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Volume 1, Issue 5

July/August 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 In this issue you can read all about:  Tournaments reports: Belgium, Zurich and Maastricht  Belgium Intra-Club Football League  A brand new player profile  Nutrition advice ...and much more!

Organising Tournaments … We’ve come a long way baby! I joined what was then known as the Brussels Hurling and Camogie Club early in 2007 when the club could boast about 15 members. While the term ‗camogie‘ was in the club‘s name, there were very few women in the club to dampen the testosterone level. Yep, I am sincerely of the opinion that girls are better multi-taskers and tournament organisers! The club is all the better to have almost a 50-50 mix between the two genders now.

The first tournament round I helped organise was in 2007 and consisted of only hurling teams. Fixtures were invented the night before and all teams were expected to show up for a 10:00 start and find out the order of play upon arrival. The boys had the brilliant idea to set up the tent the night before so as to arrive about 5 minutes before the first match. I arrived, at the appointed hour of 9:00 to find no tent, as overnight it had blown into a neighbour‘s garden. Photos of it still adorn the wall at the BSB as a reminder to not let us rent the grounds for a tournament anymore. Finally about 10:30 everyone else started to meander over for the tournament. Matches started just before noon. When I asked why we advertised a start time of 10:00 if not even our own club was present I was told, ―Becky, European GAA tournaments NEVER start on time.‖ What was I thinking?!? Since then the club has grown to over 75 members and each year the tournaments have become more complex. With numerous lessons learned from our own rounds, as well as attending so many others across the continent, in 2010 we were able to organise two large events of both football and hurling/camogie. All around Europe the calibre of tournaments has increased due to rules instituted by the ECB and also a desire to ensure all tournaments are a good experience for all the travelling players. On the next page is my brain dump of the most important items to run a tournament with a consideration of the main ECB rules we must follow. I hope this information will prove useful in the future.

Is mise le meas, Becky Mattes Belgium GAA Club Secretary

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

Top Tournament Organisation Tips ECB requires us to have an area for people to congregate during inclement weather. Between the club and our sponsor De Valera’s, we own a few tents. a)

Make sure that you have at least 8 people to set up a tent. It‘s not rocket science; there are lots of poles that need to be lifted at the same time.


Each tent takes about an hour to set up. So do the math and either allow for 2 hours or make sure you have 16 people!


Don‘t assume that anyone present will have ever set one up or have a clue how to do it, hence b) above.

We must provide a lunch pack (with a vegetarian option) that consists of a sandwich, isotonic drink, 2 pieces of fruit, and a healthy snack bar. And provide water for all the players and referees. a)

Plan for 2-3 people to do the lunch kit shopping the night before.


Plan for 4-5 people to work as an assembly line to put together the lunch packs that morning.


Plan for 1.5 to 2 litres of water per player registered. Leftovers can be easily stored or brought around to training.

Tournament costs are 15 euro (5 lunch, 10 registration) and 20 euro for dinner. Each team should bring completed disclaimer forms, team sheets and match sheets. a)

To run a tournament you need at least 2 people to manage the day that are NOT playing. One person needs to take care of all the money, registrations, lunch distribution, and manage the general logistics. The second person has the responsibility to run the matches, fixtures, referee changes, etc. This may or may not be the Competition Control Officer (CCO), the ECB officer responsible for the round. If there are 2 pitches nowhere near each other, then you need 3 or 4 people.


If possible, have visiting clubs do a transfer of the funds in advance to avoid having to manage all that cash on the day.


All club members should have paid their tournament fees by the Thursday before so the day can focus on the visiting teams (The girls seemed to have mastered this concept; the boys not so much).


The forms process is a bet of a mess and no one brings their forms. It‘s best to have lots of blank ones and make sure people do them as they pay their registrations.

Fixtures, referees, points etc.



Fixtures for the day are done by an officer of the ECB and should be provided about a week before the tournament date.


Referees are assigned as well by the ECB, and if more than 1 pitch will be used or the day is packed with matches, make sure you request more than 1 referee.


Rules require us to have white flags marking the pitch; once upon a time we had some but someone‘s flatmate threw them away … We are now using cones (bollards) which work better to move the marks around to convert the pitch quickly. And have the added benefit of not having to be pounded into hard ground. The downside is the referee can require linesmen for the matches in order to have another set of eyes watching the boundaries.


Umpires (and linesmen) are assigned by the ECB and if not present during an assigned match the CCO can deduct 2 tournament points for the day.


