The hosted the 16th annual Robert McKiernan Memorial Field Day, held Saturday at the Rockland GAA Fields in Orangeburg.
Rockland GAA Chairman Emmett Woods said the busiest time of the day was around noon, when he estimated 1,500 people were there. That’s also when the GAA hosted the Dennis McHugh U-8 Seven-a-Side Tournament, the event’s Irish football tournaments featuring three divisions with seven teams each.
The day also featured hurling, a sheaf-throwing contest, a dunk tank, bouncy house, food, a raffle and John Roche singing the Irish national anthem with Tom Fennell singing U.S. national anthem after that.
There were also a number of races for kids using a variety of difficulties, such as sack races, three-legged races, egg-and-spoon races and more.
Woods said the field day has grown in size in the last decade especially thanks to the GAA purchasing the fields at the Rockland Psychiatric Center.
“We renovated the fields in 2010, which helped even more,” Woods said. “Now we have all these nice fields, so we can have more events and bring in more people. It’s definitely helped us see a boom in our numbers.”
All the money raised at the field day goes to the GAA Scholarship fund, which is open to high school students who compete in one of the GAA leagues.
Woods said the turnout on Saturday is about what they’ve seen in recent years, and he thinks the event brings in so many people each year not only because it raises money for a good cause, but also because of a very supportive Irish community.
“We have a big Irish community here in Rockland,” he said. “It’s really great. Everyone rallies together to help each out.”
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