PwC Football All-Stars visit home of Philadelphia GAA
By John Harrington
The PwC All-Stars coached more than 100 children in Philadelphia today when they visited their Limerick Field Complex outside of the city.
Owned by Philadelphia GAA, the superbly appointed grounds buzzed with activity for over two hours as the local kids were put through their paces.
You could see it meant an awful lot to everyone involved in Philadelphia GAA to have the All-Stars come to their home, and the positive vibes the visit generated should last for a long time.
“Listen, this is the biggest that’s happened in this town in the 32 years that I’ve been here,” Philadelphia GAA Chairman Ger Dillon told GAA.ie
“I’m delighted, the kids are delighted, and you see the parents all around here, they’re thrilled. Sam Maguire is sitting down here and everyone is getting their picture taken.
“This is what it’s about. Thank God for the good for the good day and the sunshine.”
The sheer number of children who took part in the training session vividly illustrated just how healthy GAA in Philadelphia is right now.
Playing numbers that had previously declined as native Irish returned home are now on the rise again thanks to a new generation of American born children who have embraced Gaelic Games.
“In the city we’re growing, with great numbers,” said Philadelphia GAA’s Games Development Administrator, Nicola McAnenly.
“We’ve three youth clubs that are very strong. We have Delco Gaels, Glenside Gaels and the Shamrocks which is a camogie club.
“We just this year had one of our youth clubs graduate to a senior club which is great and shows that progression is coming from youth to adult.
“We have four adult football teams, three hurling clubs, and we have one camogie club and one ladies football club in the city.
“2019 is a massive year for us out here. We are hosting the CYC which is the biggest youth tournament in North America.
“We’re expecting about two and a half thousand children coming in for four days in July.
“It’s great, we’re getting into schools at the moment. We have camps that operate numerous times a year and the kids love it. Both football and hurling is growing out here rapidly.”
The players seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the children, especially Mayo’s Andy Moran, who on the basis of his enthusiasm alone surely has a bright future in coaching when he eventually hangs up the boots.
“We had great craic, myself Conor (McManus), Ryan (McHugh), Colm Boyle, and David Clarke,” said Moran. “We just took a few groups and it was brilliant to see their level.
“Especially the U-14 boys who are coming over to play in Feile next year, really, really high level and it’s great to see that the work is being done over here in Philadelphia.
“There were a few Mayo guys here we enjoyed catching up with. PJ Loftus who used to play for Mayo was there with his son.
“There are so many counties represented in the clubs here and it’s great to see the way they all come together to make one.
“The facility here is excellent, it’s just brilliant to see.”