Tag Archives: Ladies Football

Heartbreak, sadness. But heads held high, 2015 awaits.

The trip to Maastricht for the Ladies Football extra curricular bout with the Munster champions Murroe Boher will go down in history as a great day. A tough, sadmaking, heartbreaking sort of day, but one from which we can’t but build and ‘drive on’ from (in the parlance of Aisling, Capitana the Great). We faced off against a team that were half-centaur, half-girl. Half-coltish girl, who had all perfected the art of telepathy and mid-jump turns, and who had yet, in the majority of players, to face that cruelest of tests, the Leaving Cert. We had them on seniority, fertility, disposable income (though thats perhaps debatible) and the many things that life has in store after the age of 16, but they beat us. They played the semis this Sunday past and held the team they played against scoreless. It’s an interesting fact that they’ll be promoted to Senior next year, as a quirk of being a Limerick team – having won their division this year, they will play senior next year. And, to be fair. . . they should be playing at that level. Our lovely Wicklow based ref (though this is not the time for a rendition of the Wicklow Song) did congratulate all present for the level of football played. But still. Hearts burnt, bruised and burning for next year. We’ll see.

Here are some photos from the day itself. Taken by the lovely mamas and photographers on the sideline from Belgium GAA (I think we should give Maude some sort of stipend) and the Murroe Boher team – who would put Munich to shame with their coordination. We made it to Eurosport too – but the final score of 5-16 to 2-6 tells it all. A valliant attempt and a great success for our 3rd full game as a 15-a-side team – and to get to where we were is no great shame at all. Its just the dream. That terrible awful dream of getting futher along in the competition. Not that we have a heap of nay-sayers or begrudgers, but, I suppose in the words of Kanye, that its the beautiful twisted fantasy of continuing on – and the horrific what ifs. I couldn’t write this post till now cause I was just too heartbroken to do so. But with the efforts and enthusiasm of the girls and shoeless wonders involved, who knows what 2015 will hold.

Elaine has a little nap
Elaine has a little nap

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So the wrappings up of the season have well and truely got underway. We have the annual camogiehurling Christmas quiz, and the end of year dinner (to be held in the Old Oak on Saturday 6th of December, pester Sylvia with your registrations – but places are limited so do so soon). We’ve the European GAA AGM, to be held in Irish College in Leuven, and this year the position of Secretary is up for grabs, as Tony Bass retires after a decade at the helm of European GAA. There are few who would venture to take on what Tony has taken on, and in his farewell speach he sets out his reasons for stepping back from the role after a lifetime at the helm of European GAA – read it, it’s worth the effort. . . So, if you’d like to get involved – please do – it’s your club – it’s what you make of it. Do consider getting involved next year. If you find these posts too long (not looking at you Conor Mull) – how bout taking on the PRO role next year? It’s an interseting one I promise.

So for now, til the 6th of December and the annual danceoff of wonderfullness.

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.

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!

Wet wet wet – Amsterdam and other stories

Can you drown while standing up?

How can it rain so much?

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.

Group games:

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)

 

Semi-Finals:

Luxembourg (3-7) v Eindhoven (1-1)

Belgium (1-8) v Amsterdam (1-3)

 

Final:

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!

Group games:

Belgium A( 2-8) v Holland (1-2)

Belgium B (8-16) v Dusseldorf (0-0)

Belgium A (4-14) v Luxembourg (1-2)

Belgium B (1-8) v Holland (2-6)

Luxembourg (2-3) v Dusseldorf (0-3)

Belgium A (0-8) v Belgium B (0-4)

Holland (4-5) v Luxembourg (1-1)

Belgium A (2-8) v Dusseldorf (0-0)

Belgium B (8-5) v Luxembourg (0-0)

Holland (8-3) v Dusseldorf (0-1)

 

Semi Final:

Belgium A v Luxembourg (Luxembourg conceded)

Holland (1-2) v Belgium B (5-12)

 

Final:

Belgium A (0-8) v Belgium B (2-4)

 

Ranking Amsterdam (2nd Benelux Round)

Belgium B: 25 points

Belgium A: 20 points

Holland: 16 points

Luxembourg: 13 points

Düsseldorf: 11 points

All in all, a tough, sodden, hard day of football…

 

 

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 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!!!

Belgium Conquers Germany and Spain

Photo courtesy of DB

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” If Charles Dickens was a member of Belgium GAA, he might have rewritten A Tale of Two Cities, basing it in Frankfurt and Barcelona on the weekend of 11 June 2011, and making that first paragraph dramatically more positive. But he wasn’t, and he didn’t, so you will have to bear with this description.

Barcelona:
12 lovely Belgium ladies headed to Bar-th-elona. As this writer was one of the unfortunates who had to miss out on what turned out to be a fantastic weekend, here is a summary from triumphant captain, Gráinne Ní Fhlatharta:

Congratulations to all the chicas who travelled to Bar-th-elona this weekend. It was an absolutely ‘stellar’ weekend.

Belgium Ladies had a convincing win over the home side, Barcelona Gaelettes, in our first group game and went on to top the group by beating Valencia in the second game. This set us up for a semi-final clash with Irunia, a strong side who had a mix of players from Pamplona, Holland and Estonia. Belgium ladies however had been improving with every game and another strong performance ensured a place in the final against a very strong Munich team who had run riot in Group B. Belgium went out with all guns blazing in the final and came away with a 5-16 to 3-01 victory over Munich Colmcilles. Our workrate was hugely impressive, and our very own Sinéad ‘they call her Fitz’ Fitzsimons, who covered every blade of grass on the field all day long, was deservedly awarded Player of the Tournament. Our heartiest congratulaions to you Sinéad, it was long overdue!!

