By Eamonn Kelly
While championship action on the playing fields won’t start in most regions of the country for at least a couple of months, most divisions of the North American County Board have completed their annual conventions and elected officers for the 2000 season.
For the first time in several years expansion of the league has halted, with no new clubs seeking affiliation with any division. In fact, many clubs are feeling affected by a decline in immigration, which has resulted in some degrading of senior teams to intermediate or junior status.
Deadline for club affiliation with the board and registration of all home-based players in all divisions is April 30. The final date for registration of sanction players from Ireland is July 20.
Regarding activity on the playing fields, spring 7-a-side tournaments have gained in popularity in recent years. Most noteworthy has been those organized in Florida and Washington, D.C., which have attracted participants from all over the country, including teams from the New York County Board.
The St. Patrick’s Club in Florida, winners of ’97 and ’98 junior "A" football championships and 1999 junior women’s championship, will be hosting its 12th consecutive annual men’s tournament. Sponsored by Powerscreen Corporation of Florida, the tournament will be staged in Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale on March 11 and 12. Also included will be the women’s 7-a-side competition, now in its sixth consecutive year and sponsored by the Piper Irish Club.
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Some of the teams participating in this years tournament include the defending champions Donegal New York men’s and Cavan New York women, Clan Eireann Lurgan, Co. Armagh, men and women, New York Senior Champions Kerry, Philadelphia Donegal, Westmeath, N.Y., Aidan McAnespies, Boston, Cavan, N.Y., Offaly, N.Y., Monaghan, N.Y., Mayo, N.Y., Fermanagh, N.Y., in the men’s and NACB Ladies Jr. Champions St. Patrick’s, Fla., Na Fianna, N.Y., Leitrim, N.Y., Vancouver, Canada.
The Washington, D.C., Gaels who won the 1998 national junior football championship, will host their 6th annual 7-a-side tournament on April 8. Teams from around the nation will compete in both men and women’s Gaelic football as well as camogie.
Washington, D.C., Gaels committee — chairman, Andrew Healy; vice chairman, Jim Carmody; secretary, Niall Dempsey; treasurer, Thomas Murnane; registrar, Kevin O’Shea; PRO, Lucy Clerkin.
In the Pacific Northwest Division the Seattle Gaels football club is in the process of organizing their 7-a-side tournament, scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend. The Gaels, winners of the 1999 junior "B" men’s football championship, are already planning to participate in the NACB playoffs in Boston this September. They hope to set up games for both men’s and ladies teams with San Diego and Los Angeles as well as games with Canadian teams such as Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
Pacific Northwest (Seattle area) Board of Officers — chairman, John O’Malley; vice chairman, Kevin Burtcheall; secretary, Anita Nicholl; treasurer, John Keane; registrar, Stephen Quinn; PRO Mary Froelich.
Galwayman Tommy Dolan was reelected as chairman of the Chicago Central Division Board for the fourth successive year at their recent convention. The main concern at the meeting was that another club has fallen victim to the continuous decline in home-based players. Because of dwindling number of players available for senior football, Padraig Pearse will only field a junior team this year. A similar fate was suffered by the John McBrides football club the previous year. To counteract this serious problem, the board and several clubs announced an aggressive youth program. More details on the program will be announced following the Minor Board meeting on March 5.
Central (Chicago area) Division Board of Officers — honorary president, Pat Noonan; chairman, Tommy Dolan; vice chairman, Mike Feeney; secretary, Patricia Meer; assistant secretary, Danny O’Donnell; treasurer, Kevin Corrigan; asst. treasurer, Kevin Brady; registrar, Beth Costelloe; PRO, Eamon Kelly; youth officer, Joe Begley.
In the Northeast Division John McDevitt from Donegal was reelected as chairman at the recent convention held at the new Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Mass. in addition to planning for the biggest playing season in the North American Board, the committee will be busy preparing for this years national playoffs, scheduled for Boston over the Labor Day weekend.
Northeast (Boston area) board of officers — honorary president, Coley Lydon; chairman, John McDevitt; vice chairman, Pat Bligh; secretary, Ann O’Dea; assistant secretary, Tara McManus; treasurer, Connie McEleheny; assistant treasurer, Martin Gallagher; registrar, Michael Coyne; PRO, Connie Kelly.
Following are other Divisional Board officers for 2000:
Philadelphia (Philadelphia and Washington D.C. areas) — chairman, Tommy Higgins; vice chairman, Hugh F. O’Neill; secretary, Paddy Rooney; treasurer, Patsy Duddy; registrar, Tom Purvis; PRO, Fr. Gerry Burns.
Western (San Francisco and San Jose areas) — chairman, Hugh Duggan; vice chairman, Linda Woo; secretary, Paul Keenan; assistant secretary, Michael Gallagher; treasurer, Carmen Murray; registrar, Bertie Penny; PRO, Brendan Dooley.