You couldn’t have asked for a better day for Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association action.
Sunday, in the shadow of the Limerick cooling towers, with bright sun, a gentle breeze and temperatures in the mid-80s, eight teams went at it for guts and glory in football and hurling. The crowd along the sidelines was big and enthusiastic.
We were there for a few of the games and shot a ton of photos. We also have scores:
In hurling, it was Allentown 5-22 over Philly’s NaToraidhe 3-14, and Jersey Shore 4-07 over the South Jersey Rebels 4-06—an exciting, hard-fought matchup.
In the junior football finals, it was Donegal 3-16 over the Delco Gaels 1-12. And in the senior finals, the Young Irelands topped Donegal 3-18 to 2-16.
Check out the pics!
Carl “The Jackal” Frampton visited the Philadelphia Irish Center to talk about his August 10, 2019, fight against Emmanuel Dominguez at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. “The Pride of Belfast” held forth on a range of subjects, too, from fatherhood and family to career highlights to his legacy. And he talked about how the next fight could be his last. (Although he expects to win.)
Yes, there are kilts—in at least one case, obligatory. Sure, there’s ax throwing, bagpipes, a kilted fun run, and highland games. But Kilt Fest, coming to Bucks County June 7 and 8, is really a mishmash of all Celtic culture.
Kilt Fest on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware is an offshoot of a festival by the same name held in New Jersey. This will be the first year here in the Philadelphia suburbs, at the Trifecta Sporting Club, 4666 East Bristol Road, Feasterville-Trevose.
“Ours is more of a Celtic festival. We have Irish and Scots,” says organizer Chris Beyer, owner of American Highlander Kilts. “A lot of it is Irish. It’s easier to get Irish involved in these things. We try to keep it where it’s a little more all-inclusive.”
A long rain delay meant a late start to last weekend’s Liam Hegarty Liberty Bell Tournament, sponsored by the Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association’s Youth Board. But a little rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of young athletes from several states who converged on the playing fields in Malvern to face off against each other for trophies and bragging rights.
Among the winners according to local GAA and team officials:
In football, the U14 A and B Delco Gaels; the U14 Shannon Gaels; the U12 girls A, Rockland; the U10, Rangers, the U8, Glenside. In U10 camogie the honors went to the Delco Gaels. The U12 camogie trophy went to the combined Shamrocks, Glenside.
When Liam Hegarty passed away December 3 of last year, he left behind a treasured legacy: The Liberty Bell Tournament, drawing youth Gaelic athletes from several states to the Philadelphia area for a day of hurling, football and camogie.
When more than 700 of those athletes from Philadelphia, New York and Boston converge on the playing fields in Malvern this Saturday, they’ll be honoring his memory in more ways than one. Yes, the tournament, which started several years ago, is this year named in his memory. But it’s also a way to perpetuate an idea that was his to begin with.
“It was his brainchild,” says Aidan Corr, Delco Gaels chairperson and Philadelphia Youth Board tournament organizer. “Liam was one of the founding members of the Delco Gaels 20 years ago. His four sons played for us all the way through, from when they were able to walk. His idea for the Liberty Bell Tournament on a Philadelphia Youth Board level, not a club level, was part of an East Coast league, with Boston and New York. It was essentially to get the East Coast teams ready to play in the main tournament at the end of every year (the Continental Youth Championships).”
On a recent Saturday night, the voices of more than 60 kids, many of them 10 or younger, echoed off the roof of a huge inflatable dome on the campus of Arcadia University in Glenside. Often with more enthusiasm than skill, they grabbed, tossed and kicked a white ball into mesh goals and through uprights up and down adjoining courts, with adult coaches shouting instructions and doling out liberal doses of encouragement.
At times, it seemed like chaos, but if you looked closely and paid attention, you could see that there was an organization underlying it all.
This was Gaelic football for kids, a primer on how to one day play the game in all seriousness. Serious, because they represent the future of Gaelic athletics in the Philadelphia area—and to a larger extent, the United States.
We have nearly 60 pics from Sunday’s action at the Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association field in Limerick. Sadly, we couldn’t be there for the whole amazing afternoon at the GAA’s terrific new venue. (Just think … there’d probably be more than a milliion pics.)
In any case, we have the under-14 camogie (the ladies’ version of hurling) between the Philly Shamrocks and the St. Brigid’s team from New Yawk. (I didn’t really hear any of them talk like that.)
That particular game is noteworthy in that it was the first camogie played at the new Limerick fields. The Philly team beat the St. Brigid’s but it was not for want of trying by the New York team in the second half. Great game all-round.
St. Pat’s Donegal won the junior football finals against the Kevin Barry’s. On to Chicago and the North American finals. 6-9 to 1-7 in the St. Pat’s favor.
Tyrone fans in Philly.
More than a dozen Tyrone GAA fans, many of them Tyrone natives, dashed up the front steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Rocky-style, last Sunday to pose for a photo to share with Tyrone fans across the world.
Their team is facing Kerry, the reigning champs, this Sunday in Croke Park in Dublin in semi-final action. The last time Tyrone made it to the All-Ireland was in 2008. This weekend, the coach who took them to victory in 2008, 2005, and, for the first time ever, in 2003, Mickey Harte, is hoping for number 4.
The reason for the photo—which was to join all the other photos from around the world—was to show support for the team which was, until this week, facing the loss of a key player. Tiernan McCann was facing an eight-week ban for allegedly overreacting to an opposing player from Kerry touching his head during a quarter final game at Croke Park. Officials said McCann “dived” when his hair was ruffled, leading sports writers to dub the incident “rufflegate.” That ban was lifted this week by the Central Hearings Committee.