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Volume 1, Issue 8

Christmas 2010

BELGIUM GAA NEWSLETTER Brought to you by Belgium GAA Publishing and De Valera's Pub, Place Flagey

Updating members and non-members alike on the activities of one of the best and most ambitious GAA clubs on the European Continent

Belgium GAA 2010: A Review Our code officers Sylvia McCarthy (Camogie), Jane Brennan (Ladies Football) and Colin Byrne (Mens Football), and coach Martin Crowley (Hurling) gave us their perspective on Belgium GAA in 2010.


In this issue you can read all about:  Tournament reports: Maastricht  Youth GAA in Belgium  The End-of-Year Dinner

The leaps and bounds covered by Belgium GAA camogie are due in no small part to huge club support, quality coaching, and the admirable team that  Club and player news developed in 2010. At the start of the year, many players had to learn the basics of the game, but effort and enthusiasm resulted in marked ...and much more! improvements from tournament to tournament. Our challenges included training in the treacherous Parc 50e, disastrous injuries and epic train journeys, but in the end, Belgium camogie came out on top. Our first ever tournament win (at home in June) gave us a glimpse of the future, and the future was ours. This was emphasised by another cup in Zurich, two Players of the Tournament (Niamh and Ciara), and our first ever European Championship win. This success, in addition to the love that everyone has for the game, has brought camogie into the limelight of Belgium GAA and gained us some hard-earned respect. There is no doubt that 2011 will be just as exciting.

Ladies Football Champions for the third year in a row – it‟s pretty impressive, you know. Even if at this point it‟s almost expected and therefore not often acknowledged. We have been privileged to have exceptional players join Belgium Ladies in the past 3 years, but none of our victories have come easy. Perhaps it looked that way from the sideline, but the victories weren‟t achieved in those short 10 minute a-side games once a month. They were achieved in February when we froze our arms off doing the ***ing plank on the rock hard Astroturf in BSB. They were achieved in the sweltering summer heat in Parc Cinq, when we all got bitten alive by whatever evil creatures reside in that godforsaken place. They were achieved every time we got up at some ridiculous hour of the morning to travel who-knows-where, spending far too much money on planes, trains and automobiles. Continued on page 2

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 A Review of Belgium GAA in 2010 Continued from page 1

Ladies Football...continued The end results were generally the same, but Holland Ladies are out for our blood after too many lastminute defeats and we won‟t forget our loss to Vienna (who deserved to win every bit as much as we did) in Budapest, regardless of how it happened in the end. Belgium Ladies A, B and C thoroughly respect our opposition. Not because it‟s the polite thing to do, but because we wouldn‟t be where we are if we didn‟t. In 2010, nobody sat back and relaxed, watching the victories roll in – if we had, there would not have been any victories. There won‟t be any resting on laurels in 2011 either – I‟m proud to say with confidence that come February, we‟ll have as many people out training as there were when we finished up last month. That is the only way we have won over the last three years. And it is the only way we will win again. But for now – we‟ll enjoy the celebrations, after all that work – we deserve to.

Football Men's football in Belgium continued to grow from strength to strength during 2010. From around 30 players running in the freezing cold in BSB in January and February under the watchful eye of Rochie, to 40 plus travelling with 3 teams to Maastricht in November, 2010 saw record numbers participating and two or three teams fielded in three regional and three pan Euro competition rounds. We started this year with the definite aim of having a competitive B team, and this was achieved with something to spare. Under the stewardship of Johnny Phelan, the year kicked off with an brilliant 3rd place display in Luxembourg in June, and continued with an excellent group winning display in Budapest that left the Bs with a chance of claiming the Shield in Maastricht. Despite some great displays on the day, this proved a bridge too far but the huge strides taken during the year were there for all to see. And there was no shortage of silverware during the year either. With Eoin Sheanon excelling as captain, the Benelux Regional Championship was claimed convincingly after victories in the Den Haag, Brussels and Luxembourg competitions. The inaugural Nations Cup was claimed, following a great battle with Luxembourg in Maastricht. Unfortunately the Championship eluded us again this year but all efforts will focus on that for 2011. There were many other great occasions in 2011. Clare Island stands out as one of the best. We may have been few in numbers travelling, but we made up for that in terms of jaegerbombs consumed on the Saturday night. A great shout to Olof Gill‟s wonderful mother, not to mention the rest of the islanders, for showing us such great hospitality. The visits of Mike McGurn and Eamonn Ryan on training weekends were other highlights that spring to mind. Finally, 2010 saw us bid hello and adieu to a lot of new and old faces. Some old timers such as Tom Lane, Oliver O'Callaghan, Philip Roche, Ciaran Hudson all said goodbye to Brussels for various reasons and will be sorely missed. We had short but eventful visits from the likes of Diarmuid Laffan and Marty 'The Fridge' Brennan. Club stalwart Conchur de Barra has left us temporarily to further his career in Canada. Such turnover is part and parcel of life in a small European club and we are all well used to it. Lads will be missed, new lads will come on board, but come January, we'll all be raring to go and give it another lash for 2011.

