Press Release (ePRNews.com) - KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Feb 16, 2017 - Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed March 25, 2017, Irish Sports Day in Tennessee. The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club (NGAC), founded by John Watson and Anji Wall in 2013, was the first of its kind in the state. Gaelic sports quickly spread to Memphis with former NGAC members Jesse Gammons and Eric Vick. In 2014, the Knoxville Gaelic Athletic Club formed, spearheaded by Chief Patrick Harvel, head of the 321st Army Engineer Unit, as a supplement to the Unit’s monthly physical fitness training.
The Knoxville Gaelic Athletic Club competed in their first regional tournament in the spring of 2015 and, shortly after, opened up their membership to any interested civilian in Knoxville. As the awareness of Irish sports in Knoxville continues to rise due to word-of-mouth and the club’s social media presence, the KGAC’s membership has steadily grown. Currently, over thirty members actively participate in the club; roughly half of the team is comprised of the army reserve unit and the rest are Knoxville residents.
The month of March turns attention to the Irish in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, but these clubs keep Irish history and culture at the forefront throughout the year. While many Americans have yet to discover the ancient games of hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football, which have been played for thousands of years, most are familiar with their derivatives soccer, field hockey, and American football.
The KGAC will celebrate Irish sports on March 17 in the Knoxville St. Patrick’s Day parade and again on March 18 with a hurling match. On Tennessee Irish Sports Day, the club will travel to Nashville for the Music City Invitational tournament to compete against teams from all over North America, including Colorado to the west, Calgary to the north, and over a dozen teams from the Midwest and Southeast.
The KGAC’s goal is to promote the Irish sports of hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football as well as Irish and Appalachian culture in Knoxville. The club is an inclusive sports community and welcomes anybody interested no matter their current fitness or skill level. Weekly practices are every Sunday at 2 pm.
Read the proclamation at http://tnsos.net/publications/proclamations/files/1153.pdf. Learn more about Irish sports and the Knoxville Gaelic Athletic Club at https://www.facebook.com/KnoxvilleGAC/.
Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club