Tag Archives: Belgium GAA

Belgium Ladies V. Liverpool Wolfe Tones – Match Report from Birmingham

From Cathal Harkin – from the pitch side in Birmingham, comes this fairly excellent report of the day.

All-Ireland Junior Championship Quarter-Final
Wolfe Tones (Liverpool, Britain) 1-02 v 1-12 Belgium (Europe)

What do you get if you cross a Colombian, a French, a Canadian, a Spaniard, some Belgian and a few Irish girls with an Australian coach? A damn good gaelic footballing team. This is exactly what this Belgium team were. Make no mistake about it, they were full value for their comprehensive victory over the Liverpool Wolfe Tones and in the process of winning this All-Ireland Junior Championship Quarter-Final; they created history by being the first European champions to be incorporated into the All-Ireland series. History will continue when they play the Munster champions in two weeks time at the Maastricht.

This game was a home tie for the British Junior champions and it took place in perfect Autumn conditions in Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham. What was only a two hour journey for the Wolfe Tones, was a 2-day journey for the Belgian team, as coach Peter Jenson stated. “We made the journey yesterday (Friday) from Belgium and we went through the tunnel and stayed overnight in Luton, or as the Colombian girl called it Loo-ton.” Travelling was just not one of the problems that the Belgian team faced as the pronunciation of Luton would suggest. “Some of the girls don’t have the greatest English but we would always try and shout at them anyway!” Encouragement was not a problem for the team because from the sideline both substitutes and coach alike, made plenty of noise in spite of their non-existent support.

The Wolfe Tones started the game well and bossed possession in the opening stages but could not take any scoring chances. Belgium in fact opened the scoring through the boot of Caragah O’Connor after a poor kickout from Kitty Murray, but finally after 10 minutes the Wolfe Tones opened their account and in somewhat traditional fashion: a goal from Carmel Hackett. Hackett, opened the Tone’s scoring in the semi-final with a goal and was on target again. A great run and lay-off from Denis McDonagh to her, resulted in the Augher native finishing to the net with their left boot. Another good run from McDonagh resulted in Nikki Laverty pointing from a difficult angle to put them three points to the good. This point in the 11th minute was to be their last until the 58th minute, a gap of 47 minutes. You do not win All-Ireland quarter-finals playing this way. Subsequently the European champions began to play football and tore their opponents apart. Margaux Mansanarez who would excel at wing-back all day teamed up with Ana Rois who would in turn find the marauding Elaine Kennedy to shoot and score. Kennedy would go on and play a huge role for Belgium with her aggressive and direct running. Two more points quickly followed with a free from Ciara Farrell and a great score from long range courtesy of Sinead Fitzsimmons. Then travesty struck for the Wolfe Tones when Kennedy after another searing run, blasted the ball to the back of the net to leave the score 1-04 v 1-01. From here Belgium would not look back and from the 23rd minute onwards there only looked like one winner. Time and time again Fitzsimmons and Mansanarez cut holes through the centre of the Wolfe Tones defence and were unlucky not to add more scores on numerous occasions. Another free from Farrell finished the scoring for the opening half to leave it 1-05 v 1-01 in favour of Belgium.

