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Volume 2, Issue 2

September 2011

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

The Home Issue Months have passed without a Belgium GAA newsletter, but that barren period is now over. Welcome to the September issue! The club has had an exciting and acti v e f ew m on th s si n c e l ast publication, from attending tournaments, organising tournaments, and everything else that goes on in between, including two of the most successful fundraising events in club history. Since the rough beginnings as a wellrounded GAA club back in 2008, Belgium GAA has made huge efforts at laying down solid foundations. A time will come when the Nouvelle Vague will be old school, and the Old School will just be old, so we welcome each new social development, be it a returning face, a new or extended contract, or the production of new little future club members. On that note, congratulations to Steph and Des, Lisa and Emmet, and Matti and Elizabeth on their recent arrivals. Watch this space for the European Ladies Football and Camogie Champions in approximately 2031. As always, the club would not be thriving along these lines without the hard work put in by all those associated with the club. Take the home tournaments as an example: this year, in addition to dedicated club members, who were at the grounds from the dawn, constructing tents and goalposts, we had visiting parents and other family members, friends, flatmates and colleagues, who went above and beyond the call of duty and without whom the day would have been even more chaotic than it already was. This issue of the newsletter will detail the various activities that the club has been working on at home, with the Race Night at the start of the summer, the European Hurling and Camogie Finals in the middle, and the Belgian-based Pan-European Football Tournament at the end of the summer. Next month’s issue will be more international, with highlights from trips to Dublin for the All-Ireland Football Sevens, the Pan-European Football tournament in Guernsey, and the Belgian camogie trip to New York. If you would like to get involved in creating the newsletter, by contributing articles, photographs or any further suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact Sylvia McCarthy on pro.belgiumgaa@gmail.com. An Craobh Rua abú!

To receive this newsletter directly, email pro.belgiumgaa@gmail.com


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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2

Belgium GAA Race Night

Fundraising

The menfolk of Belgium GAA pulled out all the stops on the night of 13 July, when they hosted a race night to end all others, earning approximately €2,500 for the club. Some said it would be impossible to organise at such short notice. Some said that no-one in their right minds would come to a race night on a midweek evening. They were wrong, reckoning without the unstoppable driving force that is Colin Byrne. While the night itself would turn out to be an immense social and financial success, the back was broken in the pre-Race preparation. All the horses had been sold and all the races had been sponsored, with outstanding support from club members, old and new, and friends and family of the club. Prizes came from De Valera’s, Six Nations, O Reillys, Aspria, KTL Power and Telecoms, Kinsale Equestrian Centre, Sean Kelly MEP, and Delish café. VIP tables were purchased by Coca-Cola, Toyota, the Perm. Rep., and FC Irlande, to name but a few. There was also generous sponsorship on the night from a number of Irish MEPs, including Honorary Club President Sean Kelly, Liam Aylward and Pat The Cope Gallagher, as well as from European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. As a result, the club went into the night with a ready-made profit, so all efforts on the night were over and above all expectations. With Colin running the show and Ross on the mic, it was fairly smooth sailing (from the point of view of the attendees in any case). The men in charge of the money had a few opening hiccups but once it was understood that the house always wins, they were back on track. There were eight official races, but the ninth was a surprise to most: the Belgium GAA Champion Chase was a pre-recorded piggy-back race, of which horses and jockeys were played by club members Conor Mulvihill and Catherina Horan (eventual winners), Shane Ryan and Sinead Fitzsimons, Tim Donovan and Elaine Kennedy, Ross Church and Niamh Kennedy, and Fergal Mythen and Christine O’ Gorman. For full comedic value, you are required to click/copy and paste the following link and watch the video on Youtube. Your day will be all the better for it.

http://youtu.be/ pOLhgFVz0XI 22

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Fundraising

Belgium GAA Race Night

“Never has losing so much money been so much fun� Anonymous

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Underage GAA

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September 20111

Volume 2, Issue 2

Shameless T-Shirt Hawking

Merchandise

Always wanted to be a member of Belgium GAA but you: A) Never had the time? B) Live in another country? C) Other reason: ____________

