The Winged Fist Organization was founded in the summer of 2008 (one hundred years after the Irish-American Athletic Club's outstanding peformance at the 1908 Olympics in London) to preserve the legacy of the Irish-American Athletic Club and to bring their athletic accomplishments to the attention of the public.

If you have any information about the I-AAC, if you think you may be descended from one of their athletes, if you have any photos or ephemera relating to the I-AAC, or if you have any questions pertaining to the I-AAC or Celtic Park, please email:



Ian Mcgowan, founder of the Winged Fist Organization, Niall Burgess, Consul General of Ireland (holding the Keane Hurling Trophy from 1902), Meaghan Doherty of the American Irish Historical Society and Larry McCarthy, chairman of the New York GAA. Photo by Timothy Daly Bogner.

Three Descendants of I-AAC Athletes in Attendance

May 27, 2009.  More than a dozen century-old trophies were on display and three descendants of Irish-American Athletic Club athletes were present at a lecture entitled: "The Irish Contribution to Amateur Athletics in Early 20th Century New York: The Irish-American Athletic Club and the Gaelic Athletic Association," hosted by the American Irish Historical Society. The event also featured a display of historic photographs of the Irish-American Athletic Club.

Larry McCarthy, chairman of the New York Gaelic Athletic Association, and Ian McGowan, founder of the Winged Fist Organization, discussed the history of Gaelic games in New York and the important role of the Irish-American Athletic Club and their stadium, Celtic Park in Sunnyside, Queens.

As a result of the Winged Fist Organization's website and continuing publicity efforts, there were three descendants of Irish-American Athletic Club athletes in attendance; Patricia McGuirl-Sharma, grand niece of Irish Olympic champion weight thrower Matt McGrath, Mary McGrath (no relation to Matt), grand niece of Irish Olympic champion hammer-thrower Patrick O’Callagahan and grand daughter of I-AAC athlete Mike O’Callaghan, and Cathy Donohue, grand niece of I-AAC world’s record holder Harry Gissing. To the delight of many, Ms. Donohue brought her grand uncle’s original scrapbook, with dozens of newspaper clippings related to Harry Gissing’s athletic career with the Irish-American Athletic Club.


Kate Feighery, a gradute student in NYU's Irish Studies Master's Program and her father John brought with them a reproduction of a 1929 sports page from The Irish Echo, which included a picture of John’s father Jack Feighery in a photo of the Offaly hurling team, and an article about the match he played at Innisfail Park (before it was known as Gaelic Park).

Distinguished guests included; Niall Burgess, the Consul General of Ireland, Andrew McGowan, founder and president of the WB Yeats Society of NY and Timothy Daly Bogner of The Irish Echo. Author Joe Kearney, who is writing a book on Irish Olympians, made the trip down from Massachusetts, and was kind enough to bring some books and pamphlets from his personal collection related to the I-AAC to share at the reception after the lecture.

It is the hope of the Winged Fist Organization that this was just one of many events that will include descendants of the athletes of the Irish-American Athletic Club.

Irish-American Athletic Club team photo taken at Celtic Park, Queens, from the collection of The American Irish Historical Society. Calvary Cemetery can be seen in the distance in the upper right-hand corner, (date unknown).
Patricia McGuirl-Sharma, grand niece of Irish Olympic champion Matt McGrath, and Ian McGowan. Photo by Regina Castro-McGowan.

More Photos...

Irish 'Field of Dreams' kept alive by Queens historian Irish Emigrant, June 1st – 7th, 2009.

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