KILRUSH man Paul Mulcaire, chairperson of Buffalo Fenians Gaelic Athletic Association, is to be honoured with the prestigious GAA President’s International Award. Paul was chosen due to his commitment to the organisation and promotion of Gaelic games.
The awards are staged annually and provide the GAA president with an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club, county and international network from people, whose highly-valued contribution is seldom recognised. The GAA President Awards are made up of 14 individual awards, with one award reserved for a recipient who resides outside of the country.
Paul will travel to Ireland with family and friends to receive his award from GAA president Liam O’Neill, at an event in Croke Park on Friday, February 6.
Paul played Gaelic football and hurling throughout his childhood with Kilrush Shamrocks, until he made the difficult decision to emmigrate to Buffalo, NY in 1986. Now a resident of Lancaster, Paul is married to Kathy and has four children, Matthew, Patrick, Jack and Bridget.
Upon arriving in the US, Paul immediately set about immersing himself in the Irish scene around Buffalo. Meeting and spending time with other Irish immigrants and American-Irish, he was soon hired as a carpenter.
Paul always longed to keep playing the sport of his youth and while Gaelic games had been played in Buffalo since the early 1920s, there was no official organisation there. He began to play Gaelic games with the interested locals and brought his knowledge and passion for the games to the area, along with his desire to see a club thrive.
By the mid-1990s, Paul, along with some like-minded individuals, decided the time was right for a new club to be formed in the western New York area. The Buffalo Na Fianna GAA Club was the result of their labour.
Beginning slowly, Na Fianna began to get results but it was not until a youth programme was initiated that the club begin to see success.“Youth are the future of any club,” Paul is often quoted as saying and this was certainly true for Na Fianna.
By the 2000s, Na Fianna began to re-evaluate their programmes and the decision was made to rebrand the club as Buffalo Fenians. Paul said if a local club is to thrive in the locality, the club must take something from the history of that area. Buffalo Fenians was named so as to recognise Buffalo’s local Irish history and the brave Fenian Raids which took place in Buffalo along the banks of the Niagara River in 1866.
In 2009, Paul Mulcaire was elected as Buffalo Fenians youth officer. Once in this position, he set about re-energising the youth programme He enlisted the help and talents of young men and women who were products from the Na Fianna youth programme.
Now mostly adults and some with children of their own, Paul’s move to involve the past with the future was a great strategic move. From the beginning, Buffalo Fenians youth programme was successful.
With the programme initiated, Paul set about on his next mission. He wanted Buffalo to compete on a national stage.
The now 10-year-old Continental Youth Championship (CYC) was seeing great successes within North America and Canada, so five years ago, Paul felt the time was right for Buffalo Fenians to enter a team. Travelling to Boston for their first-ever CYC, Buffalo Fenians took part in 2009. Building off the successes from that, Paul’s band of youths has gone from strength to strength. In 2014, Buffalo Fenians entered six underage teams at the annual CYC and watching their U-14s taste success was a dream realised for Paul and his volunteers.
“This is only the first national trophy of the many more to come,” he said after the 2014 games.
Not content with his successes at Buffalo, Paul felt he had more to offer the general GAA body. He currently serves as youth officer for the United States Midwest Division; is development officer for the Continental Youth Championships and is PRO for the North American Youth Committee, while also serving as chairperson for Buffalo Fenians GAA.