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17 Irish Things to Do in Nashville in March

irish in nashville

St. Patrick’s Day is on the way, and that means the Irish are out in force in Nashville. If you’re looking for something to do, we have a big list to choose from. Sports, music, art, beer… It’s all right here! So pull out your calendar and start making plans.

Irish Music Session at The Violin Shop – March 4

Visit the Violin Shop on 8th Avenue on Sunday between 4 pm and 8 pm to enjoy some classic Irish tunes. Bring your own instrument and join in the fun, or just sit back and listen. Some light snacks and beverages will be available, too, so you can make an evening of it.

Gabriel Donohue at BB King’s – March 5

Singer and instrumentalist from Galway Gabriel Donohue will perform at BB King’s, along with other Irish musicians. The show starts at 7 pm and a $10 cover charge will get you in.

Dropkick Murphys at Marathon Music Works – March 6

Celtic rock giants Dropkick Murphys will come to Nashville on March 6 for their St. Patrick’s Day tour. Pick up tickets for the show at the Marathon Music Works website.

Molly Ramone at The Old School – March 8

Nashville Irish band Molly Ramone will appear at The Old School restaurant on March 8 at 7 pm. Tickets for the event are $10. If you can’t make this one, you can see Molly Ramone again later this month.

County Sumner Irish Festival in Castalian Springs – March 10

Hosted by Visit Sumner TN, the County Sumner Irish Fest will take place form 10 am to 2 pm at Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park. Enjoy live Irish music, brews, and great Irish food. You can also tour Rogan cottage, an authentic Irish dwelling. Don’t miss the hurling and Gaelic football exhibit matches by your favorite Gaelic club in Nashville.

Paul Brock Band at The Old School – March 10

The Old School will host Paul Brock, Denis Carey, Eimear Arkins, and Shane Farrell, playing Irish, French-Canadian, and bluegrass favorites. The show starts at 7 pm, and the tickets are $15 at the door.

Celtic Rhythms on Fire – March 10 & 11

The Nashville Irish Step Dancers will perform their annual March show on March 10 and 11 at The Capital Theatre on Main Street in Lebanon. Tickets for adults are $20, and $15 for kids and seniors. You can purchase tickets online here.

Triona at BB King’s – March 12

Ireland’s singer-songwriter Triona will perform original songs at BB King’s on March 12 at 7 pm. A cover charge of $10 covers entrance and the show.

Exploring Your Scots-Irish Genealogy – March 12 & 13

Join Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation during their annual North American lecture tour to learn how to get the most out of Irish resources and records, gain strategies for breaking down brick walls, and grasp important historical context that may help fill in gaps in your research. Monday’s workshop is $15 for non-members. Tuesday is devoted to private consultations for $45 per person.

Irish Night at ACME – March 13

Come at 6 pm for the Finnegan & Carmichael concert and stay for the film John Hume in America at 7 pm. Following the film will be a Q&A session with the filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick. Admission is free!

Chloë Agnew of Celtic Woman at The Old School – March 15

One of the original Celtic Woman members, Chloë Agnew, will perform favorites and original tunes at The Old School from 7 pm to 10 pm. Tickets are $15 to $30 and can be purchased any time before the show.

Gulliver’s Travels at Nashville Public Library – March 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, & 31

Irish stories and puppetry will take over the library during these weekends at the Nashville Public Library. Perfect for the kids, but fun for all.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Riverfront Park – March 17 & 18

Two days of fun, drink, food, music, and Irish goods await at the Nashville Riverfront Park. A stage will host musicians throughout both days, including Molly Ramone, Colm Kirwan, Nashville Pipes & Drums, The Willis Clan, Skerryvore, and We Banjo 3, among many others. Admission is free!

Main Street Brew Fest in Franklin – March 17

Tickets are available for the Main Street Brew Fest on St. Patrick’s Day, where dozens of micro-breweries—local, national, and international—will be featured. Enjoy live music, food trucks, and of course, beer.

