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.
Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship quarter-final in the Gaelic Park at the Bronx in New York. Photograph: ©INPHO/Andy Marlin
Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship quarter final in Gaelic Park in New York in May 2019. Mayo’s Andy Moran and Gerard McCartan of New York. Photograph: ©INPHO/Andy Marlin
GSC Luxembourg, the oldest GAA club on mainland Europe. Photograph: GSC Luxembourg
Mick Higgins (Cavan) (left to right), John Wilson (Cavan), Teddy Sullivan (Kerry), Mick Finnucane (Kerry), Simon Duignan (Cavan), Tony Tighe (Cavan) and Gus Cremin (Kerry) together in 2005 as members of the Cavan and Kerry teams who played in the 1947 All-Ireland senior football final in New York. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship in New York in 2010. Photogrpahh: ©INPHO/Peter Marney
The Sam Maguire cup, named in honour of Irish emigrant Sam Maguire. Photograph: Chorusman
South Africa Gaels became the first club in the world to field an entirely indigenous team at the GAA World Games in 2016. Photograph: South Africa Gaels
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.