In Brief...

Although the North American Championships has its origins back in 1949 when the first competitive games were held between cities, the history of Gaelic Games in the US has a much longer history, predating the founding of the GAA itself.  There are records of hurling being played in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1788, and of Gaelic football in San Francisco's Hyde Park as early as the 1850s. 

Hurling and football in the US grew in popularity as the Irish diaspora spread, particularly in cities with large Irish populations, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. The North American County Board (NACB) was then established in 1959 to oversee the development of the GAA in the region. 

The North American Championships will see 2,000+ athletes take part in games of hurling, Gaelic football and camogie (the game of hurling played by women) among the fastest and most physically demanding of all field sports.

Teams compete in one of six grades - Senior, Intermediate, Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, and Junior D. The standard of skill and competition in the Senior championship is often commensurate with that displayed in any Senior club game in Ireland.

For more information of the NACB, click here for a detailed history.

 

North American County Board championship winners

Click on the boxes for a list of winners since the formation of the board in 1959.

 
 

Senior Championship Most Successful Teams

 

Hurling

Team City Titles
Harry Bolands Chicago 15
Galway Boston 8
Na Fianna San Francisco 5
Tipperary Boston 4
Cork Boston 3
Cuchullians Chicago 3
Naomh Padraig San Francisco 3
Fr. Tom Burkes Boston 2
Garryowen Toronto 2
Limerick Chicago 2
San Francisco Gaels San Francisco 2
St. Michael's Toronto 2
Los Angeles Los Angeles 1
Montreal Montreal 1
San Francisco San Francisco 1
Shannon Rangers Chicago 1
St. Vincent's Chicago 1
Wexford Boston 1
 

Football

Team City Titles
Wolfe Tones Chicago 13
St. Brendan's Chicago 6
Ulster San Francisco 5
St. Pats Cleveland 4
Tyrone Philadelphia 4
Aidan McAnespies Boston 3
Donegal Philadelphia 3
Galway Boston 3
Cork Boston 2
San Francisco San Francisco 2
St. Patrick's Boston 2
Christophers Boston 1
Connemara Gaels Boston 1
Cusacks San Francisco 1
Hartford Connecticut 1
Los Angeles Los Angeles 1
McBrides Chicago 1
Padraig Pearse Detroit 1
San Francisco Gaels San Francisco 1
Sean McBrides Chicago 1
Sean Treacys San Francisco 1
St. Pat's Cleveland 1
 
 

Winners by Division

 

Hurling

Football

 
 

History of the North American County Board

 - Eamonn Kelly (2015)