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 A Review of Belgium GAA in 2010

Hurling We start the year knowing we have to defend our crown without many of the lads who won it: Hartey, Eoghan K, and Emmet. Rochie‟s ACL affliction stops him playing too, and new euro Chair Willie has to sit at top tables all over the place so we plan without him. Declan will miss most of it too. Who will replace them? Happily Crusher comes back stronger than ever and ready to be captain, Conchur returns too in equally robust order. Then Conor Magner appears on Patrick‟s Day, it turns out Shane plays the game nearly as well as he talks about it and Sean, Ciaran and John M further strengthen the base. Big Liam materialises, hand passing the ball further than many can strike it, and Jim delivers on his promise but his coalition with Keary never comes to pass as injury robs the Chairman of his season. Instead Kevin manages us in Den Haag on the May holiday weekend, I‟m not there to confuse and a win is squeezed out with a thin squad drawn from our supposed multitude of players. Best of all, Conor M and Fergal have their young fellas Emmet and Robert with them on the sideline, and it feels like we have roots. The same happens in Luxembourg where we still make Conor A play in goal and he hits the longest pucks and Kevin masterminds another win. Suddenly non-hurler Timmy O is a star alongside his mentor, Dave. Pity that less than half us train and pity the half who do, as they endure the dust bowl of Parc 50 and my thrill-less drills. No end of Adrian‟s charm, doodles and emails can get a better than modest turnout at training. Olga‟s girls shame us with their application and progress. Mid June and we go to Leuven for our home tournament and at last we have 2 Belgium teams erecting tents before 9.00 and its 90 degrees in the shade with 6 teams playing. The As sweep Paris and Zurich aside but don‟t impress themselves, and the Bs test Den Haag severely and beat Lux, creating an A v B semi. It turns into a great game with Daire and Dave wrestling and jostling under Liam‟s puck outs until Keary‟s premature comeback ends with a heart thumping departure and Eoin runs amuck to make it a Den Haag v Belgium A final. We promote Daire and Dominic from the Bs, but its level at half time when Daire implores the lads to let the ball in low – they do and he responds with a hat trick in 5 minutes and all‟s well that ends well. Home Tournament won and with it the Championship but we have to go to Zurich to really feel we have earned it. We finally stage a proper training match and I duck a Daire rasper from 6 yards. Dave rages at me and he‟s right - the game matters always or its not hurling. We travel slowly with a tidy 14-man squad but make ourselves smaller before match time and struggle through the closest tournament since the legendary Lux win in 2009. In the final, Hough and Crusher bring us to the edge of victory before Dave‟s calm accuracy lands the killer blow to the host‟s determined almost demented challenge. Crusher‟s dignified victory speech reminds us all why we play. Europe‟s hurlers acknowledge it and celebrate the game if not our win, but we make up for them and the journey home enters the annals. 2010 done but will we be ready to rumble in 2011?


