By Chris McLoone
The Glenside Gaelic Club held its first annual Father’s Day Tournament on June 15 at Bishop McDevitt High School, located in Wyncote, PA. For a first-time event, the tournament went off largely without a hitch. Families walked away with full stomachs thanks to the fully stocked refreshment stand and everyone got to see a good day of Gaelic football and camogie.
For the Glenside Club, this was the first time the kids had a chance to play other teams in a real competition this year. From U6 to U16, the club has been meeting at McDevitt twice a week since mid-April, but aside from a couple of blitzes, the kids haven’t had a chance to play in “real” games. So, dressed in their new uniforms on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, they met up with three other clubs: Delaware County’s Delco Gaels, Northeast Philadelphia’s Shamrocks, and Doylestown’s Bucks County Gaelic Football club.
The tournament also allowed the four clubs to meet up all together for the first time this year. Not only was it a chance for the kids from different clubs to get to know each other, but with the Bucks County and Glenside clubs being in their first and second years, respectively, it gave board members and coaches a chance to get to know each other as well. U6, U8, and U10 Gaelic football and Camogie teams competed at the event.
But, the most important part of the day was establishing that there are other local clubs with which the Glenside club can compete, according to Brendan Gallagher, chairman of the Glenside Gaelic Club. “The most important thing about Sunday was for our kids and families to find out they were not alone—that all the practice and sacrifice had culminated in competitive games against kids on a similar journey,” said Gallagher. “It was vital for our club to learn that there is a thriving community out there striving to not only learn about Gaelic sports but to discover a positive, relevant side of Irish culture! Long may it last.”
For our newest kids especially, it’s hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel—the light being the CYC—when we start in April and it seems like all we do is practice. A tournament like this is a great way for the kids to get out there in uniform and meet other teams with different skillsets. And, the coaches can evaluate our different teams as we prepare for the CYC to see where they need to tighten up. I’m hoping we can do a few more of these locally next year. It’s a great day and great sport.
All told, more than 100 players participated in the Father’s Day event — not bad for a club only in its second year and hosting its first tournament. The event also gave newer clubs like the Bucks County Gaelic Football an idea of how far it can come in just a year’s time. As Gallagher thanked the Bucks County team and coaches for participating in the tournament, he also congratulated them on how far they have come in such a short period of time. “You remind me a lot of us last year,” he said.
Anyone interested in joining the Glenside Gaelic Club or supporting the club through sponsorship or membership should visit http://www.glensidegaelicclub.com or email email@example.com for more information.
Chris McLoone is vice chairman of the Glenside Gaelic Club.