The Liverpool Wolfe Tones were missing some of their influential players for this game, however this does not excuse them for their poor performance in the opening half. It seemed that they made the long journey for the game instead of the Belgians because they were sluggish throughout and somewhat disinterested. If the game was within striking distance for the Tones at the start of the second half, then the opening 5 minutes would squash such notions. Kennedy again was to the fore, as she rifled over a fierce shot after a strong run. Fitzsimmons, had a great chance of goal but blasted over. Then the flurry of scores was completed from a Farrell free. The scoreline quickly ticked over and it read Belgium 1-09 v 1-01 Wolfe Tones. The Wolfe Tones struggled for penetration in front of goal and any ball they decided to hit in long was mopped up by towering full back Grainne Ni Fhlatharta who was a colossus all day. Time and time again she repelled the Liverpudlian’s attacks and set up moves for her team. It was then the fast-moving Belgians made hay. For many of the Belgian players this was only their second-ever game in the 15 a-side format but you couldn’t tell. What was clearly evident however, was the skill-set they used during their 7 and 9 a-side games in Europe, was brought to the table and the Wolfe Tones couldn’t live with it. When the Tones did manage to get through, goalkeeper Irene Kirwin was equal to deny McDonagh on two occasions. Scores from Caoimhe Ni Shuilleabhain and Rois, both from tight angels piled on the misery for the British champions. A late score for the Wolfe Tones from Leitrim lady, Janette Maguire finished the scoring in what was a very disappointing day for the girls in green, white and yellow. A lot of the Tone’s girls failed to turn up bar Niamh Cahill, Grainne O’Gara and the industrious and hard-working Maguire, however even if the team performed better it may not have swayed the result. Belgium were simply fitter, powerful and the better footballers and deserved their victory.

The shy and retiring team captain Aisling Fenton was gracious in victory. “I want to thank the Wolfe Tones today, they put in a super effort. We knew we would have to play out of our skin and we are really delighted to have won this and especially in 15 a-side. We are looking forward to the visit of the Munster champions to our home ground in the Maastricht in early November.” Aisling would again state the togetherness of the club which has up to 130 club members “We have girls from all various nationalities who play and they are as Irish as us. This is who we are.”

This result is a milestone in the history of the GAA, history was created in Birmingham on Saturday; watch out in the next round for more from this exciting Belgium team.

Wolfe Tones: Kitty Murray; Ruth Kelly, Nicola Donaghey, Niamh Cahill; Shannon Finnegan, Grainne O’Gara, Clodagh McPeake; Janette Maguire (0-01), Caroline Donaghey; Nikki Laverty(0-01), Aoife Jacob, Laura Farrell; Denise McDonagh, Carmel Hackett (1-00), Patricia Moyna (c).
Subs used: Karina Grehan, Eimear O’Kane, Leah O’Halloran, Susanne McKerr

Belgium GAA: Irene Kirwin; Nickie Pacheco, Grainne Ni Fhlatharta, Jane Brennan; Michaela Duffy, Aisling Fenton (c), Margaux Mansanarez; Elaine Kennedy (1-02), Caoimhe Ni Shuilleabhain (0-01); Orlaith Downey, Ciara Farrell (0-05, 4f), Sinead Fitzsimmons (0-02); Anay Rios (0-01), Carragh O’Connor (0-01), Barbera Wynne;
Subs used: Ellen Hade; Anna Bates.

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

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/

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

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.

Belgium GAA hosts the 2nd round of the Benelux Regional Football and Ladies Football Competition

On 18 May 2013 (09h00-18h00), Belgium GAA will host the second round of the Benelux Regional Football and Ladies Football 2013, with teams visiting from the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany.

Join our Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/events/423830477712294/

This tournament will take place in the excellently located surroundings of the Kituro Rugby Club (www.kituro.be). Bus 63 from Gare Centrale (http://www.stib.be/irj/go/km/docs/horaires/63/schema/20120416/63_1.gif) stops at Leopold II, which is very close to the pitches.

It’s going to be a great day, so spread the word to your friends, families, work colleagues and any other close or distant acquaintances who would spend a few hours on the side of a pitch, appreciating the glory of Gaelic football in Europe.

In addition to as many football matches as you could shake a stick at, there will also be a cake stand and the club house which will offer the refreshments throughout the day!

Once the games are over, players and attendees alike will be invited to partake of a pitch-side award ceremony where best Championship and Shield Men’s teams, Ladies team and best Players of the Tournament awards will be presented.

Our evening festivities will take place in De Valera’s Irish Pub (Place Flagey, 1050 Brussels), sponsor of Belgium GAA, for a buffet meal, drink, song and dance.

You are warmly invited to join this event and plan your weekend around it.

Looking forward to seeing you in Belgium!!!