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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 A Team Football Report

Continued Uphill Battles of the A Team Reportage by Brendan Lynch So having gotten Johnny to do my write up for the last newsletter the powers that be seem determined to get me writing, although the last thing I wrote of any note was about 10 years ago, I‟m more a visual type of chap. Anyway Maastricht was another disaster in what is now a growing list of footballing disasters in my goalkeeping career. Many can‟t understand how or why we went from Benelux champs to European Chumps, I don‟t have the answer, although I wasn‟t playing on the A team in the Benelux, competition, I‟ll leave the rest for you to decide if that had any bearing. So to Maastricht. Possibly the only person who can hold their hand up after the tournament and say that they played at their best was Eoin, who was closer to me than Crusher and Burkey on numerous occasions. That doesn‟t bode well for corner backs, as it turned out, those omens were correct. He also scored some great points and played a role in others. I like playing Luxembourg, we tend to win the games and it was no different this time as we ran out convincing winners in our first match of the championship, not sure of the score but Mr Barrett has it detailed in his blog (http://

44 and-then-it-was-done.html). Next up was Den Haag, personally I have never been on the winning side against them, and partially due to 1 dodgy short kickout that trend has not changed. So 1-4 to 2 points at half time things were looking bad, we picked ourselves up in the second half and James O Dowd scored some great points, 5 in all. Still we lost by a point and that as far as I was concerned was very worrying. I had been watching some of the Paris matches and they looked good, they had already beaten Den Haag in their first game. So as it turned out, match 3 of the group stage was “do or die” against Paris Gaels. Unfortunately and of late no real big surprise, we died. We got off to a great start, 2:2 to 1 point after about 7 minutes, then they came back and scored 3 really sloppy goals. We lost by a point, and ended up playing Luxembourg again. We won this game comfortably, but for me this was no comfort at all. So we finish our year with a whimper and look forward to a couple of months to rest and to contemplate a new year where hopefully our fortunes will change. See you next year for the first day of training and bring the balls Dave. us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 B Team Football Report

Bs-Not There Yet, But Getting There Reportage by Andrew Shorten We all assembled beside the ING bank in Schuman at 7am on a dark, cold and wet wintry morning. This time we weren‟t about to board a plane or a train, or even have in store for a nine hour journey on the fun bus. Instead we had a short spin down the motorway to Maastricht. For Johnny P‟s Shield army, what we had to do was clear – win the Maastricht tournament and we would be crowned European Shield Champions. Hopes were high we would achieve this as we travelled with what was arguably the strongest Belgian B panel ever. We were drawn in a group that also contained Amsterdam, Rennes and Lyon. First up it was a disoriented Lyon team who only just managed to get 11 players on the pitch. The Belgian team showed no mercy though and racked up a large score in conditions that ensured we would play the rest of the day in rain soaked jerseys. Enda Rice and Michael Hough got the pick of the scores, with Collie Byrne also winning a lot of dirty ball around midfield. Next up it was Rennes – a former Championship team who had just thrown away a substantial half time lead against Amsterdam in their first game. This game proved to be a much tighter affair with the Belgian team slow to come out of the blocks. We were scoreless at half time but that soon changed after Keary provided the Hough with a sublime diagonal pass to leave him with the simplest of finishes to the back of the net. Enda tagged on a long range free and the Hough once again came up trumps at the end with his second green flag of the game. This left the final score at 2 -1 to 1-3 and a win by the slenderest of margins. This








Amsterdam to decide who would top the group and qualify for the semi finals. Thankfully the weather had improved by this stage, and we even saw some glimpses of sunshine during the match. Amsterdam were obviously still hurting from the defeat we inflicted upon them down in Budapest as they came at us hammer and tongs right from the throw in. We were 2 points to 1 down at the short whistle and well in the game. Unfortunately we then started to panic and started hitting hopeful balls forward instead of the patient build-up we had used in the previous two matches. With five minutes to go we were only 2 points down and started to push forward in search of the green flag we needed. This inevitably left a few holes at the back and Amsterdam tagged on 2 late points to push their winning margin out to 4 points, as the goal we craved for never arrived. Needless to say the mood in the panel had dropped significantly as the realisation that the dream was now gone and the best we could finish was 5th set in. We played St. Malo next and lost by two points in a game that featured some very questionable refereeing decisions. Finally we played against Guerande. With the shackles off and the realisation that this would probably be the last game of football we played in 2010 we played some of our best football of the day, winning the game comfortably in the end. Then it was finished. Unfortunately it didn‟t turn out the way we had all hoped it would but the Belgian B team has made great progress this year and it can only be onwards and upwards for next year. If we continue to build on what we have put in place this year who knows what 2011 may have in store.

