October November 2016 Issue – Irish America https://irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 82361074 Dan Keegan: Thriving as a Leader in Changing Times https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/dan-keegan-thriving-as-a-leader-in-changing-times/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/dan-keegan-thriving-as-a-leader-in-changing-times/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:59:37 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27354 Read more..]]> As Wall Street remaps its understanding of the markets, Daniel Keegan, co-head of Global Equities at Citigroup, is leading the way, shepherding his company through wholly novel and unprecedented conditions.

One of the most influential leaders on Wall Street, Dan Keegan is a third-generation Irish American with roots in west County Meath and Cork on his father’s side, and just outside of Dublin on his mother’s. He is a devout Catholic, a proud member of a large Irish American family, and a life-long supporter of Notre Dame.

Keegan’s father is an alumnus, so too his three brothers, and when the time came for Dan to go to college, his father told him he could go anywhere, but if he wanted it paid for, he should pack his bags for South Bend. He earned his B.A. in American studies, with concentrations in English, history, and government.

Robert Schmuhl, professor of American studies and journalism, taught Keegan as an undergraduate and the two have remained close. He remembers his student’s combination of humor and inquisitiveness.

“Curious, smart, personable, he made a winning impression then, and he continues to do so,” he told Irish America. “Laughter is never far away when he’s around, and each day his Irish good humor adds to the gaiety of this nation and others.”

Keegan thinks of the markets like a puzzle “that I may never solve, but love working on nonetheless.” (Photo: Kit DeFever)

Keegan thinks of the markets like a puzzle “that I may never solve, but love working on nonetheless.” (Photo: Kit DeFever)

Though Keegan has an abiding interest in history, when he graduated in 1991, he decided to study law, and where better than Notre Dame Law School, the oldest Roman Catholic law school in the nation. His father, a lawyer himself, wasn’t overly enthused at his decision. His advice to Dan was “don’t take notes.” Asked why, his father, he says, told him bluntly, “Others will take better notes, what you really need to learn is how to think.”

To this day, Keegan, now 47, says it was the best advice he ever received (even if he didn’t feel that way at the time). “The idea of thinking about how to think, make arguments and defend one’s position is invaluable,” he says. “You can’t make an argument without understanding the other side and, by definition, understanding the other side implies that you’re listening and are committed to understanding every aspect of the debate.”

After graduating, Keegan worked with his father’s law firm where he gained experience in general legal matters on a variety of topics ranging from personal injury law to family law, but after a year he decided to move on and try something different.

Keegan grew up in Rumson, New Jersey, on the Shore, the middle of five children, and graduated high school in 1987. As a kid, he liked puzzles and was fascinated by his father’s Wall Street friends and their work: “I had always been interested in the markets and how they worked. And, so as not to be disingenuous, I admit it took me a long time to really understand them. It was not native, so I found it akin to a puzzle, to a degree, one that I may never solve, but love working on nonetheless.”

Having been in the industry for 20 years now, Keegan still maintains that analogy to today’s markets. Still, too, his passion is unflinching, and he attributes much of his success to that puzzle-solving drive and hard work: first at Salomon Brothers in 1996 as a research sales assistant in Chicago, then with JPMorgan in San Francisco during the dot com boom, then back to Chicago in 2000, and back again to San Francisco in 2001 after the bubble burst. In 2002, JPMorgan asked him to move to New York to start a business for them in electronic trading. He later moved to Automated Trading Desk, which was acquired by Citi in 2007. He has been there ever since and has “the scar tissue to prove it,” he jokes, having weathered the 2008 financial crisis, the 2010 flash crash (during which the Dow dropped almost 1,000 points in just over half an hour), and countless other minor crises.

Dan’s parents, Diane and John. (Courtesy Dan Keegan)

Dan’s parents, Diane and John. (Courtesy Dan Keegan)

He is analytical and not prone to hyperbole, so when he says today’s markets are unique in historical terms, you believe him: “It’s a fascinating time as global central bank coordination has pushed rates and volatility to unprecedented levels, all the while forcing investors out on the risk curve.”