Tournament points are awarded to all teams participating. For hurling and camogie if a team starts 2 non-Irish players for ALL matches of a tournament round 3 additional tournament points are awarded. us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Hurling Report

2 Belgian Teams Break New Ground

Reportage by John Mortell

On a beautiful summers day, in weather that often hit the mid to high 30s, Belgium GAA brought out all the stops for the home tournament on the 26th of June. With players and associated hangers-on all able to make it, Belgium fielded two full panels. Always eager, Belgium A wanted a flying start to the tournament and got it, beating Zurich 4-09 to 4 points. Eoin Sheanon got the first score of the tournament with a point 30 seconds in and was joined on the scoreboard by many others including Shane Ryan, Fergal Mythen and Pearse O‘ Caoimh. Though rearing to go, it was another two games before Belgium B got the chance to have their first outing as a team, facing a strong Den Haag side. Despite a valiant effort including great outings by team coach Martin Crowley and Conan Mac Oscair in his first hurling tournament this year, Belgium B came up short, losing 6-04 to 2-03. Straight after this, and barely over the drama of seeing their compatriots beaten, Belgium A faced the composite team of Paris/Lakenheath. With Paris/ Lakenheath just barely fielding a team between them, they were out to prove themselves. Possibly overconfident after their victory in the first match, Belgium A went to a rocky start as Paris/Lakenheath proved a tough side with the first half score ending 1-05 to 1-04. Unwilling to let this situation stand, and buoyed both by their supporters off the pitch and encouragement from Dave Barrett and Philip Cushen, in the second half Belgium pulled ahead with several goals to gain a


solid victory of 4-08 to 1-05. Despite their loss in their first round, Belgium B with some words of encouragement from team stalwart Adrian Heil were determined to enjoy greater success against Luxembourg. In a close but ultimately successful effort they managed to overcome Luxembourg with a final score of 3-0 to 3-2. Next up was the first semi-final with Belgium A playing Belgium B. With both teams feeling they had something to prove the game began at a brisk pace that never left up. Despite the 30 degree heat outside the match remained quietly competitive yet a series of goals by Eoin Sheanon gave Belgium A an insurmountable lead with the final score 4-3 to 1-4. And then there was the final. With the bottles of water close to boiling in the summer sun, both Belgium and Den Haag were suffering following a hard tournament. Yet both teams came out fighting. Belgium knew that a victory would not only give them the victory for their own tournament but would give them a victory in the European league. The first half was close with Belgium leading 04 – 03, but following half-time Belgium pulled ahead scoring 4 goals to Den Haag‘s 1 for a final score of Belgium A 4-07 to Den Haag‘s 1-3. Following this victory, Belgium packed the gear up and headed back to the 1898, where celebrations continued early into the next morning.

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Camogie Report

A Tale of Two Tournaments Editorial license allows this article to cover both the Belgian and Zurich tournaments, as one success would not have been possible without the other.

Camogie goalkeeping is like watching a 3D film. The inclination is to close your eyes, but this is discouraged at the best of times. Instead of blindly dodging the hurley-welding helmeted creatures and their sliotars, you are supposed to get in their way. You roar at the goalpost-framed screen, shouting at the backs to “get that ball away from me”. Thankfully, they are always one step ahead, and you are left to watch the game in peace. Belgium – 26 June 2010 Following a narrow defeat to Luxembourg in their home tournament, we were determined to overcome ghosts of the past in Leuven. We were down a number of vital players, but were quietly brimming with confidence, hopeful in the knowledge that we had home ground and Olga‘s pink hat on our side. With the day‘s proceedings taking place on one pitch in Leuven, the schedule was tight and timekeepers were antsy. Competition for the day came from Luxembourg and Zurich. Camogie teams in Europe are few and far between, so when a tournament comes around, everyone is willing to put their heart and soul into it, and it is a pleasure to see. Our first game was against Zurich, who looked fresh and energetic on the pitch, in spite of travelling 8 hours on the train and succumbing to Belgian beer the night before. They knew we were missing some core players after the last tournament, but were not prepared for the ―Ciara ‗n Emer‖ machine. Emer joined Catherine, Christine, Jane and Maeve on the backline, with Ciara filling the Cuba-shaped gap in mid -field beside Niamh. On the forward line were Barbara,


Reportage by Sylvia McCarthy

Jo, Jelena, Marilena and Steph (making her resounding return to Belgium GAA). The game against Zurich was fast-paced, and in the heavy warm weather, the short halves were much appreciated by all on the pitch. The work put in at training was apparent, as not only skills but excellent team efforts and communication were displayed. In all of these tournaments, we are reminded that winning the first match doesn‘t necessarily mean that the day will continue as smoothly. Nobody reminded Belgium however, so we entered the match against Luxembourg full of vim and vigour. Thankfully, this wasn‘t one of those ―pride comes before a fall‖ moments, and the buzz of activity at the other end of the pitch left me with plenty of time to express feelings of pride to the umpires. Optimistic yet hesitant before the final against Zurich. Could this be the day we would win our first camogie tournament? Becky informed me quietly that she had two bottles of champagne in her car, ready for such an occasion. As though they could already taste the bubbles, Belgium poured onto the pitch for a comprehensive win over the Swiss. Feeling the pressure, Zurich moved strong defensive players up to the forward line, but tenacious and deadly marking by the backs saw every ball deflected and sent down to the Belgium forwards. Aside from an embarrassing display of acrobatics in the goals during one fateful puck out, Belgium were unstoppable. As the final whistle blew, one thing was on everyone‘s minds: I wonder if there is space on the train to Zurich? us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

