From winning a Fermanagh Senior Football Championship medal with St Patrick’s Donagh to creating a brand new GAA club in Vancouver, Canada, Patrick Quaile is embracing the spirit of the GAA in lands far away.
On May 24, 2014 Patrick and his wife Sarah boarded a plane to Canada on a two-year working holiday visa but they’ve since had two boys, Shea and four weeks ago they welcomed baby Oisin.
“It is now 7 years later and here we are, still in Vancouver, permanent residents and waiting for our Citizenship to be granted.
“They are great little boys and hopefully one day they will throw on the Erne jersey in the future. We decided to travel to Canada as the time was right for both of us and the prospect of living in a different country and experiencing new cultures was something we always wanted to do,” says the West Coast Lawns & Gardens Operations Manager.
“Vancouver is a beautiful City and there is just always so much to do, it has three ski peaks, so when work finishes at 5pm you can be up on the mountain by 6pm and you do three hours up there and you’re home by half nine.
“It’s an easy life out here. While in the summer you have the beaches because we’re beside the sea, so there’s beach volleyball, beach parties and all that kind of stuff. There are fancy yachts for boat parties, things like that and so much happening all the time.”
GAA has always been a big part of his life though and despite moving so far away, he didn’t want that to stop.
“I made sure to get involved with a Club here in Vancouver as soon as I arrived. I played for The ISSC (Irish Sporting and Social Club) for 6 years, it is a great club with great members.
However, Vancouver is somewhat of a desired destination now for the Irish and the numbers were growing exponentially. So much so that The ISSC would see huge numbers at training, it was then that a few of us realised the need for another Club.”
And so St Finnian’s GAA club in Vancouver was formed in September 2019 with the help of some fellow Fermanagh ex-pats, Ciaran McGoldrick from Irvinestown and Sean Corrigan from Maguiresbridge.
“We had a really good social media presence and from having 40 lads and 20 girls in the first few weeks it just grew to over 80 people very quickly, it was just outrageous. When training started outside we had over 50 men turning up for training, and around 40 at ladies training.
“The Pandemic did not dampen any enthusiasm with new members and luckily last year we got to play a Championship which was scaled back due to Covid-19; however, it was still very successful for us.
“Our junior men’s team won the Championship in what was our first year which is a brilliant achievement and our senior team got to the final, only to be narrowly beaten by Fraser Valley Gaels.
“So, the future for us on the pitch looks very good indeed. We also have a ladies team, we felt that if we’re going to create a club, it needed to cater to all and that is at the forefront of everything we do, and we need to be more than a football club.
“It is where people meet and become friends for life, it’s where you find employment and it is a helping hand when you need it.
“Helping create St Finnian’s GAA club is something that I am extremely proud to have been a part of and if or when we finally move home again, it is a great feeling knowing that the club will continue to be a meaningful resource for all Irish diaspora to enjoy and love as much as I do, for many years to come.”
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Posted: 7:11 pm April 17, 2021