Because of that, no two days on the street are the same, he says, “and just when you think that you’ve got it figured out, the market serves up a big old piece of humble pie. Rest assured, I have had my fair share of said pie over the years.”

That humility and an early passion for sports has left him with some natural leadership qualities including team building and making decisions under pressure that have helped his career.

For him, it is now more about analyzing the game and its ancillary aspects to the simple dichotomy of winning or losing: “I love sports not just for the sport itself but for all the other things that come with it – competition, confidence, failure, the need for resiliency, and, of course, teamwork.”

Basketball was his early passion, but, in his own words, “a slow first step and shaky jump shot” led to an abrupt end to his career on the court. Nonetheless, his passion for sports continues unabated.

These days, Keegan, who bears a striking resemblance to Brian Kelly, Notre Dame’s legendary football coach, has switched his focus to golf, and he loves to golf in Ireland. His favorite place to play is Ballybunion Golf Club, in County Kerry. One of the most beautiful courses in the world with spectacular views of the ocean and grassy dunes, the old links course is also one of the most challenging.

And Keegan loves a challenge, be it on the golf course or on Wall Street. “It is a very special feeling when you can bring a team together and that team collectively can accomplish something its members may have initially thought unachievable.”

Keegan, second from right, golfing with friends in Ireland. (Courtesy Dan Keegan)

Keegan, second from right, golfing with friends in Ireland. (Courtesy Dan Keegan)

Citigroup is one of the world’s largest financial conglomerates and the global equities division that Keegan oversees with his co-head, Murray Roos, is a huge part of the business with 1,000 employees.

The market never sleeps, and this means that Keegan’s days are long, too. He is up at 5:30 a.m. and in the office by 6:30 if he’s not at a breakfast or traveling. At nights, after family time, he works until about midnight. He doesn’t mind it though. According to him, “very rarely does it feel like work.”

Keegan met his wife, Elizabeth, at Notre Dame, where they dated in their senior year. They reunited in the late ’90s, married in 2000, and now have four children – a son, Danny (15), and three daughters, Rosemary (“Roey,” 13), Margaret (“Meg,” 11), and Katherine (10). It is clear in listening to him that his wife and kids take precedence over all else, a vestige of how he remembers his own upbringing (and parents in particular).

“As frustrating as I probably was to my parents, and as strict as I might have perceived them to be in certain instances, they never quit. They never gave up on me,” he says. “I think that is the most important thing in parenting. While they never hesitated in holding me accountable for the mistakes I made, they never turned away from me either; everything was perceived as a teaching moment.”

Keegan with his wife Elizabeth and their children, from left, Katherine, Roey, Meg, and Danny. (Courtesy Dan Keegan)

Keegan with his wife Elizabeth and their children, from left, Katherine, Roey, Meg, and Danny. (Photo: Ebert Studio / Courtesy Dan Keegan)

But when it comes to kids and parenting, there’s always time for fun, especially if there’s a history or life-lesson involved. Fitting for a man involved in the cash business, Keegan loves Hamilton, the biographical musical about Alexander Hamilton, father of the national banking system and founder of the First Bank of the United States. He has been to see the show several times and it’s also a big hit with his kids.

It’s important to him that his children are exposed to the arts and different cultures, and he recently took the family on a trip to China, which he says was not only educational, but also character-building. He has also taken them to Ireland.

For his father’s 65th birthday in 2000, Keegan and his siblings surprised him by joining the celebration in Ireland. It was Dan’s first time in the country and he loved it. Since, he has gone back several times to play golf with friends. Most recently, he took his family to Dublin in 2012 for the Notre Dame v. Navy football game. It was his children’s first time in Ireland, and his third child, Meg, looking around, turned to Keegan and said, “Dad, I can see why this is where you’re from!” Keegan, who couldn’t pretend to be anything but Irish, was incredulous and almost offended, knowing his Hibernian features all too well.

