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Meet Your 2018 Board Members!

At our AGM, we held elections for two open positions on the board. The first was for Chairman, as we said a heartfelt “thank you!” to Ryan Buckley for his two years of dedicated service. The second was the Treasurer role, held by the very capable Rayne Leonard. These elections also created additional vacancies within the board, so a meeting was held to appoint members to these roles.

We’re now thrilled to introduce your 2018 NGAC Board of Directors!

Chairman – Liam Barry

Vice Chairman – Danny Espensen

Secretary – Molly Buckley

Treasurer – Jesse Gentry

Registrar – Ryan Culligan

Games Development – Brendan Rauer

PR & Marketing – Jen Barry

Molly has previous experience serving on the board, most recently as Registrar. The Board is excited to welcome Molly back, as she brings with her an immense dedication to training for and growing the Camogie team.

The newly elected Board upheld the previous decision to eliminate the Member at Large position for various reasons, not the least of which is a need for odd numbers for voting purposes. As such, each and every member of the Board is available to any and all club members at any time. Please feel free to reach out with questions or concerns. We’re all here for you, and we’re always excited to help.

Let’s have a great 2018!

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Did We Meet You Today at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games?

We had such a blast at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games, and it was all because of YOU, the people we were able to meet. Thank you so much for spending some time with us, learning about our sport, and cheering us on as we played. How exciting it was to hear applause and shouting from the sidelines!

The whole idea behind playing expo matches is to show off Irish sports and find other people who might also fall in love with hurling (and maybe Gaelic football, too). We were able to talk with several of you, and we know you’re interested in giving things a shot. We want that more than anything!

You have nothing to be afraid of. Everyone one of us was new at one point, even the very few of us who’d actually played hurling before. Imagine how nervous our founder was when he started a Gaelic sports team with just he and his wife. Sometimes you just have to take that leap, right?

We don’t want you to be scared, so we’ve put together a few articles to help. You should find all the info you need to get you started. If you have any more questions, you can always send us an email. Even better, come out to a match or a training and ask in person.

Everything You Need to Know When Joining the NGAC

How to Get Involved with the NGAC When You Don’t Play

Before we go, we’d like to invite you out tomorrow at 1 pm to watch our fall league opener. It’s going to be a lot of fun, with three very competitive matches with three very evenly matched teams. If you thought you saw some amazing hurling today, you’ve seen nothing yet. We were just having fun, but tomorrow, a trophy is on the line.

We’ll play every Sunday through the rest of September and all of October. Our championship match will take place on the second Sunday of November, on the eleventh. If you can’t come out tomorrow, you can find us at Heartland Fields any other week until the day we find out who will win the Harper Hurl. You’re welcome any time.

We hope to see all of you again soon!

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The Modern Woman Warrior

woman warrior

Ireland is no stranger to the woman warrior. One of the first in known history—legend, really—is Maebh, Queen of Connacht. Determined to be equal in wealth as her husband, Queen Maebh started the Cattle Raid of Cooley around 600 AD—all because her husband had one more stud bull than she did.

When the bull she wanted to acquire was determined to be unavailable, she prepared for war.

woman warrior

In her preparation for war, she may have played the game of hurling, a 3,000 year old sport that originated as a training exercise for Celtic warriors. Maebh probably wasn’t the first woman warrior to play, and she certainly wasn’t the last.

Nessa, Queen of Ulster; Muirisc, daughter of the 66th High King of Ireland; Macha, who battled the Fir Bolg to claim Ireland—these ladies of legend are never pictured with a hurl in hand, but maybe they should be. Hurling enthusiasts recognize Cuchulainn as the legend who killed Culann’s hound with his hurl and sliotar. Wouldn’t his wife Aife, another great woman warrior, also have been well able to swing a hurl? And Grainne O’Malley, the Irish pirate queen in the 16th century, probably smashed her fair share of sliotars.

