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ISSC: Reflections on 46 Years of History for the Vancouver ISSC

Reflections on 46 Years of History for the Vancouver ISSC

JOHN O’FLYNN is the author of The History of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Canada (2008). He is a long-time supporter of the Irish Sporting and Social Club and many of his GAA reviews and articles have been published in our sports section over the years.


VANCOUVER – Celebrating 46 years of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club is for me, like a family member who is growing older alongside myself.

I am grateful that my late father Thomas (Kilmeedy, Limerick) and my late mother Betty (nee O’Keeffe – Duagh, Kerry) who came to Canada together in 1962, chose Vancouver.

A mention of note to St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver and John Hendry Park, near to 12th and Nanaimo, where the early Irish community often found a place to connect.

These were important meeting places which played a role in the formation of the Vancouver Irish Society in the 1950s, and the Vancouver Sons of Erin Gaelic Football Club in the 1960s.

The presence of the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael in Canada was a validation that a very important part of our cultural legacy lived on in a strong, healthy and vibrant fashion.

I want to mention Joseph Patrick Ryan, a son of Ireland who greatly contributed to the early development of Cranbrook, British Columbia.

In 2009, he was honoured as one of the original seven founders (1884) of the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael during the association’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Ryan was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, in April 1857, and was a solicitor in Ireland before emigrating to Canada in 1899. In Cranbrook, he became involved with the mining industry, was a prominent journalist, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

We remember this British Columbian, this western Canadian. A number of us from Vancouver visited his grave on a cold December winter in 2009, with other Gaels from all over North America, to celebrate his life when the Association was celebrating 125 years.

It was an emotional and powerful day of gathering, but nothing beat the moment when our Club renamed our hurling team to the JP Ryans. Tributes came in from all corners of the GAA, by the JP Ryan family, because of the Clubs’ decision.

Without the presence of The Celtic Connection, the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club would never have had the opportunities to publish 30th and 40th anniversary supplements.

The publication of The History of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Canada (2008) also received such welcome and support in the research stages by the staff of The Celtic Connection. I will never forget it.

Thank you to all of your culturally-minded advertisers and supporters of the newspaper over the years. To all of you who made this possible, your efforts, unselfish sacrifices and contributions, have enriched our Irish presence and sporting culture here on the west coast.

And, thank you Maura and Catholine for documenting a magical time these many years. You have made life’s journey and our community – all the more glad!

Is mise le meas,     

John O’Flynn

The following is a short history of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club.

The ISSC is Established and a New Executive Elected

On December 1, 1974, the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club was established when members of the Vancouver Irish community gathered to decide on the name of a new club.

The choice of The Irish Athletic Association was considered but after Pat Donohue proposed The Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club, it was unanimously accepted by all present that night.

The first Executive Committee that was chosen that night were John Dooley (County Armagh), Joe Heaney, Pat O’Connell, Joe McNally, Rene Dooley, J.J. Hyland and Ray Burns.

Sub-Committee members who put their names forward to support the Executive were: John Smith, Pat McHugh, Kevin Lynch, Pat O’Neill, Leonita Lively, Pearse Walsh, Maureen Rudden, Liam and Maureen Cadogan, Tony McDonagh, Paddy Hickey, Eamon Lane, Noel Murphy, Pat O’Neill, Maria Kelly, Michael Glavin, Pearse Ward, John Kelly, Maurice Ward, Pat Leathwood, Anna Macrae, June Connolly, Tommy Roe, John Ryan, Sean Commins, Owen Farrelly, Josephine Lynch, Malachy and Charlotte Swail.

Weeks later the Executive Committee chose as their credo “try and make a new friend at each function” for all future events.

May 1975 – John Dooley was re-elected as President with Joe Heaney, Pat O’Connell, Tony McDonagh, Joe McNally, Leonita Lively and Des Foley.

In April, members travelled to San Francisco for a minor football game match that preceded the Carroll’s All Stars visit.

In June a letter to the Toronto GAA informed them that Vancouver had 35 footballers, 20 hurlers and 60 supporters.

In July, San Francisco came to Vancouver and played at both Brockton Oval and at Swangard Stadium. The ISSC was off to Victoria in August where a game of Camogie was also played that weekend.

1976 – Pat McKenna, J.J. Hyland, Eugene Hilbert, Maureen Cadogan, Des Foley, Leontia Lively, Marian McDaid, Paul Walsh, Pearse Walsh, Marie Kelly, Tony McDonagh, Maureen Rudden, Eugene Halferty, Liam Cadogan.