NOW IS YOUR CHANCE You too can look like a member of Belgium GAA with your own stylish t-shirt.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! To order, contact Club Chairman Kevin Keary (kevinkeary@gmail.com) for more details. 55

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Hurling/Camogie

European Hurling and Camogie Finals The last round of the European Hurling and Camogie Championships was also the first round of European tournaments to be hosted by Belgium GAA, a practice run, if you will, for the big Pan-European football tournament in September. It was a day when we realised how much the club depends on the help of non-players and family members. Clare Brennan (Social Secretary) was Ms. Clipboard for the day, an essential role in ensuring that all matches were played on time, as well as registering teams for the tournament, lunches and the dinner in De Valera’s bar. Visitors on the day, Maria O’ Neill and Clare’s mother Eleanor Brennan were also on hand, looking after the shop and keeping everyone fed and watered. Tournament-wise, this was the big one for both Belgium hurlers and camogiers. The hurlers were out of the running for the European Championship, but an outstanding performance by the lads meant that they won their home tournament for the third year in a row. Congratulations to Darragh Cotter for being recognised as Player of the Tournament by the referees. I’ll leave the rest to Mr. D. Barrett: “It’s hard to explain to people at home how winning one tournament can be so satisfying. This was especially so as if we ended the season empty handed it would have been a massive blow to hurling in the club. Instead, we beat the two top teams in this year’s championship and proved to ourselves that when we have most of our players, we can compete...The victory was the daylight at the end of the tunnel which we wondered if we would see this year.” (To read more, daylight.html)

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visit

http://footballingjourneymen.blogspot.com/2011/07/chasing-

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September 20111

Volume 2, Issue 2 Hurling/Camogie

Leuven, Belgium - 23 July 2011

How much has changed in one year for Belgian camogie? Before the home camogie tournament in 2010, the Belgium camogie team had never won a tournament. And yet here we were in 2011, going into the finals already confirmed as European Camogie Champions for the second year in a row. Not only that, but for the second tournament this year, we had two solid teams to bulk up the competition. European camogie is not half as prolific as ladies football, so each new team is welcomed with open arms. The strength of both teams is a credit to Niamh Kennedy (officer/trainer), Irene Kirwan (trainer) and Laura Whiskerd (captain).

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Football

Pan European Football Tournament

Reportage by Anay Rios

Just after 7am, lacking sleep but sparing emotions, I was inside a van, full of hundreds of waterbottles, nets, tables and tents, bouncing along on the way to the University of Leuven. The reason for such a personal effort, waking up before the sun rise!!, couldn't be other than to participate to the Belgium Football Tournament, the so far most numerous one in the history of the European Championship, and, consequently, it needed a real collective work. Of course the main organisational part was already done during the previous weeks by the Committee (Kev, Laura, Colin, Jane, Clare B, Sylvia, Sinead M), great job guys!!, but I was just amazed by how every single member or friend of the Belgium GAA Club was helping that day to make it a success. Actually, even the weather was generous enough and offered us a warm and sunny day in the dawn of autumn. A warm, in many senses, day that already in the early morning you could feel, along with the quietness of the empty grass fields, that soon would be looking up to us. Quietness that very shortly died since the Belgium fellows started to arrive and, with short and efficient instructions, in less than an hour, goalposts, tents, lunches, changing rooms and hearts were ready to welcome the participants. The glads playing in the Shield were really strong and showed really beautiful football, loosing for only one point to the final winner of the day: Amsterdam A. And here it comes my only sad moment of the day. I had seen the glads playing for the Championship in their match against Luxembourg and they were terrific, strong defenders running along the wings, solid and accurate midfielders, dangerous forwards, Brendan in goal...all looking so well, that i really couldn't believe when, at the end of the daylight, I ran, with the few stripes of energy left, to watch the final and I didn't see them there. Really sad. Apparently, in a very tight game, they had lost the semi-final against The Hague, who finally brought The Cup home. But I'm sure that sadness will turn over, because Guernsey and Limerick are there just waiting for us! In the meantime, a few pitches ahead, 35 gladies (on three Belgium teams) were fighting to find their way to the final. The B and C teams, with their dedicated captains Amy and Gráinne D, played their socks off in their matches against very strong teams. Both formations showed talent and ambition and finally the Bs were rewarded with a beautiful win against Prague, although, without doubt, the most important win was the respect that the rest of the teams had for our gladies because they did need to work really hard to defeat them. One of those responsible for the performance of both teams was our coach Aonghus, who under the irritating sun, took care of us for the whole day. When he could, he also supported Gráinne, the captain of the As, the best footballer I ever met, who couldn't play this time, but to have her managing the team was almost like having her in the pitch. She used all her talent to read the game and give us all the instructions and tips that we needed at every given moment. And even if we had lost another great player, my dearest friend Caragh, we were very lucky to have her on the sideline; she was not only helping to schedule the pitches for all 54 of the day’s matches, but one of our best supports of the day. And it was a long day, and finally the A team, captained by Fitz, really deserved a place in the final.

