Those of you of a certain vintage will no doubt be familiar with the somewhat plaintive song by Travis, ‘Why does it always rain on me?’ … Supporters, players and the sodden sportsfans that endured the rotten weather on Saturday in Amstelveen could have been forgiven for thinking that it was written directly for them… And the answers to the questions are almost, and God knows.
Sodden. Soggy, squelchy. So much so that the ladies had to migrate to the main pitch in front of the lovely new clubhouse after the last three blades of grass on the side pitch gave up the ghost and it tuned into a complete mudbath. Fearing that we might lose legs, limbs or some of our smaller players, after two matches, another pitch turned to mud (making soloing an absolute dream) and all of the action moved to the main stage.
Fearing the onset of trenchfoot, the games were played with grim determination by the sodden teams, who took turns huddling in the new clubhouse changing rooms or the bars, waiting for the deluge to stop. And it finally did, at the end of the day, after a hard days football.
Filming for the ‘One Life Two Clubs’ documentary didn’t take place, as there were no facilities for underwater filming.
In the men’s competition teams from Dusseldorf, Zurich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Eindhoven and Luxembourg did battle – with Belgium beating Luxembourg in the final, having beaten Eindhoven, Dusseldorf in the group stages and Amsterdam in the semi final.
Amsterdam (1-8) v Zurich (2-3)
Luxembourg (4-4) v Amsterdam (1-3)
Luxembourg (2-6) v Zurich (0-5)
Belgium (3-9) v Eindhoven (0-2)
Eindhoven (1-7) v Dusseldorf (0-3)
Belgium (0-14) v Dusseldorf (1-2)
Luxembourg (3-7) v Eindhoven (1-1)
Belgium (1-8) v Amsterdam (1-3)
Belgium (0-8) v Luxembourg (0-2)
The standing heading into the final round of the Benelux competition is as follows
Ranking Amsterdam (3rd Benelux round)
Belgium: 25 points
Luxembourg: 20 points
Amsterdam: 16 points
Eindhoven: 13 points
Zurich: 11 points
Dusseldorf: 10 points
For the ladies competition, the group games welcomed Dusseldorf to their first European ladies competition and we’re *SO* delighted to have them play with us!
Benelux-Meeschterschaft am gälesche Fussball (This, friends, is Luxembourgish, a language not invented by three people as a joke, but a REAL LIFE ACTUAL LANGUAGE. This contradicts the constant refuting of ‘Belgian’ as a language. ‘Luxembourgish’ lives.
This weekend, we’re heading down the E411 to Beggen Sports grounds outside Luxembourg City (well, not really a city city, but more a beautiful town where princes and princesses should live)
FC Beggen Avenir pitches will host the Gaelic Sports Club Luxembourg finals of the Benelux Gaelic Football Championship on the 14 June 2014 at Stade Beggen in Luxembourg City. Men’s and women’s teams from the region will battle to lift the Black Stuff 7s Cup and the Peil na mBan trophy – spectators can expect a fun day out with a grill and drinks. Fáilte roimh chách – Jidfereen ass haerzlëch wëllkomm!
We’ll keep you updated on how the games go during the day. (Do you see what I mean about the fairytale place though?)
Amsterdam takes centre stage in the European GAA calendar this weekend as the 3rd round of the Benelux Mens Championship and 2nd round of the Benelux Ladies Championship takes place on Saturday May 10th. We’re heading up at unmentionable o’clock tomorrow morning, with squads depleted by the recent rush to leave Brussels, the ongoing European Election campaigns (for the love of god, please vote people) and the month of May and its generous Bank Holidays.
We’re very much looking forward to playing against unknown teams in the shape of Dusseldorf ladies and our other familar friends, Luxembourg, and Holland Ladies. Two Belgian ladies teams will head up – with a 2014 record breaking 6 matches potentially ahead of us. WHOOOP!
In the Mens Championship, Belgium will face Amsterdam who’ll be looking to avenge their defeat in the final by Belgium in our home tournament in Kituro last month – Dusseldorf GFC, Eindhoven Shamrocks, Luxembourg and newcomers to the Benelux Championship, the somewhat geographically challenged Zurich Inneoin, will also take part in the competition.
We’ll be updating you on Facebook, but really looking forward to a great day of competition and the promised BBQ in the fancy new clubhouse in Amsteelveen, followed by an evening watching Kasper Juul presenting the Eurovision upon our return to Devs.
Ladies of Belgium GAA turned out in force for the Belgium GAA regional football tournament, with 26 players on the day ready to don the red (tigers) and grey (grey haired) jerseys of Belgium. The teams, even, faced off against themselves, and players from Luxembourg, Marie Therase and her charges and only one of the formidable Holland Ladies, the emblematic Donna, who played what was a lovely day of football.
The Greys were captained from the sidelines by an injured Anay, and the Reds by La Fent.
I can’t put the day into words better than the captains, so I won’t try.
Here’s what Aisling had to say, with a little addition from Jane.
Tournament Report – Belgium Red
So once again the Belgium Ladies had too large panels for our home regional tournament this Saturday in Kituro. Belgium Red (Tigers 🙂 and Belgium Grey. A super reflection of the commitment shown by all in training.
Some even felt that research was needed into determining the average age and height of both panels :0 Once the goals were set up off we went to warm up and get ourselves going for the day.
Team Grey captained by Anay Rios and the Reds by Aisling Fenton. Spain versus Kerry. Anay unfortunately couldn’t play as she was literally taped together due to injury but she was a force for her team nonetheless.
We each played 3 matches with the all Belgium matches being of a great intensity and competitiveness. I’m happy to say that both teams played the full day in the right spirit. I’m very proud of the Red team and the positive atmosphere shown all day, even when we were up against it, this is where it really counts.