Zurich – 16 July 2010 There was space. Only three weeks later, 29 made that well-documented train journey to Zurich. Growing numbers meant that some players were left on the sideline, perhaps the sign of a Belgium B team for 2011. We were in the happy position of being able to watch the first match between Zurich (the home team) and Paris (an unknown quantity this year). Both were impressive, although Zurich kept the upper hand throughout. Our own first match was a win against Luxembourg, who were missing a number of key players, including Fiona, a tyrant (in the best sense of the word) on the back line. Much calculating of points and standings had been done in the days leading up to the tournament. It was concluded that if we won all our group games, we wouldn‘t have any worries. Unfortunately for us, Zurich were ready to scupper those well-thought-out plans. They ran riot on the pitch, and our tactic of man-marking specific players left others free to roam and left a scoring gap in our forward line. Heads dropped as we traipsed dejectedly off the pitch at full time, but words of encouragement from our supporters, not to mention some tasty schnitzel sandwiches for lunch, were enough to perk us up again before the match against Paris. Those footballers among us recognised some of the players on the Parisian team, but we did not let this shake us. True, we had spotted the talent of their no.5 a mile off, but we reasoned that we had experience on our side. The game was tight, but the midfield duo of Niamh and Jo stood to us in this as in all matches. Jo made frequent effective and no doubt intimidating runs at the Paris goal (as seen by her yellow card, the only one of the day), and Niamh was more often than not roaming the backline whenever Laura had decided to make a run up the wing or Christine was fighting with a gang of Parisians over in the corner. A win over Paris meant one thing: pointswise, we were already European Camogie Champions.

Camogie Players 2010 Barbara Wynne Becky Mattes Caoimhe Ní Shuilleabháin Catherine Feore Christine O‘ Gorman Ciara Farrell Clare Brennan Emer Kelly Jane Brennan Jelena Radakovic Jo Taylor Kate O‘ Keeffe Laura Whiskerd

Maeve Scanlan Margaret Francois Marilena Zammit Niamh Kennedy Rosine Bacon Sinead Kiernan Sinead Ní Mhaoilmhichíl Stephanie Dunn Sylvia McCarthy Thérèse Mac an Airchinnigh Coach: Olga Barry

Going into the final with a happy smile on your face and a skip in your step is not only a novel experience, but also a great tactic. We were on a high, in spite of the torrential rain, and possession was ours from the beginning. After what seemed like only a minute of the second half, we heard shouts from the sideline, ―Only 90 seconds left‖ and then, ―only 30 seconds left‖, but as Zurich prepared their last attack, we paid no attention to this countdown. Finally, as Jo, Christine and Laura defended viciously, pushing the Zurich girls out to the wings, and Niamh stood between me and the action, I realised that every single player, except the Zurich goalkeeper, was in our half of the pitch, battling furiously. Yelling for forwards Jane and Barbara to get back in place, I was drowned out by the final whistle of the match, tournament and year. Malcolm Forbes said that ―Victory is sweetest when you have known defeat‖. Belgium camogie has known defeat, and it has taught us a lot. Mainly that victory tastes a lot better.


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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Hurling Report

A Never-Ending Journey Reportage by Colin Byrne Zurich 2010. Another fantastic day for Belgium GAA as it broke new ground by winning the 2010 European hurling and camogie championships. They travelled in droves for this one. Not just players, but supporters too, including this reluctant stand-in reporter. Club stalwart Becky flew from Texas to witness the historic day. The injured Caoimhe travelled to offer moral support to her team-mates. County Chairman, Willie, smelled a medal in the air and made the long drive. And this was no simple journey, no 2 hour jaunt to Paris or Luxembourg. No, this involved an eight hour epic train ride through 4 countries, stopping off (mostly for Eoin's smoke breaks) in places like Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Basel, and Frick. Some even found it necessary to seek solace in a can (or cans) of Jupiler as the pressure of such a long journey became too much. Perhaps this also contributed to an alleged bout of unauthorised socialising in some of Zurich's trendy night spots on Friday night. Unfortunately I am not in a position to confirm the identity of those involved as I had by this stage retired to my hotel room to catch The Sound of Music on TV. In any case, despite whatever shenanigans might have occurred, everyone was present on Saturday morning as we made our way to the nearby train station for the short journey to the pitches. Spirits were high and conditions were good; intermittent cloud and bursts of glorious sunshine as the men and women warmed up. First up for the men were the hosts. Zurich were


certainly eager and caught Belgium unaware to raise the green flag early on. However, goals by Michael Hough, one of which started on the goal line with a great save by the evergreen Martin, soon settled the nerves. Although they had lots of possession, Zurich couldn't convert it into scores. Belgium on the other hand, took their chances with ease, with Shane Ryan prominent as he picked off some nice scores. We also witnessed a fantastic point taken on the run from the left wing by the marauding Crusher. I have been told there was a second game against Paris. I can't confirm this as I was asleep. However, I was informed afterwards that Michael Hough scored 5 goals so obviously I laughed it off as a wind-up. Someone also tried to convince me that Dave 'tip-tap' Barrett scored a geansai load of longrange points direct from the opposition's puck-out. Then I knew it was a wind-up. However, the third game against Luxembourg was verily real. This was a dog fight with neither team able to pull away. Despite a number of Michael Hough points, Belgium only had a 1 point lead at half time. They managed to hold this for the second half with Dave Barrett and Hough again picking off some frees. The highlight though was a dubiously awarded free in front of the posts after Tim Donovan had his legs taken from under him by Big Jim. In the end Belgium hung on for a 7 points to 5 victory. us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

