On Wednesday, September 18 Shannon Gaels GAA will launch their "Field of Dreams" initiative at the Irish Consulate in New York.
Shannon Gaels GAA was founded in 2002. Based in Queens, it is the only Minor GAA club in the borough and serves not only the children of Queens but also many from neighboring areas of Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan. Shannon Gaels GAA is as ethnically diverse as the borough it hails from.
The club has grown from 12 to over 200 players in just 11 short years and has close to 400 members. Such is the commitment of the coaches, young players and parents that this year alone, of the current 19 teams, 11 attended the CYC in Philadelphia, and three Gaels players represented the tri-state area on the under-14 Feile team that traveled to Ireland in June.
The under-13 team along with two under-12 teams and two under-10 teams traveled in August to Ireland where they competed against teams at Dr. Crokes in Killarney and Kenmare at The Gathering festival. They also played in Tralee for the Rose Cup and Listowel for the Tim Kennelly Cup.
There were over 70 Gaels members who attend the celebrations in Kenmare where Senator Mark Daly unveiled the New York street sign honoring the post-Famine immigrants from Kenmare, many of whom ended up in New York's Five Points where Kenmare Street is named in their memory.
Not only does Shannon Gaels GAA promote Gaelic sports, but the club also has an active social group that ensures traditions and heritage are passed on to our young members. Many of the players get together for traditional music and dance sessions throughout the year and some have gone on to represent New York in the All-Ireland Fleadh.
The club recently signed a long-term lease with the City of New York for the use of over seven acres within Frank Golden Park in College Point, Queens. These acres will now be developed into a Croke Park size sod playing field, with an adjoining training pitch. With this work scheduled to commence in 2014, the task of fundraising now begins.
A Shannon Gaels rep says, ìAll are invited to come along and hear how you can invest and be part of our children's future and the future of the GAA in Queens and North America. There are many ways to assist us in this task which you will hear of on the night and our committee members will be more than glad to talk to you individually and inform you of the fantastic program in Gaelic sports and heritage we voluntarily provide to our youth."