Back-slapping: Race Night 2012

A wise Belgium GAA man once referenced an even wiser woman (actually he referenced her a number of times, but she is very wise, so that’s alright). This wise woman stood tall, with her hand on her hip, and spoke about Belgium GAA as a club that was developing into a community, a home away from home that looks after its members and acts as a source of support, solace and friendship, in good times and in bad. 
In good times, we all know how easy it is to slap each other on the back, sit back with a satisfied smile and talk about how great we are. Back in 2010, the wise man, who needs no introduction here, once noted that “The club is living in the good times. It’s never been so good in fact. Every new player who crosses our path is grabbed by the furore and throws themselves right in…Maybe we should just kick back and enjoy these moments but if we were to do that, we would stop driving on. If we stop driving on, we’ll slow down and lose ground. Building from our position of strength is key
People come to Belgium. Some stay, some leave, some are injured/have babies. Times don’t necessarily change for better or worse, but they change and the club and each team within it has to adapt accordingly. 
One thing that never changes is the need to fundraise. This year, we have been lucky enough to find a permanent training ground in the VUB (scroll down for maps), but this luxury comes at a cost. The fundraising strategy for Belgium GAA has been one big huge blowout at the start of the year, with the St. Patrick’s Day Festival, held in conjunction with FC Irlande, followed by individual code fundraisers. This past weekend saw an number of events take place that demonstrate investment in the club, in its economic and social development. First off, the Race Night, held by the footballers, on Saturday 2nd June, in De Valera’s Irish Bar (co-sponsor of Belgium GAA):
Click here to access the programme in all its glory
They say that if you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there. The same can be said for the now-annual Race Night which, in the steady hands of Colin “Ringmaster” Byrne, has become one of the most lucrative fundraising developments for the club. 
Sleep dancing with a mic: a new Colin Byrne speciality
The vast majority of the work was done in advance of the night itself, with horses bought and sold, sponsorship offered, programmes and posters printed, and hype raised. In 2011, the Race Night was held on a weeknight, which worked out well because everyone was there on time after work. This year, we took a chance on a Saturday, which meant that everyone took their sweet time getting to Devs. Nonetheless, as the evening passed, bets increased, odds were bounding all over the place, and MC Church, perched on his stage with crutch and microphone in hand, became more and more loquacious.
The 2011 betting timetable ended with a pre-recorded Belgium GAA Champion Chase:
If you haven’t watched this video yet, you are missing out in a big way. Go on…click it!!
The 2012 betting timetable also had a pre-recorded video competition, The Belgium GAA Kick Off, featuring Belgium GAA’s Kicking Kings. Update (video added):

It was one of those nights that showed off De Valera’s as the perfect location for such an occasion: with TVs on which to watch the races (and a couple of matches), space for bettors to rush the stage to make bets and collect money, and plenty of helpful bar staff to help drown the sorrows of those who managed to bet on every single race and not win a cent. 
With an estimated profit of €2,000 going to the club, the gentlemen of Belgium GAA did well. They won’t be sitting back, needless to say, but can spend the summer running around the pitch in VUB, enjoying the astroturf, changing rooms with showers and toilets, and even floodlights, safe in the knowledge that they have made the future of the club a little brighter. Thanks lads!
We train at No. 6 (rugby pitch) – click the maps for more details.

Kelly getting stuck into European GAA

(The following is an article by Belgium GAA’s own Dave Barrett, published on www.joe.ie on 6 April 2011)

It’s nearly two years since former GAA President Sean Kelly was elected to the European Parliament. In that time he’s also served as Honorary President of Belgium GAA. This week he tells JOE about the challenges facing GAA clubs abroad.

The GAA began with a seed of thought, first sown in a room in Hayes Hotel, Thurles in 1884. In the 127 years that have followed, it has flourished, dispersing its roots to every corner of the country. It has even stretched beyond to reach the major landing places of the Irish all over the world; from New York to Sydney and on again.

Sitting in his office in Brussels, Sean Kelly, Fine Gael MEP and former President of the GAA is watching it take an ever stronger grip on Europe.