And so the final – with the hosts Zurich back again. Sheanon made it back from the local witchdoctor in time to take his place among the substitutes, all metacarpals miraculously present and in working order. However, the real magic was provided elsewhere as the likes of Philip Cushen gave an exhibition of back-play to deny Zurich while simultaneously popping up on the right wing to land a huge point on the run. Despite a late goal by Zurich, Belgium were not be denied the clean sweep of hurling tournaments in 2010, just as in 2009. Despite the rain, the celebrations kicked off immediately for the lads and ladies as we made best use of the beer and shelter available. We all made our way in dribs and drabs back to the hotel, bottles and cans in hand (or spilling in pockets in some cases). The party kicked off with a banquet laid on by the hosts it a local restaurant, then moved on to the obligatory Irish bar and finished in various venues across Zurich in the wee hours. Sunday saw the victorious teams trundle to the train station for the return leg of the epic trip. Beer was drunk, games were played, stories were told, and Sheanon was almost lost in Luxembourg. Once the disappointment of finding him again was overcome, the weekend was completed with a rousing rendition of that much-loved Irish ballad, 'We are the Champions', followed by some tradition tin whistling by Sinead, Shane and Ciaran. Many stories have been told about the corresponding trip to Zurich in 2008 and the celebrations that went on then. It even prompted some of us to buy our tickets this year. Although I wasn't there in 2008 and can't compare the two, I think it's fair to say that the 2010 version will also go down as a good day for the Parish.


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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Intra-Club Football League Report

Winning (a literary interpretation of the musings of D. Barrett) Shannon the tool. How the f**k can I win wit two goalkeepers and Willie. What the f**k do I do with a ref? Good job we have Collins. Trust him to be a Dayve. All the best people are Dayves. Me, Collins, Burkee, yer man off only fools and horses..if Shannon was a Dayve he´d be tolerable. the tool. Down around the runnin track scoutin for players. need to do sumtin. Me team is a disaster. Found two fellahs who are into it. Not from Munster but they were in Ballybunion on holidayves once so dey count. Then it´s back up to the hairee. There´s Ollie. Just tell dem that you were born in Tipperary or sum shite. Good man. He´s in. Shannon can go teh f**k. Big day today. Couldn´t sleep at´all. Shouldn´t have hed that pizza before bed. Hed a dirtee nightmare we lost. Leinster. f**kin hayte Leinster. Brian O´Driscoll the tool. Had to lay down the law early..Adrian..I´m takin the kickouts. Just stay in nets there and try not to f**k up. We won well but I´m pissed off. We shudda killed dem. F**kin Jim McGrath thinks he can talk about passion. That´s my job. I talk about wells and energy reserves and every last bit. Pisses me off so he does. Sittin in the canteen. Have to beat me record. Mr. Miyagi is watchin. On the 16th pizza slice now..just two more..come on Dayve, dig deep. you can do it..go to the well..find that space..18 is the target. That´s gud. Big one today. Playin Shannon. He´s a bit like Jason McAteer. I´m Roy Keane. I eat pieces of sh*t like him for bereakfast. Where did I hear dat before? The Dubs are brutal. Just like in real life. No bottle. Collie Byrne was worse though. He didn´t give us ehntin. I´ve been good to him. Brought him on board. gave him a few jobs... and this is what I get. Brutal ref he is. Snores like a dinosaur gargling wallpaper paste too, like. Put on the ipod on the way to the final match. Playin Connaught. F**kin hayte Connaught. It´s a nutin place..all those tools talken Irish. I´m hyped up now. been building towards this.....Today is gonna be the day that they´re gonna throw it all at me. By now I should´ve somehow realised what I´m gonna do. I don´t believe that anybody feels the way I do about the Gah..Back beat the word is on the street that the fire in me harth is outh..I´m sure I´ve heard it all before but I never really had a doubt...I don´t believe that anybody feels the way I do about the Gah-ahh... We hammer dem. gud and proper and it feels grayt. Go home..put on the kettle, have a slice of pizza and practice minesweeper. big competition in work tomorrow...

• LEGAL NOTE • Belgium GAA Publishing bears no responsibility for any offence caused by this article. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and any issues should be taken up with his office.

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Intra-Club Football League Report (continued)

2 Byrnes & a Fridge couldnâ€&#x;t stop Tim

Hudson spots yet another Barrett recruit


Eoin manfully regains mike...seriously like.