“What does that mean?”

“No, I mean everyone’s the same!”

True to form, Keegan, convinced no offense was intended, acquiesced and laughed. “You’re right. We all kind of look the same.”

However true it may be with respect to Irish looks, it’s anything but on the trading floor, where Keegan distinguishes himself through measured consideration of issues, decisive execution, and, of course, his Irish good humor.

The following is edited for clarity and length.

Daniel Keegan. (Photo: Kit DeFever)

Daniel Keegan. (Photo: Kit DeFever)

What is your assessment of the current financial climate?

In many ways, we find ourselves in unchartered territory. Quantitative easing around the world has created distortion in financial assets. The equity markets, for example, are approaching all time highs as ultra low rates have forced investors out on the risk curve. While investors remain relatively sanguine about the current set-up, it won’t take much in terms of a change in investor sentiment to introduce a far more volatile environment.

What does that mean for you in this role?

The macro environment is challenging, which, when coupled with some of the cyclical and secular challenges specific to our business, makes for a difficult operating environment. That being said, our business is focused around clients, namely understanding their needs, anticipating what comes next, and ensuring that we are delivering per their want. As a firm, we are quite unique in our global footprint, increasingly a competitive advantage as service provider capacity comes out of the system. Coupled with a commitment from senior management to invest back against the business, I feel very optimistic about what we can achieve on behalf of our clients over the next several years.

How do you and your co-head break up the responsibilities?

The co-head structure is new to me but something that I have taken to very quickly. My co-head Murray Roos is a great guy and very talented to boot. Other than the fact that he is younger, better looking and smarter (maybe!), we operate as equals. Having a partner to discuss ideas and challenge assumptions with is very valuable.

In terms of the structure itself, we came to the conclusion early on that if this was to work, both of us needed to sign up to do the entire job. As such, we are each jointly and severably liable for the globe and every aspect of the business. Communication, as such, needs to be seamless, something that we focus on everyday.

What is your decision-making process?

While deliberate in thought, I tend to be decisive when it is time to act and I try to never look back. Exercising sound judgment is a key aspect of the job and many of the decisions made revolve around people where the human element is often on full display. As such, people decisions in particular require an elevated level of transparency such that the entire team understands the core thought process around it, with the want being to move forward. Sometimes no decision is a decision, but when it is time to make a decision, you have to make it.

Now, in the context of a co-head structure, there is no decision I make in isolation, but once it’s made there is no looking back. Finally, in the context of decision-making, you can’t be afraid to make mistakes; it is an inevitability, everybody makes mistakes. The key is, once mistakes are identified, to rectify them as promptly as possible.

What is your mentorship philosophy towards your employees?

The assets in our business go up and down the elevator everyday. Accordingly, investing in our people is of paramount importance. Citi, in particular, I think is very strong in this regard, providing an array of development opportunities that zero in on product knowledge, leadership seminars, on-line training and the like. Moreover, within the business, we provide mentors for new employees that persist long beyond the first few years.

Culture too plays a critical role. Creating an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and/or challenging the norm is an equally important part of developing our people. The more you can get people to engage, the more we can learn from each other while advancing both the individual and the business along the way.

How do you build the team in order to maintain that culture?

I play a very active role in both recruiting and hiring. I want naturally inquisitive people. I want people who are not afraid to take risks. I want people who hold themselves more accountable than they would otherwise be held and I want people who genuinely want to be around other people and believe more in the value of the team than they do in themselves.

On the flip-side, what I don’t want are people who read their own press clippings or who think themselves better than somebody else, whether it be their peer, the bathroom attendant, or the security guard at the front desk. We all work for the same firm. We all have jobs to do. Treating everyone with respect and appreciating the role that they play is a major part of building a winning culture. It does not mean that we don’t hold everyone accountable; we do. But the manner in which you do it matters.

How has the industry changed post-crash?

