The Past, The Present, and The Future!!July 3, 2013
This February was more rainy than cold when the call went out. But the members answered, gathering in back room of John D. McGurk’s pub in St. Louis’s Soulard neighborhood. Camaraderie and anticipation grew side-by-side, until the announcements were completed.
By the end of the night captains of teams for the St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club (STLGAC) huddled around the rosters for the eight hurling and two camogie teams set to take the field for The Club’s tenth season. Murmurs of “Midwest Mortgage is stacked with vets,” and “Stravalli’s drafted himself more rookies,” were heard alongside premature playoff predictions, and strategies for their first match that Saturday, March 30.
In 2003, when, Dan Lapke, Pat O’Connor and Paul Rhode transplanted from Milwaukee to St. Louis, they found Tower Grover Park an ideal spot to knock around the Sliothar (ball). Being such a foreign sport, passersby were intrigued. When St. Louis’s freshman hurling team returned from Boulder, Colo., Labor Day weekend in 2004 they brought the North American County Board’s Junior C Championship with them.
Over those ten years, hurling in St. Louis has grown from two teams to eight teams; and moved through four home fields, before settling at St. Vincent’s park in St. Louis County for the last four years. Determined not to be a one-trick-pony, the club plays Gaelic Football there in the fall. And in 2012, St. Louis had its first local camogie league (women’s hurling).
On May 11, 2013, The Club along with Ancient Order of Hibernians (Father Dempsey, Division 1) celebrated those three founders with some grilling, four hurling matches and a camogie match. Two ceremonial throw-ins happened; one to honor the Founders, the other to honor all of the club’s duly elected board members, past and present.
The hurling season ended on July 2, when the O’Shay’s Tribesmen secured the league championship. Led by captains Aaron Wagoner, Mike Harrigan and Kelly DaPrato, the team let a loss in the first week of games be the only loss they’d tolerate. By playing the ball into space, using fitness to win the race, and being willing to shoot for points over the crossbar they had a 10-1-1 record by the end of the championship weekend. During the celebrations, two of O’Shay’s players, Mike White and Greg Grattan, announced they were going to take this opportunity to retire on top.
That evening, tradition dictated that the club members honor the sponsor of the second-place John D. McGurk’s Black Shamrocks, before heading to O’Shay’s on the west end of The Grove.
Though there won’t be any local league matches for the next few months, there’s still a lot going on for The Club.
- STLGAC is joining with the Indianapolis Hurling club on a trip to Ireland for The Gathering. Taking time to both tour and train while in Erin, the trip will culminate in a chance for the members of the combined clubs to compete in the Thurles Sarsfield Hurling Tournament and Festival.
- STLGAC will also be hosting its sixth annual Gaelic Sports festival on Saturday, July 27. Admission to SportPort in Maryland Heights, Mo., is free, and celebrations will be at Tigin Irish pub in downtown St. Louis that evening.
- The public is also welcome to join The Club for a fundraiser Trivia Night on Friday, Aug. 16, at St. James the Greater Parish, with proceeds to help St. Louis players afford a trip to the 2013 NACB Tournament in Cleveland this August.
For more information, visit the St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club’s website at STLGAC.comThis entry was posted in GAA, Hurling, STLGAC. Bookmark the permalink. ← 2013 Hurling & Camogie League Championship! This Weekend!! St. Louis Gaelic Sports Tournament July 27 →