2016-03-04 / Weekender

Making Shilelagh Law At Riis Park

By Daniel Offner


Shilelagh Law Shilelagh Law Be sure to swing by the Rockaway Rugby Club in Riis Park, following the 41st annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this Saturday, for a performance by the "thirstiest" Irish band in the Tri-State area—Shilelagh Law.

For nearly 17 years, these five lads have continued to perform to crowds which predominantly celebrate and embrace Irish- American music and culture.

But, Shilelagh Law is not your typical Irish folk group. They enjoy a little of everything— from the more traditional sound of the Clancy Brothers, to slightly more modern Celtic-rock groups, such as The Pogues.

“We’re a pretty rowdy band,” said Kevin McCarthy, accordion player for Shilelagh Law.

Unlike other musicians, many of whom long for the opportunity to travel on tour, Shilelagh Law only puts on a few shows a year due to their busy schedules.

“We have real jobs,” McCarthy said. “We don’t have time to tour like a proper band because of our schedules… Our wives wouldn't allow it.”

McCarthy, a recently retired Police Officer, said that since everyone in the band works full-time, they will typically only be able to book a gig two-to-three times in a month.

Shilelagh Law began in 1998, when three high school friends from Yonkers— lead singer Rich Popovic, drummer Terence Brennan and bassist Steve Gardner—decided to start an Irish folk band.

After the band’s original fiddler, Mary Theresa, left the group, the trio decided to place an ad for a replacement. Dennis Mc- Carthy, Kevin’s brother, saw the ad and responded immediate l y. And, just like that, Shilelagh Law was formed.

Now, almost 17 years later, they can still put on a show and have a fun time doing it. And, out of all their performances, nothing means quite as much to them as playing the Rockaways.


Jameson’s Revenge Jameson’s Revenge “We’ve been playing in the Rockaways for years. They are one of our most loyal fan bases,” Rich Popovic said. “There are a lot of energetic and enthusiastic folks out there [on the peninsula].”

After the festivities, on March 5, visit the Rockaway Rugby Club in Riis Park for some live music by Shilelagh Law, Jameson’s Revenge, The Narrowbacks, the Iona Bagpipers and also DJ Timmy Tubs.

To find out more about Shilelagh Law, visit halfthebottle.com or check out SLNYC on Facebook.

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