The Luck of the Irish Pub Crawl – March 17

Registration begins at Winners Bar & Grill at 11 am. Stops on the crawl include Winners, Whiskey Rhythm Saloon, The Slider House, DawgHouse Saloon, and many more! It’s a great way to drink your way through Music City.

Shane Hennessy Shows – March 19 & 22

Irish guitarist Shane Hennessy will perform first at BB King’s on March 19 and then again at The Old School on March 22. BB King’s charges a $10 cover to get in. Tickets for The Old School show are $10 each.

Music City Invitational Hurling Tournament – March 24

The NGAC will again host clubs from various cities across the United States in a hurling and camogie tournament. Festivities will kick off at 9 am on March 24 and end with an after party and trophy presentation at East Nashville Beer Works at 7 pm.

There are quite a few more fun events planned for the Music City Irish Festival, which lasts all throughout the month of March. If this just isn’t enough Irish for you, check out their calendar for more!

As always, if you see anyone wearing a Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club crest, stop us and ask about hurling and Gaelic football. We’re starting our spring league soon, and we’d love to welcome you out to play or watch any time!

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Upcoming Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club Events

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter—except for those rare, sunny days when we got to scrimmage at Centennial Park. Spring is on the way, and everyone in the club is itching to pick up a hurl or Gaelic football and get back on the pitch.

Fortunately, March will offer several opportunities to play (or watch!), so grab your calendar and start making some notes.

Intro to Hurling – Feb 3

Let’s get back in shape for the coming Music City Invitational and Spring League! Training starts at 9:00 am at Centennial Park.

Beginners are always welcome. We’ll make sure you have all the right equipment and show you the basics before you join in on a scrimmage. Don’t be afraid! Every member will take the time to walk you through the rules and help you learn technique as you go. There is absolutely no experience necessary. Of any kind.

Future training sessions will be announced via Facebook until it’s warm enough to set recurring dates.

County Sumner Irish Festival – March 10

On March 10, the NGAC will travel to Castalian Springs to take part in the County Sumner Irish Festival. The fest takes place between 10 am and 2 pm, with exhibition matches of hurling and Gaelic football on at noon.

If you come out to watch, stay to learn about the history of Irish sports and even learn how to play. If you love it, we’ll sign you up on the spot!

Music City Irish Fest – March 17 & 18

It’s two days of glorious shamrockery! The NGAC will man a tent where you can learn all about the sports of hurling and Gaelic football. We’ll show some classic matches and walk you through the rules. Or we’ll just clink beer mugs together with a “Sláinte!”* and sing along to Irish tunes with you.

You’ll also find us slinging beers at the beer tents. We’re always recognizable in our gold and green. Say hi when you find one of us!

Music City Invitational – March 24

We’re still ironing out the details, but you’ll definitely want to save this date. Hurling clubs from all over the United States will travel to Nashville for our 4th Annual Music City Invitational—probably our biggest yet.

The event lasts all day, with food and drink available for purchase on site. After the winners have been decided through fierce battles for the Watson and Wall Cups, we’ll party the night away with our sponsors, East Nashville Beer Works. You don’t want to miss this!

*Sláinte (slahn-cha) To your health, or “Cheers!”

 

 

 

 

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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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Open Board Positions for Election

Nominations will be accepted for the following open Board positions from November 25th to December 9th.

1. Chairman

Chairman: The Chairman shall convene regular board meetings, shall preside over meetings. The chairman sets the agenda for the board meetings, special meetings, and Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Chairman can arrange for one of the other officers to preside over meetings in the Chairman’s absence.

2. Treasurer

Treasurer: The Treasurer is responsible for keeping accurate records of the account. The Treasurer is the legal custodian of the moneys or other valued assets of the NGAC. The Treasurer shall file or cause to be filed any State or Federal tax filings. Any moneys collected by the club shall be deposited immediately into an FDIC insured bank account. The Treasure shall give a report of the fiscal status of the club at board meetings, and present an annual report to the membership at the AGM.

