Results from Second Fall Sevens Tournament at Stanford

Well done to all who participated at the weekend and thank you to the Montana Grizzlies for making the long journey.

Stanford 7-9 (30) Cal 2-2 (8)
Montana 6-11 (29) 3-5 Stanford (14)
Cal 0-0 Montana 5-9 (24)

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Video From Recent Fall Sevens at Stanford

Video from the recent fall sevens hurling tournament at Stanford on October 19th.

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Cal and Stanford Get Underway

The California Collegiate GAA opened its season on Sunday October 19th with a the traditional informal sevens tournament at Stanford. Cal and Stanford were both well able to field teams, and they were joined by the local San Francisco club Naomh Padraig and some members of the local Silicon Valley St Joseph’s club.

Five games were played throughout the day in glorious conditions on the pristine surface of one of the intra-mural fields. Cal played against Stanford three times, and two games consisted of Naomh Padraig being taken on by the college all-stars, augmented by a few St Joseph’s players.

Stanford had the upper hand in the collegiate games but Cal made steady progress as the day wore on, improving their results as the rookies gradually got the hang of the game. In the club-versus-college games, the combined efforts of Cal and Stanford were enough to present a respectable challenge to Naomh Padraig.

“Mixing college and club players in the same game is a great way to raise the standard,” said Eamonn Gormley, CCGAA Chairman. “There is a risk that games can be one-sided, but it does no harm to expose at least the more seasoned collegiate players to hurling at a higher level. They can see at first hand what they can aspire to and it gives them an idea of how much work they will need to put in if they are to be a credible force at national level.”

There were no cups or medals for the games, the purpose of this event has always been to give newcomers a bit of playing experience.

Two more tournaments are scheduled for fall, with the collegiate championship beginning in spring.


Game 1 – Stanford 3-9 (18) Cal 0-3 (3)

Game 2 – Naomh Padraig 2-12 (18) Colleges 3-8 (17)

Game 3 – Stanford 3-8 (17) Cal 2-4 (10)

Game 4 – Naomh Padraig 6-11 (29) Colleges 3-10 (19)

Game 5 – Stanford 5-7 (22) Cal 3-6 (15)

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2015 US College Hurling National Championships to be Held in Montana

The National Collegiate Gaelic Athletic Association (NCGAA) has announced that the 2015 national collegiate hurling championship tournament will be hosted at the University of Montana.

The announcement comes three months after the hugely successful 2014 tournament that was hosted by the New York GAA at Woodlawn and Gaelic Park in May, an event that was contested by seven hurling teams and five football teams in the first appearance of Gaelic football at the now four year-old competition. Iona College made history by becoming the first national collegiate Gaelic football champions. Since all of the collegiate football clubs are still concentrated in the Northeast region, the NCGAA has opted to split the 2015 national tournament between hurling and football and host them in two separate locations on different weekends. The format of the football competition which will be hosted in the Northeast will be determined by the regional committee.

Brian Barry, spokesman for the Montana Grizzlies Hurling Club, the current NCGAA national hurling champions, welcomed the decision. “This is going to help us build even more on what we’ve started here,” he said. “About six hundred people showed up to watch the first ever hurling match played in state history in Grizzlies Stadium earlier this year. Our story has been all over the local news and on television. We’re confident that we can get thousands of people into this 25,000 capacity facility next year to witness our defense of our national championship title.”

Eamonn Gormley, NCGAA Chairman, said that while other locations have their strengths, Montana is the right place to host the even in 2015. “This is new territory for the GAA in America,” he said. “While it’s important that we maintain our presence in existing locations, it’s just as important that we break new ground. Kids in Montana have been inspired by what they have seen on the local TV news, and there are reports of children spontaneously playing hurling on the street with improvised hurleys fashioned from tennis racquets and hockey sticks. We have got to jump all over that and help the Grizzlies to get the sport established in the local area while the opportunity exists.”

The Grizzlies have been getting calls from local schools asking how they can get hurling going. The local club has begun an outreach effort aimed at starting a youth program and getting startup spinoff clubs established in the region. There is no top flight professional sports franchise in the state of Montana, therefore the fortunes of the collegiate NCAA teams commands huge attention in the community.

Top level collegiate sports are a massive industry in the United States, their popularity on a par with that of professional leagues with attendances of 100,000 not unheard of and live television broadcasting rights sold for millions of dollars. The NCGAA, founded in 2009, aims to tap into the brand recognition of collegiate teams and to aid the process of getting hurling and Gaelic football further into the mainstream.

The 2015 NCGAA national hurling tournament will be hosted over the Memorial Day weekend, May 23 and 24.

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New York Nationals a Hard Act to Follow for New NCGAA Board

The 2014 NCGAA annual convention in New York came hot on the heels of the hugely successful national collegiate GAA championship weekend, starting within an hour of the presentation of the hurling cup to the University of Montana.