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 C Team Football Report

Going Boldly To Where No Cs Have Gone Before Reportage by Conor Aylward Some managers are lucky enough to be sent to the stands, I for my sins got sent to goals. That assignment coupled with my poor eyesight and sketchy memories are the reasons for the unconventional reporting style submitted herewith. Suffice to say, it doesn't do justice to the monumental efforts put in by Europe's best and most historic C-Team on the 6th of November in Maastricht. Game 1: Liffre. You know its going to be a challenging day when you meet most of your team mates for the first time in the dressing room 30 minutes before your first match. However, there was a definite sense of purpose about the lads. There were no great expectations on us and most of the guys were just looking to get stuck in and play some ball. Our opponents had given the B-Team the run around on a number of occasions last year. The strategy was simple - defend, defend and then defend some more. Martin, JP and Pat were tenacious in defence, hardly putting a foot wrong. Cathal, John H., Paul and Mike were linking up nicely between midfield and the forwards. We held our own in the first half, only going in a point or two down. There was a definite feeling that the game was there for the taking. The second half went much the same way as the first. In the end we finished 2 points down. Game 2: Prague. Fast forward time. I was told to keep the report to 713 words or they will feed me to the monster that lives under the stairs in Dev's. 

Prague were runners up in the last tournament in Budapest and were looking to go one better this time

We held our own in the first half going in a couple of points down

We conceded a couple of soft goals in the 2nd half which took the wind from our sails and we ended up going down by those couple of goals.

The stand out performer was John N. who took up a job shadowing Prague's top marksman. I don't think he scored from play


which is testimony to the how much of a damned nuisance John can be when he puts his mind to it. 

Notable moments included Kitch regressing to his Mayo clan roots by punching, kicking, biting and pulling the hair of anything that moved. Also Gearoid for manfully trying to block fists, footballs & opposition runs with his face.

Game 3: St Malo. This game started off rather predictably with a "Haka" from our French opposition. This was respectively observed by all, including Carlo whose tribes cultural rituals include baring ones bottom to an opponent *think Braveheart but hairier*. To say it was a classic is an understatement. We started sluggishly going in 1-4 down after the first half, with a flukey goal really hurting. What happened at half time can never be talked of again but a fire was lit in the bellies of the lads for round 2. The team threw caution to the wind and points were starting to land from all angles including a peach from Eamonn. St Malo were rattled. As they panicked we became more composed in front of goals. The end result was an historic win for the Cs by the smallest of margins. It‟s an over used cliché, but the team did become greater than the sum of the individual parts over a day. What a day for the parish. Epilogue. Prague were group winners with us, Liffre and St Malo finishing as joint runners up. Unfortunately our points difference meant we didn't get to qualify for more games. Except, that is, for Matti. He impressed the St Malo team so much they poached him to replace an injured player for the rest of the Tournament. What he did next can also never again be spoken of. The Team. Carlo Walker, Cathal McCabe, Conor Aylward, David Kitching, Eamonn Farrell, Gearoid Murphy, John Harkin, John Nganga, JP Mulherin, Martin Crowley, Matti Bertrand, Mike Lucey, Pat Barrett, Paul Hagan. (Editor‟s note: the C team is pictured with the B team on page 5.) us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Maastricht Football Tournament

Photos from Maastricht


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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Ladies Football

A Tale of Three Teams Reportage by Laura Whiskerd For the first time in our history, Belgium GAA ladies descended upon Maastricht in full force, with not one, not two, but three teams competing in the day‟s competition. The men‟s contingent also travelled with three squads, meaning that over 70 representatives of Belgium GAA invaded the Dutch city, an outstanding achievement for our club! Overall it was a very successful day for all of the ladies‟ teams. An Bheilig probably had the hardest group to compete in on the day, facing opposition like Rennes, Holland and Munich. The team, however, put up a valiant fight under the leadership of captain Niamh Kennedy, and lost a very close match to Rennes by 1 point. The fact that Rennes was in the same group played to An Bheilig‟s advantage, as due to insufficient numbers in the Rennes panel, three of the girls combined with the Belgian team and remained with them for the rest of the day. After a day of exciting matches Ah Bheilig beat Paris Gold in their final game, securing 7th place in the competition – which is a great performance for a team that was playing together for the first time this year! Belgium B also performed consistently well throughout the day. My super-assistant Steph helped me out in coaching Belgium B as due to the fixtures it was impossible for me to be on more than one sideline at any given time... however, the Bs, captained by Jess O‟Flynn, put up an excellent fight in every match, winning their final group game and winning their final