 A  special mention to Gráinne Delaney who was unfortunate to pick up an injury during the week and couldn’t travel, we missed you at the weekend and no doubt you would’ve enjoyed the many many patatas bravas/pain con tomata/sangrias we had, we wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back in action very soon. Also a special thank you to Marian O’Malley who travelled from Germany.

A huge thank you also to Aonghus who flew straight from the States to be with us Saturday morning. Not only did he orchestrate everything from the sideline, he also led the way through the carnage that was Saturday night and was still going strong on Sunday…..we salute you!!!

 

Frankfurt:

Meanwhile, approximately 1,300 kilometres away in Frankfurt, the menfolk of Belgium GAA were also causing havoc (and would not cease doing so until they left the Joyce in Brussels around 7am on Monday morning).

Again, I was not in attendance, so will leave it to the supremely talented Mr. David Barrett Esq. (read more at http://footballingjourneymen.blogspot.com/) to give a rundown of an exciting tournament in the Benelux regional championship…

33 of us, at the last count, travelled to Frankfurt by train, car and bus last weekend. Some arrived Friday night whilst others hit the road at 05h30 on Saturday morning. In that group we had Conan and Eoin, trainers/mentors/managers or whatever title you feel befits their role. Crusher and Paul Hagan were injured but came to play the less glamorous roles of money collectors and water carriers.

The groupings pitted both Belgium teams against each other and we were also joined in the group by Amsterdam. Den Hague, Lux, Frankfurt and Amsterdam B were in the other group.

Our B’s started at a canter against Amsterdam A and were in a good position at half-time. However they had lost their workhorse Conor Mul to two yellow cards. Harsh is an understatement. In the outrageous world of crazy European GAA rules, that means a two game suspension. More to follow on this later in the week.

Amsterdam were a strong side and they powered on in the second half, aided handsomely by their fortune of having a spare man. The lads had to pick themselves up fast as they faced into a local derby against the A’s. Again it was a close first half but again the B’s seemed to fade in the second. The lads had put in similar first half displays up in Amsterdam, especially against Lux, but faded in the second half. It’s hard to put your finger on why. Maybe it’s just a case of getting a couple of wins under the belt and kicking on with the confidence that brings. In any case, the team is in much better shape than it was this time last year and if that problem can be solved, the Shield can become a realistic ambition.

The A’s then faced Amsterdam to decide the group winners. For the first time they had travelled with two full teams and having watched how strong their B’s were, I knew we were in for a battle. We led 0-4 0-3 at half-time and weren’t to concede again. Mike Lucey goaled and another four points were spread across the forwards. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. The backs looked shaky at times and needed Timmy’s class in goal with two point blank saves.

On we went to face our old sparring partners Den Hague in the semi. It was a tricky fixture. They weren’t looking too impressive on the day but they are also the masters at grinding out victories when they are on their knees. I can’t remember ever facing them in a semi before. Every game I can remember was a final (or a group game). In a final, you can completely empty yourself, physically and ‘emotionally’. In a semi though, you have to keep something in the tank, hoping you get to the final.

It was another ding dong battle. They relied primarily on frees early on whilst we blew chance after chance down the other end. It was either level or we led by a point at half time. A tense finish was in store. We couldn’t shake them but our defence, led by Ross and a far from fully fit Colm, was holding firm. We pointed with two or three minutes left and managed to hold out for a 0-7 0-6 win. Tight.

James O Dowd is a relatively quiet man and more often than not gives off an impression that he doesn’t care. He was quite animated after the game though and if there was any complacency creeping in before the final, he put it to rest.

Amsterdam A won a very controversial semi against Lux. Lux were adamant they had won the game with a couple of points to spare but the referee’s notebook didn’t agree. If there was an error, it’s the cruelest way to depart.

Our opponents had called up some of their B players for the final which strengthened them considerably as they were quality players, omitted originally for lack of training apparently. We wouldn’t shake them off so easily this time and again; we went in level at the interval. Eoin made two big switches at half time. The first was to bring Timmy to wing-forward from goal. With his first possession he soloed through their defence only to be denied by a great save. Still, it sent them a message that he needed watching and it gave us a boost as we knew we had fresh legs to pick up some of the slack.

The second move came when Paddy returned to the fray. We have a load of backs who were going well and he found himself on the outside looking in for a share of the day. Still, when his chance came he proved why Eoin and Conan had him in the squad. He won the first ball that came into his corner when we were just a point up. The ball was transferred up the pitch and ended with a white flag being raised. We never looked back and added a third and fourth point to our lead to seal the win.

It gave us a second Benelux victory. Now, the lads (Eoin and Conan) have been clear from the off that we wouldn’t get worked up about Benelux this year and instead use it to test out as many guys as possible. However, we also realise the importance a win has on the group. This was sparticularily sweet as some great lads will pack their packs in the coming weeks. Duffer, Alec, Johnny, Andrew, Mike, Ricky and Killian will all move on. They’ve all played big roles in the development of the team and it’s spirit and we’ll miss them. Saturday may well have been their final act and if it was then it was a fitting goodbye.

Note; A more ‘social type commentary’ of the weekends activities will follow later in the week.

SMC