The financial crisis was painful in many, many ways and as an industry, we have to be honest with ourselves in terms of the role that we played.

Nonetheless, if there is a silver lining to be found, it lies in a heightened awareness of the responsibility that we have to our clients and the broader public at large. Every morning when I arrive, our mission statement is prominently displayed on my desktop (no different than any other employee) and what it speaks to is responsible finance, the need to think first and foremost about our clients, and the obligations that we have to them and each other. You can automate a lot of things away, but you can never automate the way that relationship works. The relationship is ultimately the thing upon which trust is formed and trust, in this industry, is everything.

The ultimate litmus test for me centers on my kids ­– whether I would feel comfortable introducing them into the industry. As it stands today, that answer is unequivocally yes. For all of the pain caused, I am proud to tell people what I do for a living and the value we are delivering to society at large.

What would you like to see more of in the industry?

The industry has changed a great deal post the crisis and I would like to see us promote those changes while speaking more to the role we play in society and the opportunities a career in our industry can provide – the role you can play in helping others.

Citi does so much good for cities, towns and municipalities. It is very charitable organization and, in serving clients, plays a prominent role in how our society functions.

Should we do more? Yes. Can we do more? Yes. Should we hold ourselves responsible for doing more? Absolutely. But I would like to see us trying to promote the benefits of what comes from having a career in financial services, the impact you can have – whether it is a broker servicing a widow or an institutional salesperson servicing a pension fund that manages money for teachers and unions, whether it is an investment banker servicing a corporate client who is trying to restructure a business that has failed, or whether it is the consumer bank where you are helping consumers around debt forgiveness. We need to make sure we are promoting that specifically in the context of the industry, so that people outside of it know the real value Wall Street creates.

Tell me about Notre Dame. What is your relationship with the school like today?

Notre Dame is a special place. It is a Catholic University that is recognized the world over for leading the discussion on a range of society’s most pressing issues. The faculty and administration are second to none, the facilities are amazing and the student population is quite unique. Yet Notre Dame is more than that. Notre Dame is a place where all students are challenged to look beyond themselves, to question their place in society and how they can give back.

Having spent seven years at Notre Dame, with the good fortune too of having met my wife while there, Notre Dame will forever carry a special place in my heart.

How important was your Catholicism to your upbringing?

I am very proud to say that I am a Catholic. I went to Catholic grammar school, high school, college, and law school, so religion has always been a big part of my life and shaped my belief system in many ways. For me, it provides perspective and has taught me to focus less on myself and made me more focused on others.

At Notre Dame, every dorm has a chapel in it, so irrespective of whether you are Catholic or not, the sense of being part of something that is bigger than you – which is what I think religion speaks to – is very, very powerful and should drive how it is we live our lives.

Do you think there is anything you have particularly inherited from your parents?

My parents are great. They have taught me much of what I now know. Leading by example, they both work very hard, yet never take themselves too seriously. They are not afraid to laugh at themselves, but never will they laugh at others. They are both exceedingly good people who have provided me great role models to emulate along the way.

From a heritage perspective, they taught me how much our ancestors suffered to give us the opportunities that we now have, for the courage of their conviction to make the move.

They worked super hard and as a result of that we had a really nice upbringing. That work ethic and making sure that you don’t take shortcuts is something that stuck with me.

How do you interact with your own children about their connection to Ireland and their Irish American ancestry?

Well, we took them there. You can tell all the stories you want, but there is no substitute for seeing it first hand, learning the history, and coming to appreciate the sacrifices those before you made in giving the opportunities they now have. In particular, touring a replica of the type of ship that transported their ancestors was eye-opening. Ireland has such a rich history, and its unique relationship with America will provide them continued opportunity to understand their heritage in the context of who they are and from where they came. As is the beauty of youth, they are only getting started.

How do you address the work-life balance?

Life is all about making choices, but striking the “right” balance between work and everything else is not easy. Prioritizing what is most important in your life and managing your time efficiently are key determinants in striking the right balance.

