Category Archives: Pan Euros

The end of the 2014 season comes to a thrilling conclusion in Maastricht

Monday always seems a surreal sort of day post tournament. Aches. Pains. Bruises. Strangely shaped strangenesses in places that you didn’t know could hurt the way that they do now. But all that aside, what a weekend we had! What a weekend it was. It’s 9 degrees now and the 23 degree scorcher that we enjoyed in Maastricht seems like a million miles away, but it’s not really that far away, and yes, it really did happen.

Belgium GAA have finished the 2014 on an incredible high. Mens and women’s football, and hurling and camogie: we’ve topped all of these competitions. It’s insane. There were photographers and camera men abounding around the place on Saturday, so here’s a collation of some of the coverage from the day. Breandán Kearney was there with his intrepid camera friends, so there’s sure to be something wonderful to watch in the ‘One Life, Two Clubs‘ documentary that he’s been making over the course of the 2014 season.

The GAA were there in force, with the following video reportage from the day by Jerome Quinn – featuring the lovely heads from all over the European GAA clubs, but some familiar faces too – Diarmuid O’Loingsigh, previously from Naomh Abán captained the Belgian men’s championship team, Club Secretary Jelena Radakovic, POT Margaux Mansarnez, Ladies Capitan Fantastic Aisling Fenton and several dancing and running body parts of everyone else who attended the day seems to have been captured in the background. Wait and see if you can spot yourselves in this one.

There’ll be reports from all the captains and code officers in the week, but for the moment, it’s worth just thinking back on the absurdly successful year that we’ve had as a club: and drive on for the next two weeks for the Ladies Footballers as they still pursue more football challenges in the shape of the Munster Club Champions in Maastricht on the 1st of November at 4pm. All support most definitely welcome.

Red sky at night, shephards delight, red sky in the morning, its really really early

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Tomorrow morning, a group of 29 Belgium GAA men travel to Maastricht to compete in the European football finals. Fielding two teams, one in the senior championship and the another in intermediate, and following months of hard training and playing numerous tournaments, it all comes down to this one day of football.

The men have already won the Benelux region and now have their sights set on a much bigger prize. Good luck!

(P Varley sends his love to all)

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Last training session in ordinary time complete – Maastricht to see what we’re made of

What a year. 2014 has been an immense season. We’re a few days away from the close of an incredible year. .and we’ve this weekend to look forward to! The photos say more than I can. 4 Belgian teams will participate in the action across the day, topped off with a reception in the lovely city of Maastricht.

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Maastricht it is. One last push. The only men’s pan-Euro this year: the third and final pan Euro round for the ladies. Heaps to fight for. A great day of football awaits us all. . . we’ll update you as the day goes on.

A days work done (for les damsels), men to fight again tomorrow morning @10:00

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We’re dissecting the finer points of today’s play in Stockholm, let it not be said that the Stockholm Gaels cannot organise a stunner of a tournament, because today would then have to beg to refute you.

Stockholm is a magnificent city built on 7 islands in an archipelago of wonderful proportions (your dear author nearly had a conniption when we exited our final tunnel and flew down a bridge over & beside & around the waterside – Stockholm is fairytale made life.) That aside, perfect 18° and semi clouded football weather, fair refs, gold competitive football, lovely buzz and crowds at the venue all day. {The sports  fitness classes we witnessed were also memorable – called either frumble rumble, or grapple, they were an interactive series of ‘primal movements’, generally carried out in pairs, but akin to well, things that aren’t generally carried out in public parks in the repressed southern countries from where we hale. By why ever the hell not?} The Swedish – Irish society also deserve an extra special shout out for providing tea, coffee, cakes, taytos and biscuits for us and all passers by freegratis! It was so lovely and much appreciated.

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There’s a cup involved. They’re looking after it well. Here’s how the day went….

Belgium A 5-13 v Munich 2-3
Holland 6-11 v Stockholm 2-4
Munich 4-14 v Gothenburg/Bordeaux 1-3
Stockholm v Belgium B 2-6
Belgium A 9-29 v Gothenburg/Bordeaux 0-1
Holland 4-12 v Belgium B 2-7

Then we had lunch. Not fikka. Nor open sandwiches, but proper lunch.

Then the football calmly started up again.
Playoff stages now.
Belgium B faced Gothenburg/Bordeaux and won. 4-12 to 0-3

Semi final one saw Belgium A dispatch Stockholm 4 -23 to 0-1.
Holland ladies finished at 2-12 in a tight match against Munich who managed 2-10.

