When the annual North American Gaelic Games Finals are held here in 2013, they could bring an estimated $1.2 million into the region’s economy.
That’s the estimate from the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association, which helped to bring the event and its 1,500 athletes to Cleveland.
The finals are the annual championship of Gaelic football, hurling and camogie for 80 men’s and women’s teams from around the United States. They will be held Labor Day weekend at Victory Sports Park in North Ridgeville.
Teams will stay at area hotels, with the Marriott Hotel on West 150th Street in Cleveland serving as the game’s host hotel.
Post-game neighborhood events will be held at Irish pubs and restaurants in Kamm’s Corners near the intersection of Lorain Avenue and Rocky River Drive, said Steve Lorenz, executive director of the Kamm’s Corners Development Corp.
“We are so happy to see the Gaelic Games are coming to Cleveland in 2013,” he said. “With our large Irish population in Kamm’s Corners and St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club right around the corner, we look forward to seeing many of the athletes in our neighborhood after the games conclude each day.”
Cleveland’s own St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club has campaigned to host the games for six years on behalf of the division. St. Pat’s Club Chairman and also current Midwest Divisional Chairman Mark Owens, originally from Derry City, Ireland, has spearheaded the bid each time.
“The Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association is very excited to have won the rights to host the 2013 North American Gaelic Games,” Owens said in a written statement. “We are equally excited that Cleveland will be the host city, due to its long and celebrated history of Gaelic games going back roughly 90 years.”
Gaelic football, hurling and camogie are typically very high-tempo, with constant action. Owens said having the national games here will give the Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association an opportunity to bring awareness about the games and further develop the games in the Cleveland area.
“I would especially like to thank the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission for their assistance with both resources and ideas over the past few years, and look forward to working together once again to help make this a memorable event for participating athletes and spectators,” Owens added.
“The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is thrilled to support the Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association in hosting a successful tournament and welcome athletes and visitors from all across the United States to Cleveland. I am confident that everyone will have a first-rate experience here,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Source: Ken Prendergast, Sun News