PwC Football All-Stars touring party jet out to Philadelphia
By John Harrington
The 2018 PwC Football All-Stars touring party jetted off to Philadelphia this morning from Dublin airport.
With football and hurling All-Stars tours taking place in alternate years, this year’s tour comprised of Gaelic Footballers who won PwC All-Stars in 2018 and 2017.
Fierce rivals on the field of play, players like Dublin’s James McCarthy, Tyrone’s Colm Cavanagh, and Mayo’s Andy Moran mingled happily in Dublin airport before boarding their plane.
Unlike previous All-Stars tours, there won’t be an exhibition match between the 2017 and 2018 teams in Philadelphia.
Instead, the plan is to make more of a meaningful connection with the locals on the ground who are doing their best to promote Gaelic Games.
Later today the touring players will be welcomed to Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Divisional board of the North American GAA.
Then, on Saturday, the players will visit Philadelphia GAA’s Limerick field complex, where they’ll conduct coaching sessions with local players.
The popularity of Gaelic Games and playing numbers in Philadelphia has exploded in recent years as it has all over North America, but the city has a long and proud GAA history.
The first documented evidence of Gaelic Games being organised in the area goes back all the way to 1914, when a meeting of the Philo Celtic Gaelic Football Club was held at Merrill’s Hall on 19th street and Fairmount Avenue in the city with the purpose of arranging out of town games with the O’Connell’s or Garryowens GAA clubs of New York.
There’s also documented evidence of at least three GAA clubs operating in the city in the 1920s, and in 1928 the Gaelic Athletic Association of Pennsylvania was formally organised.
The then Connaught champions Mayo toured the city in 1932 and then again in 1937 when they were All-Ireland champions, so this year’s PwC All-Stars party is following a well-trodden path to a destination with a rich history of Gaelic Games.