Nominations should be sent via email to: nashvillegac@gmail.com.

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 days of December 9th-15th.

Elections will be held at the Annual General Meeting on December 16th.

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 nomination period, which opens 3 weeks prior and closes 1 week prior to the Annual General Meeting.

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Congratulations to Fall League 2017 Champions East Nashville Beer Works!

After a long, hard battle, the East Nashville Beer Works Ports took home the Harper Hurl yesterday. The team, led by captain Jesse Gentry beat the Quore Blue Notes with a score of 4-14 to 3-1.

 

Start making plans to join us in the spring! We already have several things in the works, including our Music City Invitational tournament, an intro day for beginners, and some Gaelic football training to prep for our next league. If you’d like to keep up to date on the latest so you don’t miss any chance to play hurling or Gaelic football during the off season, like our Facebook page. See you soon!

Many thanks to Timothy Walter for the incredible photos!

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NGAC’s East Nashville Beer Works and Quore Teams Prep for Championship Match

In what was the club’s most competitive league season yet, East Nashville Beer Works and Quore came out on top to qualify for the championship match. This Sunday, November 11, the club will gather to see which team will take home the life-sized steel trophy, the Harper Hurl.

The season opened on September 11, with three teams sponsored by local businesses. The Homegrown Taproom and Marketplace was led by club veteran and true Irishman Liam Barry. Quore also had an experienced hurler at the helm with Jamie Norris, who came to us four years ago from the MTSU Hurling Club. Jesse Gentry, the $100 Man (called so because he was the only person to show up to an event we paid $100 to boost on Facebook) led the East Nashville Beer Works team.

Homegrown came out ahead on the first day with two wins. ENBW took home the third, leaving Quore with zero points after the opener.

Week two brought one win to each team, with Homegrown besting ENBW, Quore then defeating Homegrown, and ENBW taking Quore down. Week three was a similar scenario, with each team winning one match. At this point, it became clear that the season would be a nailbiter all the way to the end.

Later in the season, however, the upset of three forfeited matches—two for Homegrown and one for ENBW—changed everything. As hard as Homegrown fought, they just couldn’t come back from the crushing losses they experienced in that one day.

Even the wins they managed to eke out in the final two weeks wouldn’t save them, giving Quore the edge they needed to move to the top of the table. ENBW was just behind by one point, and Homegrown at the bottom, missing a tied season by yet another single point.

On Sunday, the two teams left standing will battle it out for the trophy. Who will take home the Harper Hurl? Will it be East Nashville Beer Works, captained by Jesse Gentry, or Quore, with Jamie Norris as captain? As close as this season has been, it’s sure to be an exciting match. Play starts at 1 pm at Heartland Fields.

If you’ve been wondering what hurling in Nashville is all about, this is the day to come find out. We’ll see you there!

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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 Stages of Falling in Love with Irish Sports

Hey, you. Yeah, you over there, hiding behind the tree. We see you watching. Don’t worry, everyone looks like that the first time they see hurling or Gaelic football.

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Once you get past the initial shock and really start to pay attention to what’s going on, an even deeper amazement will set in. You probably won’t be able to believe your eyes.

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But that’s okay. It’s normal, I promise. Someone will probably approach you at this point to ask if you want to give it a shot. You might run away. A lot of people do.

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And that’s okay, too. But we know you’ll be back, watching from behind the trees.

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You won’t be able to help yourself.

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Because the bug has already bitten you. You’re going to learn Irish sports.

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So, you come out to give it a shot, even though you say you’ve never really been good at sports.

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And even though you have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

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But after one training, you know you’ve found your people.

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So you go home and start training like crazy.

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And you bring out all your friends, too. Who can learn about Irish sports and not want to share?!

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And then you score your first point. There’s no turning back now.

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You’re in love, and you don’t care who knows it!

