By Irish Echo Staff
Mitchell scholars will not be studying in Northern Ireland in the 2016-17 academic year.
Given severe cuts in Northern Ireland’s budget, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry, has informed the US-Ireland Alliance that his department will have to end funding for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship program, this according to a statement from the Alliance which runs the scholarships named after former U.S. senator George Mitchell.
“This does not affect the Mitchell Scholarship program in Ireland, only Northern Ireland. And we will not be decreasing the overall number of scholarships we will award,” said Alliance president, Trina Vargo.
“We share the minister’s view that this is an unfortunate situation. As we have been following the budgetary crisis in Northern Ireland, this news did not come as a surprise.
“For those who do not follow Northern Ireland politics, there is an overall budget impasse. The entire higher education system has suffered and universities in Northern Ireland have had to decrease their student numbers as a result,” Vargo said.
And she continued: “While this will not affect the two Mitchell Scholars who will attend Queen’s beginning in the fall, it does mean that applicants for the next Mitchell Scholarship selection round (those who will apply by the October deadline) will not have the option of selecting Queen’s University Belfast or the University of Ulster for their year of study (fall 2016-spring 2017).
“As most do not submit their applications until September, they will have time to reconsider the many options in the Republic of Ireland. For those few who have already submitted, we will review applications and if Northern Ireland universities were selected, they will have the opportunity to resubmit.
“Queen’s and the University of Ulster are great partners in this program and we know that they find themselves in much the same position. The Mitchell Scholars who have attended Northern Ireland’s universities, and all the Mitchells who have visited during their year on the island, have been greatly enriched by the experience.
Vargo said that the Alliance was working to restore the program’s North connection.
“While the timing of the selection process is such that we have had to take this immediate step, we will continue to reach out to individuals and companies that may desire to see Northern Ireland remain a part of this prestigious program in hopes that interest and resources will reverse this situation in time to include Northern Ireland Mitchell Scholars in the Class of 2018,” she said.
California State Senator Lori Hancock and her husband, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates
By Ray O’Hanlon
Berkeley City Council has voted for measures that should ensure no repeat of last month’s tragic balcony collapse that killed six students (five Irish and one Irish American) and injured seven others.
But California state lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have increased oversight of contractors throughout the state in the wake of the tragedy.
Both votes came on Tuesday.
In Berkeley, the council voted for new regulations that will mean apartment building balconies being inspected every three years.
And according to reports in the Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle newspapers, the council also voted to require that new balconies be made of corrosion-resistant material and be ventilated to prevent a buildup of moisture.
After the June 16 fatal balcony collapse it was discovered that wooden joists attaching the balcony to the apartment building had rotted.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the Berkeley council’s vote came after it heard from an attorney for one of the victims’ families.
“It would be an amazing compounding of this tragedy not to do something now and not to ensure that similarly designed and constructed buildings are not being inspected,” attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle said.
Stated the report: “He had called for yearly inspections. City staff had recommended inspections every five years. Some building group representatives had urged the council to hold off on the vote for further study.”
Evan as Berkeley City Council was moving to implement stricter codes, California state lawmakers were voting down a bill that would have required construction companies to disclose felony convictions and settlements to state regulators over construction defects.
SB 465, authored by Democratic Senators Loni Hancock and Jerry Hill, did not pass out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. But it became what is called a “two-year bill” which allows backers more time to refine their proposal.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that SB 465 “may be revived if support is found.”
Hancock and Hill said they will continue to work on legislation to address one of the biggest concerns raised from the tragedy: how a state board was left in the dark about multimillion-dollar legal settlements involving the contractors they license, the report said.
Many senate committee members supported the bill’s intent, but worried about requiring a state agency to collect settlement data without understanding how it would be used in enforcement, the Bee reported.
Segue Construction, the company that built the Berkeley apartment, has paid more than $26.5 million in the past three years to settle lawsuits related to balcony failures. The Contractors State License Board was unaware of the cases because California state law does not require the company to report them to the board.