I love the people with whom I work; I believe in the firm. So, in and of itself, that provides me a great pleasure, but nothing trumps the pleasure that I get from being with my family. For now, just about everything else needs to take a backseat.

What is the most important value for you to teach your children and how do you do it?

Like all parents, we want our kids to work hard, have fun, take chances, and not be afraid to fail. Most importantly, we want them to treat everyone the way they would like to be treated. Admittedly that is easier said than done, and the mistakes that they make are often very much on display, requiring a more immediate response or analysis of where they have fallen short.

The world in which they are growing up in is quite different from the one I knew as a child. The external pressures that they feel are quite pronounced, the stakes seemingly greater. Accordingly, we try to engage our kids in a dialogue, in some ways to act as an outlet for them to share their challenges. Does it work? Only sometimes, but ensuring that they know there is somewhere to go with their problems is important.

In terms of rules, there are many and the consequences for breaking them are swift. However, taking responsibility for their mistakes is critical. Just as they fail, so do we as parents, but so long as we all understand that and try everyday to get better and learn from our mistakes, we are moving in the right direction.

Thank you. ♦


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2016 Wall Street 50 https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/2016-wall-street-50/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/2016-wall-street-50/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:58:51 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27332 Read more..]]> Celebrating the Irish in the Financial Industry

For nineteen years, Irish America has sought out and recognized the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders in the financial sphere, and this year is no exception. The fifty honorees of 2016 are an extraordinary, inspiring, and diverse group – from standout rising stars to masterful Wall Street veterans, this year’s list is comprised of both new faces and longtime friends of Irish America. And as varied as the counties they come from, so too are the sectors in which these distinguished financiers work.

The 2016 Wall Street 50 honorees share a commitment to bettering the American economy. Some do this by handling investments and capital, some by developing and implementing the strategies and technology that make it all happen. Together, they recognize a heritage of unrelenting perseverance, a commitment to family, and the responsibility to others because of the struggles of their forebears.


Whether it’s humility or a sense of humor in the face of hardship, determination or an immigrant work ethic, the gift of gab or ease in making friends, our honorees in the following pages all agree they have inherited something unique and personal from their Irish ancestors. As a whole, they are a testament to the power of the diaspora and its ground-breaking influence – from the fourth- generation Irish Americans who are themselves the manifestation of their ancestors’ dreams, to the many Irish-born who continue to work to maintain the strong connections and forge new bonds between our two great countries.

Click here for the complete 2016 list. ♦

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First Word: A Penny Well Spent https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/first-word-a-penny-well-spent/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/first-word-a-penny-well-spent/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:57:10 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27371 Read more..]]> Growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and ’60s was a thrifty existence. “Take care of the pennies and pounds will take care of themselves,” my mother would say, encouraging us kids to save. She opened Post Office accounts for us. You could deposit as little as sixpence and the clerk would diligently mark it down on your passbook. I can still see those checkmarks, through there weren’t so many in my book. Despite my mother’s entreaties, any coppers that came my way were soon spent.

Having a penny to spend was a magnificent thing back then. Unlike English coinage, with its kings and queens, our money had animals. A copper penny, much bigger than an American penny, bigger, even, than a quarter, had a hen with chicks (a half-penny had a sow with piglets).

A penny was something that you could hold on to. It fitted nicely in your fist, heavy enough that you knew the value of it. The copper would warm up in your hand as you walked about with it, clutched it in your pocket. Shame to let it go, really – would it be four aniseed balls, or two gobstoppers? Splurge it on a Penny Bar that would be gone in a minute, the toffee melting in your mouth, or make it last? Those gobstoppers were so big that one would last you a whole day if you resisted the temptation to sink your teeth into it when you had sucked it down in size.

Most often, Nell Kennedy’s shop at Ballycommon crossroads, down the road from school, was where we spent our coppers. Though you may have carefully considered and weighed the purchase options during school hours, there was still a psychological barrier to cross before you left the shop with your treat – the Black Baby Box.