Boom time

It’s boom time for GAA on the continent with new clubs popping up at a rapid rate. From Coruna to Stockholm to Tallinn to St. Gallen, Gaelic Games are setting their roots in the ground.

It is not just down to emigration, in a lot of cases it is non-Irish people who have seen the games first hand in Ireland that are bringing the games home to their country. Kelly has been able to observe its development closely in his role as Honorary President of Belgium GAA.

Of course, as President of the Association and through his work with the overseas committee, he has been familiar with the activity in Europe for some time.

“I attended the Annual European Convention in Luxembourg some years ago and was told how hurling in Europe dates back to the 14th century when two legions of the French army played against each other. There were so many Irish enlisted at the time.”

Kelly’s previous involvement was from a distance but now that he is based in Brussels, he has been able to observe things more closely. One thing he says hasn’t changed since he was last involved is the profile of the people: “young, educated, smart Irish”.


Since his return, Kelly has been impressed by what he has seen. “The commitment to the club and the sense of community is just the same (as home) and the rivalry also. Usually in Ireland, your rival will be just down the road whereas here it could be a couple of hundred miles away in Paris or The Hague. I found that particularly enthralling”.

Having hosted and attended the last two Belgium GAA AGMs, he has also admired the way in which the club is run off the field.

“The meetings were more focused than an AGM might be at home, which may be more general. Here there is a great focus on what the club wants to do, very specific. The decision making is almost businesslike.” Belgium is just one example but you will find similar approaches across the clubs of Europe.

Another feature which caught Kelly’s attention was the number of females in attendance; something he feels is an example to clubs at home. “The ladies are far more involved and not just in traditional ways like fundraising, but in all aspects of the club.”


When he compares other overseas units to Europe, he sees the main difference to be the transient nature of the people in clubs in Europe. “In England, the US and Canada, people have put down roots and are very settled. They have people involved for 30, 40 or 50 years and it’s passed on to the next generation.”

Belgium is a good example in this regard, as there was a club in Brussels in the 90s but it disappeared, only to be resurrected in 2004.

Still, whether they are in Ireland or abroad, GAA clubs face many of the same challenges; player numbers, funding, fixtures, competition from other codes etc.


However, one challenge which is more unique to the units abroad, especially in places like Europe and Asia, where the history of the games does not stretch so far back, is securing places to train and play games. Where established sports like soccer and rugby can apply for use of public facilities, the lack of international recognition for GAA clubs means their requests often fall on deaf ears.

Recently, Kelly made headlines on various GAA news outlets, calling for the GAA, Ladies Football and Camogie Associations to work together and seek international recognition for Gaelic Games.

Speaking at the Belgium GAA AGM he commented: “As it stands, our games have no international status and therefore no legal status in countries such as Belgium, France or Germany. This means in practical terms that clubs based in these countries can not apply to local authorities for free use of public sports facilities, as our games are not seen as sports per se.”


“The lack of recognition is hobbling the development of our games on the ground. Our clubs in units such as Europe have to go to great expense to hire private pitches, while other sports can access public facilities for free.”

“Therefore I call on the three associations running our games to come together and found an International Federation and affiliate it to the European and International Olympic Committee, the gold standard for recognition of Sports.

His comments were heard around the world and have received support from units in the USA, Great Britain and Europe. According to Kelly, the reaction has been positive, from clubs at least.

“People have been in touch, wondering how it could be done, who would you have to get in touch with and how they can help progress it.”

But what can Kelly do to push this initiative forward, whilst sitting in his Brussels office, far from the rooms where such decisions are made? As far as concrete decisions are concerned, he can’t do a whole lot in the immediate future, but he is undeterred.

Kelly recalls his experience of Rule 42. “Change takes time within the GAA. You must articulate your idea, give people the opportunity to discuss it and let it take root.”

Importance of GAA abroad

International recognition is more important than ever for the association with so many leaving the country. The GAA abroad can provide a soft landing for those people.