The woman warrior of Ireland never died. She was reborn again and again, in feminist activist Maud Gonne. In Anne Devlin, key to Irish independence efforts in the 1798 Rebellion. In Countess Constance Markievicz and Rosie Hackett who fought for Irish independence in the Easter Rising of 1916. In Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female President. Who could doubt that such fierce fighters also took to the pitch with hurl in hand?

woman warrior

The modern woman warrior holds many of the same characteristics as these legendary ladies. That fire inside is fanned each week as camogie players around the world train tirelessly for battle, though the stakes may not be as high. Without lands to claim, votes to fight for, freedom to attain, from what, then, does the camog draw her passion? What makes up this modern woman warrior with little left to fight for but a medal or trophy?

Has she set aside femininity in order to invoke the warrior within? No curl to her hair or stain on her lip. No thought to her dress or her jewelry.

woman warrior

Are those she encounters her enemy? No warmth or welcome. Eyes firmly on the prize.

woman warrior

Or can she be all things? The warrior and the woman. The friend in life and the foe in battle. Dignified in defeat and gracious in glory.

woman warrior

We fight each week for strength and triumph, and also for fellowship and camaraderie. We fight for heritage and history, and also for who we have become. We fight so we won’t forget the women who came before—the fierce ladies who already claimed the land, won the vote, and laid the groundwork for our equality.

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club camogie ladies are all things: woman, friend, foe, beautiful, powerful, athletic, feminine, gracious, warm, fierce, dignified.

We are warriors.



P.S. We also have a lot of fun. If you want to be a modern woman warrior, too, sign up to play in our spring league. Beginners are always welcome!

woman warrior

All photos by Molly Buckley, woman warrior and incredible photographer.

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Meet Your 2017 Nashville GAC Board Members

2017 NGAC board members

The board works hard behind the scenes to keep the Nashville GAC rolling throughout the year. We’re here to help you, but first you have to know who to turn to, right?

Chair: Ryan Buckley

Buckley, also known to some as Tim and to others as Ryan, is serving his second year as Chairman. He’s had a long love affair with Irish sports after discovering them while traveling abroad in college. He returned from Ireland and started the MTSU hurling club, which provided support in numbers and skill when the Nashville GAC was created.

He’s a web developer by trade and donated his considerable skill to the Nashville GAC. He also provides graphic design for all marketing materials and developed the club’s brand. When he’s not hurling, he’s probably building rustic farmhouse furniture with his wife, Molly.

You can reach out to him when have fundraising ideas, sponsorship recommendations, or you have a friend who’s interested in Irish sports and wants to learn more.

Vice Chair: Liam Barry

In his home of Cork City, Liam stopped playing hurling at the ripe old age of eight. He started again at age thirty-eight when he joined the Nashville GAC just one month after the first training was held at Centennial Park. He’s served on the board in some capacity ever since, first as Registrar, and then as Vice Chair and interim Secretary.

His day job as Director of IT Operations means he approaches everything with his considerable analytical brain, but he’s also the first to crack open a beer or just crack everyone up with his quick wit. When he’s not playing hurling, he’s either at a board meeting, watching Manchester United with the supporter’s club at Franklin Abbey, or traveling with his wife, Jen.

Fun fact about Liam? His first wife became a nun.

You can contact Liam if you want to serve on a committee or otherwise provide your talents for the growth and support of the club.

Secretary: Danny Espensen

Danny found hurling after coming out to give Gaelic football a try. After kicking around a little bit, he picked up a hurl and hasn’t looked back. One of the newest members of the club, he’s also one of our most passionate. He says he doesn’t remember life before hurling, but it must have been pretty terrible. Except, of course, for his wife, Sarah, who makes everything pretty great.

Danny brings a great deal of organization to the role of secretary. He’s a smart guy. You can reach out to Danny if you ever want to receive information about board meetings or see the minutes of the meetings.

Treasurer: Rayne Leonard

Also serving her second year on the board, Rayne serves as our treasurer. She keeps the money matters on point while also devising new ways to make paying dues and keeping records easier for everyone involved. She’s a brain. A big one.

Rayne, who grew up right here in Tennessee in a Scots Irish family, is a genomics research associate by day (See? Brain.), and when she’s not on the pitch, she can be found in a kayak, rock climbing, or hiking. During her first trip to Ireland, Rayne wasn’t too impressed with the weather. When temps hit 90 degrees in October in Nashville, she realized there might be a draw to the cool mist at the Cliffs of Moher after all.

