California honours Ballyshannon woman

California honours Ballyshannon woman
Ballyshannon native, Kathy McGee, has been named Irishwoman of the Year by the Irish congress of Southern California, and will be an honoree at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in San Diego, California this Saturday, March 16.

Ballyshannon native, Kathy McGee, has been named Irishwoman of the Year by the Irish congress of Southern California, and will be an honoree at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in San Diego, California this Saturday, March 16.

A daughter of well-known locals Pat and Mary T. McGee, who bilocate between here and the US, Kathy was an outstanding basketball player in her second level days at the Convent of Mercy in Ballyshannon, and has continued her sporting achievements through gaelic football.

This will be the 33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in San Diego, and the theme for this year’s parade is “Celebrating the Gaelic Athletic Association”.

McGee is being honoured for her contributions to women’s gaelic football in San Diego – she was a founding member of Na Fianna LGFC, which was started in San Diego in 1998.

McGee played with the club for 10 years, and captained the team for seven of those 10 years.

She was vice-captain for an additional two years, before she retired due to “auld age”.

She captained Na Fianna to three North American Championship finals between 2004 and 2006, with Na Fianna being victorious in 2004 and 2005 and only narrowly beaten in the 2006 final.

She held numerous board positions for Na Fianna during her playing tenure, and was also treasurer of the Southern California County Board for several years. She also helped organise the GAA All-Star visit to San Diego in 2004 while she was still playing with Na Fianna.

Her love of the game was particularly evident when she travelled from San Diego twice this past summer to watch Donegal in the All Ireland semi-final against Cork, and again watch the team raise Sam in Croke Park in September.

McGee is a member of the San Diego Irish network, a professional network connecting Irish and Irish-Americans in San Diego and Southern California.

The San Diego St. Patrick’s Day parade draws more than 120 parade entries and thousands of attendees, making it one of the largest single-day events in San Diego.

The parade will be followed by an Irish festival, as well as gaelic games exhibitions. San Diego boasts a men’s football team (Setanta), a ladies football team (Na Fianna), a hurling team (St. Peter’s), as well as a rapidly growing youth club, with four active teams.