“If you wanted to reach out to the broadest possible community you could do it through the GAA. Getting involved in a GAA club is possibly the best thing a young person emigrating can do in terms of networking, getting jobs etc.”

Securing the future of these clubs is paramount and international recognition will help overcome some of the blocking points. “Many at home don’t realise the sacrifices players abroad make to play the game.

“First of all, most clubs in Europe and Asia don’t have a pitch. They have to go looking for one, pay for it, get goalposts, put them up, and then they have to more or less pay to play and it’s all done by the players themselves. If you could get Gaelic Games recognised, that would free up funding from the local councils and reduce some of the burden.”

Receiving this international recognition would go some way to solving these problems, but it will also open other doors. When Kelly touted the idea of having hurling as a demonstration sport at the 2012 Olympics, he was told that without the recognition, it was a non-runner.

Kelly believes the GAA is missing an opportunity by not being officially recognised abroad. Now he says, “It’s time to take the opportunity”.

With his backing and the growing swell of support amongst the GAA abroad, it will hopefully become a reality in the not too distant future.


Belgium Hurlers Win in Den Haag

Monday 3rd May Belgium Hurlers, European Champions in 2009, continued their impressive run of success on May 1st last, clocking up their 7th tournament win in a row and their first of 2010.

Belgium won the final by 1-8 to 1-5, with a goal by captain Phil Cushen the difference between the sides in the end.

The day began badly for Belgium, who were without 12 starters from 2009. In the group game against Den Haag, the concession of 2 sloppy goals saw them lose by 2-3 to 0-5. 3 points by Davy Barrett, with 1 each from play by Phil Cushen and Jarrett Reckseidler amounted to Belgium’s tally.

Next up were Luxembourg in a make or break tie. Belgium huffed and puffed before putting away the Lux challenge with a series of pointed frees from top marksman Davy Barrett. Also on the scoresheet were Phil Cushen and Shane Ryan. Solid defending by Fergal Mythen and Yann de Kesel kept the Luxembourg threat to a minimum.

The final offered a chance to undo the damage inflicted by Den Haag earlier on. This Belgium team is not used to capitulating having dominated Europe for over a year now and Saturday proved no different.

A titantic tussle between Sean Simpson and Phil Cushen at midfield set the tone for proceedings, with the DH man notching up the lion’s share of his teams score, with the Crusher scoring the only goal of the day for Belgium.

Den Haag established an early foothold with the aforementioned Simpson scoring a goal. Half time Belgium were down 1-3 to 0-4 with Davy Barrett scoring 2 points, The Crusher scoring 1 and Limerick’s Conor Magner scoring a great point from the left.

The first half was also marked by a couple of shamozzles, with Belgium’s Dad’s Army leading the way in the trenches!

Belgium upped the tempo in the second half, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. Phil Cushen pilfered the ball 35 yards out on the left, broke through 2 tackles before angling a shot to the top right corner of the net, bring Belgium level.

Shane Ryan found his shooting range with an excellent score from out on the right before Davy Barrett added to points to seal the deal.

Belgium came away with silverware once more in a struggle which brought back memories of a great battle between these two rivals in Luxembourg in 2009.

Credit to all who travelled on the day, which featured assured performances from debutants such as Conor Magner and old hands such as Adrian Hiel at the back.

Belgium Gaelic Footballers Take Honours in Den Haag

Monday 12 April – Belgium Gaelic Footballers Take Honours in Den Haag

The men of Belgium GAA recorded a famous victory on Saturday last in the final of the 2nd round of the Benelux Championship in extra time over hosts and 2009 European Champions Den Haag.

The final score was 2-11 to 1-9. The result was only put beyond doubt with two minutes of extra time remaining, with Kilkenny man Pearse O Caoimh notching the decisive goal.

There is very little to separate these two teams, who have dominated European football over the past couple of years. The game started thus, with James O’Dowd of Belgium and DH’s Danny Craven exchanging a series of points from play and from dead balls. Jim McGrath and Alec Elliott also finished off well-worked moves to leave Belgium one up at 0-5 to 0-4 at half time.

