The NA-BOCK-LISH Trophy
This trophy with the most unusual name used to be presented to the winners of the New York senior football championship. When the competition was organised for the first time in the early 1900s, a trophy was sought. At the time there was a popular cigar for sale in the city, known as ‘Na-Bock-Lish’, which is an expression from the Irish language. One of the directors of the firm was Peter Quinn, a blunt Irishman with a heart of gold.
He was approached by New York G.A.A.
‘What do you want?’ he asked.
‘We came to you about a trophy for an organisation which is just established.’
‘How much would it cost?’
‘About three hundred.’
‘What did you say?’
‘I’ll take the matter up with the other members, but I’ll guarantee you a real trophy.’
And a real trophy it turned out to be with the name of the cigar inscribed on it.
It can be seen in Lár na Páirce today, standing about thirty inches in height. On top of the lid, which can be removed, is an American eagle, standing on top of a football with the inscription: Na Bocklish Trophy. Underneath are four pillars carrying logos of the four provinces of Ireland, and two of them carry the flag of the U.S. and the harp of Ireland. The top of the columns have shamrocks and decorated scrolls. In the centre of the trophy between the pillars is the figure of a footballer about to kick a ball. The trophy is a bit tarnished today and is missing a few attachments, but it does fit the American idea of a ‘real trophy’.
The arrangements by the New York G.A.A. were that a team had to win the trophy three years in succession before it became the permanent property of the club. New York Tipperary won successive championships in 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929 (also in 1931) and claimed the trophy.
One of the outstanding players on the team, and captain on a couple of occasions, was Tommy Armitage of Templemore. Before arriving in New York in 1926, he had played football with Tipperary. He was on the five successful teams mentioned above, and he captained the New York football team that travelled to Ireland for the Tailteann Games in 1932. He was presented with the cup.
On his retirement from work in New York, he returned to Templemore, where he lived until his death. His son, Tom, who was born in New York, but who lived most of his life in Ireland, presented the famous trophy to Lár na Páire in the 1990s, as well as a framed picture of the great New York Tipperary team that won it.
The NA-BOCK-LISH Trophy