Big thanks to Pascale for making her debut in goal, she timed her kick outs well and was very brave given the experienced forwards attacking her goal.
Our backs with Jane, Sylvia, Nicky were excellent and grew as the day went on. Jane with her usual calmness on the ball, fielding superbly and linking well with her midfield. Sylvia, the cute fox 🙂 tackling very well and winning the breaking ball and Nicky on her tournament debut positioning herself well and in particular making one savage block in the final!! Our midfield duo of Elaine and Margaux were outstanding, both attack minded players but adapting well to the Greys two super midfielders 😉 a great battle in both Belgium matches. Elaine drove us on attack after attack taking some lovely scores and making some incredible tackles, never giving up. Margaux, winning super kick outs, safest pair of hands all day and taking great scores too. Some good solo runs aswell 😉
An excellent day out by our midfielders covering huge ground it has to be said. Our forwards had a tough battle with the Greys backs but showed super determination and took lovely points. Maeve and Jenny played brilliantly, Maeve with a injured ankle bravely battled on and I lost count of how many high balls Jenny caught at half forward, especially in the final. An all Canadian battle with Sarah Taylor was a joy to watch! Justine making her debut performed very well and made some cool, calm hand passes to her mids and full forward line. Babs, who took one of the points of the day from a very tough angle, Maggie who showed for many balls coming in and took some lovely points and the excellent Ciara, who had had a super battle with Laeti, drove on our outstanding comeback in the final, where at the start of the second half we were really on top. But one of the Greys midfield maestos Ms Ni Shuilleabhain took a wonderful long range goal which turned the final in their favour. And the rest is history 😉 Well done to the Grey team, an outstanding performance all day and an exhibition in determination and skill, lead by Grainne in the backs and my own tormenter Caz in the forwards 😉 But, I could not be prouder of the Reds, we kept going and played some lovely football, we had a great spirit and atmosphere and I thank you all for being such a pleasure on the day. All in all, every girl enjoyed themselves and that is the most important thing. Lets build on this now and keep going with high numbers at training. It really is fundamental to days like yesterday as the regionals are our preparation for the Pan Euros.
Special mention to Elaine who was her usual wonderful support as vice captain. Very well played Elaine all day. Thank you to the girls who volunteered to help out Luxembourg and to Pete for helping out on the sidelines. We did ourselves proud and I’m already super excited about the next regional in Amsterdam 🙂
NOTE: The above was written by Aisling but I want to mention what an amazing day she had herself – culminating in being voted Player of the Tournament by her own team, with Margeaux a close second!
As usual Aisling played a stormer, literally putting her head/life on the line on more than one occasion, and leading by an example the rest of us can only aspire to! She left her 20s in style – can’t wait to see what her 30s bring!
From the Grey Captain, Anay
Tournament Report – Belgium Grey
Just wanted to congratulate you for Saturday’s performance at our home tournament. You all gave a lesson of Gaelic football, and passion for sports. For winning the Cup we had to beat an amazing team made of our own players and that’s not easy at all. You all found the right balance of playing with a good and fair spirit and tough competition. The atmosphere on the team really was nice, and very positive! Even when things got very tense at the start of the second half of the final , everyone encouraged each other and some real inspirational play by a couple of players really lifted us all to put 110% in.
First of all I want to thank our dear vice Grainne for all her support during the day and congratulate her for the POT award, really deserved. She was our main rock in defence and showed all that a good attack starts from a good defence. Another player who showed us that was Leti, our inspiration of the day, who fought for every single ball coming in her way, in particular when she had in front one of our Belgium GAA stars. It was also great to see Astrid performance during the day, every time becoming stronger and supporting the rest of the defence. And the same goes for Sarah, her defending was crucial in some moments of the final, where every single winning ball counted a lot. And of course, the key for a great defence is an outstanding goalie and we had that with Irene, she was super solid under the post, only two goals were conceded in the whole tournament and clean sheet at the final!!.And not only that, but her goal kicks were the basis of most of our attacks!!!
And as the attack starts from a good defence, the defence started from a committed forward line. Our forwards showed not only great coordination to allow beautiful scores but also made a great work in making hard for the defence to start the movement of the opposite teams. Myself as I forward was particularly happy to see that every single forward scored, including the new players Auklien, with a very fast movement, and Maja with her unique German soccer ‘style’. I’m sure both of them were inspired by the most experienced forwards, Caragh, who had a tough battler with our dear captain to be able to score, Mary with really beautiful movements and scores, and Anna Bates with some crucial points and goals.
And my last word for the players that ran as many miles as in Dunderdomnde, our incredible mids, Caoimhe and Niamh, who certainly had the toughest battles in the games and who started, complemented or finished every single defence and attack. It was really great to see and an inspiration for all about fitness, toughness and dedication.
As I mentioned I was gutted I couldn’t play with such an amazing team, and I’m sorry if sometimes I shouted a bit too much from the sideline, but I only ask because I know you can always perform better. So just only worry if I don’t tell you anything ;). It was an excitement tournament to watch and I’m sure you feel as proud of yourself and our team as I am. Many thanks!!!And the most important thing: You did enjoyed playing football!!And the party afterwards:)
N.B. In our traditional POT awards many people, for great performances, were mentioned, and the ones more voted were Leti, Caoimhe, and Grainne. Well done!!
The next round of the regional tournaments will be held in Amsterdam on the 10th of May 2014. Really looking forward to playing against more teams as we’ve been unlucky with clashes so far this year.
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
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!
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
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/
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.
We're the biggest GAA club in Europe, with over 100 members playing in all 4 codes: Hurling, Camogie, Men’s and Ladies’ Gaelic football. New members are always welcome, so why not give it a try! Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org