The first half finished on an ugly note with a vicious assault on Tipp man Jim McGrath by one of Den Haag players, which the referee unfortunately missed.

Den Haag started brightly in the second half, scoring two points in a row. Former Offaly Senior Club Footballer and Morgan Parra lookalike Dave Collins tagged a point back for the Belgians, however Den Haag rattled the men in grey with a goal from Down native Craven.

With the clock ticking down the intensity of the game reached a new level, with some of the most keenly contested and best exchanges of play that European football has seen to date.

Belgium came storming back into it. A well-worked move saw Belgium skipper Eoin O Seanáin dragged down in the area for a penalty. Clareman and debutant James O’Dowd, who hadn’t put a foot wrong from dead balls all day, stepped up to slot the ball beyond the Den Haag goalkeeper.

Nevertheless the game was not over yet with Sean Simpson of Den Haag scoring an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.

Extra time ensued, and weary bodies were thrown into the fray for one last battle.

Olof Gill and Eoin O Seanain exchanged points with Danny Craven before James O’Dowd put Belgium 2 up with 2 minutes remaining on the clock. As tired bodies on both sides struggled manfully to win the crucial breaks, the ball was worked down the left wing with Pearse O Caoimh slotting in from the left to scuff a 15 yard kick past the Haag goalkeeper.

The ball trickled into the far corner of the net and the crowd erupted in delight – Belgium had taken a famous scalp, winning the Den Haag Benelux Tournament for the first time ever.

In what is only the 2nd Round of a 4 Round Championship, the sides are level heading for the May 8th Belgium Tournament in Leuven, with Den Haag victors in Amsterdam.

All is still to play for in what is turning into an epic battle between Belgium and Den Haag footballers.


Will you meet me on Clare Island?


Wednesday March 17th Paddy’s Day and the drinking is easy, but the hearts and minds of Belgium GAA’s finest are set on the Clare Island Tournament this Saturday 20th March.

Belgium GAA men travel to the soft and craggy isle off the coast of Mayo this weekend seeking to retain the Richard Hayes Memorial Cup. The three-way tournament features the hosts, Clare Island, Belgium GAA and Roger Casements of Coventry.

The same clubs field in the Ladies’ Tournament, with our all-conquering Belgium GAA ladies travelling in strength to try and wrest the crown from the Champions, Roger Casements.

In what promises to be an intriguing three-way tussle, the home team Clare Island ladies will be hoping to upset the apple cart, but Caoimhe Ni Shuilleabhain’s Belgians will be strongly fancied.

Our intrepid travellers will depart Roonagh Pier at 10am on Saturday morning. A long day of football, Gale Force Westerlies, pints of the famous ‘Special’, soup and sangwiches and boogeying the night away to the Saw Doctors awaits.

As the saying goes, “Up the Wesht!”

Meanwhile, tournament organiser Olof Gill is facing somewhat of a dilemma:

“It will be tough challenge for us,” said Gill.

“Which team are you talking about?” asked your puzzled reporter.

“Ah well, eh, I’m confused…honesht to God” said Gill, who is facing a torrent of abuse no matter which jersey he pulls on on the day.

Reports from within the Belgium GAA camp suggest Davy Barrett is lining up a spectacular ambush on Gill, should his colours change.

“I’ll knock him as far as Inishturk, like”, Barrett is reported to have said.

When contacted, Mr Barrett refused to comment.

Munich Tournament Report – 2009

The following is a tournament report from the first Pan-European Football Championship of 2009, held on 25 July in Munich, Germany. As usual, the organisation of the tournament was a triumph from start to finish – many thanks and well done, Munich GAA!

Editor’s note: this post concerns only the matches played by the Belgium GAA men’s ‘A’ team. Reports from the Killer ‘B’s and the Ladies to follow soon. This post by Belgium A Captain and goalkeeper Stephen ‘Cluxton’ Kearney. Continue reading Munich Tournament Report – 2009