During the 1950’s the GAA in North America operated in a structure known as the National Council G.A.A. of the United States. The council divided the country into three zones. Zone 1 was the New York division, Zone 2 catered for mid-West clubs and New England clubs were grouped in Zone 3. The three Zones were to meet in a national, inter-zonal final. By 1956, the withdrawal of New York who preferred to be self-sufficient, severely constrained the Zone system at a time when the GAA’s star in many of the major cities, was in the ascendant. 
Several national GAA leaders were convinced that something more centralized was urgently needed if Gaelic Games were to flourish nationwide. Led by John Hehir of Boston a group of regional officers such as John O’Brien and Henry Cavanagh in Cleveland and Fr. Peter Quinn in Buffalo, Michael Cavanaugh of Philadelphia and Dan O’Kennedy of Detroit began sharing ideas focusing on forming a national board. That group of men were described as the Founding Fathers of the North American County Board.
In 1958, after many meetings, Henry Cavanaugh formulated a blue print for a national body in his document ‘The American County Board Plan’. Not every region in the country was in favor of the plan.  Even in such regions as New England and Midwest, which included Chicago, clubs were divided on the issue but that plan is today the foundation upon which the North American Board is built.
At the historic 1959 convention in Philadelphia, the Zone system was abolished and the new North American County Board was founded. Jack Courtney from Buffalo was elected its first president. John Hehir was elected as assistant-co-coordinator, a position that all his powers of diplomacy as the new board tried to bring unconvinced clubs under the umbrella of the new governing body. The other elected officers were: Vice-Chairman, Mike Culhane; Secretary, Peter Donnelly; Treasurer, William Garvey; Coordinator, Henry Cavanagh; Registrar, James Harvey. The following delegates were present at that historic meeting: John Marron (Baltimore); Patrick Green, William Howe, Tom Curran, John Collins (Boston); Bertie Cronin, Mike Allen (Buffalo); Joe Kilroy, John Herlighy (Chicago); J.J. Hennelly, John Ryan (Cleveland); Dan O’Kennedy, J.J. O’Rourke (Detroit); Jim Foley, John Mullarkey (Hartford); Patrick Lynch (Los Angeles); John O’Brien, Billy McGee (Montreal); Eddy Brissell, Joe Maskey (New Haven); Michael Cavanaugh, Jim Harvey (Philadelphia); Tom Donahue, Peter Donnelly (Pittsburgh); Tom O’Keeffe, Sean McGinty (Rochester); Danny Boyle (San Francisco); Al Kissane (Syracuse); Mike Lawler, John Sinclair (Toronto); Pat Egan, Bob Gillard (Trenton).
Clubs affiliated with the new NACB through the following four divisional boards set up around the country: Central (Chicago), Midwest (Akron, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Syracuse), New England (Boston, Hartford), Philadelphia (Philadelphia), Western (San Francisco ). Before the formation of the Canadian County Board clubs from Toronto and Montreal registered separately with the new NACB. To accommodate the enormous growth of the NACB over the 50 year period five additional divisions have since been formed under the board’s jurisdiction. They are: Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore, Virginia, Washington DC), Northwest (Portland, Seattle), Southeast (Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale), Southwest (Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego). In addition, clubs from the following cities have since affiliated with the Central division, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis. It should be noted that the original New England division is now known as the Northeast division.    
The first (1959) winners of the NACB championships were: football – Los Angeles, hurling – San Francisco. 
Since the formation of the North American County Board the championships have grown from just senior hurling and football county finals, being staged in different cities, to the most followed Irish sporting event in North America. 

From 1959 through 1981 senior hurling and football championship finals were staged in separate cities and on different dates. It was the year of 1982 that all grades of the North American County Boards championships were held in a single city on a single weekend, thus the inauguration of the now popular NACB Labor Day weekend playoffs. Through most of the 80’s the playoffs consisted of semi-finals and finals played in grades junior and senior football and senior hurling, all staged in a selected city over the Labor Day weekend. At the end of the decade to the mid 90’s Intermediate and minor football (U 18) and ladies football championships became part of the playoffs. A huge expansion of the playoffs took place in 1997 with the inclusion of a junior hurling and ladies junior football championship and the splitting of the men’s junior football championship into a “A” and “B” divisions. In addition, the camogie championship entered the playoffs the following year.

 Further expansions took place early in the new century with the addition of a junior “D” football championship in 2004 which was created as a promotional tool for new and entry level clubs. Such was the huge growth in hurling around the country at this this time that the junior hurling championship was split into “A” and “B” divisions in 2003 and the addition of the “C” division in 2008. The most recent and perhaps last expansion to the playoffs took place in 2008 with the addition of a ladies football intermediate championship, American born men’s football championship and over 40’s men’s football championship.

This tremendous growth in Gaelic games has contributed to bigger playoff tournament. Last year in Seattle over 50 teams from twenty five cities competed for nineteen titles. The same volume of participation is expected at the 2017 playoffs in San Francisco.

In reflecting back over the history of the North American County Board one must recognize the achievements of prominent clubs in the life of the board. The country’s oldest club Chicago Harry Boland’s captured a record number of NACB championships by winning fifteen senior hurling titles while Chicago Wolfe Tones are close behind with twelve senior football titles. Other multiple title winners at senior level have been: hurling, Boston Galway 8; football, Cleveland St. Pat’s 5; Philadelphia Tyrone 5; Chicago St. Brendan’s 4. 

Other notable achievements since the formation of the board were three-in-a-row senior football titles won by Cleveland St. Pats (1964-1966) and Chicago Wolfe Tones (1995-1997) and more recently, San Francisco’s Ulster senior football club who have won 3 titles in a row, 2012,13,14,  and again in 2016. Also, another San Francisco club, Na Fianna, accomplished 3-in-a-row titles by winning the senior hurling championship in 2011,12,13.

