Montreal Shamrocks GAC
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
|Nickname:||Shamrocks / Na Seamróga|
|Club Colours:||Green and White|
The Montreal Shamrocks GAC is a sports club in Montreal, Canada, associated with the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland. They operate under the Canadian GAA board.
Ever since the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in 1884, and even prior to that, there is archival evidence that Gaelic football was played in Montreal. However there is more concrete evidence that, from 1945 and onwards, Irish immigrants gave exhibitions of their native games at Fletcher Fields and at the old MAA grounds.
In 1948 the Montreal branch of the GAA was officially convened under the presidency of Martin Greene. Greene applied for, and the next year received, official approbation from the president of the GAA in Dublin.
Subsequently the American County Board of the GAA was established to include Montreal and Toronto in separate divisions. Division IV saw Montreal in competition with teams from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Both Montreal and Toronto fared well in international competition as the cities were equally enriched by an influx of young Irish immigrants. Each did in fact, on more than one occasion, win the American Championship in both football and hurling.
In the early 1950s, the Montreal GAA, which had adopted the name of 'Montreal Shamrock Hurling and Football Club', was able to form an inter-squad league which consisted of five teams in hurling and four teams in football. Out of that league sprang the nucleus of the team that not only topped its Division, but also captured the Northern Division of the American League from Toronto at Kingston on October 4, 1959. Two years later, the Montreal Hurling team won the American Senior Championship against Boston GAA, while on the same day at Loyola Park in Montreal, the Montreal Football team narrowly lost to Boston Galway in a hectic final.
On 9 May 1965 the Shamrocks Football team played host to a visiting Australian Rules Football Team from Melbourne, playing the first half under GAA rules, and the 2nd half under Australian Rules. The score at the final whistle read: Montreal 29 - Melbourne 28.
On St Helen's Island Park, at the World Fair of Expo '67, the Hurling team soundly defeated the visiting New York-Kilkenny Champions, before several hundred fascinated spectators; while on the same day, the footballers were narrowly defeated by an all-star Toronto team.
On 29 October 1969, Montreal GAA entertained the Kerry Senior Football Team, All-Ireland Champions, who were on their way home from their successful American tour. Trainer Jackie Lyne and the Chairman of the Kerry County Board expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Montreal Shamrocks Club for the reception and fraternity shown the visiting champions.
On 8 October 1973, the Shamrocks Hurling team captured the American League title against Cleveland in a hotly contested game at Toronto.
In August 1974, the Shamrocks Football team played host to an Irish Civil Service Football Team at Trenholme Park. This was the first time that a visiting Gaelic football team from Ireland played in Montreal. Much publicity was given to that game by the media and several hundred spectators saw an excellent exhibition of Gaelic football under floodlights. The fitter Irish squad was victorious over their hosts.
From the mid-1970s, however, Montreal was not attracting as many young Irish immigrants as Toronto, Boston and Chicago - cities that continued to be serviced directly by the Irish national air carrier, Aer Lingus. Accordingly, the club was forced to rely on ageing veterans, and their up-and-coming sons. Competition against the traditional rivals from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse (teams affected by the Vietnam War draft) had to be abandoned in favour of games against Canadian teams from Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.
To commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Club, a two-day Gala Celebration was held featuring games of both football and hurling, culminating in a reception on 18 August 1984. A heart-warming citation from the President of the GAA in Ireland, Mr. Paddy Buggy, was presented and read at the Banquet.
On the occasion of his historic visit to Montreal on 24 January 1999, the President of the GAA, Mr. Joe McDonagh, addressed more than a hundred Montreal GAA club members and guests at a Gala Banquet. He paid tribute to the stalwart members who down through the years promoted and nurtured the games and culture of their ancestors, and he urged the current and future Executive to grasp the torch and carry it aloft to even higher and greater eminence.
2000 - present
Gaelic Football has consistently been on offer throughout the years. The Football team has most recently successfully defended their Quebec Cup title, defeating provincial rival Quebec City on October 31 to retain the cup. It marks the third time in the last four years that the Shamrocks have won top honours in the province. There is also a Women's Football team active as well.
The Hurling team made a re-appearance after a roughly 35-year lay-off at a tournament in October 2009, hosted by the Portland (Maine) Marauders GAA Hurling club, and joined by the Barley House Wolves of Concord, NH.
Both Football and Hurling teams are made up of Irish nationals and Montreal residents.
Roll of honour
1961 North American Senior Hurling Champions
1973 North American Junior Hurling Champions
2006 Quebec Football Champions
2008 Quebec Football Champions
2009 Quebec Football Champions
2010 Quebec Football Champions
2011 Quebec Football Champions
Montreal GAA website 
Canada GAA website / CLG Ceanada