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Does this sound like you? Sign up for our hurling league now, and come out to one of our training sessions. On August 29, we’ll hold our final park tour date at Centennial Park, so you should have plenty of other new players to join. If you can’t make that, we’ll have training again on August 31. Just watch the Facebook page to keep track of any future dates. We can’t wait to meet you!

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NGAC 2017 Summer Gaelic Football In Review

An extensive history of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club will someday point out that while the club was founded around a group of people’s love for the sport of hurling, there was also a Gaelic football at its very first official occasion.

2016 came with a mission to give life to Gaelic in the NGAC. The second half of the year would be marked by the first regularly scheduled trainings for the sport, with established members and fresh new faces all learning how to lift the ball with the foot, fist pass the ball, solo off the toe, and all the other basics. To break the streak of entropy at that level, the club enlisted the help of football obsessive Matt O’Donnell to head the Gaelic Football Development Committee in the spring of 2017. This led to a much more focused brand of the sport, which was designed to make way for the very first league of competitive play for the club in the summer.

The inaugural NGAC Gaelic Football league would held at the field house of Boost FitClub, located just west of downtown Nashville. Due to Nashville’s high summer temperatures, combined with excruciating humidity and piercing midday sun, it was found best that this first league be set indoors. Eight players comprised each of the 3 teams, with an active side of 6 players (5 fielders + 1 goalkeeper, with 2 subs). Team sponsors included East Nashville Beer Works (ENBW), Asgard Brewery, and One Hour Heating and Air (OHHA).

Prior to the season, it looked as if all three of the teams had an even match to them. No one could say for sure how they thought the season would pan out. It would be all up to who was available to each roster to play on match day and what transpired on the pitch.

Week 1 – July 9

ENBW def. OHHC

ENBW def. Asgard

OHHC def. Asgard

The first week of play saw dynamic, yet measured play across the board from each team in each game. As the first organized attempts at Gaelic football go, it certainly passed the “eye test”. In other words, if anyone who was familiar with the sport were to be watching, they’d agree that it looked like Gaelic.

ENBW won the day with an early exposition of strategic play to win easy, critical points, including a brilliant 45 meter free kick from captain Danny Espensen. Asgard would struggle to win kick outs from either end and create enough scoring opportunities from play, keeping their win column empty for the first Sunday out. OHHA would divide their time between the whistles evenly, backed by superb hand passes from Jesse Gentry, fine ground game, and effortless looking kicks over the bar by their head man, Liam Barry.

Interlude: Peach Cup, Atlanta – July 15

Structured into the schedule would be a weekend for members of the NGAC to travel to Atlanta, GA to compete in the Peach Cup. This tournament holds importance alongside our first league as it would also be the first time we’d see dedicated players travel for Gaelic football instead of the hurling members getting a game in during a break in their schedule. Teaming with members of the Memphis club and a few lads coming up from Orlando, the NGAC was represented with as many as 6 players on a side at a time, including Pancho Mackin-Plankey and Matt O’Donnell, who both played in all but one match on the day. Both players made strong impressions throughout the tournament, with O’Donnell scoring 0-3 from play.

Week 2 – July 23

Asgard def. ENBW

Asgard def. OHHA

ENBW def. OHHA

When league play resumed, the competition took back some of the parity that the pre-season predictions had been hinged on. Asgard fought their way back into the standings by winning out their day in back-to-back matches. The Norsemen implemented a strict policy of defensive pressure on every scoring chance for the opposition, and were aided by the out of nowhere ball winning abilities of NGAC rookie Bryan Miller, impressive kicks from distance by Tim Walter, and 2 goals off the left foot by club chairman, Ryan Buckley. ENBW would win the third match with an onslaught of fisted balls over the bar for points, primarily by Chance Butler, that just couldn’t be matched.