Reach out to Rayne if you need to pay your club dues or if you want to make a donation to keep the club going and growing.

Registrar: Ryan Culligan

Nashville gained a gem when Louisville native decided to make Middle Tennessee home. As another of the NGAC’s newest members, Ryan has shown immense enthusiasm for Irish sports. He still likes to cheer on U of L whenever any of their sports teams play, though.

A bourbon enthusiast (can anyone from Kentucky not be a bourbon enthusiast?), Ryan spends time away from his job as a research analyst in pubs, probably enjoying bourbon and the occasional pub quiz. If he’s not on the pitch or in a pub—a pretty rare occasion—he’s reading sci-fi books or on a hike.

See Ryan if you haven’t filled out your registration forms and waivers before playing in spring and fall leagues.

Games Development: Brendan Rauer

Brendan Rauer joined the Nashville GAC within 48 hours of moving to Nashville three years ago. A Minnesota native, he honed his sports skills playing ice hockey and even played in the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament. He didn’t learn to play hurling until he moved to Milwaukee and joined the enormous club there.

Named after Brendan Behan, the famed Irish rebel and playwright, Rauer feels a deep connection to Irish culture. He’s a carpenter by trade, a builder of stunning cabinetry. When he’s not working or hurling, he loves hiking and enjoying live music.

If you’d like to be involved in training, developing, or otherwise supporting hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, or youth programs, Brendan is the man to talk to.

Member at Large: Chris Davis

Chris also came to the Nashville GAC by way of the hurling club at MTSU, where he is a PhD student. He teaches microbiology and shuffles colorless liquids around different vials day to day. When he’s not teaching or playing hurling, Chris has an array of hobbies that keep him busy and, most likely, awake at all hours, including gaming, rugby, cooking, Asian cinema, painting, trying to sing (probably at Santa’s Pub), and philosophy.

He’s passionate about Irish sports, and this shows through his creative curse words on the pitch as well as his encouragement to newcomers. He’s approachable and quick-witted, the perfect combination for a Member at Large.

When you have suggestions, comments, questions, or even complaints about the NGAC, talk to Chris. He’ll do his best to make sure you’re always heard.

PR and Marketing: Jen Barry

Jen spends her days freelance marketing and ghostwriting for various clients and then brings that skill to the NGAC after hours. She’s the only non-playing member on the board and has been since the earliest days of the club.

She has an operatic background, something she only uses on rare occasion at karaoke bars. When she’s not writing words for her clients or the NGAC, she publishes books for teens and young adults (and then crosses her fingers and says a little prayer that someone will buy them). She also loves to travel, especially to her husband’s home country of Ireland, though Vegas and New Orleans also hold special places in her heart.

Talk to Jen if you have publicity connections or want to help get the word out on social media. She’d also welcome fun blog topics, interview subjects, and any other assistance you might want to give on spreading the word about Irish sports and culture in Nashville.

So, that’s your 2017 board. Don’t be shy! Let us know if you can help, or if we can help you.

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Call for Nominations for the 2017 NGAC Board

Nominations will be accepted for the following open Board positions from November 17th to December 8th.

1. Vice Chairman
2. Secretary
3. Member at Large
4. Games Development
5. Registrar
6. Public Relations Officer (PRO)

Nominations should be sent via email to:

Please check with the nominee before nominating them to make sure they are interested in the position.

Nominees are permitted to send one campaign message to the club during the week of December 04-10th.

Elections will be held at the Annual General Meeting on December 10th.

Non-playing members are encouraged and welcome to serve on the board.

Descriptions of all Board positions can be found in the bylaws section of the club handbook.

Relevant language from the club bylaws:
4.1 Board role, size, and compensation: The Board is responsible for the overall direction and governance of the NGAC. The Board shall consist of 8 members: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Registrar, Public Relations Officer, Games Development, and Member at Large. Any member in good standing is eligible to serve on the Board. The Board receives no compensation.