Above: Ollie, Collie and a cactus: a recipe for disaster Left: The real Munster Champions 2010


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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Ladies Football Report

Scores, Sandals and the Sylvia A Recipe for Success in Maastricht Reportage by Sinead Fitzsimons On the morning of 31st July, the Belgian Ladies woke with a start. The day had finally arrived – Round Four of the European Ladies Gaelic Football Championship. With kitbags in hand and passion in their eyes they began their journey to Maastricht, to find out what destiny had in store. All necessary provisions were brought, such as sunscreen, water, and Laura‘s lucky sandals. Nothing could stop them! Upon arriving at the pitch, the ladies quickly remembered that the games would be played on astro-turf. Belgium was inexperienced on this terrain and had a history of injuries in Maastricht. But, they looked forward rather than looking back, and began to size up the competition. The day began with Paris beating Maastricht with a strong win of 8-11 to 0-03. The next match also showed some great football with Holland beating Luxembourg 2-11 to 0-1. After these first two games, it was obvious that the Belgium Ladies had their work cut out for them. Paris and Holland were back with vengeance and were ready to boot the Belgians off the GAA Ladies thrown. The fire left on the field by Paris and Holland could be felt by the Belgians as we stepped onto the pitch for the first time to combat the heat. But, Belgium was sure to prove that we had some fire of our own. The first match for the A and B team was against each other. There were some outstanding displays of

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football from both sides. Marian Lillis and Rosine Bacon proved that they were a force to be reckoned with as the Belgium B‘s midfield. But, Ciara Farrell came out strong with some unbelievable goals. In addition, the Belgium A backline showed that even without the rock, Gráinne Ní Fhlatharta, they were still a brick wall. The game ended with Belgium A on top, but both teams looking great. Next up, was Belgium A facing Munich. Right from the toss, Munich showed that their speed and skill had significantly improved since they were last seen in Paris. But, with wonderful play by Emer Kelly, they didn‘t stand a chance. Kelly was a magnet for the kick-outs and successfully shutdown the Munich midfielders, including the speedy and talented Angie Buechler. The backline of McCarthy, O‘ Flynn, and Fenton showed great displays of defense and threw off most of Munich‘s goal scoring attempts. Thankfully the Belgian forwards were not thrown off and Wynne, Farrell, O‘Connor and O‘Gorman managed to get some lovely scores. The game ended with Belgium A 2-11 and Munich 2-04. Just over an hour later Belgium B would have a crack at Munich. Both teams gave it their all with some fantastic play by Amy-Louise Dent, Sarah Burke and Jane Brennan in the backline, Bacon and Lillis in the mids, and Sinead Kiernan, Anay Rios, Orlaith McCarthy and Marilena ―Maz‖ Zammit continuously striking on the forward line. Rios, who has recently returned from injury, showed that she was ready to do some damage with a goal and a point for the Belgian side. Un fortun ately, Munich walked away with the win, but the strong play of Belgium B made their future opponents, Luxembourg, a little nervous. us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


July/August 2010

After lunch and a pep-talk from Laura‘s lucky sandal, the Belgium ladies were ready for the cross-over. The first semi was Belgian A vs. Paris. It was clear from earlier in the day that Paris was on the top of their game and was ready to walk away from the semi with a win. But, the Belgium ladies had other plans. The game started off as a fast one, and would stay that way for the remainder of the match. It was point for point, until Farrell and O‘Connor put their mark on the game with a couple of perfect goals and scores. Clare Brennan stayed strong between the posts for Belgium and didn‘t let the Paris forwards copy the trend. The game ended with Belgium winning 2-12 to 1-10. The other semi hosted Holland and Munich. But, Holland was too much for Munich to handle as they won the game with a commanding lead of 4-06 to 0-03. They were sending a message to the Belgium Ladies, and the Belgium Ladies were hearing it loud and clear - they were coming for us next. The Belgian A‘s took this energy and brought it with them into the final against Holland. The A‘s were ready to fight and were going to do everything in their power to walk away with a win. The Holland side started off strong, and for a brief,

Volume 1, Issue 5

flickering, blink and you‘ll miss it moment, they had the lead. But, the Belgium ladies would not let that stand. The heart and passion of the Belgium squad was undeniable. Emer Kelly stormed up the mid-field and served as a barricade for Holland on the attack. Caragh O‘Connor played a stellar game in just about every position. Her tight marking, and flawless kicking was unbelievable. Her heart served as an inspiration to the rest of us on the pitch. The forward line, as always, produced what it needed to and (almost) always kept Belgium with the lead with beautiful scores from Farrell, Wynne and O‘Gorman. In the last seconds of the game, Belgium was up by one. Holland gained possession and was on the attack led by star player (and future player of the tournament) Maria Murtagh. The ball was passed around, but Belgium couldn‘t get their hands on it. The sideline grew silent…the pressure was on. Finally, Holland decided it was time to take the point. But, right as the ball hit the foot of the forward it was snatched up by Sylvia McCarthy in a move that is now called the Sylvia. Kicking the ball out of the pressure zone, the whistle was blown – Belgium wins the tournament! Euphoria erupted, as Belgium is now one step closer to taking the Championship crown. We look forward to being tested again in Munich in early September. A big thank-you to Laura, Caoimhe and Laura‘s sandals for their knowledge and guidance on the sideline. As well, thank you to all the Belgian men that stuck around and supported the Belgian Ladies during the final moments. Up the Belge!!

