In 2011 the Gaelic Players Association initiated a project in the United States to develop a network of supporters for the GPA, promote the work of the players’ body and increase the profile of Gaelic games.
The rationale behind this move is to strengthen our ability to deliver key supports to the amateur county players who contribute so much to the success of the GAA and indeed to the cultural and social fabric of Ireland.
Our aim, through the provision of a personal development plan, is to nurture the natural leadership qualities inherent in these young players so that they can continue to contribute to Irish society and become the leaders of tomorrow. The GPA Player Development Programme, supported by the GAA, provides critical assistance to players in areas such as education and career development.
A GPA US Advisory Board was established in New York in 2011 and the following year the GPA hosted its first major event in Manhattan, the inaugural Ireland-US Gaelic Players Awards where US corporate icon Don Keough, founder of the Keough-Naughton Centre for Irish Studies in the University of Notre Dame, was honoured.
And it was through this work in the US that the GPA received the inspiration to spearhead a charitable mission to New York’s Breezy Point early in 2013 where a work party made up of players and tradesmen, and supported by Aer Lingus, travelled to help the Irish-American community rebuild their local sport and youth facilities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. An effort that was recognised by, no less than, President Obama himself, when he acknowledged the work of the Gaelic Players who had assisted the community of Breezy Point.