As Chairman of the planning committee for the 2012 Continental Youth Championships, I did not want too many days to pass before I "publicly" expressed my gratitude to you all. As those of you who were directly involved in the planning process know, an event of this magnitude is no small undertaking and one which requires the commitment of a remarkable group of people who are willing to put their personal lives on hold and sacrifice significant time and energy to the orchestration and preparation that is necessary to a successful tournament.
For the past several months, I have had the true pleasure of working with such an assemblage and it has made me proud not only to be a member of this strong, vibrant community here at Gaelic Park, but to call myself a member of the kinship that is the very fabric of our common Irish heritage. Though I admit I suffered a sleepless night or two wondering how it would all come together, in the end the collaboration of this wonderful community made it happen and I am proud to call you friends. I admit I was especially pleased to have the contribution of many of our youthful members, for their involvement ensures the continuation of our efforts far into future generations.
I also want to take the opportunity to thank Uachtaran Liam O'Neill, Uachtaran Pat Quill, Uachtaran Aileen Lawler. We are grateful for your time and your support, as well as for the many kind remarks and compliments you bestowed upon our humble efforts. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with you as we go forth together into the future of the Gaelic Games here and at home. I also want to thank O'Neills for their continued financial support for the past 7 years, because without that support we would not be able to continue. A special thank you must go to the State of Illinois Tourist board, for the grant we received. I want to say a sincere thank you to the Officers, Directors, Management and Staff of Chicago Gaelic Park, for their commitment to our committee from the beginning. They worked closely with us on all aspects of the event and did a remarkable job last weekend. For those of you that have to rent fields and facilities, Chicago Gaelic Park charged the CYC exactly zero, and contributed $7000 to the CYC event and provided us with free storage space, and other equipment that we would have to otherwise rent.
And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the players, the parents, the siblings, the aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who joined us from far and wide for this most-important weekend in our organization's
year. It is because of the dedication, sacrifice and commitment of people like you that the games will continue to be a thread that draws together our future and our past for generations to come.
My sincere hope is that, in the midst of the weekend's fun, friends, and competition, each and every one of you saw - as I did - a shining example of the potential and future of the culture of our association here on this
continent. As my 95-year-old friend and fellow Limerick man John Hunt who served as Chairman of the North American County Board in 1960, said when he saw all the hurlers and footballers getting off the bus "We must have done something right".
Slan for now!
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