Tag Archives: Belgium

Belgium Footballers lope down the road to Luxembourg for round 3 / finals of the Benelux regional competition

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)

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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!

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We’ll keep you updated on how the games go during the day. (Do you see what I mean about the fairytale place though?)

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

Hello there again.

How nice to see you all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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.
 

Amsterdam Tournament – Benelux Round 1

 

The Belgian GAA team had an inauspicious start to the 2009 season on the first Saturday of April as they returned empty handed following the 2 hour trip to Amsterdam. Observers of the days events may have thought the Belgian lads had sampled some of the city’s famous wares the night before but, alas, no such excuse can be given for the three defeats suffered by the defending pan-European champions. However, it was the first time for many of the team to play together and hopes will be high that performances will improve from here on in.

The first match for Belgium was the old foes, Luxembourg. Belgium started with a new-look team with debuts for the likes of Johnny Phelan, Martin Crowley and Oliver O’Callaghan. However, optimism was high as the team was backboned by a number of last years’ star players including Stephen ‘Cluxton’ Kearney, Olof ‘Brolin’ Gill, Eoin Sheanan and Micheal O’Floinn. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the appearance of Sheanon in the backs – presumably in the hope that he would be more likely to pass rather than try to run the ball over the line all by himself from the half-back line.

The change in personnel affected Belgium though, as they were very slow out of the blocks and were picked apart after only a few minutes by a slick Luxembourg move which ended with Cluxton picking the ball from the net. Showing great spirit however, the lads rallied well towards the end of the first half to trail by only a point at half time following some fast interplay between Messieurs Sheanon, O’Floinn and Gill. A large number of changes at half-time, however seemed to affect the balance of team as Luxembourg kicked on while Belgium were unable to put their normal fast game. While trying to push forward, Belgium were caught on the break on a number of occasions – the most notable break bringing a second goal which effectively ended the game.

Next up was Den Hague – where it was obvious the men in yellow were eager to make amends for their two defeats to their rivals in the final tournament of 2008 in Maastricht. And so it proved as Den Hague played some excellent football, taking full advantage of the inexperience in the Belgium ranks to score four unanswered points for a comfortable half time lead. The second half saw more of the same with Belgium competing in the middle third – with Micheal O’Floinn again prominent, but unable to build any momentum and often being found out in possession. The defence was under severe pressure and only for another storming performance from Captain Phil Cushen, the damage could have been far greater. Den Hague, on the other hand, were moving the ball very well and took their chances when they came to ensure a final result of 8 points to no score.

The final game was against Amsterdam and also counted as the 3rd/4th place play-off. This was a keenly contested affair between two well-matched sides with plenty to play for – Amsterdam aiming to claim a significant scalp in their home tournament and Belgium aiming to avoid a whitewash. Amsterdam had the best of the first half however with Belgium again failing to click into their normal fast game and the lads found themselves down by a point at half time. Stirring words from the injured Davy Barrett at half time did the trick though as Belgium roared out of the blocks in the second half with 6 great points. Micheal O’Floinn and Sheanon were again prominent while Mikey Keane also popped up for his customary vital point. At this point though Belgium took their eye off the ball and let Amsterdam in for a soft goal suddenly balls started to go astray and runners failed to pick out supporting players. Then disaster struck as Amsterdam snuck in for a second goal and suddenly the game was wide open. At this stage though, the ‘Dam had their gander up and struck for a couple more points towards the end as a tired Belgium pushed forward. Despite our best efforts to get back into the game it wasn’t to be, as the hosts held out for a good victory over the boys from Belgium.

And so Belgium had only the wooden spoon to show for their efforts on the day. However, as was pointed out after the game, there was no disgrace in this defeat as Belgium fielded a team with as many as six players making their debut over the course of the day. Much was learned over the course of the three games and certainly players like Johnny, Martin, Mattie, Oliver, Ruairi and Dominic learned much that ever could be learned on the training field of Parc Cinqentanaire. Last year’s players too learned that there a number of newer lads pushing hard for their places and that performances will have to improve if places are to be kept.

Next up is the second round of the Benelux Championship in Den Haag on May 2nd. The aim there will be to have a number of players back as well as some newer lads such as Eoghan Kelly and Ciaran Hudson, in making an extremely competitive panel. We hope also that this will give us the numbers we need to enter 2 teams to carry the Belgian flag. Unfortunately we will not be joined by Galway’s own Ryan McMenamin – aka Kevin Keary, who is stationed back in Cork canvassing for a job.

Finally, congratulations to Micheal O’Floinn who picked up the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award (his second in only three tournaments!!) in recognition of his outstanding display on the day. A special word also to Conchur deBarra who, having left the field injured against Amsterdam, found out afterwards that he will be in plaster for two months after breaking bones in his ankle. He can be comforted by the thought that Eoin Sheanon has kindly offered to go round for a cup of tea and a chat about Dublin football. The lucky fella!

Craobh Rua abu!