You had to avert your eyes, close your mind to that box perched on the counter, and swallow your guilt about not saving a soul in Africa, that day at least, before you emerged back out into the sunlight. Some days you didn’t pass up the box, and there was reward in that, too. The warm glow of self-sacrifice would last almost as long as the gobstopper.

Even in the poorest of times, Ireland raised millions to support its priests doing missionary work in places like the Congo. As politically incorrect as the phrase, “a penny for the black babies” sounds today, the notion of helping others, drummed into our heads by teachers and nuns and visiting missionaries, was not a bad thing.

All this reflection about the Ireland of my childhood was brought on by my visit to Citigroup’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. The sight of the Global Equity floor that Dan Keegan oversees – hundreds of traders focused intently on multiple computer screens – was astounding. I found myself asking, “When did the Irish become so good with money?”

Scientists involved in unlocking the secrets of our genes are proving that memories are passed down through our DNA. Did the experience of forebears, of making do in hard times (“stretching a penny”), manifest itself in today’s good money managers?

Do those same historic memories also impact the ability to share the wealth? I think so.

Irish America magazine salutes the men and women of our Wall Street 50.

Their achievement in the world of finance is awesome. Their generosity in helping others is priceless.

Mórtas Cine. ♦

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“Cycle Around Ireland” Spotlights Mental Health https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/cycle-around-ireland-spotlights-mental-health/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/cycle-around-ireland-spotlights-mental-health/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:56:49 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27469 Read more..]]> Former Irish international hockey player Lisa Jacob and competitive triathlete turned pilot Nikki Dorey were the first all-female duo cyclists to complete the 1,336-mile “Cycle Around Ireland” course, which they did after just five and a half straight days. The two used the milestone feat to fund-raise €100,000 for Irish mental health charity Suicide or Survive, with special emphasis on emotional wellbeing among LGBT youth.

“The funds they are raising are so important as we continue to work together to address the tremendous pain and suffering associated with mental health and suicide in Ireland,” said Suicide or Survive CEO Caroline McGuigan. “We encourage everyone to get behind these heroes.”

In the run up to the event, pilot Dorey said she knew it wouldn’t be easy: “I fully expect to find myself in the depths of pain and despair, but I also fully expect to have some of the most amazing experiences doing this.” ♦


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Ireland’s Top Goal Scorer Retires Internationally https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/irelands-top-goal-scorer-retires-internationally/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/irelands-top-goal-scorer-retires-internationally/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:55:47 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27472 Read more..]]> Irish captain and all-time record goal scorer Robbie Keane (pictured right) has commenced his international retirement from the Republic of Ireland soccer team following a friendly match against Oman in August.

Keane (36) debuted for Ireland in 1998 and has been Ireland’s leading goal scorer since 2004. He retires with 68 goals in 146 games for the national team – the last of which was delivered in his final match sporting the green jersey. He continues to captain the L.A. Galaxy, the U.S. Major League Soccer team.

“As a young boy growing up in Dublin and playing football on the street, I could never have imagined the path my life would take,” Keane said in his official retirement statement. “I have been on the most incredible journey with the Irish team and fans over the last 18 years, and words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish.” ♦

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Georgia Tech & Boston College Spar in Dublin https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/georgia-tech-boston-college-spar-in-dublin/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/georgia-tech-boston-college-spar-in-dublin/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:54:56 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27476 Read more..]]> Boston College lost a hard-fought game to Georgia Tech 14-17 at the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic (formerly the Emerald Isle Classic) at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on September 3. The game capped off a week of pep rallies and tailgate parties at Trinity College Dublin, as well as an American Football Showcase, with six Atlanta high schools competing at nearby Donnybrook Stadium. More than 40,000 fans attended.