Sub-Committee Members: Tom Monaghan, Joseph McNally, Sean Commins, Mick Mortell, Charlie McAleese, Mary Bowers, Sean Keogh.

1977 – J.J. Hyland, Leontia Lively, Maureen Cadogan, Eugene Halferty, Maureen Rudden, Pam Barnett, Kathy Walsh, Marian McDaid, Mary Hyland, Charlotte Swail, Pat O’Connell. Sub-Committee Members: Pearse Walsh, Charlie McAleese, Gerard McAleese, Rose McDermott, Frankie Kirby, Margaret Brown.

1978 – Pat O’Connell, Rob McHugh, Maureen Cadogan, Mairead McCabe, Danny Cuddy, Brendan Mulhall, Maureen Rudden, Pam Barnett. Sub-Committee Member: Eamon O’Carroll.

1979 – Danny Cuddy, Kevin Dooley, Mary Fisher, Paddy Todd, Onagh Dooley, Margaret Shiels, Kevin Dunne, Maureen Rudden, Ken Fisher, Mavis Cuddy. Sub-Committee Member: Pam Ferguson.

1980 – Charlotte Swail, Kevin Finnegan, Rob McHugh, Frankie Kirby, P.J. Ruddy, Peter Ferguson, Evelyn Doherty, Mavis Cuddy, Mary Fisher, Pam Ferguson, Yvonne McHugh. Sub-Committee Member: Malachy McKenna.

1981 – Pam Ferguson, Maureen Gerrard, Eileen Finnegan, Mavis Cuddy, Sylvia Keye, Pat Burns, Jeannie Crawford, Yvonne McHugh, Trish Blowers, Kevin Finnegan, Maria Wong, Frankie Kirby.

1982 – Pat Burns, Jeannie Crawford, Onagh Dooley, Sylvia Keye, Bobbie Flint, John O’Connell, Betty Forrestal, Tom O’Flynn.

1983 – Dan Jones, Tom O’Flynn, Anna Meagher, Bobbi Flint, Pat O’Connell, Brendan Burns, Pearse Kelly, Frank Doherty, Mary Hyland, Donela Haynes.

1984 – Dan Jones, Sean Commins, Donela Haynes, Brenda Johnston, John O’Flynn, Paraic Lally, Brendan Finnegan, Brendan Burns, Mary Hyland, Frank Doherty.

1985 – Sean Commins, Pat Burns, Katherine Fagan, Brenda Sloan, Deirdre Lane, Kevin Deevey, Maria Wong.

1986 – Sean Commins, Pat Burns, Katherine Fagan, Kathy Walsh, John O’Flynn, Kevin Deevey, Rose O’Connell, Brenda Sloan.

1987 – Sean Commins, Brendan Burns, Kathy Walsh, Kathy Burns, Kevin Deevey, Deidre Finnegan, John O’Flynn, Katherine Fagan.

1988 – Brendan Burns, John O’Flynn, Deidre Finnegan, Anne Dunne, Kevin Deevey, Katherine Fagan, Margaret Corrigan, Paul Stack.

1989 – John O’Flynn, Brendan Finnegan, Anne Dunne, Brendan O’Leary, Sean Fagan, James Kennedy, Kathy Stack.

1990 – James Kennedy, Brendan Finnegan, Anne Boyle, Brendan O’Leary, John O’Flynn, Sean Fagan, Kathy Stack, Deidre Finnegan, Brendan Lally.

1991 – James Kennedy, John O’Flynn, Tom Butler, Peggy McKenna, Mary Finn, Val Molloy.

1992 – J.J. Hyland, Brendan Burns, James Kennedy, John O’Flynn, Paul Stack, Danny Burns, Sadie O’Brien, Roy Byrne, Kevin Molloy, Paul Walsh.

1993 – James Kennedy, Paul Stack, Liam Mackin, J.J. Hyland, Kevin Molloy, Tom O’Sullivan.

1994 – Declan Byrne, Jim Ritchie, Donny Considine, Liam Mackin, Tom O’Sullivan. 

1995 – Paul Stack, J.J. Hyland, Tom O’Sullivan, Bernard McKenna, Tomas Franklin, Mark Ford, Joe Burke, Christine Anderson, Sadie O’Brien, Richie Cannon.

1996 – Bernard McKenna, Karen McKenna, Karen Franklin, Tomas Franklin, Sean Minagh, Johnny Wilson, Richie Cannon, Kate McNamee.

