At the end of July 2,000 athletes ages six through 18 from cities throughout U.S. and Canada will converge upon Chester County, Pennsylvania to participate in the Gaelic Athletic Association’s annual Continental Youth Championships (CYC). 

With over 200 teams competing in Irish football, hurling and camogie, this four-day sporting event is the largest tournament of Gaelic sports outside of Ireland. Spectators are encouraged to come watch Irish sports, taste Irish food and browse Irish craft vendors. 

The festivities begin on Wednesday, July 24 at 3:30 p.m. with the CYC Business and Network Forum followed by a parade of the 200 participating teams through West Chester at 7 p.m. The CYC Business and Network Forum will involve a panel discussion on the business of sport. 

The games begin on Thursday, July 25 at the Greater Chester Valley Soccer Complex on Line Road in Malvern. Games continue on Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, with championship games played on the 28th. 

Local teams competing include Delaware County’s Delco Gaels GAA, Philadelphia’s Shamrock GAA and Montgomery County’s Glenside GAA.

“We want people to know that the CYC is not exclusive to the Irish. This weekend long event is a perfect opportunity to continue to introduce Gaelic sports to our American friends and families,” said John McDaid, PRO for the CYC Host Committee. 

One sport in particular featured at the games is Gaelic football, which is the most popular sport in Ireland. The game is a fusion of soccer, basketball and rugby with players on each side working the ball towards their opponent’s H-shaped goal and score into the net for three points or over the bar for one point. 

“Parents who are new to the sport find children that play Gaelic football become more successful at the other sports they play,” said McDaid.

Hurling, a lacrosse-like sport featuring wooden sticks (without netting), and camogie, a game similar to hurling played by girls, will also be competing in the championships. 

The Business and Network Forum panelists include Liam O’Neill, president of the Gaelic Athletic Association from Dublin, and John Nash, former general manager of NBA teams the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Bullets. 

“A vibrant discussion is expected as the differences between the business of sport in amateur sports and professional sports are explore,” said Liam Hegarty, a member of the CYC Host Committee. 

Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan at the Irish Consulate in New York is working with the forum organizers and is enthusiastic to build business links around the weekend activities. 

“The forum is a natural extension of Irish culture and sport,” explained Ryan.

For more information, contact McDaid at 610-853-8215.