After a long winter of preparation, New York's newest GAA club, the Manhattan Gaels, will send out its first ever team for a competitive clash on Sunday April 21.
The Gaels will take the 1 Train up Broadway to take on Rockland at Gaelic Park for a historic clash that sees a competitive club return to the island for the first time in a quarter-century.
What began as an idea between friends one evening in late 2012 quickly built up and thrived off the enthusiasm of the many young Irish and Irish-Americans based in and around Manhattan.
Thanks to the generosity and support of the Gaelic Players Association, the team will be kitted out in the colors of their city and although the men's football team will be the first group to represent the club, a foundation has already been laid to make sure the Gaels will be aim to be a GAA organization in the truest sense.
Under the guidance of Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan, new club members began to brave the cold of Randalls Island for intense training sessions in December.
Ryan also saw to it that a club committee was formed at a meeting at the end of February which would represent the all-inclusive ideals of the club.
Already rounders and handball teams are being organized for the spring and summer while the other elements of Irish culture such as the language, dance and music will become part and parcel of the Manhattan Gaels way.
"Manhattan Gaels is New York's newest club and we're proud to be building something that we feel is open to everyone, no matter where they're from or what their interest is,” says Chairman Greg McIntyre.
The mission of the club is to promote Gaelic games and cultures within the city of Manhattan and while we are not the first.
McIntyre added: “We are looking forward to representing one of the most recognizable boroughs in the world.”
"Imbued with a tremendous spirit and energy since our founding - as exemplified by several dozen folks attending training sessions in mid-December - the Manhattan Gaels plans to prosper into one of the region's strongest Gaelic Athletic Clubs promoting Ireland's ancient sports."
For more information log onto www.manhattangaels.com/