Reported the Chronicle: The bill fell one vote short of the majority needed to pass the 14-member Assembly business and professions committee. It was defeated in a party-line 7-3 vote, with Republicans voting against it. Four members did not vote.
Hill and Hancock had agreed to amend the bill to allow the state licensing board to determine whether reporting settlements and felonies was the right course, or if other oversight was needed. The lawmakers unsuccessfully asked their colleagues to pass the bill while they continued to work on it.
“This, in my view, is what shakes people’s confidence in government,” Hancock said after the vote.
“I’m very, very disappointed,” she said.
Prior to the vote, Hancock had released a statement arguing to approval of SB 465.
“I believe that the Berkeley balcony collapse was preventable had there been more accountability and oversight. What we have discovered since this tragedy occurred is that the builder of this building has had a history of sub-standard work, which the state oversight board was never aware of.
“This bill requires contractors to report legal settlements to the state board. This is not a new policy. We require this of engineers. We should require the same of the people that build our homes, apartments and other buildings,” she said.
For Hancock, there was at least a silver lining in the Berkeley City Council vote. Her husband, Tom Bates, is Mayor of Berkeley.
Both Hancock and Bates take a strong interest in Ireland and the North peace process and have visited Belfast.
Meanwhile, some of the seven injured students are making good progress, but a couple of the survivors are battling especially serious injuries.
It is expected that the families of the dead and injured will be initiating civil lawsuits.
Dr. John Lahey is now chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc.
By Ray O’Hanlon
John Dunleavy wasn’t ousted from any position.
But his ability to almost single handedly control the destiny of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade was severely diminished as a result of a position being filled.
As the fallout over the recent move in the parade power structure to effectively sideline Dunleavy continues to spread, Dunleavy himself appears to be digging in, and is seemingly determined not to relinquish his central role without a fight.
Just what effect this will have on the parade, its long term future, and the more immediate concern that is the standout year march in 2016, remains to be seen.
But long time parade observers are expressing fearful concern.
The parade, they feel, needs a new controversy like the proverbial hole in the head.
Nevertheless, it has one on its hands, and the consequences could be very serious indeed.
From conversations with some of the leading figures in what is now an evident standoff in parade circles, the Echo has pieced together a picture of what transpired before, during, and after an extraordinary conference call of parade directors that involved parade leaders contributing from both coasts of the United States, and from Ireland.
In the latter case, the participant was not John Dunleavy, who was visiting relatives in both Ireland and London when the conference took place.
The conference call took place against a backdrop of issues that leading members, including parade committee vice chairman, Dr. John Lahey, felt required immediate attention.
The issues had been discussed at the last meeting in April, described as a “lively” one by one participant.
The next formal board of directors meeting was not scheduled until the late summer or fall, probably a date sometime in September.
Members wanted to address the matter of a renewed broadcasting contract with WNBC, and also holding discussions with a gay and lesbian group that had applied to march in the 2015 parade, but had been turned down in favor of the LGBT group comprised of NBC employees that did take part in the 253rd march in honor of St. Patrick.
There had been a growing discussion over the need to include a gay marching group that would be readily identified as Irish.
The Green and Lavender Alliance, headed by longtime activist and co-organizer of the St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside, Queens, Brendan Fay, was top of the list in this regard.
The conference call took place on Tuesday, June 30.
All involved were aware of a report carried by the Irish Central website stating that parade committee chairman John Dunleavy had met with executive from New York television channels other than WNBC with a view to offering broadcasting rights to the parade.
The report also portrayed Mr. Dunleavy as being opposed to the participation of any gay group in the 2016 parade.
At the same time, board members had been holding talks with parade director and 2012 grand marshal, Frank Comerford, the president and general manager of WNBC, with a view to extending the relationship with that network, this after the existing three year contract had expired.