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Player Profile

Player Profile - Fergal Mythen No introduction needed. In this issue, we let Fergal do all the talking. Who are you? Is this an existential question? Fergal Mythen is ainm domsa, born in the (very late) 60s, half Dub / half culchie (see below), 100 % Northsider, schooled in Larkhill and St Aidans CBS Whitehall, husband, daddy of 4 lovely children, civil servant, surgically attached to a hurl, love the music of Planxty, the Bothy Band, Lunasa, Bob Dylan, Liam Clancy and the Saw Doctors – to win just once ! Get anxious if away from the sea for too long – writing this after a day‘s swimming in Inch on the Dingle Peninsula where the west wind blows – go h-iontach (but thanks be to jaysus for the Gulf Stream – and the wet suit). Have a deep fatalistic streak which I put down to having being raised on a diet of Dublin football and Wexford hurling. Hopes raised, then dashed – you get the picture. Here we go again! Where are you from? Born and raised in the northside Dublin suburb of Whitehall, played with local club Fionnbhru Colmcilles from1978 until I moved to Brussels in September 2009. However, like many GAA players in the Capital, I have rural roots with my Dad hailing from Co Wexford and my Mam from Co Longford. The unusual surname hails from a small area in mid Wexford around Blackwater, Oulart and Enniscorthy. The love of hurling comes from the south east but to be fair to my midlands roots, a second cousin Jackie Devine was (according to Raymond Smith) a fine player on the on only Longford football team to win the National League (‗66) and Leinster title (‘68). Unfortunately I got none of his Peil DNA. Where do you work? Have worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs since 1990. Am currently on posting to the Irish Permanent to the EU here in Brussels. Why did you join Belgium GAA? Sure what else would you want to be doing but playing hurling, and football too, wherever you go? Training like madmen in winter, hurling till it gets dark in spring and summer evenings – heaven! Was one of the early members of the Hurling Club back in 2004 and have followed the improving fortunes of the club since I left Brussels in August 2005; so was delighted to rejoin such a thriving club on my return in 2009. Went training on my first night back- great way to settle back in. What is your favourite European GAA tournament and why? Excluding our own tournaments which are superb (obviously), I‘d have to say the two tournaments that have left the biggest impression were (i) our very first hurling tournament in Munich in 2005 – which, in addition to being mighty craic, showed us that we could compete but also the mountain we would have to climb to reach the promised land of championship titles, and (ii) the most recent hurling tournament in Zurich when we won the European Championship again having had to work hard for it, while our Camogie sisters claimed their first European title. For me, those two tournaments were a culmination of the Club‘s journey from enthusiastic pioneers to a seriously competitive outfit. Full circle! Who is your Belgium GAA hero and why? That‘s a very difficult question - like picking the Sunday Game Man of the Match. Nominees would have to include fellow pioneers Adrian Hiel and Willie Cashin, people like Cian O‘ Lionain and Conchur de Barra who really put the club on a sound administrative basis (which is crucial to its continued existence), Belgium Hurling‘s very own Terrible Twins Phil Cushen and Dave Barrett, and even that cocky southsider from Cuala, Eoin O Seanainn (Dublin needs more cockiness – Come on Ye Boys in Blue); but ultimately the accolade has to go to Erins Isle man Martin Crowley – still crazy (and passionate and hungry) after all these years. No excuses, no Pringle golf jumpers, no lazy excuses, no going quietly into that dark night of

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Player Profile (continued)

early retirement, just hurling for as long as humanly possible. Who is your overall GAA hero? Another difficult one – how do you pick one person from 30+ years of playing and watching GAA games, from among all the mentors and coaches who helped and encouraged me, my dad who gave me such a passion for the game, all the team mates I‘ve played alongside, all the unsung heroes behind the scenes who make it all possible day in day, all the great players witnessed in that time ? Ultimately our heroes are on the pitch however and I am going to cheat and pick past, present and future heroes. My formative years focused on Wexford when they always played serious hurling even if the success rate wasn‘t massive – the heroes here were the red-haired Buffers Alley wonder Tony Doran and Georgie O‘Connor – Doran for his mighty catches and goals, even in his later years, for beating Kilkenny in ‗81 and ‘84, and for winning an All Ireland Club medal at the age of 40 in 1989 (I thought 40 was very old then); O‘Connor for his amazing fielding year in year out and for hanging on until that wondrous year of ‘96 when he finally won that All Ireland medal. The present hero has to be the entire Waterford team for giving huge entertainment throughout the past decade, for their ding dong battles with Cork, for picking themselves up off the floor after the Kilkenny drubbing in 2008, for having passion and personality in this bland, ‗whatever you say, say nothing‘ era, for John Mullane, Ken McGrath, Tony Browne and Big Dan, and for simply never, ever giving up. The future hero is my 7 year old son Emmet – who hurls and kicks football and practices almost every day out the back garden, who wants to learn and improve each and every skill, and who just loves going to every game he can. And an honourable mention also goes to my wife Ciara who is very supportive of my addiction even if she never imagined in her wildest dreams that it would go on so long. What words of encouragement would you give a new member to join our esteemed club? For me, the most striking feature is how well run the club is and the really professional approach to training, preparation, organisation and all other aspects of the Club‘s work, with really committed people at the heart of it. If you are interested in playing really enjoyable football, hurling and camogie, if you have been playing for years or want to return to the games after a long break, or if you are interested in the more social or administrative sides, then there is a place and a welcome for you in our club. Go on, you know you want to! What do you think are the main differences in the Belgium GAA of 2004 and 2010? The numbers involved, the variety of teams – hurling and football, ladies and men‘s teams - the levels of competiveness and success, the quality and intensity of training, and the overall level of professionalism mark the current club out from the tender shoot we planted in 2004. What we had then was a small group of true believers and crazy loons who wanted to create a hurling club in Brussels which would be self sustaining and competitive. That dream has now been realised, although it probably took longer than any one expected. In addition however, we have a club which can now field two (and on occasion three) football teams, two ladies football teams, two hurling teams and a camogie team. Each code has won at least one European championship in recent years and is hugely competitive. It is amazing to see how strong and vibrant the club has become, and that is down to successive waves of members willing to roll up their sleeves to get the job done. What has happened in Brussels over the past 5 years must be akin to what happened all over Ireland in the 1880s and 1890s in the formative years of the Association – without the factionfighting, political intrigue and parish priests with hawthorn sticks, of course.

