All-Ireland winning Dublin football team to be honored in New York
The Dublin City Ramblers to perform
Friday marks a special date in the GAA calendar in New York when a group of the All-Ireland winning Dublin football team will be guests of honor at a special function in the New York Athletic Club.
Organised by the Dublin Gaelic Football Club New York, the fundraising dinner dance will be a celebration of Dublin’s achievement in landing the Sam Maguire for the first time in 16 years.
Among the visiting party will be Dublin manager Pat Gilroy along with star players Alan and Bernard Brogan, goal-scoring hero Kevin McMenamon, Rory O’Carroll, Michael Darragh McAuley, Paul Casey and Mick Fitzsimons.
With entertainment from legendary balladeers, the Dublin City Ramblers, who are travelling especially for the event, it promises to be a night to remember and likely to appeal to the wider GAA and Irish community in the Tri-State area.
Since Dublin’s dramatic victory over Kerry in the All-Ireland final in September there has been much debate in GAA circles about the importance of the win for the wider Association.
However, despite the dubious merits of a Dublin victory for football in somewhere like Leitrim, there is little doubt that it was a serious boost for the GAA’s on-going battle for hearts and minds in Ireland’s most densely populated region.
Over the past 10 years rugby has experienced considerable growth in the area particularly since Leinster have started to excel on the European Stage.
Once a minority interest, last Friday’s PRO12 League clash between Leinster and Munster attracted over 48,000 fans to Dublin’s Aviva stadium. As a brand Leinster rugby is only in its infancy but already it has huge appeal in the city with a substantial regular fan base.
Crowds like this would have been unheard of for a provincial rugby match in the past so Dublin’s success was timely for the GAA who, while enjoying great sporting relations with their rival code, must remain conscious of the need to compete.
And as if to prove the point Dublin’s county venue of Parnell Park was packed to capacity on Sunday for the Dublin club football final where St Brigid’s edged out the much-fancied St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Rua.
Club matches, even finals, would rarely draw large attendances but on the back of an All-Ireland win in the county and several of the Dublin stars on show nearly 10,000 filled the north Dublin venue.
And since the All-Ireland final, the Sam Maguire Cup (which will of course be present at the NY Athletic Club on Friday) has been paraded to nearly every school and club in Dublin not to mention the odd hostelry.
This whirlwind tour around the city is a marketing dream for the GAA while at the same time it also reinforces the Association’s core message about the importance of its games to Irish community and social life.
The profile of many of the players too has blossomed in the wake of the victory which is essential if amateur Gaelic games are going to compete effectively with professional international sports and their well-funded marketing machines.
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