USGAA Finals Club of the Week - Allentown Hibernians Hurling & Camogie Club (Part 1)
Part 1 of 2
It is hard to believe that just 11 short years ago, the Allentown Hibernians Hurling and Camogie Club was formed! With only three players; some hurls; and a desire to succeed, Jeff Purtell, Pat O’Donnell, and Danny O’Donnell set out to build an American-born hurling club. The Hibernians were eventually able to recruit enough players to field a team, which was an impressive accomplishment considering Allentown, PA has a population of only about 119,000. After registering in 2008 for the Junior C Division with the Philadelphia GAA, they tackled the task of obtaining sponsorship by securing O'Donnell Brothers Landscaping, AOH Lehigh Division 1, Jack Callaghan's Ale House, and O'Donnell Funeral Home.
After an unsurprising loss in the first round of the 2008 USGAA Finals, they buckled down and upgraded their training sessions. Under the direction of a new coach, former Philadelphia hurler Paul McCarthy, training went from pucking around to structure and meaning. This club went from a recreational team to contender in just two years, with a 2nd place finish in the Junior C Division. Fast forward a few years, and the Allentown Hibernians added a 2018 Junior B title to their belt!
Through fostering the Irish culture and tradition, the Allentown Hibernians have taken their mission to heart and have taken their talent to Ireland in 2013 for the International Hurling Tournament. After a five year hiatus, they will be throwing their hat in the ring again at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games, taking place July 28th to August 2nd. In preparation for the World Games, the Hibernian’s started practicing in January with twice weekly practices and competing up and down the Eastern Seaboard in order to be competitive abroad. All 97 teams from 10 regions will all be there to compete as well as enhance the social and cultural elements of the Games. To the team, this will be an amazing, fun opportunity to close out last season and reward the team for the last 10 years of hard work! The USGAA would like to wish the Allentown Hibernians the best of luck in there pursuits!
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