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5 Fitness & Nutrition

Pre-Tournament Eating Tips

Acknowledgments go to the GPA website: What should I eat before a big game/tournament - follow the three hour rule and don't forget your water. Kerry football legend Páidí Ó Sé tells a hilarious story about the 1975 All-Ireland final against Dublin: The Kerry players were due to consume a light lunch in the team hotel prior to heading to Croke Park while a full fourcourse dinner was on offer to the mentors and officials. However, midfielder Pat McCarthy reached the dining room early and proceeded to polish off the full four courses - steak, desert - the lot! While he went on to play a stormer in the final, it's unlikely Pat's actions will ever be repeated before an All-Ireland final again. Most serious county teams now employ strict dietary guidelines and a lot of senior club sides are beginning to follow suit. So with a big match coming up, just what is a player supposed to be eating? Here are the ground rules to get yourself right for the game. On match day a pre-game meal should be consumed about three hours before throw-in. However, it's important that players are also topping up their fluid stores every half hour before the game. A sports drink consumed in the hour before the game may be helpful for players in ensuring that both fuel and fluid stores are well topped up. There is still a lot of debate about the content of a pre-match meal but suffice to say that it shouldn't be steak and chips with ice cream to follow. Scientists tell us that taking in a combination of nutrients (protein and carbohydrates) may be the most beneficial for the player. However, players should always be guided by the principles that whatever food you consume, make bloody sure that you are comfortable with it. Also don't experiment with a new sports drink or a different food in the hours before a game. Here are some pre-match meal suggestions which should be consumed three hours before a game. Pancakes

Rice Pudding


Fruit selection

Cereal and milk

Vegetable soup made with water

Bread: sandwiches made with chicken, salad, turkey, tuna



Sports Drinks

Believe it or not, the amount of water in a lean healthy adult such as trained player is nearly 70 per cent of his or her weight. Scientists explain that being under-hydrated by as little as 2 per cent of your body weight can result in significant decreases in performance. Thus the average player weighing 85 kg and who loses 1.7 kilos of water (or body weight) will likely display the effects of dehydration. After measuring hundreds of players' body weight before and after playing, scientists found body weight losses as high as 4.5 kg (10 lbs) after a 90 minute soccer match. Some players also tend to lose more body weight and thus body water during training and playing than others. The rate and extent of fluid loss is very individual. Calculate your own body weight loss (weighing-in after training or playing) in relation to your pre-match weight. If it is 3 per cent or more then you were likely dehydrated before the game ended. For each 1 kg lost during exercise you should consume at least 1 litre of fluid. It is vital to offset the effects of progressive dehydration on performance. Plan to drink during training and playing While it is essential that you hydrate and fuel well before training or playing it is equally important to ensure that you are taking lightly diluted carbohydrate drinks on board during training. It is well established that specially formulated sports drinks are better at rehydrating the body than water alone. In addition they are also a source of valuable energy for the body during exercise. Sports drinks that are formulated to rehydrate and to provide energy have been shown to help a player perform better during exercise.

14 14 us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends

15 July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 4 Competition

Spot the Ball

Below is a photo taken from the Zurich Hurling Tournament in July 2010, but the ball has been removed from the photo. To play, simply take a guess (educated or otherwise) at where the ball is using the grid along the sides of the photo (e.g. P25, B26 or even A1). You can enter by emailing Whoever gets closest to the correct square will win a pint from the PR Officer. The June 2010 Spot the Ball Competition answer was C11.

Terms and Conditions The winner will receive their pint at the PR Officer‘s convenience. The winner may chose the type of pint they would like, but it will probably end up being Maes.

