Posted on October 25th, 2013 by admin
St Joseph’s University Gaelic Football Club in Philadelphia has made another piece of US collegiate GAA history by becoming the first American college Gaelic football club to be granted recognition by their college authorities. The emerging club had already made history in 2012 by playing in the first ever inter-collegiate Gaelic football match in America in a game against Boston College.
While most of the growth in the US collegiate GAA sector has been in hurling, Gaelic football has been making steady progress in the northeast.
“This is the result of a lot of hard work by our club to obtain formal recognition,” said Michael Ryan, club Chairman. “We have a good relationship with the college administration, we appreciate what they are doing for us, and we will build on that relationship by representing our college well on the field and proudly wear the name of St Joseph’s on our jerseys.”
Eamonn Gormley, Chairman of the National Collegiate Gaelic Athletic Association (NCGAA) welcomed the news. “It is by plugging into mainstream society that Gaelic games can become more mainstream sports,” he said. “The college system is a hugely important part of this. The GAA has got to integrate better into the way sports are structured in all of the countries where Gaelic games exist. We can see the benefits of this already with the growth that hurling has experienced in US colleges.”
Because they are recognized as legitimate student clubs by campus authorities, GAA clubs are now becoming a fixture at annual activities fairs across America. Freshmen looking for clubs and societies to join at the start of the academic year can walk among the stalls set out by such diverse groups as the soccer club, rugby club, archery club; now the hurling or Gaelic football club is in there among the stalls just like the other sports, providing a storefront through which the Gaelic games experience can be enjoyed by a new audience.
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