game of the day against Viking Gaels to be placed 5th in the competition – yet another fantastic performance! Belgium A once again dominated the tournament, beating all opposition in the group stages, and winning an exciting semi-final against Holland to go on to face Paris in the final for the umpteenth time this year. There is not much to say, apart from that Belgium A, led by captain Caoimhe, played an outstanding final comfortably beating Paris, which was a great way to finish the season. Congratulations should also go to Ciara Farrell for winning Player of the Tournament for the second time this year. With 29 players, it is impossible to mention everyone here. But if you will allow me to wear my „coach‟s hat‟ for a second, I will say this: It is not about who is on which team, or how many matches a team wins. What makes Belgium GAA ladies so special is that each and every one of them is committed and determined to do their best for the club, no matter what team they are on, or what position they play in. Belgium A supports An Bheilig, An Bheilig supports Belgium B, Belgium B supports Belgium A and so on and so forth...Sending three teams to a tournament is something which I am pretty sure has never been done in the history of ladies Gaelic football in Europe and it is something which each representative of Belgium GAA ladies present in Maastricht that day should be proud of. As coach, I would like to say thank you for a fantastic season, and I hope to be back playing next year. us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Ladies Football

From Mayo to Maastricht 4432.4 miles (approx) and one European championship later… Reportage by Caoimhe Ní Shúilleabháin It all began in the Mayo sunshine. We may have spent little more than 24 hrs on Clare Island but the unseasonable March sunshine, the flaithiúlacht of the islanders and indeed our first victory of the season all made the epic journey worthwhile. From playing in the shadow of Gráinne Mhaol‟s castle to rocking it up in the community centre to drinking tea with Olof‟s mammy, „twas indeed a memorable weekend.

Tournament one of two in Maastricht came next and was another successful day for Belgium ladies, captained that day by Sylvia McCarthy. Memories from the day: Laura‟s lovely sandals, Anay‟s abuse of the Lux team. But also one of the toughest matches of the championship in a hard fought final against Holland.

U n f o r t u n a t e l y Eyjafjallajökull intervened to disrupt the Belgium ladies next engagement in their campaign to conquer Europe for the third time running. Despite the indomitable leadership of Maria “the Bros” Brosnan who mustered the troops to head Valencia via Frankfurt, there was no stopping the volcano and the journey came to an abrupt end in the lovely vineyards of Mosel, Germany. A night of mojitos in Brussels helped somewhat to assuage the disappointment.

Budapest is probably the tournament we would all like to forget, but should remember because of the important lessons learned, most notably, to play the whistle. We did manage to put disappointment far enough behind us, however, to carry on a singsong til the early hours and then board a bus for sightseeing the next day at some unholy hour.

May saw Belgium GAA host its first home football tournament and a successful one it was too. The ladies fielded two very strong teams and the As came away with a great victory after a comprehensive victory over Paris in the final. After an afternoon spent terrorising the backlines of Europe, Belgium‟s Ciara O‟Farrell was deservedly awarded Player of the Tournament. And so to Paris, the bugbear of Belgium ladies. However, this year spurred on by birthday girl Caragh‟s request for Paris‟ head on a plate, or alternatively the Paris trophy, and inspired by Gráinne‟s leadership, the day was Belgium‟s. Paris also saw the departure of Bros, serenaded on her way with a memorable on-pitch rendition of “Bad Romance.” Lady Gaga eat your heart out. 99

It may have seemed impossible that the tournament in München could live up to the previous year‟s, but so it did. Clipboard Man validated the German stereotype of efficiency; there was Barry‟s tea, there was a hall full of food and beer, and as always, lost souls wandering around Kultfabrik. Most importantly of all, the best fullback in Europe and our favourite Corca Dhuibhne woman was finally acknowledged for another excellent performance on the field agus bronnadh duais Laoch na hImeartha ar Ghráinne.

