The Rebecca Dowling Cup
I wish Rebecca were here so I could make fun of her for now having TWO GAA awards named after her. She would have been mortified at the attention, but secretly so pleased and full of lots of feelings. That’s how I felt when I got the call from Helen O’Rourke, the CEO of the LGFA in Dublin.
They were naming a Cup in the GAA World games after Rebecca!
Note for Americans- the GAA is the Gaelic Athletic Association, the governing body of our national sports, Gaelic Football and hurling. These sports are ancient and popular, and growing in adoption worldwide. The LGFA is the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
We met Helen O’Rourke, Lyn Savage (National Development Manager) and Marie Hickey (LGFA President) in Bangkok in 2017. The Ladies All-Star teams were visiting Bangkok to play an exhibition game, and the Thai GAA lent a hand with local logistics and tourist insights. We had a wonderful week meeting all the players, touring Bangkok and watching these elite athletes play a 60 minute game in 100 degree heat.
The GAA World Games is a new tournament that brings players from all over the world to compete in Ireland. The 2019 edition was to be in Waterford, and one of the divisions was for Ladies Football Natives. Natives of their home countries, who had never played for clubs in Ireland. The LGFA decided to call that trophy after our girl.
I knew I HAD to be there for the presentation, so extended my stay after the ashes ceremony. Mom and Cael were in Ireland as well and we were treated like royalty by the organizers. We got premium spots to watch the final in Croke Park - Australasia VS New York Liberty. We got to meet the lovely parents of Rachel Keneally, a x player who died of Breast Cancer in 2018. The Ladies Football Irish-born cup was named after her.
When New York Liberty won the game, we stood proudly behind Marie Hickey for the presentation, trying bravely not to cry as the trophy with Rebecca’s name on it was hoisted into the air by a team of ecstatic young women. We reveled in their energy and promise, and were secretly delighted the trophy was coming to America.
It was a gift to be able to end our trips on such a high. The event was streamed on Facebook so friends and family got to watch the joy as well. It’s typical of Rebecca to have found a way to travel again.
The GAA World games will be happening every 3 years, so mark your calendars for July 2022!