When 24-year-old Nicholas Keenan scored a hurling-style goal for Argentina against Japan in men’s hockey at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is remembered that Keenan has a grandfather from Cork, Ireland, the home of hurling.
What could have been! Keenan’s grandfather was a Cork man before moving to South America (although he may have been good at such skills @OfficialCorkGAA Slingshot)@ Munster_Hockey https://t.co/V6hncocez9
– The hook (@hookhockey) July 26, 2021
It was a goal the great Jimmy Barry Murphy would have been proud of when Keenan picked up the ball, flicked it up, and over his shoulder with a twist of his wrists and shoulders doubled the ball in the air, toward the back of the host’s net.
Many may not know that Argentina is home to the fifth largest Irish community in the world, the largest in a non-English speaking nation, and the largest in Latin America.
Irish Argentines are Argentine citizens who are wholly or partly of Irish descent.
Irish emigrants from the Midlands, Wexford and the Southeast, and even from many of Ireland’s counties, came to Argentina mainly from 1830 to 1930, with the largest wave occurring between 1850 and 1870. The modern Irish-Argentine community of some Irish descendants is estimated at 500,000 to 1,000,000.
Hurling in Argentina
– ArgentinaGAA (@ArgentinaGaa) May 13, 2020
The earliest reference to hurling in Argentina comes from the late 1880s in the ranch town of Mercedes in Buenos Aires, a major center of the Irish-Argentine community. However, the game was not actively promoted until 1900 when writer and newspaper man William Bulfin became aware of it. The Argentine Hurling Club was founded on July 15, 1900 under Bulfin’s patronage.
On August 17, 1900, Bulfin printed the rules and a diagram of a hurling pitch in The Southern Cross, the official newspaper of the Argentine Irish community. The enthusiasm quickly spread and teams were quickly formed in both the Buenos Aires neighborhoods and the surrounding farming communities. The Order of the Passionists and Pallotines played an important role in promoting the game.
The future of hurling is certain in Argentina, well done Santi O Reilly https://t.co/D7MXh2JJIg
– Go in Gaelic (@GoGaelic) July 6, 2020