The 9th Annual Al O’Leary Tournament, which took place on October 7th in Bath, Ohio, was a massive success by all accounts. It brought world-class Irish sport to Northeast Ohio in the form of curling, camogie, and Gaelic football. Spectators were treated to great competition, a beautiful venue, and a celebration of Irish culture.
The event also brought awareness and interest to sports many have not experienced or even seen before.
Akron Celtic Guards Hurling & Camogie Club Chair Nicholas Frank agreed that it was a great result for the entire organization.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Turnout has been fantastic. We have clubs from across the country: Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, and Virginia. We have college teams here too: Pitt, Purdue, and Virginia Tech have all showed up. It’s a nice blend of USGAA and NCGAA teams.”
The economic impact was tremendous according to local business leaders.
“The recent Al O’Leary Tournament and the continuing efforts of the Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Club to bring events to our community underscore Greater Akron’s vitality as a sports event destination,” states Mary Tricaso, Director of Sales for the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Alliance of Greater Akron. “What’s particularly exciting for our organization is the chance to do our part in helping tournament planners not only return year after year, but to see events grow and even be the catalyst for ‘new’ competitions.”
Frank sees the bigger picture and is excited about the club as a whole.
“We want to continue to grow this game and grow this tournament here in Northeast Ohio. Not only growing this club, but growing the sports in the area. We have the Cleveland Gaelic Football Club and the Akron Hurling. We want people to know that these Irish sports exist. That’s a big play for us in the community.”
A complete photo gallery of the event can be found here.