The feeling among board members was that the matter of broadcasting rights, and the inclusion of a second gay marching group, were matters for the entire board, and not just one individual, to deal with.
The members also felt that a renewed invitation to the NBC gay group was warranted because it had marched properly in this year’s parade.
The phone conference, according to one source, had been flagged two weeks in advance. All board members, including Chairman Dunleavy, had been invited to participate.
However, Mr. Dunleavy did not participate in the June 30 conversation which included 13 of the parade’s 16 board members.
One of the participants was in Ireland, another in California.
The decision was made to renew with WNBC and invite a second gay group.
With regard to renewing with WNBC, the decision was unanimous. In the matter of inviting the second gay group, it was ten to zero with three abstentions.
But it was another decision, one which was intended to “clarify” John Dunleavy’s role in the parade that was to lead to rancor and rupture.
Mr. Dunleavy was, and remains, the chairman of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration Committee.
But the chairmanship of a second parade entity, one set up in the 1990s and mainly at the behest of the late Jim Barker, was viewed as being vacant.
This second grouping is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc.
This is the legal entity that is ultimately responsible for the parade.
Directors, as one participant in the call put it, decided to end the situation where there was no chairman of the “Parade Inc.” – this so that there would be “no ambiguity” in the parade’s organization and running.
Dr. John Lahey was duly elected chairman of the Parade Inc. with John Fitzsimons as vice chairman. John Dunleavy’s chairmanship of the Parade and Celebration Committee was left untouched but the move shifted the center of power in the parade organizing structure – at least in terms of decisions as important as broadcasting rights and gay and lesbian group participation.
Looking to the 2016 parade, clearly a standout in historical terms, parade directors are hoping for full participation from New York City’s political leadership, not least Mayor de Blasio and the City Council who have boycotted the last couple of parades.
When reached by the Echo, Dr. Lahey said that the parade was a public event which required a license from the city each and every year.
Parade organizers, he said, had to be practical in their dealings with the city.
“The parade is bigger than any one of us,” Dr. Lahey said.
For his part, John Dunleavy, who is clearly angered by what has transpired, said that his “boss” was “the people who take part in the parade.”
He said that he would be examining and analyzing all that had occurred when he was out of the country, and only after that process was complete would he be making a statement.
An injured police officer is dragged from the front line by colleagues
By Anthony Neeson
Twenty-four police officers and a 16-year-old girl have been injured during disturbances following Belfast’s 12th of July parade on Monday.
With the Twelfth falling on a Sunday this year, the main parades took place the day after, and while the parades themselves were peaceful, violence once more erupted as loyalists tried to gain access onto the Crumlin Road in North Belfast.
Police had blocked off their route back to Ligoniel for the third year in a row after a determination from the Parades Commission, preventing them from passing through the nationalist Ardoyne.
Earlier in the morning a limited number were permitted to pass the same stretch of road on their way into the city center and the main Twelfth demonstration.
However, on the return leg, loyalists clashed with police not long after the parade reached the security barriers.
Further up the Crumlin Road, where nationalists had gathered near the Ardoyne shops, a car ploughed into the crowd trapping a 16-year-old girl underneath it.
Police and locals pushed the car over freeing the girl. She remains in hospital but her condition is described as stable. A man was arrested by police and remains in custody.
Holy Cross priest, Fr. Gary Donegan, said the car “went right over the top” of the girl.
“PSNI officers and local residents managed to lift the car off her,” he added.
“There were graphic scenes of seeing her feet sticking out from underneath the car. You could actually see the marks of the vehicle on the back of her jeans. She was very distressed.”
Meanwhile, 12th of July bonfires were in the spotlight this year as many as many were adorned with political posters of nationalist candidates, Irish tricolors, and effigies including one of hunger striker Bobby Sands, as well as Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Michelle Gildernew.
Ms. Gildernew hit out at those behind the displays.
“When are we going to see some courageous leadership from political unionism and the Orange Order when it comes to this hate filled practice of burning of effigies, flags and election posters on bonfires,” she said.