In between rounds of the championship, a small band of Belgium players travelled to London under the captaincy of Sinéad Fitzsimons to play Tara ladies in the “Exiles‟ Cup” which the Tara ladies won in Parc 50 last year. This year, despite playing an unfamiliar 11-a-side and a somewhat more physical game than encountered on the continent, the ladies brought the cup back to Brussels. Second time round in Maastricht and we were delighted to field three teams all of whom finished the day victorious in their respective finals. What better way to close the season?? Goals for 2011? 4 in a row and a clean sweep of all tournaments. No pressure ladies!

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Youth GAA in Belgium

The Kids are Alright Reportage by Fergal Mythen Damn it but with all the bad news from home, the doom and gloom, the long dark evenings and the lousy cold weather, it can be hard enough to be upbeat these days. We don‟t even have Davy Barrett‟s training to take our minds off things. So if you‟re in the market for a tonic, if you want to give your spirits a lift, or if you just need your regular fix of Peil during the official GAA closed season, you could do an awful lot worse than head out to the BSB „elephant‟ pitches every second Sunday to see – or better still help out with – the next generation of young footballers going through their paces, tearing up and down the pitch with an O'Neill's no. 3 ball, and having a great time to boot – notwithstanding the challenges occasionally posed by the Brussels micro-climate. It genuinely warms the heart to see 30+ children, learning, practicing and then utilising in matches all the key skills of our game. A little bit of background. Known as the EC GAELIC CLUB / BRUSSELS, the club has been in existence since about 1980, starting out

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essentially as a men's senior club in the pioneer days long before the European County Board and Pan European Championship. Over the years, it has evolved into a youth GAA club. Our current membership is primarily young Irish boys & girls who have grown up either in Ireland or in Belgium but we also have many other nationalities playing. We cater for 5 year olds up to mid-teens. We have three groups based on age and experience so that each child is getting the right coaching for his or her level and, more importantly, getting lots and lots of time on the ball. This season we got off to a cracking start on 3 October, with Cork coach Eamonn Ryan taking the session and imparting his knowledge to the young players – and to some of the coaches too it has to be said – with enthusiasm, energy and passion, even though this was his fourth coaching session of the weekend. And the response since then has been equally enthusiastic, both from the young players themselves and from their parents, with a good number helping out with coaching and organisation – and a few going into goal to us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Youth GAA in Belgium

reconnect with their long-dormant inner Paddy Cullen or Martin Furlong and pulling off some extraordinary saves. We really want to build on this tús maith – with even more children participating – so get the message out there to your friends and colleagues if they are looking for a fun, sporting outlet for their children. We also want to keep improving our coaching sessions, making them as varied and interesting and enjoyable as possible. So if you want to help out for just a single session or for the season, you would be really welcome, as would your ideas and inputs into our coaching drills. [confession: occasionally we have plagiarised some of Barrett‟s copyrighted drills but the kids keep getting confused with all the cones and intricate jinxy moves; maybe we‟re not explaining the drills correctly]. Our forthcoming sessions are on the following Sundays from 2 to 3.30 pm – 23 January, 6 February, 20 February and 6 March, with further dates to be added up to the end of June 2011. Details are on the club website: Looking ahead, the challenge for the Club is to 11 11

press for the development of a European youth tournament or competition which would give our players a clear focus for their efforts, just as the development of the adult football and hurling competitions has spurred the promotion of our games across Europe over the past decade. Over the years, the Junior Club – under the stewardship of Liam Breslin, Denis and Kay Sheehan, Joe Murtagh, Caoimhin Ó Ciaruain and others – has trained teams who have participated in Feile Peil na nÓg tournaments in Dublin, Galway, Tipperary, Carlow and Limerick. And on many occasions we have hosted visiting teams from Ireland (including a most enjoyable visit from my own club, Whitehall Colmcilles U-13s), as well as playing games in France, Spain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. However, the inauguration of an officially organised, annual European competition – providing regular opportunities to play teams at similar stages of development in reasonably accessible locations – would be of huge benefit to our young players. So over to Chairman Willie and the County Board Convention in Stockholm in December!

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8

Event: Belgium GAA End-Of-Season Dinner Date: Saturday 27 November 2010, 7.30pm to 10am Location: De Valera’s Bar, Place Flagey, Brussels Who was there?: Everyone who is anyone on the Belgium GAA circuit.

