GAA abroad: How Irish immigrants shared their sporting passions and skills

A by law was introduced in Quebec in 1845 banning hurling in narrow back lanes and alleyways of the city as it was considered too dangerous.

On a sizzling hot day in mid-September, Cavan’s Mick Higgins darted past his Kerry opponents to score a crucial second goal for the trailing men of Breffni in the All-Ireland Senior Football final. Hungry for success and determined to bring the Sam Maguire home he, and his teammates, fought voraciously against the defending All-Ireland Champions to eventually clinch a memorable four point victory.

Yet this was no ordinary final. For one it was unseasonably warm, with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees. Secondly, Higgins had the privilege of claiming his first All-Ireland medal only a few miles from where he had been born; surprisingly the pitch wasn’t situated among the green fields of the Lake County nor along the banks of the Royal Canal but in a baseball stadium in upper Manhattan. A New Yorker by birth and a champion by sheer force of will I’m sure he couldn’t have helped but feel that Gaelic games had just gone global. Yet in truth it had done so long before.

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