Queen’s University GAA embark on US Tour to mark 100 years of Sigerson participation

Thirty years since Queen’s formed Ladies Football club

Conor Cush bursts through the QUB defence at the DUB in UU's Sigerson Cup opener. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Queen's footballers will head to New York and Boston on Tour Picture by Hugh Russell.

QUEEN’S University will embark on a sporting tour of the east coast of America for the first time in 40 years as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of competing in Sigerson football while also coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Ladies football club.

The “Belfast Spirit, Global Goals” international sporting tour will see a delegation of Queen’s staff and students visit New York and Boston from June 7-17.

Queen’s GAA Development Officer Gavan Duffy has reached out to past members living on America’s east coast to attend some of the events planned.

“We will be playing some exhibition games and having various engagement events which we would be delighted if some of our past members would be free to attend,” said Duffy.

GAA President Jarlath Burns welcomed the US tour which will see the Sigerson and O’Connor Cup squads play exhibition games in Boston and New York.

Burns said: “I am also greatly pleased by the itinerary that includes local club visits and coaching sessions which I hope will leave a positive legacy – so too the university visits that will create opportunities for further collaboration, academic and professional.

“To be successful, an event like this requires meticulous planning and I know that this Tour has been a year in the planning and development stage.”

Describing the Tour as a “trip of a lifetime”, the President added: “[People’s] involvement in the GAA continues to be a hugely rewarding experience wherever your path in life may lead.”

GAA President Jarlath Burns
GAA President Jarlath Burns has backed the Queen's Tour of America's east coast (Niall Carson/PA)

Gaelic Park in the Bronx will host a couple of exhibition games this Sunday before the parties decamp to the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton in Boston the following weekend for more games.

O’Connor Cup captain Brid McNally said: “The GAA has a rich history of promoting culture and lifelong participation as a community-based, volunteer-led organisation which enriches lives and communities.

“My hope is that this tour continues that legacy, not just in these few days, but beyond.”

Queen’s football captain Matthew Murnaghan said: “The friendships and connections that are nurtured by team sport are so important to our development as young adults and I am incredibly grateful to Queen’s Sport and Queen’s GAA for the environment that they have created for us as players to thrive, both on the sporting field and academically.”

Staff and students will also take part in community coaching sessions with children and young people in New York and Boston, meet with alumni and business delegates in First Derivatives and Options IT and collaborate with its partner university, Northeastern University in Boston.

Chair of the past members association, Jack Devaney is delighted to see the spotlight shone on the success and heritage of the club.

Devaney said: “Thousands of students from nationalities across the world, have worn the Queen’s GAA jerseys with distinction, from social play right through to the very highest level of intervarsity competition.

“We’re extremely proud of our heritage and have a rich history of hosting, competing, and winning high profile competitions across football, hurling, camogie, and handball. I have no doubt the international sporting tour will help shine a light on our successes.”