Week 3 – July 30

Asgard def. OHHA

ENBW def. OHHA

ENBW def. Asgard

Anything was still up for grabs as the teams entered the second half of the league. Asgard’s strategy of stifling most chances of score from play continued through the first match with OHHA, in large part thanks to late addition Nick O’Rick helping to create a blockade on the defensive line, though the slippery midfielder Patrick Deneen made things incredibly difficult around the middle 1/3 of the pitch.

ENBW would take the mid-card match on the strength of great ball-stripping from Brendan Rauer and movement to and from forward Molly Bombardi, The team in navy blue would again prove what they could manage when they had momentum carry through back to back matches, despite great effort in the backfield from Ben Flynn.

In the Week 3 closer, Asgard’s Chris Davis would help keep points on the board and the team would take a lead into halftime. However, ENBW’s Pancho Mackin-Plankey facilitated the ball forward with a fine athleticism, while the speed and aptly timed passes of NGAC stalwart Corbett Ouellette were just a little too much to be overcome.

Heading into the final week, the standings would read:

ENBW 5-1

Asgard 3-3

OHHA 1-5

With just one week of the league season left, it looked like some of the balance that had looked so good was beginning to break down. ENBW was cruising through their schedule with a roster full of speed and power, while the other teams just couldn’t keep pace. The best hope looked like it would be for an overwhelmingly unlikely tie at the top. This would require Asgard to win out the day, and have OHHC produce just their second win in the remaining contest.

Week 4

OHHA def. ENBW

ENBW def. Asgard

OHHA def. Asgard

Heading into the final trio of matches, there was some anticipation over the possible path to victory for Asgard. Based on the schedule rotation, however, captain Matt O’Donnell and his team would have to wait out the result of the ENBW vs OHHA match to know if they would even be able to take the season into their own hands. OHHA would come out of the gate blazing, taking the lead midway through the first half and being tied twice before they didn’t have to look back. The much needed victory was built on both ends, with midfield beast Ryan Lowe and Joy Grabenstein’s superb ball control returning to the roster, and Liam Barry’s goalkeeping enabling the side outfitted in his native Cork colors to come out on top.

Asgard took the pitch for the second match knowing full well that their play would determine whether or not they could match the top of the heap. Asgard’s lead at the halftime whistle was defined by placing a dedicated defender on Pancho Mackin-Plankey, who had spent the entire league as a bottleneck for ENBW, being fed balls from the back line or moving kick outs won up to the forwards. An early goal and a couple of open space balls over the bar by Matt O’Donnell did well to hopes alive and good spirits. When play resumed, however, ENBW had other ideas. While the final moments of their first match were marked with an unusual amount of erratic wide scoring attempts, Danny Espensen’s side would make up for most all of them with enough to solidify that ENBW would stand alone as champions.

The final match of the NGAC’s first attempt at league play for Gaelic football seemed like it would be a play for pride between Asgard and OHHA. Asgard would enter the match with a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head play between the teams. When it was all said and done, it would finally be OHHC’s turn to win out their entire day slate. The red team started the match with two goals inside the first quarter of the match, but Asgard was able to stay close on the trail, thanks to defender Ryan Culligan pulling opposing passes to the forward line out of the air. Nearly as soon as the referee threw the ball in for the second half, OHHC closed the book on the match. A beleaguered Asgard would be unable to produce quality kick outs. This led to a parade of OHHA players, including Evan Lamberth, Joy Grabenstein (from both legs), Patrick Deneen, and Ryan Lowe floating seemingly effortless points over the bar in blistering succession. So while the buildup had hoped for a return to even keel at the top end of the standings, it was OHHA who mastered the day to balance out Asgard!

NGAC 2017 Gaelic Football Summer League Champions: East Nashville Beer Works

Congratulations are in order for the East Nashville Beer Works team, led by their captain, Danny Espensen! Their high level of tactical play and pure athletic talent kept them as the team to beat all season.

Time will never forget, rightfully, that ENBW are the first winners of the NGAC Gaelic football championship. At the same time, though, there will always be a sparkle in the cup for everyone who made the inaugural league a reality and a rousing success.

