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Andy McHugh

Andy McHugh opens the recording with reflections on his early experiences of the GAA when growing up in Castlederg. He recalls, amongst other things, travelling to attend and play games. Andy charts his travels from Castlederg to Derry, Belfast, London and San Francisco and his involvement with the GAA in each of these locations. His experiences in London in the 1970s reveal much about a particular aspect of the GAA culture among Irish emigrant communities. But it was in San Francisco that McHugh spent most of the 1980s and 90s and he links his personal experience with a wider theme of emigration. He mentions the death of his brother Marius and his contribution to the acquisition of new club grounds in Castlederg. McHugh talks about the social and economic benefits to GAA membership abroad, as well as his involvement in the establishment of a new club, the Ulster club, in San Francisco in 1987. The rise of women’s football in America and the emergence, and importance of, youth championships is outlined. McHugh returned to Ireland in 2007. In addition to the above, McHugh reflects with concern on the growing professionalism and money culture of the GAA; he considers the changes to the role of media, women and clergy in the Association and urges the need for greater inclusion of members of the unionist community.

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