St. Pat’s Canadians are pleased to announce an Ontario book launch at their 40th Anniversary Banquet on May 24th 2008 of


A special book launch price of $20, with an opportunity to meet the author and purchase a signed copy, will occur at the St. Pat’s Canadians Anniversary Banquet on May 24 at Le Treport Banquet Hall 1075 Queensway – Mississauga, Ontario. In attendance at the banquet will be GAA President Nickey Brennan and Sheamus Howlin – Chair of the Overseas Committee.

The history of Gaelic games in Canada, before the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland in 1884 and in the years since, proves a determination by Irish immigrants who have arrived in numerous provinces of Canada. Through their dedication the flag of Irish sports has flown strong, and will continue to fly in the years to come.

The sporting traditions include the oldest European field game of hurling—a masterful art and the fastest game in the world—in which players use an ash wood stick and a hard ball. Many argue with some conviction, and no small amount of fact to support their case, that Canada’s national sport, ice hockey, has its origins in hurling. The word puck is derived from the Irish word poc, which is the action of striking the ball with a hurley.

In 1845, the civic fathers of Quebec City banned the playing of hurling in their narrow streets, while in St. John’s, Newfoundland, hurling was being played as early as 1788 at the “Barrens” of the city. The ladies’ version of hurling, Camogie, has had its presence on occasion in some Canadian communities.

The skilful play of Gaelic Football, which has dominated the sporting scene across the country in many Canadian cities, continues to be the greatest strength in modern times. Along with two other Irish sports of handball and rounders, many wonderful memories for the Canadian-Irish community are celebrated in this book that captures an exciting facet of Irish culture.

Author biographical note

John O’Flynn’s father, Thomas O’Flynn (Kilmeedy, County Limerick), first came to Toronto in 1953, and his late mother, Elizabeth (nee O’Keeffe) (Duagh, County Kerry), arrived together as a married couple in 1962 to British Columbia. John was born in 1964 and attended Vancouver’s St. Patrick’s Elementary, Vancouver College and graduated from the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission.

John’s parents introduced him to Ireland’s national games of Gaelic Football and Hurling with the members of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club. He had the opportunity to represent the club and play Gaelic Football in two North American County Board Championships: 1984 Boston and 1985 Chicago. He attended the founding meeting in Toronto of the Canadian County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1987 and currently serves as secretary. He has presented workshops on Gaelic Football to teachers and summer camps that introduce the games to youth. John has also served as a referee in both minor and adult games in the United States and Canada.

John resides in the District of North Vancouver, B.C. with his wife, Kathleen, and is father to Matthias, Kristiann, Kelleigh, Emily and Michael. A graduate of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, John has taught in both denominational and non-denominational schools in Richmond (St. Paul’s K-7), Powell River (Assumption K-9), (Vancouver College K-12) and presently as a grade 6 teacher in West Vancouver (Mulgrave K-12).

John serves as a Commissioner on the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Commission.

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