had words of praise, “I would like to thank the Boston Senior football team and management for the efforts they are making in preparing to play our neighbors and good friends in New York.  New York compete in the Connacht Football Championship each year, so may have a leg up on the Boston lads who have not yet played together as a team, not least against top tier opposition from Ireland.  John feels that with proper preparation that day may not be far away for Boston.  “New York are preparing for another all Ireland campaign, something that we feel we could someday soon be represented in at adult level through the North America County Board,” said John. 

Tralee native Brian Kennedy is managing the Boston side and along with Gerry Prior (Wolfe Tones) and Michael McGinty (Donegal) the local team is in good hands.  Brian has managed the Shannon Blues to two Boston senior football championships and has taken the reins to manage the Boston team that will play New York.  The Boston home based players rarely have a chance to get together and play as a team, and Brian is greatly appreciative of the support and backing the group has received from Boston Northeast Chairman.  “JC has backed us from the start and to be asked to manage Boston is an honor” said Brian.
The group has been training the last two weeks and Brian is enthused by the response from the home based players.  Turnout at training has been almost one hundred percent with home based players from the local clubs showing a real desire to represent Boston in five weeks time.  “There has been a great response,” said Brian.  “The commitment is great, the lads are putting it in on the training ground and giving everything for the game” he added.  As for the game itself Brian is sure that the Boston side will represent themselves well against their counterparts who have inter-county championship experience.  “If we keep this going for the next 5 weeks we will give New York a good game.  We do not just want to show up, we want to win the game.” 
In addition to the adults, Gaelic footballers based on this side of the pond, the kids will also get their chance to shine.  A Boston Under 12 team will play Shannon Rangers on All Star Game day.  Players from the local underage teams will get together to face Shannon Gaels, one of New York’s pre-eminent underage clubs.  Training for the Under 12s takes place on Sundays at 1:30 at the ICC.  GDA Kieran Cox is managing the Boston team.