What was drunk?: Or should it be Who was drunk? The bar went through 20 bottles of Jägermeister. Inside sources say that the brand is in negotiations for a sponsorship deal with the club. It faces strong competition from another fierce contender, Vedett, whose sweatbands were worn by many club members.

Winners on the night?: Some say that everyone is a winner on nights like this, but in Belgium GAA’s case, this was true. A table laden with medals, trophies and plaques greeted guests on arrival, and many members left with more than one medal to their name. Additional acknowledgements went to honourable members, including coaches and officers, while the distinguished Player of the Year awards were presented to Caoimhe Ní Shúilleabháin (Ladies Football), Niamh Kennedy (Camogie), James McGrath (Mens Football), and David Barrett Esq. (Hurling) (pictured on the right). Mr. Barrett was also recognised as Club Person of the Year, bringing a proud blush to the Corkman’s cheeks. A final award went to another Corkman, Conchur de Barra, in honour of his dedication to the club and his imminent departure from Belgian shores (profile of Mr. de Barra on opposite page).

Music: Among other offerings, the 1st Christmas tunes of the festive season

Sartorial observations: All were decked out in their finest feathers, but the most standout fashion statement was made by one C. Byrne, who sported a voluminous grey cardigan. Said cardie caused quite a stir, in particular when worn later in the night by at least 2 people at one time.

They said: “Why are the paramedics here?”, “It’s WHAT time?”, “Why are the cleaners here?”, “Is that daylight?”, “Where will we go for breakfast?”, “Thank god, it’s a year until the next dinner”. 12 12 us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8 Player Profile

Player Profile - Conchur de Barra Conchur de Barra. Player. Sponsor. Treasurer. The man wears many hats in Belgium GAA, but has recently replaced them all with a cowboy hat (plus cowboys boots and buckle), as he moves his life to Canada for a year. Belgium GAA bids him farewell with the final player profile of the year.

Who are you? Conchur de Barra, aka The Bull, aka the Grand Marshal :) Where are you from? Bride Rovers, Co. Cork Where do you work? I am currently unemployed and looking for bar work in Toronto. Why did you join Belgium GAA? Because I met Fergal Mythen in The Old Oak (getting the plug in there) and was impressed by his love of the game. What is your favourite European GAA tournament and why? It would be the Belgian tournaments, if only we didn't have to put up the tents. It‟s great to see so many from the parish out in one day, wearing the proud grey, red and salmon of Belgium. Who is your Belgium GAA hero and why? Gráinne Ní Fhlatharta, legend! Who is your overall GAA hero? Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, he is the GAA, and a great man, I had the privilege of chatting to him on one of my Niall Mellon Township Trust visits in the shanty towns in South Africa. What do you see as the main differences in the Belgium GAA of 2004 and 2010? it just gets better and better, another year on, another year better, having seen Brussels hurling club go from a few lads in the park to the biggest team in Europe. What words of encouragement would you give a new member joining our esteemed club? Get involved in any way you can in the club, either helping set up trainings, organise events, fundraisers, committee work. If you are injured, don't make the mistake of sitting it out on your own. The GAA is one of the best social introductions you can get to the city. 13 13

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Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8

Players News & Events

News & Events

2011 Annual General Meeting - Call for Fresh Blood The Belgium GAA AGM will be held on Tuesday 25 January 2011, at 19h00 in the European Parliament (room JAN 6Q1). An email with further details will be circulated to all members at a later stage. Anyone who wishes to become active on the Committee should contact Kevin Keary on It is important to have fresh involvement so all members of the club - new school, old school or any school - are welcome to express their interest in the positions available. Looking forward to 2011, we will have a discussion at our AGM about our plans for the year, with issues such as whether to bid for a Pan-European football tournament high on the agenda. Any new ideas for change in the club to be submitted via motions to our Secretary, Becky Mattes at

