FRESH from winning the Boston junior football championship title for the first time since 2005, the Cork Boston GAA Club recently competed in the American football championship finals which were held in San Francisco on Labour Day Weekend.
The Cork Boston junior A footballers suffered a narrow one-point defeat against Charlotte James Connolly in the semi-final stages. The Americans are held for all the State championship winners throughout the United States.
Cork Boston junior coach David Joyce was thrilled to lead his side into action in the Americans.
“We were delighted to advance to the North American championships held in San Francisco. We played Charlotte who required a last-minute goal to defeat us.
"It would have been the icing on the cake to win the North American championship,” declared their proud coach.
Cork Boston GAA Club play their games in Canton which is the Irish Cultural Centre in Boston.
The players make a huge effort to make both training sessions and games which is greatly appreciated by their manager.
“Boston is a big city and no club owns any facilities unlike what you have at home, so you usually have lads coming from all over to make training.
"Games for all teams are held in Canton which is about 20 miles south of Boston on either a Saturday or Sunday. It's good craic there on a Sunday as there'll be a good crowd out to watch the matches.
"One good thing about the championship here is that it's a short season, June, July and August and once the schedule is out you're able to plan your summer.
"Due to possessing a number of dual players we decided to train once a week and build it up from there. We also invested in a proper pitch and focussed on ourselves which ensured we had excellent training sessions and attendance throughout the summer.
"The vibes were positive from the start and once we started winning we just got on a roll.”
Despite winning the Junior A championship title, Cork Boston GAA Club have decided not to return to the senior ranks which they last competed in back in 2012 revealed David.
“We will be staying in the Junior A and B championship ranks, where we can continue focusing on the lads that live here and the American born players.
"The senior championship here is a completely different world.”
Cork Boston GAA Club had one American born player in their starting line up which defeated Shannon Blues in the championship final.
The club are hoping to integrate more American born players into their team in the foreseeable future according to David.
“We had one American born player playing for us in the final. Jack Lynch whose father Mick hails from Bantry. This is his fifth year with us and he played a leading part when we won the Junior B title in 2012.
"I've no doubt he would walk onto any senior club team in Ireland.
"We also have two brothers Declan and Dennis Harrington whose father hails from Adrigole who are members of our panel. It is great to see second generation Irish players playing for us.”
Cork Boston GAA Club are acutely aware of the need to get more American born players participating in GAA.
To help them achive their goals they have become more active in the school system in Boston revealed David.
“The Irish Sports Youth League is our main connection with the youth system and we have had a number of players emerge through that system.
"There are three youth clubs in Boston and the ISYL is one of them. They train every Sunday morning from U8 up to minor and then usually these players will join an adult club after that.
"For the GAA to thrive in the States, more emphasis has to be put on integrating American-born players into adult teams, rather than focusing on who is coming over for the summer.
"We had six young American-born players in the Junior B team that got to the final and hopefully these will form the backbone of our club for the next ten years or more.”
The last time the Cork senior footballers captured the Sam Maguire Cup, a number of the successful Rebel team met with members of the Cork Boston GAA Club upon their arrival to Boston.
David has vivid memories of their trip in 2010.
“Graham Canty, Daniel Goulding and a few more players were over for a club banquet which was well received. Unfortunately, we haven't had any visits since, but hopefully Cork can win the All-Ireland in the coming years and they will return to Boston once again.”
The ambitious Cork Boston GAA Club have a number of ambitions they hope to meet in the foreseeable future.
“For all clubs here, survival is the main goal. Unlike clubs at home there is no guaranteed conveyor belt from minor or U21 level and the immigration policy means there are not as many players coming to live here full-time.
"We have two goals, focus on the Irish players that live here and make things as enjoyable as possible for them. We also have to integrate more American-born players and give them a pathway to playing regular Gaelic football. If we can achieve both our goals, then our club will be well-placed to challenge for more success in the coming years.”