Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny spent the last two work weeks between New York and Boston – with a pit-stop in Dublin – pitching Ireland as the most fertile and welcoming investment ground for companies to the likes of former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patric. The Emerald Isle’s skilled, educated (however fleeing) workforce coupled with a continued 12.5 percent corporate tax rate aid in Kenny’s effort to keep Ireland atop the Where-to-Invest radar.
Following his speech Feb. 9 to a packed suite of 150 young and old Irish and Irish American attendees at the Irish Consulate of New York reception, the chance arose to present Kenny with a symbol of hurling’s growth in America. Recently arrived from the good folks of O’Neill’s Sportswear, a brand new #17 Hoboken Guards jersey, in fairness, was to be dispatched to Hoboken Hurler Mike Flynn. We’ll get him another.
A Gaelic footballer in his native Islandeady, Mayo U16 team who won the West Mayo U16 championship in 1967, Kenny’s hustle to spotlight Ireland’s business friendly attributes during this age of austerity measures and political awakening by global citizens is both admirable and familiar. Politics aside, North American hurling organizers are – on the sporting scale – doing the same thing; selling a brilliant product with great people behind it, though lacking in resources, in an attempt to bring Ireland’s national game to the American masses.
Hurling advocates continue to raise the profile of the “clash of the ash” through grass roots club development via the North American hurling market. Indeed, one exists, and it continues to grow. Clubs form each year stateside, with more than 40 U.S. based hurling clubs to date. The UConn Husky Hurling Club is one of the most recent launches, marking the first collegiate hurling club to be created in the northeastern U.S. I’m fairly certain the Pocatello, Idaho Hurling Club is the only such club in Idaho state history.
Read up on the development of hurling in the North American GAA.
In a gracious thank you letter to the HGHC, Kenny wrote that he will try to wear the black, white and red of the Guards with pride when “spending holidays in the Kingdom (Kerry).”
The Hoboken Guards Hurling Club is named after a large group of Kenmare, Kerry immigrants, survivors of the famine, who landed in New York City circa 1850 and participated in the first reported hurling match on American soil–St. Patrick’s Day, 1858, in Hoboken, New Jersey. The Kerry hurlers. who found no team to play and thus played an intra-squad match, called themselves in the local paper the “Kenmare Guards.”
We’re Recruiting! Presently, the Hoboken Guards, New Jersey’s first mixed Irish and non-Irish born hurling club, are recruiting both experienced and novice/first-time hurlers to compete within the New York Gaelic Athletic Association Junior Hurling Division. Come one, come all! The Guards are also recruiting camogie players as part of the rebirth of ladies hurling in New York.
Email email@example.com with any questions or to express interest to train and play for the Guards, male or female. Our club trains in both New York City and Hoboken/Jersey City (which is a short commute from midtown Manhattan), and we have a great time doing so, on and off the field.
Pictured with the Taoiseach (r) are Peter Ryan (left), Deputy Consul General – Economic & Public Affairs at Consulate General of Ireland, New York; and David Cosgrove (center), Chair/Co-founder, NJGAA/Hoboken Guards Hurling Club. Ryan also served as Co-founder ACB & member of the Overseas Work Group GAA, at Asian County Board, GAA.
Quote of Note: “I played football with him years ago, and the speeches he gave at half-time were inspirational . . . He wouldn’t send you back out through the door, he’d send you out through the wall.”-Islandeady teammate Phil Hogan told The Irish Times of Enda Kenny in the dressing-room.