After a quick review of the year and the organization’s finances, a new board was elected with Eamonn Gormley once again returned as Chair unopposed. In the NCGAA’s unconventional structure there are three core members of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, while the rest of the board officers are listed as Members at Large, and duties are assigned to them as needed according to their availability throughout the year. The NCGAA considers this necessary due to the varying workload of student board officers that can change depending on exam schedules and paper deadlines.

Indiana University’s Cody Hedges was reshuffled into the Secretary position, and Cal’s Richie Douglas made a comeback to the board after a year’s absence, coming back on as a member at large. UConn’s Elliot Whitney joined the board for the first time, also as member at large, and it was agreed that other positions would be filled by co-option as needed to ensure proper representation from around the country and for specialist positions. The Treasurer position was later taken by co-opting Purdue’s Spencer Peaks to remain in the role.

In motions to adjust the by-laws, once again player eligibility rules were the main point of discussion. While the weekend’s tournament saw a tightening in enforcement of rules to ensure that they are eligible, it was agreed to relax the rules regarding alumni players. If a team has less than eight players, they can use a maximum of two alumni players who were a member of the club before. The intent of this rule is to allow struggling clubs with a small number of players to stay in business and keep alumni involved, without handing an unfair advantage to clubs that have more than eight players.

The role of affiliates was also clarified, so that affiliates of a university who are unpaid volunteers recognized by the institution are still eligible to play.

A further tightening of ID handling was also agreed, so that any student ID must include an expiration date. Where it does not, supporting documentation must be produced to prove that the player is still a student at the institution. Players must also be registered and in the system by the first day of a tournament. The meeting agreed that the board would look into adopting a cloud based player registration system that would also be capable of collecting membership dues online.

While the quality of refereeing during nationals was high, it was agreed that in future tournaments referees should be briefed in advance so that a high level of discipline is maintained on the field.

The NCGAA now faces the challenge of running next year’s national championships while keeping up to the high standard that has been set by the New York hosts. The board will put out a Request for Proposals for next year’s hosts, bids will have to be submitted by the end of July, and a decision on next year’s venue will be made by the NCGAA by the end of September.

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2014 College Hurling and Gaelic Football Nationals Video

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Biggest Ever US National College GAA Championships

Gaelic park college teams

The Memorial weekend saw another chapter in the remarkable story of how Gaelic games on American college campuses have become the latest “prairie fire” in the GAA’s history. Teams from as far afield as Cal and the University of Montana made the trip to New York where a total of seven hurling teams and five football teams assembled to determine the fourth national college hurling championship and the first national college Gaelic football championship.

Hurling: Football:
University of California, Berkeley (Cal)
University of Montana
Indiana University
University of Pittsburgh
Iona/Kean (joint team from New York)
St Thomas Aquinas College, New York
University of Connecticut
Iona College, New York
Kean University, New Jersey
Boston College
Manhattan College
St Joseph’s University, Philadelphia

The number of teams represents a quadrupling in size for the now four year-old competition, and more than one field was required for the first time. Paddy’s Field in Woodlawn was called into play along with Gaelic Park, with the New York GAA community throwing their weight behind the venture to put on a grand show. A total of 39 games were played over two days, with Gaelic Park’s famous pitch hosting two seven-a-side football games at once while the hurlers battled it out on the full size field at Woodlawn on the Saturday, with everyone decamping to Gaelic Park on the Sunday afternoon.

The fifteen hurling group games saw a few one-sided affairs but also some epic and close tussles. The Montana Grizzlies, a new club at the University of Montana which has been generating a lot of local attention in the area, emerged as by far the strongest team with only the University of Connecticut and St Thomas Aquinas able to challenge them for supremacy. The Grizzlies have burst onto the scene in the last twelve months thanks to a few Irish students appearing on that campus from Ireland as part of the Fulbright program and getting hurling established there.

By Sunday Cal had already qualified for the semi-finals by guaranteeing a spot in the top four with a last-minute game winning goal against Pittsburgh, but had to play against St Thomas Aquinas to avoid Montana in the semis. In a testy and heated encounter, St Thomas Aquinas prevailed and the stage was set for a dramatic end to the competition. Montana swept away a valiant but outgunned challenge from Cal in their semi final, and UConn faced San Thomas Aquinas in a tight and tough game that had NCGAA officials clarifying contingency plans for the event of a tie. UConn got a last minute point that seemed to seal the deal, but in the dying seconds conceded a penalty in their own goal mouth that was converted to a goal putting St Thomas into the final.

During the spectacular hurling grand finale, the raucous crowd rallied behind Montana who had won the respect and the hearts of everyone throughout the weekend. St Thomas looked dangerously close to pulling an upset by the interval, trailing by only four points, but Montana had come too far to take their foot off the pedal. The Grizzlies kept up the pressure with a clean and skillful game scoring 1-6 to stretch their lead out to 3-10 to 2-4 by the final whistle. Captain and club founder Naoise Waldron delivered an eloquent acceptance speech mostly as Gaeilge after being presented with the cup donated by San Francisco GAA’s Seamus Canning and medals donated by the Irish Deputy Consul General in New York, Peter Ryan.