4.2 Terms: All board members serve two-year terms and are eligible for re-election.

4.6 Election of the Board: The board is elected by the NGAC membership at the Annual General Meeting. Votes shall be cast through written ballot, and simple majority of those present elect board members. The Secretary solicits nominations during a 2-week nomination period, which opens 3 weeks prior and closes 1 week prior to the Annual General Meeting.

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New Board Position Created for 2017: Games Development Officer

At the Annual General Meeting, we will elect board members to serve for two years. In addition to the vacancies, we will also add a new position: The Games Development Officer. So, what does the Games Development Officer do?

The official description goes like this:

Games Development Officer: The Games Development Officer is responsible for Gaelic Games training and competition. The GDO shall organize leagues, training programs, and work in conjunction with other committees to provide quality Gaelic games experiences. The GDO shall work towards a sustainable Gaelic games system that provides a satisfying experience for players of all ages.  The mission of the GDO is to develop quality players, quality coaches, and quality referees.

To expound on that a bit:

The GDO will not necessarily be the trainer, coach, or referee. Instead, the GDO will identify candidates and put them into place for these positions.

The GDO will assume responsibility for scheduling training, scrimmages, and any other practices. He/She will ensure that all equipment will be available (though may not be responsible for storing or carrying that equipment) and that a trainer will be present.

The GDO will continue to nurture the success of the hurling division while also developing Gaelic football and a potential youth league. Again, this officer will not necessarily be the trainer or coach (though he/she could be), but will instead coordinate efforts between interested parties.

The GDO will work with the board to ensure there is a place for practice. While Heartland Fields are usually available to use, the GDO will verify and scout additional locations if Heartland is not available for use.

This is an essential position that is crucial to the growth and health of our club. The GDO will be expected to join all board meetings, participate in board email chains, and interact with club members as a full-fledged board member.

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Winter is Coming!

As we prepare to hibernate I thought I’d put together a list of tips, tricks, videos and films to help you deal with seeing your club friends a little less. First the videos…

1. From Ash to Clash The Art of Hurley Making

25 Min documentary about the process of making a hurley. Different from other “Art of Hurley making” type videos (0f which there are many) in that it talks about sourcing the wood, and what makes a good plank.

2. Old Camogie Footage from 1934

Its only 2 minutes long, its black and white and theres no audio, but it’s probably the coolest video in this list. This video has it all. If you know of anymore footage like this let me know.


3. Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly Special

53 min. A very nicely shot conversation style interview. Just some greats talking shop.


4. The Story of DJ Carey

One of my favorite Hurling docs. Really illustrates the sense of hometown pride folks have in these players. No money in the sport but legends all the same. Shows the sacrifice of their time and talent for the club/town/county.


5. A Year ‘Til Sunday

1hr 12min. Great looking doc about Galway gaelic in 1998. I havn’t finished it yet but I’m enjoying what I’ve see and growing my appreciation for the sport.


6. Sports Movies

  • Goon (Netflix) – If you havn’t seen it – see it. It’s short and sweet and by golly it’s got HEART!
  • Ip Man (Netflix) – Martial arts. Get your meditation on for taking those frees.
  • Peeky Blinders (Netflix) – It’s like Gangs of New York, but more. Features your man Cillian Murphy.
  •  If you want to understand the benefits of amateur sports in our communities and amongst our youth watch a little “Friday Night Tykes” and “Last Chance U“.
  • Nowitski: The perfect shot – Take aways you can apply to your game.


7. Tips n Tricks

Go train! 

  1. Step 1: Watch training videos on youtube. Memorize the movements.
  2. Step 2: Use a wall or a friend to practice with. Recall the way the players in the video moved and executed the skills
  3. Step 3: Profit, not monetarily of course,

Buy NGAC gear!

Nothing like a new hoodie or a bag to make you feel better in the off season. In fact, the off season is just about the only time we can wear our cool hoodies in Tennessee.


LINK: O’neills Store

Stay in the Loop

Even though it’s getting colder we are still doing things as a club. We’ll be releasing a winter schedule of events soon. Also, keep an eye on the calendar and  the Social media for random puc arounds or calls for #frostybevs.