Cleveland St. Pat’s was the dominant senior football team in the 60’s winning five out of ten titles while the Wolfe Tones hold a similar record for the 90’s. Also recognized are the achievements of Canadians clubs in the early years of the NACB. Shortly after the commencement of the hurling and football championships and before the Canadian Board was formed Canadian hurling teams won five NACB championships between 1961and 1978.  
Canadian teams have     made a return to the NACB championships with Vancouver entering the junior ‘A’ hurling championship in 2012 followed by Toronto the following year. 

 
 

Men's Senior Football

1959 Los Angeles
1960 San Francisco
1961 Boston Galway/San Francisco *
1962 Cleveland St. Pat’s
1963 Boston Galway
1964 Cleveland St. Pats
1965 Cleveland St. Pat’s
1966 Cleveland St. Pat’s
1967 Hartford Connecticut
1968 Cleveland St. Pat’s
1969 Detroit Padraig Pearse
1970 Boston Galway
1971 Philadelphia Tyrone
1972 Chicago St. Brendan’s
1973 Boston Connemara Gaels
1974 Philadelphia Tyrone
1975 Philadelphia Tyrone
1976 Boston St. Pat’s
1977 Philadelphia Tyrone
1978 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1979 Philadelphia Tyrone
1980 Chicago Wolfe
1981 Chicago St. Brendan’s
1982 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1983 Chicago St. Brendan’s
1984 Boston St. Pat’s
1985 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1986 Boston Cork
1987 Chicago John McBrides
1988 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1989 Boston Galway
1990 Philadelphia Donegal
1991 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1992 Philadelphia Donegal
1993 Philadelphia Donegal
1994 San Francisco Michael Cusacks
1995 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1996 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1997 Chicago Wolfe Tones
1998 Boston Aidan McAnespies
1999 Chicago Wolfe Tones
2000 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2001 Chicago Wolfe Tones
2002 Chicago Wolfe Tones
2003 Boston Cork
2004 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2005 San Francisco Ulster
2006 Chicago Wolfe Tones
2007 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2008 Boston McAnespies
2009 Boston St. Christophers
2010 San Francisco Sean Tracey’s
2011 Boston McAnespies
2012 San Francisco Ulster
2013 San Francisco Ulster
2014 San Francisco Ulster
2015 Chicago John McBrides
2016 San Francisco Ulster
 

Men's Intermediate Football

1989 Philadelphia Young Ireland’s
1990 San Francisco McDermott’s
1991 Philadelphia Galway
1992 San Francisco Cusack’s
1993 San Francisco Young Ireland’s
1994 Boston Donegal
1995 Philadelphia Tyrone
1996 Boston Galway
1997 San Francisco Sean McDermott’s
1998 Boston St. Pat’s
1999 Boston Connemara Gaels
2000 Boston St. Columbkilles
2001 San Francisco Ulster
2002 Philadelphia Kevin Barry’s
2003 Philadelphia Donegal
2004 Boston Shannon Blues
2005 San Francisco Michael Cusack’s
2006 Boston Galway
2007 Philadelphia Kevin Barry’s
2008 Boston Kerry
2009 San Francisco Son’s of Boru
2010 San Francisco Celtics
2011 Philadelphia Young Irelanders
2012
2013 Philadelphia St. Pat’s
2014
2015
2016 San Francisco Son’s of Boru/Celtics
 

Men's Junior Football

1982 Boston Shannon Blues
1983 Boston Galway
1984 Philadelphia Tyrone
1985 Philadelphia Tyrone
1986 San Francisco McDermott’s
1987 Philadelphia Cavan
1988 Philadelphia Galway
1989 Detroit Wolfe Tones
1990 San Francisco Erin’s Isle
1991 San Francisco Cusack’s
1992 San Fran Young Irelanders
1993 San Fran Son’s of Boru
1994 Detroit Wolfe Tones
1995 Chicago Padraig Pearse
1996 Chicago St. Brendan’s
 

Men's Junior A Football

1997 Florida St. Pat’s
1998 Florida St. Pat’s
1999 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2000 San Diego Clan na Gael
2001 Boston Cork
2002 San Francisco Brian Boru
2003 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2004 Chicago St. Brendan’s
2005 Chicago Parnells
2006 Chicago Parnells
2007 Chicago Padraig Pearse
2008 San Francisco Ulster
2009 Boston McAnespies
2010 objections – no winner
2011 San Francisco Cusacks
2012 Pittsburgh Celtic
2013 Boston Wolfe Tones
2014 Boston Donegal
2015 Chicago Padraig Pearse
2016 Chicago Patriots
 

