81 The Irish Sporting and Social Club of Vancouver

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The Irish Sporting and Social Club of Vancouver

Biography to follow. 

 

 

  • Vancouver’s ISSC Hurling Team Captures the 2010 North American Junior A Hurling Championship in Chicago
  • The 2010 Labour Day weekend saw the Vancouver Harps Hurling Team travel to Chicago to compete for the North American Junior A Hurling Championship as Western Canadian team in the Finals.
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  • St. Johns GAA Club of Newfoundland currently are the other club with a competitive Hurling side did not compete.
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  • Team managers Denis Ryan and Sean Twomey had applied to the Canadian County Board to allow Harps to play as the club was seeing increasing training attendance with players eager to enter a Tournament to put their hurling skills to the real test.
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  • Once the permission was granted, the club applied to the North American County Board to enter the Chicago Tournament.
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  • Preparation included practise games at Vancouver’s Rupert Park followed by a summer trip to Seattle, Washington where Harps recorded memorable victories by overcoming Seattle Gaels in the Semi-Final and Denver Colorado in the Final.
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  • Training continued during summer at the annual Vancouver Gaelic Tournament in North Vancouver where teams from Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton joined Vancouver to demonstrate inter club hurling exhibitions with clear evidence that Ireland’s Ancient game of Hurling is very much alive in Canada today.
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  • Training intensified during practice sessions prior to the departure for Chicago and with obvious commitment from the players and support from the Irish in Vancouver in which the community helped raise sufficient funds to allow the team to travel, Harps departed for Chicago’s Gaelic Park with a squad of 24 players, a fitness coach and 16 fanatical supporters!
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  • The first game was scheduled on Friday 3rd September against Washington D.C. and the team included: Colin O’ Flynn (Clare), Pat O’ Mahony (Cork), David Reynolds (Galway), Stephen Young (Dublin), Rory Murphy (Waterford), Sean Twomey (Captain – Cork), Aindriu Doohan (Monaghan), Liam Mooney (Wicklow), Eoghan Buckley (Laois), Donal Twomey (Cork), Aidan O’ Mahony (Cork), Colin Young (Dublin) and William Donnellan (Galway) with subs Denis Ryan (Tipperary), John Casey (Cork), Paul Farmer (Cork), Jerry McCarthy (Kerry), Billy Quinlan (Kerry), David Johnson (Louth), Keith Roche (Cork), Tom Nolan (Limerick), Derek Jung (Vancouver) Damien Scully (Laois) & Tyson Van Beek (Vancouver) with the line being run by fitness coach and motivator Michael Harnett (Kildare).
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  • The opening game saw Vancouver dominate Washington and establish a commanding lead by half time with Donal Twomey, Rory Murphy, Aidan O’ Mahony and William Donnellan to the forefront. In the second half the subs bench was certainly active as all 24 players played before the final whistle and achieved their first experience of the NACB Championships in which Vancouver were the clear victors by beating Washington DC.
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  • As the Boston teams had not travelled to the tournament that allowed Vancouver to have final showdown against Naomh Padraighs of San Francisco on Sunday 5th September. The Harps players were: Colin O’ Flynn, Pat O’ Mahony, David Reynolds, Stephen Young, Rory Murphy, Sean Twomey (Captain), Aindriu Doohan, Liam Mooney, Eoghan Buckley, John Casey, Donal Twomey, Aidan O’ Mahony, and William Donnellan together with same substitutes.
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  • The final began at a frantic pace with tumultuous support on the sidelines from Vancouver and neighbours Seattle as Vancouver took an early lead with early scores from Donal Twomey, Aidan O’Mahony and John Casey.
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  • San Francisco found their stride also and began to cut the early Vancouver lead and as the half time whistle blew there were indications that Vancouver legs were tiring while the Naomh Padraighs were gaining momentum.
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  • After the interval, Vancouver emerged with renewed vigour and decisive changes to maintain their lead. Sean Twomey switched to full back, Liam Mooney to wing back and Tom Nolan came off the bench to replace the injured David Reynolds in midfield proved to be the recipe for the second half and Harps forward line took advantage as 7 point lead was established.
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  • With Donnellan in midfield, Doohan in the forward line and Ryan replacing Buckley, Vancouver repelled any come back from Naomh Padraigs until the final minutes when a 21 yard free saw Padraighs close the gap to 4 points.
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  • Vancouver would respond well however and especially when Aindriu pounced in the box for a major of his own.
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  • With little time left, Vancouver may have eased up as Padraigs scored another goal which made for a frantic final few minutes but the boys from Western Canada held tough with the Vancouver defence of Rory Murphy, Pat O’ Mahony Stephen Young and Sean Twomey repelling any further Naomh Padraig attacks. Vancouver finished the game with a 4 point advantage to claim their first ever North American title in Gaelic games.
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  • After the game, the Cup was presented to Vancouver Captain Sean Twomey by former GAA President Joe MacDonagh in the presence of a Naomh Padraighs team gracious in defeat.
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  • In fact, it would be Naomh Padraigs who would lift the Senior Cup later in the day.
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  • In true Irish and Vancouver Harp fashion the title was celebrated into the early hours of Monday morning!!
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  • This year, the Vancouver ISSC executive committee consists of Pat Lowney, Ronan Matthews, Katrina McAndrew and Sean Twomey. The sports side of the club has traditionally been Gaelic Football but in 2008 the Hurling team was established and has grown rapidly in the intervening two years.
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  • The success in Chicago is indicative of the commitment of everyone at ISSC including Club Executives, team managers, players and supporters to bring silverware to the club at the first opportunity and the journey to and from Chicago surely is positive sign for the future of Gaelic Games in Vancouver.
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  • Two hundred and ten years earlier In 1800, Irish hurlers took to a frozen pond near Windsor Nova Scotia to play Ireland’s ancient game on a new surface, Ice, as the local fields would have been deemed unplayable for a game of hurling due to Canada’s winter conditions. What had been a Sliothar (a leather ball) back in Ireland was substituted with a wooden “puck” cut from a suitable tree branch to allow it to slide on the ice and which could be hit by a modified Hurley stick carved by Mi’kmaq First Nations people who in turn allowed the stick the necessary contact with the Ice Surface. The word “Puck” is derived from the Gaelic word “Poc” translated from Gaelic and meaning “to hit”. What began as fun and something to do by the hurlers from Ireland would evolve into Canada’s game of Ice Hockey. Ireland’s Ancient sport and fasted field game was systematically transpired into Canada’s game and fastest indoor game. The rest is History.
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  • Today, over two hundred years later, Ice Hockey remains Canada’s official winter sport and Irish Canadians and Irish people everywhere will acknowledge that without any reserve. We Irish hope that everyone will remember how Canada’s game began.
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  • In recognition of the incredible achievement by the 2010 Vancouver Harps Team to be the Best in North America the committee will include the team name on Side three of the proposed Ireland Canada Monument in Vancouver.
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  • The committee hopes that others will recognise the impact that Ireland’s Ancient Game of Hurling has in the Birth of Canada’s game of Ice Hockey.
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  • Co-written by
  • Seán Ó’Tuama                        Captain 2010 Vancouver Harps Hurling Team.
    Breandán O’Floinn                Coordinator of The Ireland Canada Monument Project.