Sports Calendar Gaelic Football

Ladies Football

11 September


11 September


9 October


25 September

All Ireland 7s—Dublin

23 October

Challenge— London

9 October


30 October

Challenge— Brussels

23 October

Challenge— London

6 November


6 November


Hurling 16 October

15 15


Camogie Friendly, Brussels

16 October

Friendly, Brussels

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

Belgium GAA News and Events Belgium GAA are Hurling and Camogie European Champions Belgium Hurling and Camogie did the double securing both the Men‘s and Ladies European Championship titles at the final tournament in Zurich in July. The Men travelled to Zurich, with their championship already decided maintained their unbeaten record - currently ten in a row. The Ladies had everything to play for and won the Camogie Championship for the first time. Luxembourg were Runners-Up in both codes. Belgium GAA‘s Conor Aylward won the Poc Fada for the second year running. Congratulations to everyone who picked up a hurl this year. The Men‘s Hurling and Ladies Camogie European Championship Standings in 2010 finished as follows:

Hurling Championship Standings Belgium GAA Luxembourg The Hague Zurich Paris Gaels Belgium GAA B

Round 1 The Hague 28 16 20 0 0 0

Round 2 Luxembourg 25 20 16 19 16 0

Round 3 Belgium 25 11 20 13 9.5 16

Round 4 Zurich 25 16 0 23 8 0

Round 3 Belgium 28 19 23 0

Round 4 Zurich 28 16 23 16


Best 4

103 63 56 55 33.5 16

103 63 56 55 33.5 16


Best 3

102 85 65 16

79 69 65 16

Camogie Championship Standings Belgium GAA Luxembourg Zurich Paris Gaels

Round 1 The Hague 23 25 0 0

Round 2 Luxembourg 23 25 19 0

NOTE: In Hurling and Camogie 3 extra points are awarded for teams fielding 2 non Irish players who must start each game

REMINDER! World Class Gym Offer 

Off-peak access to a great, friendly and centrally located health club in Brussels for 30 euros/month  

• Possibility to upgrade this offer for 10 euro/month to include peak times

As autumn arrives, there will be renewed exercise classes available for Belgium GAA members 

• Contact Dave Barrett ( for more information REMINDER! Last Belgium GAA BBQ of summer 2010  

Reserved area for Belgium GAA from 4pm (Hurling Final at 4.30pm) 

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Sun 5th Sep in Devs.

BBQ @ 6pm / €10pp (veggie options available)

Please let Clare know if you can attend: us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends


July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

Players News & Events Farewells Brussels in August is a quiet place. It has been made even quieter with the departure of some familiar faces to Belgium GAA. Here are a few words on each of the players who have left in recent days (some taken from Best of luck to all, and we hope to see you back in Brussels soon. Marty "The Fridge" Brennan “I dubbed him „The Fridge‟ after the Chicago Bears linebacker Walter Peyton. Marty moved better than The Fridge in fairness and probably hit harder too. Any night he arrived in the gym, we‟d all scatter to avoid the shame of lifting our baby weights. Quality footballer, sound man, disastrous dress sense. “

Diarmuid Laffan “He was vocal the first night but in a mature and positive way. He had good feet, good hands and a wicked turn of pace. Laffan blew every stereotype out of the water in his time here. The way he bought into the whole Belgium G.A.A. thing was phenomenal when you consider what he achieved in rugby.“

Ciarán Hudson “He was a great addition in the last year and a half and was always a great man to have a few deep thinking pints with or for some random comments at training and matches. His hat, his bald head, his beard; all memorable.”

Jo Taylor Jo arrived on the camogie scene like so many before her—never having held a hurley before. Definitely one of the shining lights this year, her effortless solo runs were lauded by all. Her highlight came in Zurich, where she received a controversial yellow card in the final but nevertheless got an honourable mention for Player of the Tournament from the referees.

Marian Lillis To most, she was a mysterious being, staying with Ciara and Emer, but she came along to the Maastricht ladies football tournament and was a shining light on the B team. Her sojourn in Belgium was short but sweet.

Got news to add? Contact Sylvia McCarthy on 17 17

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July/August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 5

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.

Getting to Training Belgium GAA‘s main training Cinquantenaire (Jubelpark).






Parc du Cinquantenaire: As the evenings get longer we will be using the Parc which is conveniently located just off Schumann roundabout beside the European Commission. Schuman Metro and train stations or the number 12 bus (airport express) provide the perfect public transport destination and is less than five minutes from there. If you are standing at the roundabout, walk towards the Parc and Arch, unmissable from the centre of the roundabout. Once in the park head towards the top left-hand corner, where you will see an athletics track, where large numbers will be playing hurling, camogie or football. See info at: Belgium GAA Publishing is a joint effort between Stephanie Dunn, Sylvia McCarthy and Jim McGrath. If you want to get involved, either by contributing an article (about a tournament or other Belgium GAA-related activity), photograph or suggestions for the improvement of the newsletter, please don‘t hesitate to get in touch, via the website or Facebook page. We only accept compliments though; critical emails are automatically deleted.

Team 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 us on Facebook at Belgium GAA and Friends

Belgium GAA Newsletter-July-August 2010  

Volume 1, issue 5

Belgium GAA Newsletter-July-August 2010  

Volume 1, issue 5