“Not satisfied with insulting the entire nationalist community by burning our national flag and candidates’ election posters, the organizers of these bonfires have now taken to burning effigies.
“A disgusting display of bigoted sectarianism is the bonfire at Moygashel depicting an effigy of myself accompanied by a message declaring it to represent a public hanging.
It also makes reference to a quote by former Ulster Unionist Leader, Tom Elliott, when he referred to Sinn Féin voters as scum.
“With that kind of leadership is it any wonder that these Neanderthals think this type of insult is part of their culture.”
LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan
By Ray O’Hanlon
Less is more when it comes to honoring Irish America’s contribution to the cause of labor.
That’s the message from Irish America’s premier celebration of working men and women this year which will focus on ten top labor leaders.
“We’ve raised a glass to fifty and a hundred labor champions in previous years, but in 2015 we have decided to focus on just ten giants of Irish America who have made a significant contribution to the labor movement in the United States,” said Irish Echo publisher, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.
“And among that select few will be our Irish American Labor Leader of the Year, an accolade which last year went to John Hegarty, then President of the National Postal Handlers Union, and in 2013 to Sandhogs chief James Ryan, both of course revered figures in the national labor movement.”
Guest speakers at this year’s labor celebration on September 25 in the Edison Ballroom, Manhattan, will be LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD.
“As the Build America Union, LIUNA is delighted again to be spearheading support for the Irish American Labor Awards and looks forward to saluting the heroes across the US who are driving the US forward,” said O’Sullivan.
“Throughout history, our Irish heritage and the struggle for workers’ rights have been one and the same, and I’m delighted to see those two great themes merge in the Irish Labor 10.”
Nominations for the labor awards can be made online at www.irishecho.com up until Friday, July 24.
Flashback to March 2013, and the interment of the partial remains of John Ruddy in Ardara, County Donegal.
By Ray O’Hanlon
A good deal more official attention will be paid to the return of Catherine Burns to Ireland than was the case when she left the island more than 180 years ago.
“We will have to declare Catherine to the customs in Dublin,” said Dr. William Watson of Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.
That means entering Ireland through the “red channel” at Dublin airport and clearing Catherine’s partial remains through the customs process.
Watson and others in his Duffy’s Cut excavation team will be flying to Ireland from Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 14.
This will be the second time that remains from Duffy’s Cut will be returned to Ireland.
Catherine Burns, who was from County Tyrone, was preceded by John Ruddy from neighboring Donegal.
A few days after her arrival in Ireland, fragments of Catherine’s remains – unearthed at the Duffy’s Cut excavation site in Malvern, Chester County, PA – will be interred in her native soil.
Catherine was just 29 when she died.
A funeral Mass is being planned at Clonoe Parish in Coalisland for Sunday, July 19.
“We have a small marker we will place at her grave,” said Dr. Watson, one of the leaders of the Duffy’s Cut excavation since it first began in 2003.
The project has cast extraordinary light on the lives and deaths of Irish immigrants working on a railroad outside Philadelphia in the early 1830s.
Added Watson regarding Catherine Burns: “Excavating her remains back in August, 2010, two things were apparent to me immediately. Her face was largely intact, so we finally had a face from Duffy’s Cut, and her pelvis was also substantially intact.
“We had excavated skulls before, of course, but the violence done to the men had essentially blasted their faces away. I recall lifting the pelvis out of the ground and remarking how heavy it was, and asking whether that might be important.
“Our physical anthropologist, Janet Monge, examined the remains at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and said two things pointed to the remains being female – the small size of the mouth palate and the pelvis.
“Janet concluded that the remains were from a female approximately thirty years old, and we had one female aged 29 on the John Stamp ship passenger list, Catherine Burns (there was also a 21 year old female on the ship, but Janet said the remains were about 30 and not about 20). Janet said she was also a victim of blunt force trauma, but her face had survived.”