Men's Junior B Football

1997 San Diego Clann na Gael
1998 Washington DC Gaels
1999 Seattle Gaels
2000 Denver Gaels
2001 Washington DC Gaels
2002 Detroit Wolfe Tones
2003 Boston Kerry
2004 San Diego Setanta
2005 Cleveland St. Jarlath’s
2006 Cleveland St. Jarlath’s
2007 San Diego Setanta
2008 Charlotte James Connolly
2009 San Diego Satanta
2010 Chicago Patriots
2011 Pittsburgh Celtics
2012 Baltimore
2013 Charlotte
2014 Raleigh Cu Chullain
2015 Austin Celtic Cowboys
2016 San Francisco Ulster
 

Men's Junior C Football

2003 New England Celtics
2004 New England Celtics
2005 Chicago Patriots
2006 Charlotte Connolly’s
2007 San Diego Setanta
2008 Chicago Patriots
2009 Washington Gaels
2010 Austin (on objection
2011 Baltimore
2012 Phily Eire Og
2013 Cleveland St. Jarlath
2014 Dallas
2015 Cleveland St. Pat’s
2016 San Francisco Eire Og
 

Men's Junior D Football

2004 Charlotte
2005 Albany
2006 St. Louis
2007 Phoenix
2008 Austin
2009 Mason Dixon
2010 Baltimore
2011 Mason Dixon
2012 Phoenix
2013 St. Louis
2014
2015 Indianapolis
2016 Kansas City
 

Senior Hurling

1959 San Francisco
1960 Los Angeles
1961 Montreal
1962 Boston Galway
1963 Chicago Shannon Rangers
1964 Boston Galway
1965 Toronto Garryowen
1966 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1967 Boston Galway
1968 Boston Galway
1969 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1970 Toronto Garryown
1971 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1972 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1973 Boston Galway
1974 Toronto Garryowen
1975 Toronto St. Michael’s
1976 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1977 Chicago Limerick
1978 Toronto St. Michaels
1979 Chicago St. Vincent’s
1980 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1981 Boston Cork
1982 Boston Cork
1983 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1984 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1985 San Francisco Gaels
1986 Boston Tipperary
1987 Boston Fr. Tom Burke’s
1988 Sans Francisco Gaels
1989 Chicago Harry Boland s
1990 San Francisco Na Fianna
1991 San Francisco Na Fianna
1992 Boston Tipperary
1993 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1994 Boston Cork
1995 Chicago Cuchulainn
1996 Chicago Harry Bolands
1997 San Francisco Naomh Padraig
1998 Chicago Harry Boland’s
1999 Chicago Harry Boland’s
2000 Chicago Cuchulainn
2001 Boston Galway
2002 Boston Tipperary
2003 Boston Galway
2004 Boston Fr. Tom Burke’s
2005 Boston Tipperary
2006 Chicago Harry Boland’s
2007 Chicago Cuchulainn
2008 Chicago Limerick
2009 Boston Wexford
2010 San Francisco Naomh Padraig
2011 San Francisco Na Fianna
2012 San Francisco Na Fianna
2013 San Francisco Na Fianna
2014 Boston Galway
2015 Chicago Harry Boland’s
2016 San Francisco Naomh Padraig
 

Junior Hurling

1997 Los Angeles St. Pat’s
1998 Boston Tippersry
1999 Los Angeles
2000 Boston Galway
2001 Boston Fr. Tom Burke’s
2002 Boston Tipperary
 

Junior A Hurling

2003 Boston Fr. Tom Burke’s
2004 Boston Fr. Tom Burke’s
2005 Philadelphia Brian Boru
2006 San Francisco Na Fianna
2007 Boston Tipperary
2008 Philadelphia Shamrocks
2009 Boston Fr. Tom Burk’s
2010 Vancouver
2011 San Francisco Cusacks
2012 Boston Fr. Tom Burk’s
2013 Toronto
2014 Vancouver JP Ryan’s
2015 Indianapolis
2016 Vancouver ISSC
 