Freshman rusher Dedrick Mills, who scored Georgia Tech’s winning touchdown, said he had played big crowds in high school, but nothing like this. “Coming over here, being overseas for the first time with a big crowd, I haven’t played in anything like that,” he told the AP. The game was the first Georgia Tech has played abroad in the program’s 124 year history. For their troubles, they took home the inaugural Keough-Naughton Trophy, designed by Waterford Crystal. It was Boston College’s second game in Ireland, having beaten Army 38-24 in the inaugural Emerald Isle Classic in 1988. ♦

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Historic Win for Tipperary Hurling Teams https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/27479/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/27479/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:53:29 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27479 Read more..]]> County Tipperary, the “Blue and Gold Legends,” won the All-Ireland senior and minor hurling finals in Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday, September 4.

Hurling is Ireland’s national game and one of the nation’s most popular sports. It was the second time in history that Tipperary, the “premier county,” won both the senior and minor titles in the same year. The first time was in 1949.

The Blue and Gold Legends won their 27th All-Ireland title with a nine-point victory over arch-rivals Kilkenny (knows as the “Cats”), by 2-15 to 2-08. Meanwhile, the Tipperary minor team won its 20th All-Ireland in defeating Limerick by six points for a winning score of 1-21 to 0-17.

Tipperary has ancient ties to hurling, which is said to pre-date Christianity. The first staging of the All-Ireland hurling championship began on July 2, 1887 and ended on April 1,1888, with Tipperary winning over Galway.

A few years earlier, in 1884, the Gaelic Athletic Association, the governing body of Ireland’s national sports, was formed in Thurles, County Tipperary. And it was to Thurles’ Semple Stadium that tens of thousands of fans gathered to welcome the winning heroes home from Dublin. Some of the loudest cheers of the evening were for 24-year-old star forward John O’Dwyer (“Bubbles”), who, on live television after the game, said Tipperary are “champions of f***ing Ireland.” ♦

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The Irish Olympic Diaspora https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/the-irish-olympic-diaspora/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/the-irish-olympic-diaspora/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:52:52 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27489 Read more..]]> Ireland had a reasonable showing at the 2016 Summer Olympics with two silver medals, including the country’s first for rowing (see right). But what about the Irish diaspora? How did the descendants of emigrants fare in the Rio games? And what would Ireland’s team score have looked like if the diaspora competed as a country?

Here are the most obviously Irish medalists from around the world, based on surname. Team sports have been excluded.

U.S. swimmer Ryan Murphy.

U.S. swimmer Ryan Murphy.


  • Cycling

KRISTIN ARMSTRONG, U.S. From Boise, ID, she is a three-time Olympian, with golds in ‘08 and ‘12.

CONNOR FIELDS, U.S. BMX-rider Fields is originally from Plano, Texas.

JASON KENNY, U.K. Manchester-born Kenny is the joint-holder of the highest amount of gold medals won by any British athlete – six.

  • Rowing

KIM BRENNAN, Aus. Born in Melbourne, Brennan took up rowing in 2005 after a leg injury ended her professional hurdling career.

EMILY REGAN, U.S. Regan, who was born in Buffalo, New York, is a three-time gold medalist at the World Rowing Championships.

  • Swimming

CONOR DWYER, U.S. From Winnetka, IL, Dwyer came first in the 4x200m men’s freestyle relay and third in the 200m free this year.

RYAN MURPHY, U.S. Born in Chicago, Murphy swept this year’s backstroke events by earning three gold medals and breaking two world records.

TOM SHIELDS, U.S. Shields, who swims for the University of California, holds the American record in three different butterfly-stroke events.

EMMA MCKEON, Aus. McKeon, from New South Wales, won four medals in total at this year’s Olympic games: one gold, two silver, and one bronze.


  • Equestrian

MCLAIN WARD, U.S. Now 40, Ward is still the youngest person to win the USEF Show Jumping Derby and the equitation medal finals in the same year, which he did at age 14.

  • Swimming

LIA NEAL, U.S. Freestyler Neal, from New York, currently swims for Stanford University.

