St Finnian – Carlow Saint turned Vancouver GAA Club
by Oisin Doyle
The sky was clear, cloudless and a light shade of blue. The sun was seeping through the skyscrapers of downtown, beaming into our eyes from our view at Lonsdale Quay. GAA was the topic of discussion over our meal, pondering what GAA in Vancouver needs. It was here where the idea of St Finnians GAA Club was forged. Five days and a few phone calls later, on a wet and windy September night, the committee was put in place and the green light was given to pursue our dreams of starting a new club. It was Friday 13th, unlucky for some. Close to three months have passed and we sit here as a fully-fledged member of Canada GAA and Vancouver’s sixth GAA club.
The Irish community is growing year after year in Vancouver and GAA has kept up with the influx over the last few years with several new clubs forming. We, St Finnians, happen to be the next club in line in providing a place to play GAA, meet people and forge connections. Our mantra, “More than a Club”, portrays our purpose and vision going forward. Built on the pillars of Family, Support and Life, we aim to support our members, other GAA Clubs and the Irish community by giving back as much as possible through assistance in getting jobs, networking and support on mental health issues.
With mental health being a prevalent issue in modern society, we have collaborated with Darkness Into Light, in order to provide assistance to those who might face difficult times. Sometimes GAA is not enough, but we hope that through this partnership we can provide a helping hand to those outside the realms of our sport and de-stigmatize the issues around mental health
The year ahead and beyond
It is an exciting time for GAA in Vancouver and for us at St Finnians. We are looking forward to our inaugural year in the Vancouver Championship and the excitement the year will bring. As a newly formed club, we are welcoming newcomers, both men and women, to the club. For those interested, we are contactable on all social media channels and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Finnian changed the landscape of Irish culture. We hope St Finnians GAA Club will leave an equal legacy on the Irish community and GAA in Vancouver in a similar manner to our namesake.
The Founding Forefathers😉
By Bill Hill
Behind every good club there’s a hard working committee full of great club men and women working tirelessly behind the scenes and St Finnians is no different! The 7 wise men and a blood sub you see above are the brains of this operation and while they may look like something the bouncers empty out of the Coppers Smoking area at 5 in the morning, don’t be fooled by the innocent heads on them for these soldiers of the sesh take their GAA very seriously. These lads put the pint bottles on ice momentarily to set up what will no doubt be an institution of GAA excellence in Canada where any god fearing Irish man or woman who may be thinking of heading to Canada can join and be part of a home away from home where like minded Junior B legends float calmly by on inflatable Swans just because they can!
Now we know not everyone finds it easy to make the first move when you’re trying to pull a hot GAA club and the fear of rejection or having a smaller than average hurl can mean that you are uneasy about sliding into a clubs DM’s looking for a bit of action but fear not as we will introduce you to these 8 gents you see above who will be only to happy to help you open the Bra Strap of the foreign GAA club!
Without further ado we give you the Magnificent 7 and Oisin😉:
Pup of the group. Donegal heartbreaker and Daniel O’Donnell apprentice.
The Fermanagh Trinity:
Elder statesman. Fermanagh Goalkeeper. Part time physio, landscaper and entrepreneur. Full time moaner and father.
Two time hurling all star and hangover specialist. Once trialed the impact of VR on a hangover. Was sick for 2 days after.
The Francie Bellew of Vancouver GAA and part time dancer. Peter Crouch robot dance is his speciality.
Cuisine expert of plain pasta and pizza from Sligo. Once cleaned Michael Murphy while playing for Sligo. Doesn’t last longer than 4 cans.
Like the Blarney stone, sees himself as the rock and pillar of gaa and Vancouver life. Claims to have the best legs in Vancouver after me.
Rivalry initiator and endearing charmer from Kildare. You either love him or you don’t.
Oisín “The Belgian Blue” Doyle, so named because of his “Serre Derriere” which roughly translates in Cavan as “Tight Arse”. Exiled from Wicklow because the county couldn’t afford to feed him. The Aughrim native has a habit of collecting silverwear although seeing him with a top on might be the biggest collectors item of all. Here he is receiving his Volunteer of The Year Award for the ISSC.
In Canada or planning a move to Canada ? Well why not join up with St Finians and be a part of a great Irish Community. All the details are above so just get in touch and you will be well looked after and don’t be too worried even if you are not the greatest baller or hurler that ever played as neither are them lads up there and they’d be lying if the said they weren’t told to “warm up, you’re coming off” by the manager in many a Junior B game!!!
We want to wish St Finnians all the very best for the future and we hope to see them visit County Wicklow in the years ahead for a session and if a Junior B match breaks out the all the better…