2022 Continental Youth Championships underway in Chicago
By John Harrington
One of the greatest annual celebrations of Gaelic Games in the world, the Continental Youth Championships (CYC), is currently taking place in Gaelic Park, Chicago. It started on Thursday, and will culminate on Sunday.
Around 1,400 children aged from U-7 to U-18 and from more than 20 clubs across North America will compete in what has become a real rite of passage for young footballers, hurlers, and camógs.
The CYC began back in 2004 and its location moves around various cities from year to year.
What makes the CYC such a special event is its family ethos. It’s not just the teams of players from all across the continent that descend on the host city for the tournament, they’re enthusiastically supported by family members who plan their holidays around the event.
The Covid 19 pandemic meant the CYC didn’t take place in 2020 or 2021, so this year’s event means more than ever for those involved.
CYC Board Chair, Paul Mulcaire, a native of Kilrush in Clare but living in Buffalo, New York since 1986, and is the man tasked with ensuring what’s a serious logistical challenge runs smoothly.
"The CYC is a big part of our families vacation each year, they all look forward to this week every year,” he told GAA.ie “In my time with CYC and USGAA Youth Chairperson I have seen U8s years ago who are now playing Junior and Senior in NY and USGAA.
“That is pure development and why we need CYC. With CYC cancelled for 2 years, we are so happy to see the growth in clubs with U7 to U11 because these are kids and parents that have never been to CYC.
“So hearing the compliments from them is nice to see they are all having fun. We could not do this without sponsorship from O’Neills and the support and grants from Croke Park. The host City of Chicago is putting on a world class event for us.”