Background: A native of Lavey, Co. Cavan, O’Reilly Broderick is the chairperson of the New York Ladies GAA A personal trainer and bartender, she is being honored at the Aisling Irish Center’s dance on Saturday at the Lake Isle Country Club.
What is your happiest memory of growing up in Ireland?
“I am one of six children who grew up on a small farm. We didn't have much but we had a lot of fun in the long summer evenings playing football and hurling with my three brothers and my mother yelling, 'Come in and do the dishes, it would be more in your line.’
“We had great craic as teenagers walking home from the disco four or five miles away because we had no lift home. Sometimes we would take a short cut through the fields in muck to make our curfew.”
What was the Ireland like that you left?
“I left after my Leaving Cert in 1986 when people were leaving in droves, and I followed the many immigrants in my area to New York as many of us could not afford to go to college back then. Unemployment was at a high and it seemed like there was no other way out only to emigrate.”
What advice do you have for the new wave of recent Irish immigrants who are arriving here?
“Take advantage of living in the best city in the world. There is so much to do and see. Don’t get stuck in a routine. Get involved in your local ladies or men’s GAA club. If you’re planning to stay for the long haul think of the future and get a job with a pension.”
Tell us about your involvement with the Ladies GAA.
“I am currently the chairperson of the New York Ladies. I was one of the founding members back in 1991. There have been many great highlights -- the development of our great underage program, our bid for an All-Ireland in 1999 and 2011. And just recently our recognition by Christine Quinn and the City Council of New York at City Hall. I am also very involved in my own GAA Cavan club, both women's and men's teams, and have made some friends for life all stemming from my involvement with the women's and men's GAA.”
You have completed the New York City Marathon twice. What was it like crossing the finish line?
“It’s an unbelievable high crossing the line -- it lasts for days. The feeling is up there with running on to Croke Park in the hope of winning an All-Ireland medal. I would urge every Irish person to do it even if you have to walk the half of it. The entertainment and support along the way is nothing short of amazing.”
What does it mean to you to be honored at the Aisling Center’s dance?
“The Aisling Irish Center is a pillar of support in our community and does not get enough credit for the services they provide for not just Irish immigrants but all nationalities. They have had lots of great honorees over the years and I am privileged to be added to that list.”