Final face off, countdown, battle for the ages? Belgium A v Holland ladies. I’ve spoiled the ending by posting the cup photos haven’t I? Well. A great, exciting final was had – and Belgium A won.

We’re celebrating our newest Rose of Tralee nomination too (ask for videos). Its another step closer to the 2014 championship for the Belgian Ladies, while Belgian men are in bed tucked up asleep – ready and raring to go we hope at ten tomorrow 🙂

To Maastricht and the north

Belgium ladies and men’s teams are split today – with the two ladies football teams taking on the first pan Euro of their season and a men’s 15-a-side playing on Maastricht. As we have yet to manage bilocation, Jelena will be reporting from the Netherlands and I’ll be covering the action up north….

Best of luck to all teams!

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From the Lovely Laney
All roads lead to Stockholm, as 17 strong, fit and determined Belgian women descend the Swedish Capital for the second round of the Pan European Ladies Football Championship.

After a very successful day out in the Munich round, where the Belgian Ladies took home both the Shield and Championship trophies, captain Aisling Fenton is expecting a strong display from both sets of panels.

‘We have prepared very well for this tournament and we are really looking forward to a competitive day of football. We are expecting very stiff competition from the local teams, as well as Holland and Munich.’

Vice-captain Anay Rios, who has dubbed the tournament ‘the Dancing Queen Tour’ is hoping the Belgian girls will continue to play the free flowing football that saw them win the first round in very impressive fashion.

‘I’m hoping the girls will continue to work as a team, move the ball quickly and take score like they did in Munich.’

‘We will just take each game at a time and hope we play to our potential. The nature of European football is that there are surprises at every tournament, we can take nothing for granted and we need to be 100% focussed going into every game’.

The trip to Stockholm marks the fifth tournament of the year. Belgium ladies have successfully sent two teams to each of these tournaments, no mean feat given the costs involved.

Best of luck to all the girls, hopefully they will we celebrating on the streets of Stockholm on Saturday night!

Not lost, nor lonely, Belgium wanders to Bavaria: An Ode to München

Monday, funday. Sometimes flashes of the weekend past are all you need to power through a desk and a computer based morning, when all you can really think of, or want to think of, is the weekend you’ve had, the football played, the sights you’ve seen (HUNDREDS OF GERMANS CROSSING THE ROAD WHEN THE GREEN MAN WAS NOT THERE!) and other such unexpected delights. As we continue to digest what was an epic weekend, and to let PVarley compose his particular peon to the Belgian men, I’m going to pass on this little gem, from our freckled Fraulein roving poet/reporter,  a Wordsworth inspired ode. Look at that. Culture. How fancy. And its for you. For free.

You’re welcome, you can thank me later.

But here it is, an Ode to München (not inspired by Giselle Bundchen)

An ode to München

(by Sylvia McCarthy)

We wander purposefully as a team

That floats round Europe, balls in hand

Our boots dry, our jerseys clean

Into Munich we did land.

Farewell Belgium, we’re turning German

(my mind is blank, what rhymes with merman?)

 

Breaking free from the Benelux theme

Our bags were packed, we were on the way

It was time to live the European dream

With As and Bs, the tiger and the grey.

Old and new faces were our foes

Torrents of rain and ants our woes

 

Facing Vienna, Paris, Zurich and our hosts

Our Bs were divine, our As were supreme,

It would not be fair to boast

But even the sun admired the scene

Grainne swooped and Margaux soared

Our men on the sideline drank beer and roared

With a happy mind and aching muscles

I think of Munich and wish I’d stayed

Back at my desk in the office in Brussels

This is of what dreams are made.

Next up: September and the Swedes

Where Belgium will once more be Dancing Queens.

Belgium bound for Bayern(Munich) & we need to talk about Kevin

It is cold, it is wet, it is miserable and yes, it is early July. This is unfair. It is bucketing down and wet and cold and *gasp* Belgium have been knocked out of the World Cup. Its just not fair or ok. With nights without 3 matches ahead of us, its going to be a strange summer to adjust to again – and having seen a montage of weeping Brazilian children, women and men set to an achingly beautiful Garth Brookes song, well, its just an emotional overload – akin, I’m told, to being a Mayo football supporter.

