Category Archives: 2014

We’re hosting the 2nd round of the Benelux regional tournaments – Saturday 12th of April 2014 – you should come!

We're having a tournament, you should come!
We’re having a tournament, you should come!

Its that time of the year again, when the regional rounds of tournaments really start getting into gear. It’s our turn, privilege and pleasure to invite you to join us for this next round of the regional competition.

The lovely lads and lassies of Belgium GAA are delighteturnd to host the 2nd round of the Benelux regional football tournaments on Saturday 12th of April at the Royal Kituro Rugby Club, 50bis Ave Des Jardins, 1050 Brussels

kituro

Tournament times and schedules will be posted closer to the date itself, but 9am starts are traditional so prepare yourselves for an early start.

Volunteers, are, as ever needed, loved and cherished. Should you wish to volunteer some of your time on Saturday, we’d be really delighted to have your help – please let the code officers know if you’re interested in helping out. As this is a football tournament, if the hurlers, camógs and social members were free to help out to free up the footballers, it would be most appreciated.

Very much looking forward to this, and looking forward to welcoming you to Belgium/ seeing you in Schaerbeek!

schaerbeek-heart
Schaerbeek is for lovers, and potentially lovers of football – Image courtesy of Solamente55 – http://www.solamente55.com/ – 55 countries, 55 stories

 

 

St.Patrick’s Festival 2014 & One Life Two Clubs

St. Patrick’s Day, or fortnight, depending on your take on the whole national celebration thing, has become a wonderful fixture in the life of our little club. This year, 2014, was to be no different.

The sun shone, people showed up, the cakes were unreal, as ever, games were played, cruciate ligaments were dispatched with as is tradition, and the military pitch in the Cinquantenaire Park was home for one wonderful day. With our friends in FC Ireland, Bia Mara and the Irish Permanent Representation to the EU and the Irish Embassy, De Valera’s and the Old Oak, John Martin’s, Vyzion and the time, effort and energy of everyone who came, played, volunteers, enjoyed the sunshine and the day, it was a really lovely event. We had club members from near and far join for the weekend, which points to how much more than a sports club Belgium GAA is.

We were blessed with the weather and the iron fist organisation skills of our secretary Jelena, and for those of you who missed it, you’ll be able to see the footage from the weekend at the end of the year, when ‘One Life, Two Clubs‘ the current documentary film project of our very own Breandán Kearney gets released. If you’ve been at training recently, you’ll have noticed a man with a tripod in a rain jacket, not creeping about in the bushes, but filming the very rusty pre-season trainings, and traipsing up the road to Holland in the Benelux regionals at the begining of the year. This labour of love is the brain child of Breandán, who, despite living in Gent, really adds to Belgium GAA´s claim to the all country title. 

The documentary will chart the rise and well, rise (we hope) of the 2014 season, from the 1st training sessions at the start of the year, to the Maastricht final in October, months ahead. There’s something insane about working or studying full time and spending the bones of 8 hours of each week thundering up and down the astroturf pitches in the VUB, spending the weekend pucking around in the park and Sundays training the kids club out in Tervuren. Something insane, if you look at it at a purely rational point of view – ‘What, you play only tournaments?’, ‘You only get to play matches every six weeks if you’re lucky’… but playing GAA in Belgium isn’t fully rational. It’s slightly mad, and absolutely wonderful. It’s hard to describe the bonds that develop between the people you train hard with, play hard with, traipse around Europe with, playing these games that cause other commuters to stand back far away from you on crowded metros because hurls just seem to be that little bit scary. The way they become your surrogate family, your automatic go-to friends, and be it endorphins, be it the pure release of getting to run around and let it all go behind you, or the pure love of the games we play, the pleasure of sharing it with other people and seeing them in their turn start to adore it too, to seeing old friends coming back to play after injury and it feeling like they never left, its something that I know that my life would be much the poorer without. For many in our club, Belgium GAA is their first club, but for others, there are deep ties to others in Ireland, or even Canada too. And this, in our quintessential diaspora GAA club, our pan-European region, is part of the evolving face of the GAA.
It’s irrational, enriching, impoverishing (from a dry financial cost benefit point of view) but gives so very much more back in every other possible way.  Let me not evangelise any more. But please let me point you to this exciting and really deadly project that we’re part of. If you’re interested in finding out more about it, it has it’s own website and nifty blog too, on One Life, Two Clubs, so feel free to check it out.
In his own eloquent words, Brendán describes the project thusly.
There is a famous GAA quote that reflects the unique parochial and community nature of the Association. It goes something along the lines that every member has only one life and in that one life, they have by birth right only one club. It is a sentiment that reaches deep into the GAA psyche.

Many of us in Belgium GAA were indeed committed members of our clubs back home in Ireland. We were born into them. They taught us to play. They brought us community. They introduced us to the ideals of an Ireland in which we all wanted to be involved.

