The Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club that was founded in 1974, recently renamed its 2010 Junior 'A' North American County Board Championship hurling team the "Joseph Patrick Ryans" in honour of a founding member of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland.
Ninety-two years after his death in 1918, Joseph Patrick Ryan, a son of Ireland who greatly contributed to the early development of British Columbia's Cranbrook, is remembered as one of the seven original founders of the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael (November 1, 1884 in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Tipperary).
Ryan, who was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, in April 1857 was a solicitor in Ireland before emigrating to Canada in 1899 and becoming involved in the life of the province with the Board of Trade, the mining industry, a prominent journalist and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
In December 2009, Ryan was remembered at mass in St. Mary’s Church in Cranbrook with Father Harry Clarke (Bohola, Mayo) celebrating. The President of the Canadian Board, Brian Farmer (Clonmore, Armagh), spoke passionately about the role of the Association and the importance to Canada that one of the GAA Founders would not be forgotten in the 125th Anniversary year of the Association.
Wreath laying ceremonies conducted at Ryan’s grave included Vancouver GAA members Pat Lowney (Beara, Cork), Paul Stack (Six Mile Bridge, Clare), Sean Twomey (Aghabullogue, Cork) and Thomas O'Flynn (Kilmeedy, Limerick).
A special hurling match took place at Rupert Park on May 7th where two sets of jerseys were revealed with a beautifully designed crest and colours of the Joseph P. Ryan’s. Later that afternoon the mixed 7's Gaelic Football Championship finals took place at Andy Livingston Park.
The club reconvened in the evening to Smiley's Pub where special presentations were made to honoured guests. A jersey was given to Francois Nuadi of United Scaffold who is sponsoring the hurlers this year and a jersey was presented to Irish Ambassador to Canada, Ray Basset, on behalf of Brian Farmer. This was is in recognition of Brian being honoured by the GAA in Croke Park for his lifetime of work and all things Irish in Toronto and the rest of Canada.
An appreciative and congratulatory message was also read by the Ambassador from a great-grand daughter, Aedin McLoughlin (Druminalass, Ballinaglera Co. Leitrim) who actually knew Joseph Ryan's wife.
Vancouver's success is indicative of the commitment of everyone at the ISSC including club executives, team managers, players and supporters to not only bring silverware to the club at the first opportunity but to remember those who came before them to Canada that contributed greatly, as did Joseph P. Ryan, and the “New Irish” of Canada.
From: Joseph Ryan’s grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter
A message to the Vancouver GAA Club and especially to the new Joseph. P. Ryans!
We, the family of Joseph Ryan, would like to sincerely congratulate the Club on its newly-formed team and wish them every success in the future.
It is a great honour for our family to have a team named after our fore-father and to have his name remembered after all these years.
In our family, Joseph Ryan is remembered as a brilliant solicitor and barrister who was interested in everything and everyone and could never refuse to help a needy case, even though, as was so often in those impoverished times, his clients could only pay him through barter. It would appear that this trait resulted in him having to emigrate to Canada to make ends meet, but having reached British Columbia, his zest for life knew no bounds.
It is only recently that the details of his extraordinary life there have been revealed and we have been amazed to discover his diverse career as a journalist, geologist and politician as well as barrister, Judge and a leading citizen of the new town of Cranbrook.
We knew about his attendance at the first meeting of the GAA and his membership of the first committee set up to set up and foster Gaelic athletics, football and hurling. It is typical of Joseph Ryan that he was active in the campaign – throughout his life he supported causes that tried to improve life for the communities in which he found himself and this would have been his interest in the movement.
It is very fitting that a Club that is benefiting from the new wave of Irish emigrants coming to Canada is naming its new Team after the GAA Founding Father who also left Ireland’s shores so long ago to seek his fortune in Canada.
We wish that all who wear this jersey wear it proudly and remember the man who did what he could to support the formation of the GAA in Ireland and, having come to Canada, found the opportunities to use and enjoy all his talents for the good of all. May all who wear the jersey find equal success!
Sláinte agus saol ag gach duine a chaitheann an geansaí nua seo agus go n-éirí go brath leis an bhfoireann Seosamh O Riain!
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