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Thousands throng Garden City for

Annual Jay Gallagher Tournament

The Seventeenth Annual Jay Gallagher Memorial Lacrosse Tournament recently took place on Garden City’s lacrosse fields. The ‘Gallagher’ has been a key fundraiser, with well over $750,000 collected throughout the years for the Andy Foundation, the Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation, the Miracle Foundation and the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital.

With more than 120 teams and 5,000 players, coaches and fans from the tri-state area, the annual tournament provided high level competition in both the boys and girls groups from the third grade up to and including the eighth grade.

The games are a great challenge for all that participate but they are really all just secondary to the real mission of the tournament — raising dollars and awareness for the foundations they sponsor.

As the mission statement of the tournament reads, “the tournament memorializes Jay Gallagher, Andrew Palmeri, Mollie Biggane, Ryan Kohart and David Leistman. Ryan and David were lost in the September 11th tragedy. Ryan was a graduate of Garden City High School and a four-year letterman at North Carolina University. Ryan was the recipient of The Jay Gallagher Award, which recognizes ‘The Outstanding Freshman In The Carolina Lacrosse Program.’ Dave was a graduate of Sewanhaka High School and a four-year Letterman at Adelphi University. A long-time village resident, Dave was active in the Garden City Rams Lacrosse program coaching both boy’s and girl’s teams. It was with great sadness that the lacrosse world and local community heard of this tragic loss of such fine individuals.”

The website continues with the message in saying “Jay Gallagher graduated from Garden City High School in 1970 where he co-captained the varsity lacrosse team. Jay was a four-year defenseman at Cornell and tri-captained the ‘Big Red’ his senior year, helping them to the NCAA semi-finals. After graduation, he acted as an assistant coach for North Carolina, Syracuse, Rutgers and Cornell from 1981-1985. His legacy is still present with the John W. ‘Jay’  Gallagher Memorial Scholarship Fund, which goes to a needy Cornell underclassman. Jay had a memorable association with Garden City, Cornell and the lacrosse world, and it was with much sadness that members of these groups heard of his death on January 9, 1992, at age 39 from melanoma.”

Tournament Director Anthony Randi, and his team of countless volunteers, continue to do a tremendous job each year as the weekend grows in popularity. From setting up the fields, managing the schedules, keeping the tournament running smoothly at the three local locations and ultimately breaking down the fields and doing cleanup, the volunteers work tirelessly throughout the weekend. In additional to the exceptional turnout of teams that the tournament attracts, the fundraising and excellent results wouldn’t be accomplished without the more than 70 sponsorships (all of which can be found online at www.jaygallagherlaxtournament.com/2014-sponsors.html)