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The Irish community returns to Hurricane Sandy hit Rockaways to aid ongoing recovery

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Participants in the first Irish Day of Action in the Rockaways last November.
Participants in the first Irish Day of Action in the Rockaways last November.

The Irish community is making clear that it will not forget the brethren in Breezy Point and the Rockaways, even if others have moved on after Hurricane Sandy.

On Sunday, June 2 in Rockaway hundreds of Irish are expected to descend on the Western Queens venue for the Rockaway Irish Festival. Several hundred will arrive early to help with the ongoing reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy.

A week later up to 20 Irish teams will take part in a Gaelic football seven a side competition in Breezy Point which will raise money for the local community.

The GAA tournament is the brainchild of the Gaelic Players Association in Ireland, which has done an incredible job linking up with Irish America.

Both events are a follow up to the hugely successful Irish Days of Action held in the aftermath of Sandy last year when over 1,000 Irish arrived from all over to help with the clean-up efforts.

Separately, a few weeks later, the GPA sent out some of its top players and skilled workmen to rebuild the gym and community center in the local Catholic church in Breezy Point, St. Thomas More. Their work was featured on NBC Nightly News.

“These will be huge days for the community,” said Peter Ryan, deputy consul from the Irish Consulate in New York who has been a leader in the effort from the beginning.

Referring to the day of action/Rockaway festival he said, “This is a chance to reconnect and forge new links between the Irish communities of several generations.”

The festival is organized by the AOH and is a two-day affair, with the Sunday the Day of Irish Action.

Ryan pointed out that buses will be leaving from the Irish centers in Yonkers, the Bronx and Queens, as well as from Manhattan and Mineola on Long Island to bring people there for the day.

All proceeds from the festival will go to St. Camillus Parish, which has been a rock for the stricken communities throughout the hurricane aftermath.

Those interested can go to Irish Day of Action on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the GPA is hosting the Breezy Gaelic Sports Team Building Day on June 8.

The event will bring work colleagues, family and friends together in a wonderful celebration of Irish sport and culture in the Rockaways.

Each team is paying $5,000 to take part, and all proceeds will go to Breezy Point charities.

Among the events are two Gaelic football competitions designed to cater for novices and
experienced players alike. The day will also feature games, music, entertainment, competitions, coaching and barbecue fun.

Former stars of Gaelic football including Kevin Cassidy from Donegal and Eamon O'Hara from Sligo will be on hand to coach participating companies, helping players to get the most
from this unique team-building opportunity.

Competing with other rookies, Breezy Cup contestants will learn the basics of Gaelic football. Experienced participants, men and women who currently play Gaelic football or who have played in the past, can compete with their company for the Irish American Cup.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to experience the excitement of the Irish national games at this exclusive event while helping to make a real difference to the lives of others.

Teams interested in taking part can call Teresa Ryan at 646-388-4464 or to sign up directly at www.gpa.splashthat.com.

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