THE RISE OF THE ROVERS
The Van Isle Rovers Gaelic Athletic Club (VIRGAC) is a registered non-profit organization that is 100% volunteer operated. Every practice and game in the league has been run exclusively by its members and volunteers. Formed in September 2019, our roster of players is steadily growing! Although many of our players are first-generation Irish immigrants, many Canadian-born players have also joined the team to reconnect with their Irish roots or to try something completely new. Dipping into a diverse talent pool allows the Van Isle Rovers to operate as a successful and dynamic organization. Our mission is threefold: to promote Gaelic culture on Vancouver Island; to improve each member’s individual athletic ability, self-discipline and character; and to spark a passion for Gaelic sports among Canadians, Irish-born, and the local community
as a whole.
The majority of our 2021 games will be played
against the well-established Vancouver GAA division teams. Gaelic sports have been steadily rising in popularity in Greater Vancouver, which now hosts four Gaelic football teams: ISSC, Fraser Valley Gaels, Éire Óg and St. Finnians. Vancouver also has two hurling teams: Cú Chulainn and the JP Ryans. The major local event for our team this year will be at the Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival held on May long weekend each year.
Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding our inaugural year, our men’s and ladies Gaelic football teams enjoyed an incredible 2020 season. With the support of our generous sponsors and supporters we are excited to be expanding the Club’s codes to include hurling and camogie. Training for both hurling and camogie are to begin in 2021, with the hope of competing in the Vancouver GAA Division as soon as the 2022 season.
The Van Isle Rovers are committed to developing relationships with the local Vancouver Island community through our open-door style kick-about events locally, and our commitment to giving back locally. We believe that this relationship helps nurture cross-cultural conversations and person-to-person relationships within the club and community at large. This year the Van Isle Rovers raised more than $1000 through athletic challenges to help support mental health related local charities. The Club raised $480 for the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and $710 for Solace House Canada to help build a new centre for Sucide Prevention.
MEET OUR COMMITTEE
Daniel comes from Cork and has been living in BC for the past 5 years. He played with the JP Ryan’s GAA club, representing them at the North American championships in Seattle and San Francisco. He is looking forward to promoting Gaelic Games and building on the existing Irish community in Vancouver Island. Come and say hi at the next training session or social outing!
David comes from Navan, Co. Meath, where he grew up playing football. After moving to Canada and finding a new passion for Gaelic sports, he hopes to widen the scope of the sport in the community. With that, he sees the Van Isle Rovers being essential for Irish culture and bringing people together on the island.
Hannah is from Newry, Co.Down in Northern Ireland where she grew up playing Ladies Gaelic Football for various clubs, her University and her County. New to the Island, she appreciates being able to carry on with her passion and share this great sport with anyone willing to learn! Working with youth, she hopes to one day use the GAA as a way of reaching out to the youth of Vancouver Island!
John hails from Drumreilly, Co. Leitrim, where he divided his time between the football pitch and the family farm. He always found a football team to play with, no matter which country he was living in; now he can add Canada to the list as one of the founding members of the Rovers.
John Flanagan, a second generation native born Victorian with a keen interest in all things Celtic. While travelling through Ireland in the early 1970’s he became fascinated with Irish sport, music, culture and history. John is very interested in developing a strong Irish community on the Island and sees the success of the Van Isle Rovers as the impetus to achieve that goal.