1997 – J.J. Hyland, Susan Ditchfield, Arlene Bergsma, Grace McLeod, Richie Cannon, Tom Kristensen, Brendan O’Leary.

1998 – J.J. Hyland, Sue Ditchfield, Arlene Bergsma, Paul Stack, Tom Kristensen, Erin Anderson, Michelle Boyle, Paul McGinley, Craig McAlee, Richie Cannon, Tom O’Sullivan.

1999 – Paul Stack, Tony Doyle, Bunny Vidotto, Jen Heal, Liam Mackin, Erin Anderson, Paul McGinley.

2000 – Tony O’Duffy-Brennan, Tony Doyle, Kate McNamee, Colette Donnelly, Cathy Collins.

2001 – Tony O’Duffy-Brennan, Paul Stack, Michelle Boyle, Nuala McLoughlin, Kate McNamee.

2002 – Mickey Hurley, Paul Stack, Kate McNamee, Nuala McLoughlin, Michelle Boyle, Stephanie Boggan.

2003 – Brendan O’Leary, Kate McNamee, James Kirk, Kami Bachana, Paul Stack.

2004 – James Kirk, John O’Flynn, Kami Bachana, Kate McNamee, Sean Quinn, Nuala Cyr, Paul Stack.

2005 – Gavan Connolly, John O’Flynn, Kami Bachana, Sean Quinn, Stephanie Boggan.

2006 – Gavan Connolly, Bernard Ward, Roicin Connolly, Katrina McAndrew.

2007 – Graham Hancock, Marcus Treacy, Katrina McAndrew, Roicin O’Connolly, Olivia O’Hara, Keith Clark, Erin McGinley, Ronan Deane, Ruairi Dolan.

2008 – Marcus Treacy, Erin McGinley, Katrina McAndrew, Roicin O’Connolly, Kate Clark, Ronan Deane, Tara Burns, Ed Carbery, Cian Lawlor, Keith Clark, Jerome O’Sullivan, Cathal O’Loughlin, James Davoren.

2009 – Conor Walshe/Pat Lowney Paudie McGinn, Marcus Treacy, Katrina McAndrew.

2010 – Pat Lowney, Ronan Matthews, Sean Twomey, Katrina McAndrew.

2011 – Pat Lowney, Ronan Matthews, Jerry McCarthy, Marie Dowling.

2012 – Ronan Matthews, Jerry McCarthy, Marie Dowling.

2013 – Ronan Matthews Ronan Deane, Secretaries Tadhg Egan and Jonny Kavanagh.

2014 – Jonny Kavanagh, Elan Park, Jim Fogarty, Greg Deacon, Merriah Cummings, Rosie Slevin, Ronan Deane.

2015 – Tadhg Egan, Secretary Rachel Quinn, Treasurer David Foley.

2016 – Jerry McCarthy, Secretary Johnny Brennan, Treasurers David Foley and Aoibheann Sheils, PRO Rachel Jordan, Development Officer Jonny Kavanagh.

2017 – Tadhg Egan, Treasurer Stephen Halpin, Secretary Colin O’Flynn, Ghirseach Enright, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Ladies Football Rep Maria Eviston, Mens Football Rep Mick O’Shea, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy.

2018 – Maria Eviston, Secretary Sofie Gallagher, Treasurer Trevor Farrell, PRO Aislinn Rice, Development Officer Lorraine Muckian, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Ladies Football Rep Maria O’Sullivan & Ciara McCormack, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Men’s Football Rep Christy Grimes & Oisin Daly, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy.

2019 – Maria Eviston, Vice Chair Richard Bradfield, Treasurer Sofie Gallagher, Secretary Aislinn Rice, Registrar Owen O’Driscoll, Development Officer Lorraine Muckian, Irish Language and Cultural Officer Blaithin Noone, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Ladies Football Reps Aine Coady & Amy O’Sullivan, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Mens Football Reps Neil Smyth & Hugh Fox, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy, PRO Niamh Barry.

2020 – Bláithín Noone, Vice Chair Aishling Slevin, Treasurer Aoife O Connor, Secretary Anne Buckley, PRO & Irish Language and Cultural Officer Grainne McDermott, Registrar Owen O Driscoll, Development Officer Dean Lillis, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Men’s Football Player Reps Rob Tone & Dan Lee, Ladies Football Player Reps Michelle O Connor & Shauna Hilley, Camogie Player Reps – Laura Dwan & Amy Beecher.

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