Iona v Manhattan College in the football finalThe football competition was another impressive showcase for the distinctly American flavor of Gaelic football that has been emerging in the last decade. The basketball skills of the New York college teams were very much in evidence, indicating a playing membership that has predominantly played in the New York GAA’s very successful Minor program. Since Gaelic Park is part of the Manhattan College campus, the Manhattan College team had a home advantage in the final against Iona. In a tight game played in searing heat, extra time had to be played in which Iona squeezed in a last minute point to secure their place in the history books.

Considering that the previous year’s competition was contested by only three hurling teams and no football teams, this year’s quadrupling in size is a major development. Simon Gillespie, the New York GAA’s Games Development Administrator and Chairman of the Northeast Collegiate GAA, hailed the event as the highlight of his four years of working in his role. “The collegiate sector is the cutting edge of games development,” he said. “It is the part of the GAA in the USA that has the biggest potential.”

Eamonn Gormley, NCGAA Chairman, hailed Gillespie’s work. “Simon has taken the bull by the horns and shown great leadership in running our regional committee in the Northeast,” he said. “He has energized these startup clubs with a regular program of local games, and now has taken the nationals to the next level. All weekend we have been discussing tactics about where to go next, and we have big plans to consolidate our presence and expand our games onto even more campuses.”

He added that the divisions between New York and the rest of the country at club level in the GAA must be overcome. “There is no business case for New York being isolated from the rest of the country. We have seen what can be achieved with greater cooperation between New York and the North American Board at youth level through the Continental Youth Championships, and now also at collegiate level through the NCGAA. The concept is proven. I would hope that the NACB and New York GAA authorities see the benefits of closer cooperation and work to heal the divisions that in my opinion have stifled the growth of Gaelic games in this country.”

Photography by Jerry Hess.

Full Results

Group games
Indiana University 1-2 (5) University of Connecticut 6-2 (20)
Kean 1-0 (3) Montana 6-8 (26)
University of Pittsburgh 2-2 (8) Indiana University 3-1 (10)
Kean University 3-3 (12) St Thomas Aquinas 1-3 (6)
University of California, Berkeley 0-0 University of Connecticut 3-2 (11)
St Thomas Aquinas 0-1 (1) Montana 3-9 (18)
Indiana University 0-2 (2) University of California, Berkeley 3-6 (15)
University of Pittsburgh 1-3 (6) Kean University 1-1 (4)
University of Connecticut 3-2 (11) St Thomas Aquinas 4-6 (18)
University of California, Berkeley 0-2 (2) University of Montana 3-7 (16)
Indiana University 2-2 (8) Kean University 4-2 (14)
St Thomas Aquinas 4–4 (16) University of Pittsburgh 0-2 (2)
University of Montana 3-10 (19) University of Connecticut 2-4 (10)
University of Pittsburgh 2-4 (10) University of California, Berkeley 3-4 (13)
Shield Playoff
University of Pittsburgh 3-4 Indiana University 1-1 (4)
Shield Final
University of Pittsburgh 1-5 (8) Kean University 1-1 (4)
Semi Finals
University of Montana 1-12 (15) University of California, Berkeley 0-1
St Thomas Aquinas 4-4 (16) University of Connecticut 3-9 (18)
University of Montana 3-10 (19) St Thomas Aquinas 2-4 (10)
Group games
Manhattan College 3-12 (21) Fordham 2-5 (11)
Iona College 4-12 (24) St Joseph’s 0-1 (1)
Manhattan College 3-7 (16) Boston College 2-5 (11)
Boston College 3-7 (16) St Joseph’s 2-6 (12)
Boston College 1-6 (9) Fordham 0-9 (9)
Iona College 4-10 (22) Boston College 1-4 (7)
Manhattan College 3-10 (19) St Joseph’s 0-1 (1)
Fordham 1-11 (14) St Josephs’s 0-7 (7)
Manhattan College 2-8 (14) Iona College 1-3 (6)
Iona College 2-8 (14) Fordham 1-3 (6)
Semi finals
Iona 1-10 (13) Fordham 2-5 (11)
Manhattan College 1-11 (14) Boston College 1-5 (8)
Iona 3-10 (19) Manhattan College 3-8 (17)
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2014 National Championship Schedule

The 2014 National Championship schedule has been posted. See full schedule.

Players who have not paid their $5 registration fee to the NCGAA will be able to do so at the gate on entry to this weekend’s nationals.

There will be a general admission charge of $5 for all other visitors covering the whole weekend.

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Updated Accommodation Information

Manhattan College have withdrawn their offer of accommodation for our nationals this year. There is campus accommodation available at Iona College which is located approximately 15 minutes from Gaelic Park. See tournament details.

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Deadline for Booking Accommodation

Manhattan College has set a deadline of April 1st for booking accommodation for teams at this year’s nationals.  After that, their blocked-booked rooms will be released for public booking and your team may need to find more expensive accommodation with more expensive traveling distances to the field.  See event details.

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