Munich City Centre
Munich City Centre

From Etterbeeks finest son, Marouane Felliani, brought up mere meters away from our training ground in the VUB, to the somewhat eery similarities with the Irish named Kevin De Bruyne, who IN NO WAY LOOKS LIKE ANYONE WHO PLAYS FOR BELGIUM GAA…we’ve had a rollercoaster World Cup ride.

Kevin De Bruyne, or Kevin Brown
Kevin De Bruyne, or Kevin Brown

Nope, no one at all (no names, but think of a handy footballer/super-striker impact player of mysterious origins in the club and see what I mean). Much more handsome of course. But still. Uncanny.

We no longer need to talk about Kevin, but we now need to talk about Bayern, being in Deutschland, and being involved in a sports competition that is *more exciting* and *more tightly fought* than last nights Germany v. Brazil wipeout. Yes, the fortnightly Belgium Ladies Interleague competition. No. I jest. I joke. The InterLeague continues, but the turning of the tides and the passing of the months means that we’ve arrived at PAN EUROPEAN COMPETITION TIME (for the ladies, and an equally exciting, but somewhat different combined regional tournament / pan-Euro grading event to decide which level they will play at October’s Pan-European event in Maastricht for the men). This means more teams, more competitions, more matches and much much much more fun! PARTYZEIT KIDS!

Do you want to go home yet? The answer, at all times, should be the following. “Nein man, ich will noch nicht gehen, ich will noch ein bischen tanzen”. Here’s a nifty tune to help you to say no to going home, specially for you.

Munich you say, tell me more!

Ok. Munich (/ˈmjuːnɪx/; German: München, pronounced [ˈmʏnçən] ( ),[2] Bavarian: Minga) is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. About 1.47 million [3] people live within the city limits.

So, for the first time in three years, we’re setting off to play in the home of Munich Collumcilles, a club founded in 2001 by a group of Irish ex-pats in the Englischer Garten, they’re both a hurling (at underage) and a football club (ladies and mens). The Colmcilles have their own (gorgeous) training grounds within SV Gartenstadt Trudering, and it is there that 9 mens football teams from County Europe and 7 ladies football teams will face off, in again, inclement weather (we’re currently promised a thunderstorm, oh joy, oh raptures). Last time we played in Munich we all got sun stroke, so perhaps a little rain mightn’t be a bad thing.

Given the distances involved, its perhaps not surprising that the predominant areas represented in this 1st PAN EURO COMPETITION are Benelux, Central and Eastern Europe, with no represntation from Iberia or the Northern European Clubs. Which is a pity, but I’m sure we’ll see more of them in September when we head up to Stockholm. But that’s me getting away with myself.

Who are the teams you say? What are they like you wonder? Well, hold on to your seats as we go through the few teams that will be competing this weekend.

Mens 

Augsburg – Belgium – Munich AMunich BGeneva Padova Paris Vienna Zurich (on websites along, Padova ‘Paddies’ takes the crown)

Ladies

Belgium A – Belgium B – Paris – Munich A – Munich B – Vienna Gaels – Zurich Inneoin.

Though Rennes head the Ladies Championnats de France & îles Anglo-normandes 2014 Paris is travelling to Munich, Belgium are the only team from the Benelux region to join and the Eastern and Central European region are represented with heaps of teams.

All roads lead to Mayo

Munich mens and ladies A teams have topped the Eastern and Central region – so no matter what the weather brings, we’ll certainly have great football ahead of us. And Sunday – a mere matter of a million more matches, and this site, pending recommendations from our Munich hosts, gives us a few options for where to watch the World Cup final, definately surrounded by  few excited Germans!

 

 

 

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. 

 

A brief history of Belgium GAA

Some highly recommended reading material on the history of Belgium GAA from former player, captain and trainer Eoin Sheanon for livegaelic.com

http://www.livegaelic.com/gaa-abroad/gaa-abroad-belgium-gaa/

Belgium GAA

A friend of mine once asked me was Belgium in Brussels or was Brussels in Belgium? Indeed.
Ordinarily famed for its chocolate, the pissing boy and “the place that tells us what to do”, Brussels is not generally recognised; never mind as a GAA stronghold.

But visit any of the city’s watering holes, such as DeValera’s on Place Flagey or The Old Oak on Rue Franklin and you will see the trophies, jerseys and memorabilia of Belgium’s only Gaelic Football club.