European County Board Convention, December 2010 The club was strongly represented at the recent annual ECB convention in Stockholm, with Belgium GAA clubman Willie Cashin returned for a 2nd year as Chairman of the European County Board. Kevin Keary was also returned as Club Development Officer and Conchur de Barra was elected Sponsorship Officer. Dave Barrett and Becky Mattes stepped down after a year each as Coaching and Games Development Officer and Camogie Officer respectively. European GAA is very strong, with 20% year on year growth over past 3 years and a total of 45 clubs active across 17 different countries in continental Europe. The Convention debated and passed a series of motions related to the management of this rapidly growing organisation. With regard to the structure of the season, their will be no big changes across the 4 codes. Belgian delegates argued to scrap the Nations' Cup and revert to the 2009 status of 4 Pan-European Football rounds, however this met with resistance and it seems that some modified form of the Nations' Cup, possibly as a 7-a-side competition, may be put in place for 2011. Of great interest is a plan to host a Pan-European round (most likely in mens and ladies football) in Limerick in October, as part of Limerick's status as 2011 European City of Sport. Delegates made it clear to the County Board however that this should not result in extra expense above and beyond the norm for travel to a "normal" Pan-Euro tournament. The Board officers gave a commitment to come back with a concrete proposal including sponsorship. This could be a huge opportunity to increase awareness of European GAA back in Ireland so is to be welcomed, but nevertheless will have to be carefully controlled so that participation is high and cost is low. All delegates argued for the Competitions Control Committee to come forward with a finalised calendar as early as possible in 2011 so we can start planning our trips for the year, booking flights etc. As soon as this is agreed, club members will be immediately informed via Code Officers. One of the key motions passed from a Belgium GAA perspective was the introduction of a penalty for teams who refuse to play 3rd-4th 5th-6th etc play-offs. Teams will now forfeit all tournament points for refusing to play, except in exceptional cases of injury and so on. This was a key point for Belgium GAA going into the Convention, as we travel in large numbers to all tournaments and want to see as much game time as possible for our club members who have taken the time and effort to travel. Thanks to Colin Byrne and Becky Mattes for their key role in moving forward this motion. There was a lot of talk about developments in hurling, with indoor hurling/camogie being played at 9,000 feet in Switzerland this year. The club will look into source indoor hurling/camogie gear in 2011 as it could be a great way to get early season training going.

Refereeing Course

Anyone interested in getting involved in refereeing should contact Becky (, a Ladies' football refereeing course will be organised in early 2011.

Got news to add? Contact Sylvia McCarthy on 14 14 us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


Christmas 2010

Volume 1, Issue 8

Live the Dream with Belgium GAA Club actively seeking new members Just moved to Belgium or thinking of taking up a new sport? Joining Belgium GAA will provide you with: 1. Physical and skill based training with one of the best clubs in Europe. All skill levels catered for, open to young and old alike. 2. A network of expats working across many different sectors. 3. Plenty of organised social events and drinking opportunities. 4. Reduced rates on one of Brussels‟ best gyms 5. Travel in large groups to exotic destinations across Europe for tournaments. Let‟s just say - the nights have been wild. We also always need volunteers to help with tournaments, coaching, refereeing, fundraising and general mischief-making to keep everyone on their toes. At Belgium GAA we like to consider ourselves a 'welcoming' club. Our attitude is that whether you are Irish or from outer Mongolia, your participation is vital. The more the merrier and anyone who puts in the effort is greatly appreciated.

Last Newsletter of 2010: This is the last newsletter until February/March 2011. Thank you all for your support in getting this project off the ground this year, and if anyone is interested in contributing next year, please don‟t hesitate to contact Sylvia McCarthy ( or Stephanie Dunn (

Training and Tournaments: No more training or tournaments until January/February 2011. If you would like to be added to the team mailing lists, please contact the current team officers, who will keep you upto-date on future developments.

Photo Credits and Thanks to: Colin Byrne, Dave Barrett, Lorraine Baldwin, Alec Elliot, Fergal Mythen, Sinead Ní Mhaoilmhichíl, Stephanie Dunn, and Sylvia McCarthy. If you have photos that you would like to add to the newsletter, please don‟t hesitate to contact Stephanie Dunn (

Contacts Gaelic Football Colin Byrne

Hurling Adrian Hiel

Ladies Football Jane Brennan

GSM: +32 476 073 079 GSM: +32 472 517 038 GSM: +32 484 162 140

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Camogie Sylvia McCarthy GSM:+32 493 712 678

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Belgium GAA Newsletter Christmas 2010  
Belgium GAA Newsletter Christmas 2010  

Volume 1, issue 8