Someday, you could be forgiven for looking back at the inaugural season and seeing grueling, oftentimes clumsy matches played by small teams on an unusually small, artificial turf pitch. However, anyone who was there will be happy to tell you otherwise. They’ll tell you how expectations for the league were regularly topped and adjusted on a weekly basis leading up to the opening match. They’ll tell you how dedicated the training was to not simply producing something that looked like the sport. They’ll tell you about points scored from nearly everywhere on the pitch. They’ll tell you about how each player’s position was ultimately only a suggestion, that their work rate had to be higher to keep their team covered. They’ll tell you about feverish short hand passes, points that snuck in through the lowest corner of the narrow uprights, and the unpredictability of where kicks of the highest arc might land. They’ll tell you that on four Sundays in the summer of 2017, Gaelic football staked its first claim in Nashville.

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Our Weekend Fight Club: The Peach Cup

peach cup rundown

This week, men and women from Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Greenville, Augusta, Knoxville, and Memphis all got up and went into work, just like normal. What’s not normal are the bandages, bruises, and braces underneath their business casual attire.

These bruised and battered warriors want you to ask about their injuries so they can tell you all about hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football. There’s no rule against it. They’re in the fight club that anyone can—and will—talk about.

How We Fight

Perhaps the first purpose of the GAA in America was simply to give Irish immigrants a place that felt like home. With more non-Irish now playing here than Irish-born, the purpose of the GAA in America has changed. Nowhere is this new mission more evident than right here in Nashville.

Our club, founded by John Watson and Anji Wall, exists to spread awareness of and appreciation for these Irish sports. That means everyone plays (small caveat here: our players have to be over the age of 18, unless they have permission from a parent who’s also willing to go to all the matches), regardless of age, fitness level, experience, nationality, or anything else, really. Our youngest member is 18, and our oldest is somewhere in his 60s. And our oldest member got out on that pitch this weekend to play the toughest team at the tournament; he got out there as often as he wanted to and played as long as he could.

Our ladies combined with St. Louis camogie, because the reason for attending the tournament was to simply play the sport they loved—not to see their names on a trophy. They were thrilled to wear Nashville shirts for their first match and St. Louis shirts for their second. When they missed out on winning the second game by two points, the euphoria was palpable.

Our fledgling Gaelic football team took five members along to join Memphis for a mega-team against Atlanta. Later in the afternoon, in order to get even more playing time, they took off their Tennessee jerseys and donned Atlanta shirts to help out their nemesis. The purpose wasn’t to win—it was to play.

And for the first time since the founding of the Nashville hurling squad, our guys won three rounds to go to the finals at the Peach Cup. It was a tough match, hard fought but eventually lost. And that’s okay, because the sheer joy of making the finals for the first time was enough to carry us to the after party with a spring in our step and a song in our hearts.

How We Keep Growing

Maybe we’ll shock the hell out of everyone in Ireland by saying that winning isn’t the club’s first priority. Of course, competition is important, and a trophy is an exciting possibility. The teams we send to tournaments pour their hearts and souls into playing the very best they can, all with dreams for a win.

Someday we’ll get there. That’s what it’s all about: the pursuit, the journey. Where you find out who you are and what you’re made of through the wins and losses.

And even when Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club reaches the point where we’re able to take home the trophy from a tournament, we’ll never sacrifice our beliefs and values for the sake of winning. We exist to spread awareness of and love for these Irish sports.

When we foster love for hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football, we grow. We become an even bigger family—one that supports every member, regardless of their ability. One that welcomes everyone to play and encourages everyone to be the best they can possibly be.

Nashville challenges every American club to adopt this mission. Teach love of the sport and not love of the trophy. Talk about your sprains, bruises, cuts, and scars around the water cooler at work. Encourage others to come out and join in the fun, regardless of their age, experience, or physical ability. Share your fight club with everyone you know, and then some.

Together, we can spark a true revolution.