By Patricia Sheridan
At the New York Ladies GAA Convention on Tuesday, Jan. 26, history was made when Anne Holland was elected as the first woman to head the women’s association. She replaces longtime President and founder Terry Connaughton.
A native of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Holland lives in Yonkers with her husband, Louis, and two daughters, Kerry, 4, and Sorsha, 4 months. She has been a dedicated supporter and worker of the association since arriving in New York in 1995, holding the positions of assistant secretary and vice president. She also plays for the Cavan ladies team, winning the Sean Faherty Championship (1995, ’96, ’97), Annie Kearney Knock Out (’97), MVP of the Knock Out Final (’97) and Cavan Club Player of the Year (’97).
On accepting the new position, Holland thanked her predecessor, Connaughton, saying he would be a hard act to follow, and the executive committee. She promised to be a fair an objective president and is looking forward to working with her new vice president, Peter Brennan, a native of Sligo. Brennan has been involved with women’s football since 1996, training the NaFianna team.
"On arriving in New York in 1995, I was delighted to see that ladies football was on the rise," Holland said. "It was a toss up between Kerry, Leitrim, and Cavan as to whom I would play with. Naturally, my first consideration was to play with Kerry, but than I learned that the team trained in Queens, and being a new arrival, I thought this was miles away from the Bronx. I ended up going to Cavan and I’m very proud to be associated with a great bunch of ambitious ladies and hard working management."
Holland believes New York’s now three-year association with Central Council has been beneficial. She also says that the North American Board’s recent affiliation with Ireland presents some intriguing possibilities for New Yorkers.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
"I would like to see the formation of a Provincial Council and the winners of New York vs. NAB to represent the U.S. in the All-Ireland semifinal," Holland said. "I think this would be good for the competitive nature of the game. If we’re not good enough to win here, then we shouldn’t go to the expense of traveling to Ireland.
Though pleased with the standard of football in New York, Holland says she’d like to see the seven-team league grow and the standard of football improve.
"It is important for anyone interested in taking up the sport to know that this is not just a sport for Irish girls," she said. "We have Irish American girls in the league and they have shown that their skills in basketball and soccer can easily be adapted to Gaelic football. . . . This year we are planning to bring a coach from Ireland to further enhance the players basic GAA skills and to teach new training procedures."
In addition to Holland and Brennan, the 1999 committee includes Caroline Conway, secretary; Pat Meade, assistant secretary; Mary P. Toolan, treasurer; Marie Flood, Patricia Sheridan, and Mairead Casey, PRO committee; Kathleen Rowland, registrar; Peter Brennan, games coordinator; Philip Sheridan, custodian; Brenda Walsh, Irish language officer; Orla Doyle, development officer.