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Summer News Updates

Blue Notes Win the Spring League Championship

Congratulations to the 2016 Blue Notes, who, under the leadership of captain Dave Bowen, won the Harper Hurl. They faced off yesterday against the Leesiders in what proved to be a very exciting match. Match report with photos here.

Summer League Travel

With spring league complete, we now look forward to traveling around the country to join other cities in hurling and camogie tournaments. We’ll field teams at Atlanta’s Peach Cup (June 4th) and Indianapolis’s invitational (June 18th). For NGAC members in good standing, some travel and room costs may be covered by the club. Look for more details about these trips coming soon from our travel organizer Molly Buckley.

Training Schedule

As we move into summer months, we will modify our training schedule a little. Training will now be at 7pm on Tuesdays at Heartland Fields. On Thursdays, we’ll have a puck arounds at Centennial Park, in front of the Parthenon, also at 7pm.

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Reminders and announcements and bears! Oh my!

The 2nd Annual Music City Invitational fast approaches as well as our spring league season. Read on for reminders, announcements and important dates!

1. Tonight! – Thursday, March24th

Do you have plans tonight? Well cancel them, because we have something way better. It’s our regular club social at Beer Pale TO THE MAX! Make sure you come out to Richland Park for training at 5:45, then wander over to the Beer Pale for Turtle Anarchy Pint Night. The T.A. crew will be on hand giving out T.A. gear and serving discounted pints of their fine #frostybevs. As a bonus, show up in club gear for your chance to win the St. Patrick’s basket of Irish goodies. But wait, there’s more! It’s the reveal night for our super fresh Camogie jerseys! I’ll go out on a limb and say there’s no better place to be than with the NGAC!

2. April 2nd – 2nd Annual Music City Invitational

If you are a NGAC Member and planing to play in the Music City Invitational please let us know.

Men: Fill out this survey

Women: Contact Ashley Tabolinsky.

The Music City Invitational Tournament is April 2nd, that’s 10 days away. Start eating right and getting a few touches on the ball daily.

3. April 10th – Spring League Opener

New players are welcome to join league. All players can Sign up here and pay dues online via paypal.


4. Calendar

It exists! and we do our best to keep it up to date.

Go to Calendar

5. Remind – Text based alert service

If you’ve not signed up for Remind, I encourage you to do so. Joining the one-way text messaging service will ensure that you don’t miss any important alerts about practice, matches, or social events. To join, send a text message to: 81010 With the message: @hurling


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Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club Welcomes New Board Members


The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club (Nashville GAC) held the Annual General Meeting on December 19, 2015, during which elections were held for new board members who will serve in the coming year. The open positions included Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. Outgoing Chairman, John Watson, served for more than two years after founding the club in Nashville and saw the club grow from four in the first several months to a roster of over forty members in good standing.

The Nashville GAC board members for 2015 also included Timothy Ryan Buckley as Vice Chairman, Liam Barry as Registrar, Molly Bombardi-Mount as Secretary, Brendan Reynolds as Treasurer, Jennifer Barry as Public Relations Officer, and Aaron Joley as Member at Large. After the vote, appointments were necessary to fill newly vacant positions.

The new board for the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Association in 2016 is now as follows: Timothy Ryan Buckley, elected Chairman; Liam Barry, appointed Vice Chairman; Molly Buckley, appointed Registrar; Molly Bombardi-Mount, elected Secretary; Rayne Leonard, elected Treasurer; Jennifer Barry, remaining Public Relations Officer; and Aaron Joley, remaining Member at Large.

Several committees were also formed as a result of the Annual General Meeting, with appointed chairs agreeing to serve. Christopher Davis and Rayne Leonard will lead the recruitment and retention committee. Megan Scott will serve as head of fundraising and sponsorship. David Smith and Ashley Raby will continue directing the social committee. Perhaps the most difficult of committees, the events committee, will be led by Brendan Rauer. The events committee will oversee the Nashville GAC invitational tournament, participation in the Second Annual Irish Fest, and participation in the Second Annual Highland Games.