But there is a problem with that saying. Because we are here building a new community. It may be in a strange place and it may have a different dynamic to those clubs at home in Ireland, but it is no less important and certainly no less a part of us. In fact, for some, it has become the first club. For Belgium GAA members, that GAA saying is wrong.

In our club, there is a story.

There are amazing characters sprinkled out among all of the playing codes, committees and social networks.

There are friendships that have evolved into life-changing journeys together from chance meetings at tournaments where GAA seems, if it is possible, so out of place.

There are fascinating sporting relationships that have developed between clubs so unlinked it would not have seemed feasible only a few years ago, including the intense football rivalry with Guernsey.

And there are personal stories of emigration and transience; of community and togetherness; of personal failure and triumphant achievement.

One Life. Two Clubs’ is a film documentary project which sets out to tell this story. It is being produced by former Belgium GAA player and current member, Breandán Kearney, with the assistance of club committee member and player, Darragh Cotter. Mutiny Filmhouse, based in Belfast, will be assisting in a consultancy role.

The project invites anyone with a passion for Belgium GAA to get involved. That can be helping out with requests to film events within the club throughout the year; or contributing
any archive footage of club events in previous years and during 2014; or simply raising awareness of the project with friends and family in Belgium and back in Ireland, GAA or
otherwise.

To find out more and to become part of the community of this project, sign up for email updates and ‘like’ the project on facebook. All details are on the blog site for this project: http://onelifetwoclubs.wordpress.com/

Kerry – Comortas Paidi O’Sé – or the GAA Hunger Games. Call them what you will. This is serious stuff

 

Ireland, Geography & Kerry

The island of Ireland is located in the north-west of Europe, between latitudes 51° and 56° N, and longitudes 11° and 5° W. It is separated from the neighbouring island of Great Britain by the Irish Sea and the North Channel, which has a width of 23 kilometres (14 mi)[96] at its narrowest point. To the west is the northern Atlantic Ocean and to the south is the Celtic Sea, which lies between Ireland and Brittany, in France. Ireland has a total area of 84,421 km2 (32,595 sq mi)[1][97] – this is an introduction for those of you who mightn’t be familiar with the sodden lovely island.

A ring of coastal mountains surround low plains at the centre of the island. The highest of these is Carrauntoohil (Irish: Corrán Tuathail) in County Kerry, which rises to 1,038 m (3,406 ft) above sea level.[98]  Western areas can be mountainous and rocky with green panoramic vistas.

The island’s lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent rainfall, earns it the sobriquet the Emerald Isle. Overall, Ireland has a mild but changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. The climate is typically insular and is temperate avoiding the extremes in temperature of many other areas in the world at similar latitudes.[101] This is a result of the moderating moist winds which ordinarily prevail from the South-Western Atlantic.

However, we’ve had GUBU weather recently, horrendous storms battering almost every single costal region… causing havoc. Big big waves, crazily intense storms and the like.

 

Some photographs to convince you of the absolute wildness of the weather that we’ve been enjoying in Ireland, or sympathising with from afar in Belgium, which has remained unusally warm. . . .

This talk about weather serves to bring me to the topic of this post, the Comortas Páidi O’Sé. We’re flying out THIS VERY EVENING.

 The Paidí O’Sé tournament is like the GAA Olympics or a cross between a normal tournament and the Hunger Games. Only the fittest survive. It’s a real honour to have been invited to play and an even greater one to be invited back!

 This is where we’ll be over the next two/three evenings, hopefully celebrating….

 

Kerry is seriously beautiful – here are the northern lights seen from Kerry as stolen from Broadsheet.ie

 

Dublin visitors to Kerry often get carried away in their love for the game. And in their appreciation of the wonderful pass Elaine just gave 🙂

As yet, we have no pitches to play on (still TBC) but will trust in Fent/Timmy to bring us around Kerry to play the matches we have over the next two days. Last year, we were delighted to be invited to play for the first time, and the ladies made it to the final. The picture above Paidí is testament to the wild fun to be had in February in Kerry, with one very enthusiastic Dublin footballer showing his appreciation and love for the game, without clothes, on a rooftop. As, of course, you do.

 This year we’re travelling in even greater numbers and will update you in due course on the Twitterbox and Facespace to let you know how we all get on….

Please cross your fingers for us, we’ll see you back in Brussels on Monday.

Jelena, our favourite Serbian Ultimate GAA secretary, is attending the GAA Convention in Croke Park, bringing down the average age by a good few years –  good luck with everything there.

Belgium GAA and SUAS, Ladies fundraiser, Dendermonde 10km, 23rd of March, 2014

Hello there again.

How nice to see you all.