SIOBHAN-MARIE O’CONNOR, U.K. Bath-born O’Connor is 2016’s most decorated English athlete at the Commonwealth Games with six medals.

TAYLOR MCKEON, Aus. A native of Queensland, breaststroker McKeon also holds a gold medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

  • Sailing


Harbor Yacht Club member Ryan began sailing at the age of 13 on his grandfather’s yacht.

  • Rowing

CONLIN MCCABE, Can. Born in Ontario, McCabe rowed for the University of Washington for four years, helping the Huskies win three national championships.

JENNIFER CLEARY, Aus. Cleary, from Geelong, has been rowing since 2005. Her team placed fourth at the 2014 World Rowing Championships.


  • Athletics

CLAYTON MURPHY, U.S. Specializing in distance running, Murphy ran collegiately for the university of Akron and signed as a Nike representative in June 2016.

  • Diving

MADDISON KEENEY, Aus. Keeney is studying physics at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

  • Beach Volleyball

KERRY WALSH JENNINGS, U.S. Coming in third place this year has made California-born Walsh the most decorated beach volleyball player in the world.


11 Gold • 9 Silver • 5 Bronze

Ranked as a team, the diaspora would have placed 7th, just beating out the French, who had 10 golds.


Ireland’s Paralympic team performed better than national team did, with four gold, four silver, and three bronze medals. The gold medalists in question were runners Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, running in the men’s 100m T13 and 1500m T37 events respectively, Eoghan Clifford, cycling in the men’s time trial C3, and Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal, cycling together in the women’s 1km time trial B. ♦

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Silver Streak: Ireland’s Olympic Medals https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/silver-streak-irelands-olympic-medals/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/silver-streak-irelands-olympic-medals/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:51:22 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27484 Read more..]]> Gary and Paul O’Donovan, of Lisheen, Co. Cork, made history at the Rio Olympic Games in August when they secured the country’s first ever medal in a rowing event. The brothers, who sped from fifth position at the halfway point, came in second place in the lightweight men’s double sculls, a feat which also marked Ireland’s first medal won at this year’s Olympics.

The brothers’ 6:31.23 finishing time was not the only thing that drew praise, as the Irish public immediately took a shine to their down-to-earth attitude and laid-back west Cork accents in interviews running up to the event and as post-event interviews went viral.

Speaking after the semi-final, Paul, 22, explained cheekily that rowing “isn’t too complex, really. [Get from] A to B as fast as you can go, and hope for the best. Close the eyes and pull like a dog.” His words inspired the viral hashtag #PullLikeADog.

Irish sailing champion Analise Murphy.

Irish sailing champion Analise Murphy.

Ireland’s second medal came a few days later when veteran sailor Annalise Murphy, from Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, placed second in women’s Laser Radial.

First competing internationally at the 2012 Olympics, her first major medal came in 2013 – gold at the European Sailing Championships. “The last four years have been all about Rio,” she told the Irish Times. Now, she says every morning she wakes up, “I feel like I just dreamt about it. I really don’t know how it happened. It still doesn’t feel real.” ♦

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Philippines Missionary Receives Humanitarian Award https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/philippines-missionary-receives-humanitarian-award/ https://irishamerica.com/2016/10/philippines-missionary-receives-humanitarian-award/#respond Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:50:59 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=27496 Read more..]]> Father Shay Cullen, a Dublin-born Columban Missionary based in the Philippines since 1969, has been given the 2016 Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award.

Cullen (pictured above with his students) has worked tirelessly over a lifetime to promote human rights, justice, and peace, with a particular drive towards ending child exploitation and abuse of children in the Philippines. In 1974, Cullen set up the PREDA Foundation to help child victims and trafficked women who were being exploited in the sex trade.

The award was set up to honor the life of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, an Irish prelate who, based in the Vatican from 1938 until 1960, saved over 6,500 lives from the Nazi forces in Rome during WWII. ♦


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