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2

Leuven, Belgium - 10 September 2011

Football

And so it arrived, the moment of truth, with the sunset over our heads, together with a mix of tiredness, excitement and joy. Some, or all, of us, were a bit, or a lot, nervous, but mainly delighted to play with such a panel of players. The match started very tight, Paris had made a few clever changes and scores were being delayed. As expected, it was tough, and at half time we were ahead by just some points. Our encouraging captains asked us to empty our tanks, and so we did. Every single player left their skin in the pitch, and smoothly and increasingly Belgium was imposing its game. Despite the exhaustion, I have to say I enjoyed every single minute of the match, in the forward line and in the mids, where I hadn't played since that November rain day in 2008. It was great to see how every player was giving everything and playing like a real team. No names, ALL NAMES, everybody played brilliantly. So when I heard the final whistle, I started hugging all the gladies, all teams, one team, for such collective effort. Some people say, yet another victory of Belgium A, but the victory is of the whole team, because during months all players have been training, travelling and supporting each other. A victory of the whole club and managers that generously give their time to make this happen. Anyways, let’s then go to the my highlight of the day, but just before that, I would like to explain that only a few months ago I had heard for the very first time the name of Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh (you don't want to make me to pronounce it). Kevin had told me that the popular MoM was the voice of the Sundays. All Irish families could dream about football whilst drinking Barrys tea, thanks to him. His passion would carry them through the green fields and made them feel they were in Croke Park. And I can say, I could somehow experience that. I'm afraid I couldn't hear anything in the ladies final, but in the men's one, I looked at him, sat in a camping chair with his son, squatting next to him. It was twilight and for a while you could hear anything but his voice, not the shouts of the supporters, nor the screams of the players, nor the whistles of the referee, just his voice, floating in the space, and the game completely changed. The players looked stronger, faster...the game smoother, braver. What passion, what generosity, and not just for his comments through the speakers, during the whole day, this man that for many years has seen the best football players in the world, he was supporting and encouraging all the teams, having a nice word for all the players and making everybody feel very special. So when at the end of the day, with the moon as the only witness, he shook my hands and told me “You are a very good footballer, you really must love this sport”, he completely overwhelmed my heart. For all the participants, he definitely made that this tournament was the best that Europe has ever had. Just after 7am, home from Le Manneken, Six Nations and Celtica, I was lying my head in my pillow, some tears sliding my cheeks, and part of me thinking- was this just a dream? ....... a dream of 24 hours. Congratulations to all the participants and special thanks, once again and never enough, to MoM, Aonghus, Gráinne, Caragh, the Committee, and, for me, of course, Kev. I chose this picture because it really shows what football is to me: dedication, passion, teamwork and love.

