Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly
Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association – How to Join In
By Vincent Beach
The USGAA annual convention was held in Chicago on November 11-13, with delegates from across the ten divisions comprising the “county.” The Midwest Division was well represented and carried the second highest voting block (44 or 16%), just behind the Northeast (includes Boston).
Clubs carried two votes and divisional chairs and the county board carry one vote. There are nearly 6,000 adult members across the USGAA, an uptick from the pandemic years, and a noticeable increase from the pre-pandemic levels that hovered around 5,000 members during the teens.
There were some notable passing motions this year. Motion 7 requires players on junior level panels to remain on those panels until eliminated for the USGAA Finals. Prior to this, some clubs with multiple level teams (say an intermediate team and a junior C team) would field a few upper-level players in the earlier junior match before lining them out in the later upper-level match.
Players could always move up, so clubs would start talented players at the lower level to give their lower-level team a boost. Now, those players would have to remain on the lower team and not be available for the upper team until the lower team was eliminated.
Motion 12 was passed, allowing home-grown players in their first five years to re-register up until August 1. Previously the deadline was April 30.
Motion 21 now allows for unlimited substitutions at the USGAA Finals for men’s junior C and D football. Motion 25 split the camogie junior grading into levels A and B. The past year only had a junior level and developmental games. The new motion ensures more camogie games at the USGAA finals for the growing sport.
The county board was seated as follows: Chairperson, Bernie Connaughton (Shannon Blues, NE); Vice-Chairperson, Paul Keane (St. Joseph’s, W); Secretary, Liam Moloney (Sean Tracey’s, W); Treasurer, Tom Walsh (Denver, SW); Registrar, Susan Pierce (Indianapolis, HL), PRO, Caoimhe Butler (Young Islanders, PH); Youth Officer, Gareth Fitzsimons (Parnell’s, C); Central Council Delegate, Gerard Dillon (Delco, PH); and honorary president is Malachy Higgins (Naomh Padraig, W).
On Sunday, the USGAA Youth Committee held their annual general meeting. Paul Mulcaire (Buffalo) was honored as he served the full five-year term. Joining Gareth Fitzsimons on the Youth Board are Vice-Chairperson Eamonn Kelley (St. Brenden’s); Secretary Brendan MacGrath (Trinity Milton); Treasurer Josephine Regan (St. Jarlath’s); Registrar Kerri Hanley (Trinity Milton); PRO Paul Mulcaire (Buffalo); and Development Officer Brian Rogers (San Francisco). The final note for the USGAA Convention is that the delegates affirmed that the board and development committee move forward with proposals and plans to field a county team in the All-Ireland Junior Football Final in 2024. Competition would be with Kilkenny, London, New York, and Warwickshire. All USGAA homegrown players would be eligible.
Midwest Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The Midwest held their annual general meeting at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township, Ohio. Clubs traveled in from Detroit, Cincinnati, Akron, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse to join Cleveland. Officer reports followed individual club updates on successes and lessons learned. Minor motions passed. There were no contested elections.
A special thanks was made to Garrett O’Donohue (Detroit City Harps), whose term limit was up as Youth Chair. The MW board also welcomed
back two officers in Chairperson John Young (Pittsburgh GAA) and Secretary Rob Tierney (Pittsburgh GAA). Rounding out thee board were Vice-Chairperson Paul Mulcaire (Buffalo Na Fianna); Treasurer Damon Margida (Cleveland); PRO Sean Stayduhar (Pittsburgh Pucas); Registrar Davy Roberts (Pittsburgh GAA); and Youth OfficerVincent Beach (Cleveland).
New business centered around organization of the playing schedule. The Midwest is, once again, holding a Trip-to-Ireland raffle (email your local GAA for details, or cl**********@gm***.com).
Cleveland Annual General Meeting
The Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s GAA also held their AGM at the West Side Irish American Club, but a week prior to the Midwest. The growing club saw the expansion of the board: Chairperson, Vincent Beach; Vice-Chairperson, Maura English; Secretary, Danny Sullivan; Treasurer, John Kernan; Registrar, Cory Barry; PRO, Shannon Enoch; Youth Officer, Peter Dietz; Football Manager, Jim Coyne; Hurling Manager, Damon Margida; Men’s Football Representative, Alec Stott; Ladies’ Football Representative, Maureen Mohney; Hurling Representative, Joey Murphy; and Camogie Representative, Clodagh O’Leary. The upcoming Cleveland GAA year is trending to be the largest yet. It is the 75th Anniversary of the Club (St. Pat’s being formed in 1948). Plans are in progress for the Midwest Memorial 7’s Football tournament on May 20th, the hosting of end of year tournaments, and an anniversary bash – details to come next month.
Both youth indoor and adult indoor sessions are being planned, but at the time of writing not yet finalized for 2023. Please check the ClevelandGAA.com website for updates or reach out (details below).
Go raibh míle maith agaibh
(thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. We need your help and involvement but would most like to share the fun of Irish sport and Cleveland community with you. Consider getting involved at any level. Fáilte (welcome) to all. The Gaelic Athletic Association is Ireland’s largest sporting organization and a bit of home for the Irish abroad here in the US of A. Beyond sports, the Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance, and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives. Cleveland GAA is open to all who want to play competitive sports, meet new people, and join an athletic, fitness-minded club for all ages.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2022 activities for Men, Women, and Youth, or visit ClevelandGAA.com.
*Vincent Thomas Francis Xavier Beach is a proud Greater Clevelander and emigrant of Michigan. He joined the St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club in 1999 and, with much help, is the current caretaker of the Cleveland GAA. His Irish is a cross of dialects from the University of Cincinnati and An Cheathrú Rua. With his wife, Michelle, he enjoys watching time absolutely fly by as their children, Ambrose (13), Bernadette (11), and Cedric (8), grow. His other hustles are coaching CYO basketball at St. Mary of Berea, coaching soccer in Olmsted TWP, teaching Construction Management at CWRU, and laying down some engineering skills on local water/wastewater projects.