Originally founded in 2004, Brussels Hurling club was renamed Brussels Hurling and Camogie club in 2007. A year later, this fledgling club, based in the heart of Europe, changed its name for the third time in 4 years to “Belgium GAA.” This time to accommodate football, not just camogie. The demand for the big ball game was healthy and Dave Barrett, a Cork native, working with Toyota, at their plant in Evere on the outskirts of the city, decided that the time was ripe to put a team together.

The club has grown exponentially over the years and has many individuals to thank for that. Conan MacOscair, who moved to Brussels over ten years ago, was there when the club was founded. Conan played hurling for Setanta and was used to the bright lights of that famed pitch in Ballymun, the San Siro, before his big move to Brussels. Conan runs the Delish Cafe in the centre of town but still takes the time to train the Belgium footballers whenever the opportunity arises.

Breeding Ground

The club’s chairperson is Maria Brosnan, a Kerry native who worked as a Press Officer for Fianna Fail in the European Parliament, a breeding ground for new recruits. At one point in 2011, there were 12 Members of the club working in Committees and Plenary sessions on Rue Wiertz. The European Parliament is also host to the club’s honorary President, none other than Sean Kelly –former President of the GAA.

Are they any good? Well, their ladies are the best in Europe, having just completed five European County titles in a row. They have some outstanding footballers, including Grainne Ni Fhlatharta, a former inter county Kerry footballer, Anay Rios a former semi-professional Spanish soccer player and Carragh Rowan, who is the only person in the club, past or present, male or female, who can kick a 45.

They’ve trampled on everyone from Budapest to Paris and it seems most of the other teams in Europe are plain sick of them. Just as it was for Tony Soprano, it’s tough at the top.

The men don’t have this weighty burden of being the perennial favourites but have certainly had their fair share of success.
They won their first European County Football Championship in 2008, under Barrett’s leadership. Having been beaten out the gate in the first tournament in Munich – not Belgium’s favourite ground – they made up for it with sterling performances in Budapest, Rennes and Maastricht.

Winning the county title in their first year was an incredible achievement and perhaps the enormity of that success was overlooked because thereafter would follow three barren years whilst The Hague, led by Limerick man Denis Reidy, and the Channel island, Guernsey, shared County successes between them.

Champions Again

That was to change in Maastricht in November, 2012, at the penultimate stage of the three European Championship Rounds. Two points down in the final against Guernsey, with a minute left on the clock, Corkman Timmy O’Donovan galloped down the field and buried the ball in the net. Belgium GAA held on and reclaimed the title they had first won four years previous.belgium gaa hague winners

 

 

 

 

Belgium have won two hurling county championships, in 2009 and 2010. They had an exceptional team that were unbeaten for the entirety of those two years. But things have become a little leaner since with clubs such as Zurich St Gallen putting up sterner opposition after some of Belgium’s hurlers moved on in 2011.

The Irish community that the GAA club in Brussels creates is a home away from home. Oliver O’Callaghan told this author that “It’s great just to be a part of it because when I came to Belgium first, I didn’t know anyone at all. Within a week I had met the hurlers and footballers. Now I know half the Irish in Brussels”.

Another one of Oliver’s fellow players, Brendan “Bob” Lynch spoke of thrill and craic of the weekends away, “I have travelled all over Europe, to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris and beyond. But my most memorable trip was to Munich in ’09. The trip is famed because I drove a 12 seater bus down to Munich from Brussels the night before the tournament. After an 8 hour trip through the night and a couple of hours sleep in a hostel, we awoke in Munich the next morning and headed off to the pitch in plenty of time. Someone, who will remain anonymous, put the wrong pitch into the Sat Nav and we ended up in the middle of nowhere. Two hours late for the tournament our then manager Dave Barrett, went bezerk.”

“Even now if the subject is brought up it causes a divide between those who were on the bus and those who weren’t” said current Belgium manager, flame haired former Ballyboden St Enda’s man Ross Church. “Although it has ensured that no Belgian player has arrived late for a tournament since!” he continued.

Stalwarts

Still playing and with a combined age of over 150, Martin Crowley, Derek Dignam and Fergal Mythen are among the club’s older brigade showing Ryan Giggs like longevity. But the club is built on a blend of experience and youth with many coming straight out of college to internships across Brussels. It is this blend that makes the club something special.

