By Eamon Kelly
Current North American Board Senior Football champions Chicago St. Brendan’s ended a most triumphant year in great style recently with a gala dinner dance to celebrate the clubs 50th anniversary. Just under 600 Gaels packed Chicago Gaelic Park’s Tara Banquet room in celebration of a great occasion for the GAA club that was founded in 1950.
Guests of honor at the event were Dara O’Cinneade and Donal Daly, members of the current All-Ireland Champions Kerry team, and Mickey "Ned" O’Sullivan, captain of the 1975 All-Ireland Kerry team. Also, a big attraction was the presence of the Sam Maguire cup. Highlight of the evening was a 25-minute video presentation shown during the dinner, depicting the club’s history from 1950 to 2000. In addition to speeches by O’Cinneade and O’Sullivan, North American County Board Chairman Sean Gannon and Central Divisional Chairman Tommy Dolan spoke at the function. In conjunction with this special occasion, the following awards were presented: Senior player of the year to Nial Buckley; Junior player of the year to Pat Carton; Club people of the year to John Haran, Joe Keane and Peggy Murphy Jr. A special dedication award was presented to club chairman Mike Murphy and his family.
A most successful social event also brought down the curtain on the Boston GAA season with the staging of the All-Star Awards Banquet. In what has emerged as one of the most popular events in the Boston Irish-American community, approximately 500 Gaels attended the dinner dance recently in Florian Hall. This is the fourth year for this event, which supports the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the North East Youth League. In addition to selecting all-star teams from all competitions in the North East division, awards were also presented to player of the year winners in all competitions.
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The Washington, D.C., Gaels football club ended their year with a most successful banquet in Jurys Hotel, at which the club presented awards to members and players in recognition of their performances during the year. Following is the Washington, D.C., Gaels committee for 2001: Chairman: Andrew Healy; Vice Chairman: Jim Carmody; Secretary: Nial Dempsey; Treasurer: Lydia Spooner; Registrar: Paul McDonough; PRO: Coleen Quinn.
The Central (Chicago) and Philadelphia divisions concluded the year with their conventions, both of which are projecting successful 2001 seasons.
In contrast to last year’s convention when there was little contention for positions on the Board, this year’s Central Division AGM was one of the most active and competitive in recent years. Such was the atmosphere of the convention that there are seven new officer on the nine-person Board. While Chairman Tommy Dolan and Registrar Beth Costelllo retained their positions without any opposition all other offices required a ballot. The decision of incumbents not to rerun for the positions of secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, PRO and youth officer contributed to the new makeup of the board.
Following are the 2001 officers elected to the Central Division Board:
Chairman: Tommy Dolan, (Cuchulainn H.C.); Vice Chairman: Joe Begley (St. Brendan’s GFC); Secretary, Peggy Murphy (St. Brendan’s GFC); Assistant Secretary: Mary Prenderville (St. Brigids GFC); Treasurer: Mike Flanagan (Erins Own H.C.); Assistant Treasurer: Danny O’Donnell (Wolfe Tones GFC); Registrar: Beth Costell0 (Limerick H.C.); PRO: Lisa Kruger (St. Mary’s C.C.); Youth Officer: Lisa O’Flagherty (Erins Rover GFC/Youth Board); Honorary President: Pat Noonan (Harry Bolands H.C.).
Popular Tom Higgins of the Donegal football club was reelected as Chairman of the Philadelphia Divisional Board at their convention last month. Also, Hugh O’Neill and Paddy Rooney retained their positions of vice-chairman and secretary, respectively. Gerry McKnight has returned to the board as registrar, replacing Tom Purvis. Last year’s PRO, Fr. Gerry Burns, is the new treasurer, replacing the long-serving Patsy Duddy, who is now honorary president. Peter McDermott is the new PRO. Despite the anticipated decrease in the registration of home-based players, the board is confident of a successful 2001 season and, according to McDermott, the division is already looking forward to hosting the 2002 North American League Finals and plans are in the works to form a special playoff committee to run the huge event. Following are the 2001 officers
Chairman: Thomas Higgins (Donegal GFC); Vice-Chaiman, Hugh O’Neill (Derry GFC);
Secretary, Paddy Rooney (Young Irelanders GFC) ; Treasurer, Fr. Gerry Burns (GAA chaplain); Registrar, Gerry McKnight (Tyrone GFC); PRO, Peter McDermott (Tyrone GFC), Honorary Chairman, Patsy Duddy (Donegal GFC).
Several other divisional conventions are scheduled for February 4th.
March 10-11: Annual seven-a-side football tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sponsored by Florida St. Patrick’s football club.
April 7: Annual seven-a-side football tournament in Washington, D.C., area sponsored by Washington, D.C., Gaels football club.