The GAA community in the Northeastern United States is in for treat in just over two weeks time with the arrival of the All Star Gaelic football teams to the Irish Cultural Center just outside of Boston. A traveling party of more than 100 will be arriving for 2014 All Star game. The party will include players and partners, President Liam O Neill and Executive Pauric Duffy, and approximately 20 different media identities. A host of activities is planned for the weekend, culminating with the big game between the 2013 and 2014 All Star teams on Saturday, November 29, at 1:30pm.
The stars traveling from Ireland will not be the only attraction over the weekend. The locals will also get a chance to shine. The home based players from Boston and New York will meet in a much anticipated game between the rival cities. The New Yorkers compete in the Connacht Championship each year and may have a leg up on their rivals from 200 miles up Interstate 95. The Boston players have not played together before, however, they have been training for the big game for the past several weeks and the squad features both Irish exiles and native born Americans. Tralee native Brian Kennedy (Shannon Blues) is managing the Boston side and along with Gerry Prior (Wolfe Tones) and Michael McGinty (Donegal) the local team is in good hands. Brian is greatly appreciative of the support and backing the group has received from Boston Northeast Chairman, John Cunningham. “JC has backed us from the start and to be asked to manage Boston is an honor” said Brian. “There has been a great response from the players,” continued the Kerryman. “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 and are hoping to show well on the day. Irish natives such as Gary Brilly (Kildare), Collie Donnelly (Tyrone) and Cormac Joyce-Power (Limerick) and local players who have come through underage programs such as Dan Kenneally, Conor Fitzgerald, and Kieran McDevitt, who have come through underage programs are a handful of names that make up a squad of 30 plus players who have shown up to train in hail, rain, or snow.
Boston Northeast 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 standard 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.
In addition to the adults, the kids will also get their chance to shine. New York has a well developed underage system, while in Boston much work is underway to develop underage clubs and plant the seeds for the future of the games in the area. A Boston Under-12 team will play New York’s Shannon Rangers in an exhibition before the grown-ups take the field.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, November 29.
10:00 Training for Youth Players with the All Stars
11:00 U12 Football: Boston selection v Shannon Gaels (NY)
12:00 Senior Football: Boston v New York
1:30 All Star Football Game: 2013 All Stars v 2014 All Stars