The John Stamp sailed from Derry with a number of the Duffy’s Cut Irish on board.
“We found the two bone fragments in her coffin nail box in November 2014, and we formulated the idea then of returning some of her remains to her native county,” said Dr. Watson.
Watson added that during the upcoming trip a marker will also be placed on the grave of the other identified Duffy’s Cut victim, John Ruddy, now resting in Ardara, County Donegal.
From being buried without ceremony at Duffy’s Cut, the immigrants of that bygone time are gradually being reinterred with dignity and respect.
In March, 2012, the remains of five men and one woman were laid to rest in a church burial at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, not far from Malvern. That ceremony was attended by the then Irish ambassador to the U.S., Michael Collins.
Meanwhile, Dr. Watson and his team are preparing to extract core samples for an estimated fifty men buried in a mass grave at the Duffy’s Cut site. This work is expected to begin in the near future.
The mass grave site is on land immediately adjacent to the railroad which carries SEPTA and AMTRAK trains. AMTRAK owns the land and has granted permission for the work.
The site is marked by the remains of a onetime stone building.
In the summer of 1832, 57 Irish laborers died while building the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad between Malvern and Frazer at a site that became known to the wider world in recent years as Duffy’s Cut.
From before the start of the excavation work, Dr. Watson and his colleagues believed that the deaths were caused not just by cholera, the reason reported at the time, but by murderous attacks carried out by local nativist and know nothing gangs.
Remains unearthed during the years of the Duffy’s Cut excavation have confirmed this view.
One of the billboards at Dublin Airport
By Ray O’Hanlon
Four billboards have been placed in boarding areas at Dublin Airport telling the story of a County Mayo-born hero of the Vietnam War.
And it is hoped that the billboards, and favorable public reaction to them, will help in the effort to have a U.S. Navy ship named after Navy Cross winner Patrick “Bob” Gallagher.
The billboards provide a link to a website established to collect signatures for a petition to have Gallagher’s name attached to ship.
The petition has been up and running for a couple of years and has already attracted a significant number of names.
The billboards will be displayed at the airport through this month and August and so have the potential to attract the attention of many thousands of people.
Though his given name was Patrick, Gallagher was known to most as “Bob.”
He was the second eldest of nine children born to Mary and Peter Gallagher.
They lived at Derrintogher, three miles from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo.
To this day, Gallagher is well remembered by family and friends who still live there.
When he was 18, Patrick crossed the Atlantic to his aunt’s on Long Island, and began his new life in America.
In 1966, he was drafted and joined the U.S. Marines.
In April of that year he shipped out to Vietnam with Hotel Company, 2/4 Marines, 3rd Marine Division as an ammunition carrier.
In July 1966, while other members of his unit slept, Gallagher’s unit was attacked at Cam Lo, not far from the border with North Vietnam. The attackers threw grenades.
Gallagher kicked a grenade away before it exploded and, as the citation for the Navy Cross he was later awarded read, “another enemy grenade followed and landed in the position between two of his comrades. Without hesitation, in a valiant act of self-sacrifice, Corporal Gallagher threw himself upon the deadly grenade in order to absorb the explosion and save the lives of his comrades.”
As the three other marines ran to safety, two further grenades landed in the position and exploded, “miraculously injuring nobody.”
Miraculously, the grenade under Gallagher had not exploded.
Gallagher’s squad leader ordered him to throw the grenade into a nearby river. It exploded on hitting the water.
“It is a pleasure to pin this on your breast,” said General William Westmoreland at the later presentation of the Navy Cross.
Gallagher’s luck was to run out, however.
He was shot dead while on Patrol in Da Nang on March 30, 1967.
Now, 48 years later, there is a campaign underway, by means of an online petition, to have a U.S. Navy ship named after Gallagher in 2017, the 50th anniversary of his death.
It is being led by California-based Martin Durkan, a Mayo native, and Dallas, Texas-based Dublin native, Marius Donnelly.
