Co Clare was well represented at the West Coast 7’s GAA tournament held in San Diego.
The West Coast 7’s is one the prestigious G.A.A. tournaments outside Ireland, run similar to many tournaments in Ireland such as the Kilmacud Sevens. Teams travel from all over the United States and Canada to play in the competition from cities such as Chicago, Austin, Calgary, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Consisting of hurling, gaelic football, ladies football and camogie, the tournament is extremely popular with the Irish abroad and the Banner County had a big role to play in this year’s competition.
Nicole O’Regan from Broadford was one of the stars of the successful Calgary Chieftains team who won the camogie title defeating a very strong Seattle team in the final, she also played Ladies Football with the Calgary outfit. The successful Calgary camogie outfit also had James Gunning from Broadford as their coach.
James also played hurling with the men’s hurling team from that city. Gunning is the driving force in promoting G.A.A in Calgary, an area of Canada that has become a new destination for young Irish and was wing-back on the Clare U21 hurling panel that won the County’s first All-Ireland title in the grade in 2009.
Tony McCarthy from Killaloe was the successful manager of the Los Angeles Wild Geese junior football outfit who won the Junior Football 7’s championships. Tony has been one the main members of the Geese both as a player and now as a manager and was a member of the Wild Geese who won the All-Ireland Sevens in the 1980’s.
The Wild Geese beat a strong Austin outfit which contained Kilmaley brothers Conor and Dermot Neylon, the brothers were instrumental in getting the Austin team to the final with superb displays in the group stages.
One of the players of the weekend was Eoghan Kyne, he represented the United States in the first ever International seven’s games in the United States. Eoghan’s mother Siobhan Donnelly is from Newmarket-on-Fergus and has spent many summers in that village playing hurling and football with the local lads. Eoghan plays for the Culver City Cougars in football which is located in Los Angeles and because of his displays in the group stages was selected for the United States team.
Eoghan also teamed up with Jason Ryan, a native of Newmarket as well to play junior hurling for the Arizona hounds who lost out to a strong San Diego side in the Junior Hurling final.
With such a large Clare involvement with the Gaelic Games, great praise is due to these expatriates for their role in promoting the game on an international scale.