Clubs to hold victory celebrations on Feb. 11

[caption id="attachment_69043" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="It’s a quiet time of year at Gaelic Park. "]


Though it is the closed season on the GAA calendar in the Big Apple many clubs are busy on the social scene organizing dinner dances and victory banquets. Both the Leitrim and the Monaghan football clubs are holding their victory banquets on Feb. 11.

This was another banner year for Leitrim as they won the double, namely the senior football championship and the knock-out competition as well. The celebrations will be hosted at Rory Dolan’s on McLean Ave. in Yonkers. The guest of honor for this celebratory occasion is John Creegan, a native of Rossan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim. John has lived in the United States for close to four decades and during that time he has been involved in a number of successful business ventures, most notably Behan’s on Katonah Ave. in the Bronx and the Poitin Still in Hackensack, N.J. Over the years John has been a great benefactor of the Leitrim club plus a whole array of other organizations. He resides with wife Phil and sons John Patrick, Michael, Brendan and Danny in New Jersey. Indeed this will be a very special occasion for the Creegan family as son Michael will also be presented with his second senior championship medal. Michael is well known to his opponents for his blistering speed and tenacious tackling.

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The Joe McInerney Award goes to Joe Prunty, a native of Drumlish, Co. Longford. In his early years in the Big Apple Joe excelled both as a player and as an official with the Longford club. However once the club folded, Joe threw in his lot with Leitrim and has since become a very valuable and industrious member. He has also held several positions with the New York Board. Joe resides in Manhattan with wife Cathleen, along with daughter Laura and son Joseph.

The player of the year award will be presented to Dermot Keane, a former player with the famed Knockmore club in Mayo. Since arriving in the Big Apple Dermot, has given sterling displays not only with Leitrim but also with the Mayo and New York. The versatile, fit, tenacious player has been a great inspiration and role model for his teammates. This year Dermot showed his versatility by excelling at midfield when Leitrim’s natural big midfielders were out through injury.

The Monaghan team will be presented with their junior championship medals at Ricardo’s, in Astoria. The guest of honor for this special occasion is Seamus Dooley, a native of Killanny, Co. Monaghan though he was born in Donegal. Since joining the Monaghan club nearly forty ago, Seamus has given outstanding service in a whole host of positions. He is also a former Chairman of the New York Board plus he spearheaded the upgrading of Gaelic Park. It is almost impossible to visualize Gaelic Park without seeing the affable Dooley patrolling about it. It certainly is his personal fiefdom. Without doubt Seamus is the most visible, most vocal, most industrious and definitely the most entertaining of all GAA personnel. Seamus lives in Riverdale and works in building management in Manhattan.. He has a daughter Amanda and a grandson Declan. His wife Ginny passed away in 1994.

The player of the year is James Connolly, a native of Latton, Co. Monaghan. Before coming to the Big Apple he starred with his club and Monaghan under-age teams. This year he played a major role as leader of the attack, both in scoring and setting up opportunities for his teammates. The clubmen of the year awards go to Conor McKenna, a native of Tyholland and Liam McNellis, a former member of the Monaghan Harps club. The Monaghan club will also be honoring Catriona Brady in recognition of being selected as the ladies player of the year. Catriona was a former player with the Aghabog Emmetts club, and an All-Ireland winner with Monaghan. In addition Courtney Traynor, the young player of the year will also be honored. Courtney showed plenty of pace and poise in Croke Park this year. She has been one of the young stalwarts on the Rockland team. Her father Phil is a native of Carrickmacross and a great supporter of the GAA.

Mike Chambers RIP

Mike Chambers passed away on Dec. 27 after a long battle with cancer. He was 63 and a native of Quilty, Co Clare. The late Mike was an outstanding young footballer as he captained his club Kilmurrayibricane to their first u 14 championship title. Further success followed in the minors as he managed to win three titles in a row -- 1963, ’64 and ’65. Mike played at all grades with the county team and reached the final of the Munster u 21 competition. He arrived in the Big Apple in 1971 and immediately became involved with the Clare club here. He was easy to recognize as Mike was a very fine fielder, a graceful carrier of the ball and very effective at cutting through defenses to hit scores. With the Clare club he won an intermediate championship against Roscommon and in 1976 the Banner club beat Sligo in the final of the knockout competition. He also held numerous positions with the Clare club, including that of President in the 1980s. Mike was the guest of honor in 1989. Besides being a very influential player with his club, Mike was also a central figure on the New York Gael Linn teams in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

In addition, in the era of more fluid and flexible rules, the late Mike frequently displayed his considerable skills in Boston and Chicago. Mike had been in ill-health for quite a while but during his healthy years he was employed in the construction and bar trades. He is survived by his wife Breda, daughter Tara and son Shane. His remains were brought back to his native Quilty. There will be mass for the repose of his soul in St. Gabriel’s Church, Riverdale, on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. May he rest in peace.a