Transience plays havoc, however. Of the 2008 team, that won the Championship, only four stalwarts remain, Phil Cushen, Kevin Keary, Olof Gill and Colin Byrne. The rest have headed to pastures new and every year sees a big turnover of players. Because of this it’s important that those who arrive buy in quickly and they usually do.

The Belgium men won their first football tournament of the Year in the Benelux Championship last weekend. They overcame their neighbours Amsterdam in the final on a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-7. The Benelux region is generally regarded as the most competitive in Europe with football powerhouses, The Hague, generally always there or thereabouts. Luxembourg are a very strong club with many of their players involved in the banking sector and Amsterdam have a constant stream of Irish passing through to bolster their ranks. Eindhoven and Dusseldorf are relatively new clubs but appear to be going from strength to strength.

Gaelic football and hurling in Brussels is no different to any parish up and down Ireland, except your greatest rivals are 200 miles up the road. A thriving Irish community is now based around the GAA club and if you walk past the VUB University, in Etterbeek, on any Monday or Thursday night don’t be surprised to see a flame haired man from Ballyboden and a Cafe owner from Ballymun standing in the middle of a pitch roaring at their charges as they prepare for battle at the weekend.

To find out more about Belgium GAA, check out their terrific website, follow them on twitter @BelgiumGAA or find them on Facebook

For all the latest daily news follow LiveGaelic on twitter @GAALive or join us on Facebook

 

 

Belgium GAA 2013 – show me your Meitheal

Dia Dhaoibh go léir,

 

I’d like to welcome old and new members to the club for the 2013 season, Belgium GAA’s TEN year anniversary. I’d like to say a massive thanks to the outgoing committee for their hard work in 2012 and in previous years. This year’s committee stands on the shoulders of giants!

 

Last year was an incredibly successful year for the club both on and off the pitch. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the financial support and fundraising, our trophy cabinet would not be as full. We received fantastic support from our sponsor’s (DeValera’s and the Old Oak) and all club members helped fundraise to make sure that our Treasurer had an operating surplus at the end of the year. Considering our expenditure for 2012 was €17,464 with pitch rental alone at the VUB costing €9420, that was no mean feat. To sustain this level of investment we need a huge effort again in fundraising and a generous sponsor.

 

I’m delighted to announce that for 2013, De Valera’s, the Old Oak and 6 Nations will be our sponsors. We’ve signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with them this week which holds expectations from both sides – the club will be paid a fixed amount for fifteen (or possibly more) official events that we hold in either venue, including the end of year dinner, quizzes, post tournament nights out and watching some of the main GAA games on TV. This Sunday our sponsors play a massive role in the organisation of St.Patrick’s Day, securing sponsorship from drink companies and utilising contacts to get the club great deals on the facilities we use on the day. With the sponsorship, the club saves a significant amount on VAT which is important for this year if we order jerseys/gear/equipment. In total the club will benefit €4,000-€4,500 through sponsorship. In return for this, we have agreed to support and promote our sponsors in all communications and at pitchside for Belgium tournaments. Again like last year we’ve agreed not to promote any other bar in Belgium GAA emails, facebook etc.

 

One of our aims for this year is to involve as many of the wider Irish/Belgian/international community in club events. This year we will receive a grant of €5,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs for a project which the heroic Shane Ryan created entitled ‘Brussels Community Gaelic Football Parish league’. We will run a parish league throughout the year that involves the wider Belgium/Irish/international community, especially the kids club. More info will follow from the code officers. I’d also like to create some open events where people who have never played Gaelic Games and who are possibly scared of official training, could come and pick up a hurl/football and learn about our sport and our club. I’d especially like to target those who are slightly older and who haven’t played in years due to family commitments.

 

Finally I’m making a personal plea to all members to strengthen the Belgium GAA Meitheal by volunteering and helping the club in 2013. Each member should recognise the costs of running the club and the effort people put in to make sure this club is such a success. Some members pour their heart into the club – by researching new drills for training, organising gear, picking up rubbish after tournaments and cleaning toilets after the Fr.Ted ceili, or moving goal posts with mice in the back of a van etc. We need your help at all times. If you feel like you could contribute to the club by writing a post match analysis, or buying bananas in Colruyt or anything else you can think of please contact us. Tell your friends, invite them to our events and most importantly get people playing our wonderful Gaelic Games.

 

Go n-éirí libh go léir,

Maria