ISSC Awards night a great success

The Irish Sporting and Social Club’s Executive of President: Pat Lowney; Vice President: Ronan Matthews;

Secretary: Jerry McCarthy and Treasurer: Marie Dowling planned a superb gala dinner/dance on Friday,

October 21 at the Croatian Cultural Centre with assistance from a
number of volunteer members.

The ISSC was first founded in 1974 by a group of individuals in an
effort to bring people together socially. Members continue to promote
and support Irish cultural and sporting events in the Greater
Vancouver region.

2011 has seen enormous successes for the club both in Canada and the
USA. The Mens Gaelic Football team earned the title of Western
Canadian Champions for the 2nd consecutive year. The ISSC entered five
teams including two Mens football teams, a Ladies football team and
two hurling teams into the North American Championships held in San

The Men’s football team was crowned Intermediate Champions after an
intense 90 minute battle while the Ladies football team took the
Intermediate Shield over St. Mike’s of Toronto.

150+ in attendance enjoyed Master of Ceremonies Ronan Matthews in
leading the awarding of Men’s Senior Football MVP – Ronan Byrne; Men’s
Junior Football MVP – Greg Deacon;  Hurling MVP – Ricky O’Flynn;
Hurling’s Most Improved Player – Brock Fisher; Ladies Football MVP –
Elmarie Cronin and ISSC Club Person of the Year – Jerry McCarthy.  The
Twomey brothers were presented with framed pictures in gratitude for
their work over the last two seasons.

A generous donation for the ISSC was presented to outgoing club
President Pat Lowney from Bill and Margaret Kelly of William Kelly and
Sons Plumbing Contractors.

Many in attendance were there to celebrate the awarding of the ‘Spirit
Recognition Award’ for lifetime contribution to the Irish Community
here in Vancouver to Dublin’s Jim Speiran.

Founding club member P.J. O’Donnell travelled up from Seattle,
Washington and North American County Board representative, Bill
Flanagan, arrived from San Francisco, California to pay tribute.

Telegrams were read out from the Honorary Irish Consul of Manitoba,
Aidan O’Brien, Sean Twomey (Dawson City), Peter and Pam Ferguson
(Fermanagh) and Malachy and Charlotte Swail (Down).

Bill Flanagan presented Jim with a medal and jersey on behalf of the
San Francisco Western Divisional Board. Flanagan also presented the
long awaited NACB Intermediate Shield won by the Vancouver ladies in
San Francisco to Captain Eimear Gogan on the night also.

Before heading home for the night, many were making note of the ISSC’s
AGM which will be held on Friday, Nov. 18th. 7.30pm to 9.30pm at the
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews,
(Corner of Davie & Pacific), Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3

Though the playing season is over for another year, the club will
continue to stay in contact with its members over the winter months
while planning for another successful year in 2012. Prospective new
members are encouraged to contact the club to be added to the email
list at

A TRIBUTE – by John O’Flynn

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you about a great Irishman, Jim
Speiran, who receives the second “Spirit Award” for a LIfeTime of
Contribution and support of all things Irish from the Vancouver ISSC
and sponsor – Ronan Matthews.

For almost 36 years, Jim has been at the pulse of the local  Vancouver
GAA and Irish community.

I know that I, and so many others in our community, see this award as
being so well-deserved. I must say how wonderful a person you are,
Jim, to be able to interact and communicate with the friend and with
the stranger. You have a capacity to connect and make one feel
welcomed and informed  – You have a unique talent and a gift for
“memories” that are so wonderfully shared – and for that we are

Jim, a radio officer on Merchant Ships, married Maureen on December
27, 1966. Prior to their arrival to Vancouver in  May 1967, they first
arrived in Montreal, Quebec in January of that year, but the weather
was just a bit too much and so west they went to cross the Rockies.

Jim would go on to work with Canadian Pacific Airlines from 1967 until
his retirement in September 2001.

The summer of 1969 was Jim’s first contact with the Emerald Players (
an Irish theatre group) in Vancouver and he was a follower of the
Glenavon Soccer Club. He was supportive of the Irish Dance Schools and
other fundraisers/events that would arise in the Irish community.

For our proud Gaelic Athletic Association club, he travelled with ISSC
members in our second venture to San Francisco in 1976 and would he
not but travel 35 years later this last Labour Day Weekend to support
our five teams in San Francisco…only inches away from the sideline
in his chair.. a chair that was often more empty due to his mobile
presence on the pitch or due to conversation with others.

Jim was responsible in bringing in our Gaelic Games from Ireland into
Vancouver in 1993 and 1994 through New York channels. From 1995 to
1997, he oversaw the arrival of taped games by plane at YVR from the
Edmonton WolfeTones GAA Club until Setanta caught wind of it!

His home was refuge to many visitors from Ireland which include Clare
hurler Tony Griffin and his support staff when they were preparing to
cross Canada by bicycle. Air Lingus footballers from Dublin and
footballers from Seattle who couldn’t get a hotel room due to a  local
convention – and as you now know – a Seattle footballer is very much a
rare sight nowadays!

Jim has vigilantly maintained his membership with not only our club
but is a member of both the Irish Heritage Society of Canada and the
White Rock Irish Club who’s members are here in attendance tonight

Jim has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to our lives. His
contacts, his approachability, his willingness to share and support,
have earned him this wonderful honour bestowed on tonight. Well done,

John O’Flynn