“We have established an online Petition requesting that the Secretary of the Navy consider naming a U.S. destroyer class ship in Patrick’s honor. I believe the USS Patrick Gallagher will sail,” Durkan said.
There is more on Gallagher and the campaign to have a ship named after him at www.patrickgallagherusmc.info.
Trinity College (left) and DUMBO alongside the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn as it would appear on the planned Trinity screen.
By Evan Short
A bid to link New York to Dublin 24 hours a day seven days a week via a real time video link to be installed in both cities could be available as soon as November, this if Irish architect Cathal Curtin has his way.
Curtin is currently seeking funding via a kickstarter campaign for his “Twin Space” project and raised an initial €7,251 in just six days.
The idea behind the screens is to allow people separated by the Atlantic Ocean to see each other in real time on a full size screen where they will be able to communicate and interact in a way that other telecommunication devices cannot achieve.
Curtin, who has won awards for his designs in the past, says he has already had agreement for the screens to be installed beside the Manhattan Bridge at its Brooklyn end and Trinity College in Dublin.
“We are going to build one in New York and one in Dublin, and when you walk up to the one in Dublin, and if somebody else walks up to the one in New York, you’ll be able to talk to each other,” explained Curtin.
“It’s going to be full scale (with) eye contact (and) live audio.
“They are always going to be on, 24/7, so you can see the sun going down in Trinity College in Dublin, and some days you’ll see it snowing in New York.
“It’ll be all set up for incidental meetings. If you are in New York on Saturday morning and you want to grab a coffee with someone in the afternoon in Dublin you can do it. You just have to text them so it’s really playing on the incidental things.”
The screens will be three meters by one meter and the designers hope that once installed, passers-by in both cities will stop to communicate with people they don’t know on the other side.
The project is being supported by the New York City Department of Transportation, DUMBO BID, and Trinity College, Dublin.
For more information visit www.kickstarter.com and search for “Twin Space.”
The Ancient Order of Hibernians argues that the MacBride Principles are still needed in order to shore up a fragile peace in Northern Ireland. This photo of a group of loyalists taken in Belfast a few nights ago would seem to confirm that fragility.
By Irish Echo Staff
In its strongest wording since it became known that Florida had rescinded its MacBride Principles law, the Ancient Order of Hibernians said in a statement that it “denounces” Florida’s decision “to rescind its commitment to the MacBride Principles and the continued pursuit of justice and peace for the people of Northern Ireland.”
National AOH Political Education chair, Neil Cosgrove, released the statement which decried the move as a “premature repeal.”
Said the statement in part: “The seventeen years of relative peace in Northern Ireland that have resulted from the Good Friday Agreement have lulled the state of Florida into complacency as indicated by the state’s renunciation of the MacBride Principles.
“Governor (Rick) Scott and the legislature apparently fail to realize that the Good Friday Agreement that suspended one of history’s bloodiest conflicts was a direct byproduct of the MacBride Principles and the principles remain today one of the agreement’s chief safeguards.
“Florida’s premature repeal of the MacBride Principles only weakens the hope of a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. As previously stated by Brendan Moore, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians: ‘Irish America is shocked that the elected leaders of the State of Florida would now abandon Florida’s staunch support for fair employment practices in still-troubled Northern Ireland.’
“The root causes of ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland trace back to when the Catholic population of Northern Ireland, inspired by America’s civil rights struggle, sought to end institutionally sanctioned discrimination.
“It was when peaceful civil rights marchers, whose demands were only fair access to employment, housing and equal government representation, were attacked by unionists supported by the police, military and intelligence organs of the British state that ‘the Troubles’ began.
“The MacBride Principles were put forth in 1984 to address the causes of the violence at their social justice roots. The nine MacBride Principles call for fair labor practices that protect all residents of Northern Ireland, irrespective of religion or political beliefs.