What do the Sunderbands, Mukuru Kwa Reuben and Dendermonde have in common? It’s a fiendishly hard question, but this year the answer is you, or more hopefully, us.

How come? Pray tell? How is this the answer? Well the answer lies in what we’re going to do this year for our 1st fund-raiser.

Floodlight, 24/7 safe astroturf pitches ain’t cheap. We have fantastic facilities with the VUB, but, astro doesn’t grow on trees. So, along with our fees (to be paid at your soonest convenience, thanks Oliver) we also need to fundraise. So, Jane and Elaine, Camogie and Ladies Football officers (remember from below?) decided that this was what we should do.

A 10km race in the flattest part of Belgium, wonderful Flanders, in the village of Dendermonde. 50% of the funds that all of the runners raise will go to Belgium GAA, and 50% will go to SUAS.

A joint undertaking to raise funds for Belgium GAA, but also for SUAS Educational Development. It sounds like a bit of a mouthful, so please let me digress, and tell you about SUAS.

Morning assembly in Gatoto primary school, Nairobi, Kenya
Gatoto.

In their own words, Suas is a movement that supports quality education in disadvantaged communities in Ireland and in Developing Countries. (for the most part, or at the moment partnerships are maintained with schools in Kenya and India). They do this by working with and supporting partner organisations to develop, deliver, monitor and evaluate quality education programmes; engaging and preparing volunteers to support programme delivery; and building a wider movement of members who share our vision and aims. Two such volunteers, Ciara Farrell and yours truly spent summers in India and Kenya respectively, working with the most amazing people, who deal with seriously tough conditions.

 

In Ireland, SUAS run after school homework clubs, literacy clubs, bridge to college groups, global development education courses, and of course the volunteer program every summer, providing the experience of a lifetime, a really brilliant experience. Should you be interested at all about doing more for SUAS contact Dermot, he’s a gem, and will tell you all you need to know.

So, should you feel so inclined, please do support us and SUAS and their brilliant work, and your brilliant club. It’s a total win-win situation. Except of course for the people running the 10km, or slightly freaked out about doing the race. If you’d like to sign up or sponsor us, please click the link here.

And to finish, I would like to extend all of our collective sympathy and thoughts to the O’Connor family at this difficult time. Our love and thoughts are with you all.

A new year, a new start, a new committee, where to begin?

Well hello there. Ahem. Can you hear me? I hope so.


This post comes with apologies and with thanks. Thanks firstly to the committee members from last year for all of the hard work that they put in running the wondrous thing that is Belgium GAA, an apology for not having this updated instantly with the news of your newly elected committee, but I’ve got this post up in time for the beginning of training, officially, which is next Monday coming, Monday the 3rd of February. Rub the sleep from the winter hibernation out of your eyes, root out any gear that you might have left in your home (preferably wash it before you bring it back too) and find your football boots again, because all codes are back from Monday next. Same times, same places, at the VUB sports pitches.


I mentioned the outgoing committee and their sterling work, but wanted to take the time to introduce you all to the new 2014 committee, without violating their privacy too much, but so that you know who to ask with all or any questions you may have for the coming year.

2014 Committee –  or, Shane, Jelena, Oliver, Declan, Elaine, Niall, Jane, Padraic, Sylvia, Anna and Darragh.

 

Shane, probably could have been a gymnast

So lets start with the Chairperson. This year, like the second half of last year, Shane Ryan will be the chair. When asked to describe him in a few words, these come to mind. He’s energetic, positive, communicative, a hurler, a Limerickman and a phenomenal Jagerbomber. All great things. To contact him with all sorts of questions, you’ll be able to email him at

chairperson.belgium.europe (a) gaa.ie 

 Jelena holding onto 2013’s literary masterpiece

Jelena is our one and only Serbian powerhouse. I kid you not. This woman gets things done. No messing. Not only is Jelena our Secretary for the second year in a row, a role that she has excelled in (and potentially deserves a sainthood for), she is also involved in the upper echelons of the Bass empire, running European GAA.  No joke. So great is her love for camogie, she may have once donated a fingernail to the sport, but she has also become a phenomenal goalie for ladies football. Too many words. I’m going to stop now.  secretary.belgium.europe (a) gaa.ie will get her should you need to contact her, but I promise you, she´ll contact you!

Ah go on!

Oliver is our money man, officially called Treasurer, for the third year running, again, an incredible job. I cant find any photos from his time as a dancing priest, but please pay your fees, or Oliver will have to get serious with you. Running a club this size, and with this level of commitment and success requires serious organisation, and Oliver contributes hugely to this. Here he is, observing the dancing priest competition. 

belgiumgaa.treasurer (a) gmail.com will get you Oliver should you need him.

