ORANGEBURG, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of people turned out in Rockland County this weekend for the opening of the first privately-owned Gaelic Athletic Association clubhouse in the country.
The Rockland County GAA celebrated the grand opening of the new athletic complex on Old Orangeburg Road in Orangeburg with three days of music, sports and entertainment.
Legends of Gaelic football and hurling turned out for all-star competition on Friday. The weekend also featured local Gaelic football games featuring teams from Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta, and an FDNY vs. NYPD game.
The Rockland GAA kids also plied their skills against a roster of all-star hurlers and Gaelic footballers in a skills competition. Men’s and women’s Gaelic football, men’s hurling, and women’s hurling – also called Camogie.
Naturally, the kids won.
“The All Stars also became Goal Keepers, which could be one of the reasons why they lost in the end to the kids so handsomely… however, the All-Stars were outnumbered 20/1 as we had nearly 100 kids participating,” the Rockland County GAA said on its website.
The festivities culminated Sunday in an all-star legends exhibition Gaelic football game, featuring legends of the game from around Ireland and officiated by all-Ireland referee Pat McEnaney.
Bands from as far away as County Tyrone, Ireland and as nearby as Pearl River also performed. Irish dance performances and a mass to bless the clubhouse were also on the schedule.
Rockland GAA spokesman Emmett Woods told the Journal News that the organization was founded in 1972, and started leasing land on the former Rockland Psychiatric Hospital site in 1974. The group brought property from the state of New York in 1999.
Woods told the newspaper that three quarters of the work to build the new clubhouse was donated.