“Many states, including Florida in 1988, saw the MacBride Principles as articulating core American values of justice and made adherence to the MacBride Principles a precondition for any firm in Northern Ireland seeking business or investment. This moral commitment by America helped yield the historic Good Friday Agreement.
“For the governor and the legislature of Florida to unilaterally declare that the promise of a lasting peace has been achieved in Northern Ireland making the need for the MacBride Principles moot is premature and shows a dangerous lack of knowledge of the fragility of the Northern Ireland peace.
“Unemployment in Northern Ireland for those between the ages of 18-24, the key demographic of ‘the Troubles,’ is still 21 percent and issues of fairness in hiring remain.
“With peace so close and yet so fragile, this is the wrong time for America, any part of America, to signal that peace and justice in Northern Ireland is no longer a priority.”
The MacBride Principles encapsulate nothing more than the deeply held American values of justice and opportunity, the statement said.
When Florida adopted the MacBride Principles in 1988, it was making a clear and powerful statement of its belief in these fundamental values, values that were not for sale or to be compromised for the sake of financial gain.
Certainly the peace, and lives in Northern Ireland, “are a greater return than the monetary profits that may be realized on a non-MacBride compliant investment.”
By Ray O’Hanlon
Just before the U.S. women’s soccer team took the field against Germany in Montreal for the World Cup semi-final, the San Jose Mercury News carried a report which stated: “The forgotten woman on the U.S. roster suddenly has emerged as a viable option to lead the No. 2 Americans heading into a colossal semifinal showdown against top-ranked Germany in Montreal.”
The “forgotten” player was Kelley O’Hara.
After scoring the game clinching second goal against the Germans, O’Hara – whose full name is Kelley Maureen O’Hara no less – had secured her 2015 Women’s World Cup legacy.
The Irish American who wears the number 5 jersey would again take the field in Sunday’s triumphant World Cup final clash against Japan, a game that was a repeat of the lineup four years ago which ultimately went Japan’s way after a penalty shootout.
The Mercury News story left readers in no doubt that O’Hara embodies what might be described as a “fighting Irish” approach to the game.
“It took a bloodied nose to stop Kelley O’Hara in her debut at the 2015 Women’s World Cup,” the report stated in its opening line.
And it continued: “The former Stanford star was forced to leave the United States’ quarterfinal game against China last week because of a collision in the box. Now she’s hoping that hour of energizing soccer she provided a stagnant American offense will lead to more opportunities Tuesday.
And then that prescient line: “The forgotten woman on the U.S. roster suddenly has emerged as a viable option to lead the No. 2 Americans heading into a colossal semifinal showdown against top-ranked Germany in Montreal.”
Kelley, 26, and the 2009 season college player of the year, was ready for the call.
According to the Mercury News, O’Hara had “created quite a rooting section” after her hour long performance against China in the quarter final.
“Some of the country’s leading soccer analysts said she deserves more playing time,” the report said.
O’Hara has been variously described as “fiery” and as a “grinder.”
She certainly doesn’t lack for commitment, being one of those players who both defends and attacks.
The U.S. was one goal up against Germany – after a well-struck penalty from the excellent Carli Lloyd – when O’Hara took the field as a sub.
Up to that point, the U.S. attack had tended to melt away due to a lack of players up front, particularly in the striking area right in front of the German goal.
O’Hara put an end to that by getting her foot to a ball sent across the goal by Lloyd, who would go on to score a spectacular hat trick in Sunday’s final.
O’Hara, a Georgia native, is the daughter of Dan and Karen O’Hara. She has a brother named Jerry, and a sister named Erin.
“She is of Irish descent,” states Wikipedia.
That’s for sure.
In Sunday’s final, O’Hara was subbed in for the final third of the game which the U.S. won by the impressive margin of 5-2.
She didn’t score.
But at that point she didn’t have to. The game was pretty well won.
When the final whistle was blown, Kelley Maureen O’Hara took her deserved place alongside the rest of America’s soccer heroines.
Forgotten no more.