Declan (Deccie) is this years Assistant Secretary. So he does all sorts of wonderful things. He, in his spare time, is the Linguistic and Cultural officer for the European County Board, but is an accomplished actor, a phenomenal footballer, and can walk for a really long time in one go (100kms in one go is his personal best record so far).  

(Late edit, Declan has his own email address now) 

belgiumgaa.assistantsecretary (a) gmail.com for walking, method acting and general assistance tips. 

Nach bfhuil si go h’ailinn?

Caoimhe Ní Shúilleabháin is the our Irish Club Liaison Officer and European Ladies Football officer. Caoimhe is involved in all sorts, a prolific campaigner, a proud Wicklow woman, she’s very involved in Na Gaeil i gcéin, Seachtain na Gaeilge, getting people motivated and getting heaps of people interested in training the kids club (speaking of which, training is starting back for the kids club this weekend at the Astro Pitches at the BSB).  

ladiesfootballofficer.europe (a) gaa.ie will reach Caoimhe if you need her. 

We move on now to the code officers, the people who email you weekly with all sorts of important things. Make sure you’re signed up on Teamer. Generally do what they say, read the whole email, and all will go well 🙂

1/2 a Tipp tackle

Elaine (Young) Kennedy is this years Camogie officer. A recent returnee, Elaine has great things ahead for us this year. With captain/coach Irene, the Camogie branch of the club is in very good hands. Not that I should tell you here, but there’s talk of joining the Quidditch championship being played in Brussels this weekend, to see how brooms compare to hurls. We’ll let you know how it goes. Elaine is a keen iceskater, so we’ll see how the Canadian’s promised introduction of ice hockey goes for this camogie woman. 

belgiumgaa.camogie (a) gmail.com will get you Elaine. Training starts back on Monday 3rd of Feb indoors in the VUB from 7. Join!

Niall loves hurling      

 Niall Goodwin is taking on the mantle of the men’s hurling team. A former meme teenstar on the internet, Niall is looking forward to bringing the men’s hurling team on to great success this year. From Waterford originally, but part Naas and part Eurobrat, living in Brussels for a good spell at this stage, Niall sends out the unmissable hurling update weekly from hurling.belgium (a) gmail.com

Jane in flight

Jane Brennan is this years Ladies Football officer, retaking over her role after a two year break from running the show. There is no organisational feat that this most practical of people cannot achieve, as well as being one of the ‘originals’. Jane is excellent and an enthusiastic photographer, so every image of you looking slightly awkward and sweaty while wearing the wonderful shiny red shorts of Belgium GAA, either Jane or her camera has captured it. La Fent is captaining the ladies team this year, and with Jane they’ve arranged the 1st challenges of 2014, getting a Paidi O’Se tournament together (22nd and 23rd of Feb) and a 10km fundraiser in Dendermonde (in only 52 days time).

belgiumgaa.ladiesfootball (a) gmail.com is how you can contact Jane, and training is back from Monday 3rd from 8pm. 

P is this snazzy all the time

Padraic Varley, Galway man, successfully lobbied, robbed, bribed and stole (intense campaigning and lobbying) to get the coveted position (against a host of opponents) of men’s football officer. He promises a no nonsense regime of all organisational and logistical things football. This role is his dream come true.


Trainings will be Monday and Thursday from 20.00 – 21.30 in the VUB, and Padraic is hosting the 1st of the years team meetings after training on Monday 3rd. 

football.belgium (a) gmail.com will be the best way to reach him.

The other three remaining people on the committee look after glamorous things like this blog, your social events and socks. All fairly great really. So last but not least, here are the last of us. 

 

Doin her thing

Sylvia McCarthy, of the Cork baking dynasty and utter baking and blogging legend is another ‘original’, a dual player, previous PRO and all round good egg. She’ll be doing her best to sort out exciting social events for us this year as our Social Secretary. I have no doubt that you’ll be entertained in all sorts of wonderful ways, but please do send her on suggestions and ideas too! She’s also a very very happy runner – check her out in her annual 10km run in Dendermonde!
belgium.gaa.social (a) gmail.com 

 

Darragh vs. the Berlaymont

Darragh Cotter was once sent to Uganda to sort out a truce between the Belgian boys teams and some of our neighbours in the Hague, but it didn’t work out, the rivalry there is still as stiff as ever, and he’s back again amongst us. Holds a joint record with Conor DeBarra for the longest journey to a tournament, he’s back to equip us all with all of the accoutrements we might need, our Equipment Officer

Though it might read like something from the Wire, rest assured, this is a completely legitimate email address. 

Darragh’s contact details are belgiumgaa.gear (a) gmail.com 

 

Jumping for joy

I served time as ladies football officer, but this year will be here, doing this and that, while hoping to keep you updated on the goings on for the four codes, club thingys, etc. Please do email me at pro.belgiumgaa (a) gmail.com, and bear with while we try and resolve a few niggles with the website.