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Football

Pan European Football Tournament

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2

A Special Guest

Football

On the day of the Belgium tournament, the name that was on everyone’s lips was that of Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. The man was everywhere, going out of his way to watch as many matches as possible and to talk to each person he met. As Anay said, the highlight of the day was listening to his commentary on the finals, a oncein-a-lifetime experience for all present. From dusk til dawn, he talked and posed for photos, and to mark the excitement he created wherever he went, here is a selection (thanks to Mary Brennan and Irene Kirwan):

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2

Tournament Schedule

Other news

Football Guernsey (pan-European)

8 October

Limerick (pan-European)

5 November

Ladies Football Exiles Cup (Brussels) Limerick

29 November 5 November

Club and Charity Fundraising A lot has already been said on the Belgian football tournament. The final word is on fundraising.

Mark McGovern Fundraiser:

The after-party for the tournament was hosted by the Six Nations bar, which generously donated 50 cent from each pint to the Mark McGovern Fund. Mark McGovern is an intercounty Fermanagh footballer, who travelled to the US in 2011. He sustained a severe brain injury in an off-the-ball incident during his first Gaelic football match in San Francisco. He is now in recovery, but medical expenses have already exceeded $1,100,000 USD. The evening event in Six Nations saw over 500€ has been donated to the Mark McGovern Fund. For more information, and to submit a donation, visit: www.support4markmcgovern.com.

Jersey auction:

Niamh Kennedy, Belgium Camogie Officer, spent a number of months harassing and badgering her network of contacts in order to rustle up three signed country jerseys - a Wicklow football jersey, a Dublin hurling jersey and a Kilkenny hurley jersey. The question of how to auction them off efficiently was solved on the night of the tournament. It is safe to say that if Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh hadn’t chosen to become the voice of Gaelic games, he would have established a lucrative career as an auctioneer, as he talked the talk to the point that the jersey auction became an astoundingly successful fundraiser, with competing bids of upwards on €500 per jersey. Official figures will be available soon, but well done to all involved!

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September 2011

Volume 2, Issue 2 Training and Membership

Training and Membership Training Venue (October-November 2011) Hurling and camogie are finished already, and there are only 2 tournaments left in football. Our 2011 training grounds in VUB and Parc 50e are being dug up so Belgium GAA training (men and ladies) is back out where it began: the British School of Brussels, in Tervuren. If travelling by car, the address is: The British School of Brussels, Leuvensesteenweg 19 3080 Tervuren Belgium We are 200 metres beyond the Royal Museum for Central Africa, on the same side of the road.

Tram Stop

If travelling by public transport from Brussels: From Montgomery metro station take Tram 44 (direction Tervuren) Get off at the last stop (terminus) Cross the road and walk up the Leuvensesteenweg past the Royal Museum for Central Africa Walk into school following the signs for pedestrians Training times: Tuesdays - 19h30-20h45/21h - Hockey Pitch* Friday - 19h30-20h45/21h - Rugby Pitch* *All pitches are Astroturf, so Astroturf runners are best, but definitely no metal studs!

Membership details

If you are planning to play in either of the last tournaments of the year, you must be a registered member of th e club. Please contact Lau ra Wh iskerd, Club Secretary secretary.belgium.europe@gaa.ie. Fees are: 1st time members: €75 (including shorts/socks)

Re-joining members: €60

1st time joining students/stagiaires: €45 (including shorts/socks)

Re-joining students/stagiaires: €30

Please pay your fees directly into the club account. The details are the following: Belgium GAA asbl, rue Frans Binje 7, 1030 Bruxelles Bank a/c: 363-0292739-33 IBAN: BE79 3630 2927 3933 BIC: BBRUBEBB

Contacts Gaelic Football Colin Byrne football.belgium@gmail.com

Hurling Shane Ryan hurling.belgium@gmail.com

Ladies Football Jane Brennan

belgiumgaa.ladiesfootball@gmail.com belgiumgaa.camogie@gmail.com

GSM: +32 476 073 079 GSM: +32 477 936 708 GSM: +32 484 162 140 13 13

Camogie Niamh Kennedy GSM:+32 471 525 273

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Belgium GAA Newsletter September 2011  

Volume 2, issue 2

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