Junior B Hurling

2003 Atlanta Clann na Gael
2004 Philadelphia Brian Boru
2005 Philadelphia Shamrocks
2006 Washington DC Gaels
2007 Milwaukee Clash
2008 Milwaukee Clash
2009 Washington Gaels
2010 San Francisco Rovers
2011 Pittsburgh Celtics
2012 Indianapolis
2013 Chicago Cusacks
2014 San Jose St Joseph’s
2015 Milwaukee
2016 San Diego St. Peters
 

Junior C Hurling

2008 Indianapolis
2009 San Fran Rovers
2010 Chicago Cusacks
2011 Baltimore
2012 Barley House
2013 Milwaukee
2014 NE Worchester
2015 Madison
2016 Seattle Gaels
 

Ladies Senior Football

1992 San Francisco Ladies
1993 San Francisco Ladies
1994 Philadelphia Emerald Eagles
1995 Philadelphia Emerald Eagles
1996 Philadelphia Emerald Eagles
1997 Philadelphia Emerald Eagles
1998 Chicago Erin’s Rovers
1999 Boston Shamrocks
2000 Boston Shamrocks
2001 San Francisco Fog City Harps
2002 Chicago Erin’s Rovers
2003 Chicago St. Brigid’s
2004 San Francisco Saoirse
2005 Boston Shamrock’s
2006 San Fran Fog City Harps
2007 Chicago St. Brigid’s
2008 Boston Roscommon
2009 San Francisco Fog City Hps
2010 Philadelphia Maraid Farrells
2011 Philadelphia Maraid Farrells
2012 Philadelphia Notre Dame
2013 San Francisco Fog City
2014 Boston Tir Na Nog
2015 San Francisco Fog City Harps
2016 San Francisco Fog City Harps
 

Ladies Junior Football

1997 San Francisco Saoirse
1998 Florida St. Pats
1999 Florida St. Pats
2000 Boston Shamrocks
2001 Orange County Roisin
2002 San Francisco Saoirse
2003 Boston Tir na Nog
 

Ladies Junior A Football

2004 Boston Tir na Nog
2005 San Fran Fog City Hps
2006 Phil Emerald Eagles
2007 San Fran Fog City Hps
2008 Washington Gaels
2009 Philadelphia Notre Dame
2010 Chicago St. Brigid’s
2011 San Fran Clan N Gael
2012 Charlotte
2013 ?
2014 Boston Shamrocks
2015 Chicago Aisling Gaels
2016 Chicago St. Brigid’s
 

Ladies Junior B Football

2004 San Diego Na Fianna
2005 San Diego Na Fianna
2006 Phil Notre Dame
2007 Seattle Gaels
2008 Chicago Mc Brides
2009 Charlotte
2010 Detroit St. Anne’s
2011 San Fran Fog City
2012 Chicago Erin Rovers
2013 Pittsburgh Banshees
2014 San Diago Na Fiann
2015 Chicago Erin Rovers
2016 Denver Gaels
 

Senior Camogie

1998 New York Young Irelanders
1999 Boston Emerald Isle
2000 Boston Eire Og
2001 San Fran Shamrocks
2002 Boston Eire Og
2003 Boston Eire Og
2004 Boston Eire Og
2005 Boston Eire Og
2006 Phil. Emerald Eagles / Milwaukee Clash
2007 Chicago St. Mary’s
2008 Chicago St. Mary’s
2009 Boston Tir na Nog
2010 *
2011 Chicago St. Mary’s
2012 Toronto
2013 Chicago St. Mary’s
2014 Boston Eire Og
2015 New Jersey Hoboken Guards
2016 NY/NJ Liberty Gaels

*In 2010, a "round-robin" competition was held. Results were: 

  1. Chicago St. Mary’s  
  2. Milwaukee
  3. Washington DC
 

Intermediate Camogie

2014 Toronto
2015 Vancouver P Ryan
2016 Baltimore
 

Junior Camogie

2003 Milwaukee
2004 Washington DC (jr. A), Milwaukee (jr. B)
2005 San Francisco Shamrocks
2006 ?
2007 San Francisco Shamrocks
2008 San Francisco Shamrocks
2009 Washington DC
2010 *
2011 Denver
2012 Baltimore
2013 Indianapolis
2014 Atlanta Clan Na Gael
2015 Twin Cities Robert Emmet’s
2016 Seattle Gaels

*In 2010, a "round-robin" competition was held. Results were: 

  1. Chicago St. Mary’s  
  2. Milwaukee
  3. Washington DC