Friday, February 21, 2014

Kerry - Comortas Paidi O'Sé - or the GAA Hunger Games. Call them what you will. This is serious stuff

Ireland, Geography & Kerry

The island of Ireland is located in the north-west of Europe, between latitudes 51° and 56° N, and longitudes 11° and 5° W. It is separated from the neighbouring island of Great Britain by the Irish Sea and the North Channel, which has a width of 23 kilometres (14 mi)[96] at its narrowest point. To the west is the northern Atlantic Ocean and to the south is the Celtic Sea, which lies between Ireland and Brittany, in France. Ireland has a total area of 84,421 km2 (32,595 sq mi)[1][97] - this is an introduction for those of you who mightn't be familiar with the sodden lovely island.

A ring of coastal mountains surround low plains at the centre of the island. The highest of these is Carrauntoohil (Irish: Corrán Tuathail) in County Kerry, which rises to 1,038 m (3,406 ft) above sea level.[98]  Western areas can be mountainous and rocky with green panoramic vistas.
The island's lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent rainfall, earns it the sobriquet the Emerald Isle. Overall, Ireland has a mild but changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. The climate is typically insular and is temperate avoiding the extremes in temperature of many other areas in the world at similar latitudes.[101] This is a result of the moderating moist winds which ordinarily prevail from the South-Western Atlantic.
However, we've had GUBU weather recently, horrendous storms battering almost every single costal region... causing havoc. Big big waves, crazily intense storms and the like.

 Some photographs to convince you of the absolute wildness of the weather that we've been enjoying in Ireland, or sympathising with from afar in Belgium, which has remained unusally warm. . . .

This talk about weather serves to bring me to the topic of this post, the Comortas Páidi O'Sé. We're flying out THIS VERY EVENING.
 The Paidí O'Sé tournament is like the GAA Olympics or a cross between a normal tournament and the Hunger Games. Only the fittest survive. It's a real honour to have been invited to play and an even greater one to be invited back!
 This is where we'll be over the next two/three evenings, hopefully celebrating....

Kerry is seriously beautiful - here are the northern lights seen from Kerry as stolen from

Dublin visitors to Kerry often get carried away in their love for the game. And in their appreciation of the wonderful pass Elaine just gave :)

As yet, we have no pitches to play on (still TBC) but will trust in Fent/Timmy to bring us around Kerry to play the matches we have over the next two days. Last year, we were delighted to be invited to play for the first time, and the ladies made it to the final. The picture above Paidí is testament to the wild fun to be had in February in Kerry, with one very enthusiastic Dublin footballer showing his appreciation and love for the game, without clothes, on a rooftop. As, of course, you do.
 This year we're travelling in even greater numbers and will update you in due course on the Twitterbox and Facespace to let you know how we all get on....
Please cross your fingers for us, we'll see you back in Brussels on Monday.
Jelena, our favourite Serbian Ultimate GAA secretary, is attending the GAA Convention in Croke Park, bringing down the average age by a good few years -  good luck with everything there.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dendermonde and the dashing dudes and damsels

Here it is. Officially, we're running 10kms in Dendermonde, supporting SUAS and our club. Win win situation. The fabulous Miss Farrell is in both pictures teaching the classroom and playing in a football match, and having been there, and knowing ourselves how brilliant sports are, there's no need to emphasise what a magical universal thing that sport is. But just in case you didn't know it, there you go. It's official. We need to pay for pitch rental, and that requires fund-raising, but we also wanted to pair with other people who do great work, and this year, we chose SUAS Educational Development. Money you donate to support our runners will go (50%/50% to providing children in community based schools with a decent education). We're supporting schools and supporting sports. We'd really appreciate your support!
Sylvia and Jane running in 2013

Now some of us are fairly competitive people, so it comes as no surprise that we've stats and records to beat. The ladies took this challenge on 2 years ago, and only 8 ladies managed to raise over 2,000 euro. There are 9 ladies on the spreadsheet this year, and we'd love your help to beat our previous fundraising efforts. We're interested in getting anyone who'd like to join come with us too, be you the men of the club, or just if you were interested in getting fit and starting to run in a fun *non-judgemental/*non-speedy sort of way. Failing that, we'd also be delighted if you'd sponsor us. 

Ok, you've convinced me, how can I sponsor you?

Click on this link to get to our sponsorship document (didn't I say that Jane could organise anything?) Fill in your name, enter the amount you wish to part with, and transfer your donation with the IBAN and the BIC to the account provided! If you'd prefer to transfer after we complete the race, that's ok too, but a little help will go a really long way. 

1. Enter your name below the person you wish to sponsor
2. Enter the amount you will donate next to your name 
3. You can transfer your donation to the following account mentioning. "10k Sponsorship"------------> (SEPA transfer friendly!) 

Bank account: 363-0292739-33
IBAN: BE79 3630 2927 3933

                                JP Mul, Fergal, Kev Keary, Fitz, Whisk, Anay, Grainne, Jane, Jess and Marian all happy                                                         (and much  warmer runners in 2012)

Thank you to you in advance for reading this, supporting us, and *hopefully* sponsoring us!

Friday, January 31, 2014

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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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) 

 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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)

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) 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) 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! (a) 

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) 

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), and bear with while we try and resolve a few niggles with the website. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Training 2014

Training for ladies and mens football will begin in early February 2014 at the VUB.

Hurling and Camogie will be confirmed at a later stage.

More to follow....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Belgium GAA Christmas Quiz

The European Camogie and Hurling Champions Belgium GAA would like to invite you to our Christmas Table Quiz Fundraiser! 

It will be a great night with own quizmaster extraordinaire and prizes on the night! 

It’s just 5 euro per person with a maximum of 5 people per team. 

Make life easy and book a table for your team in advance by e-mailing belgiumgaa.camogie@gmail.c

So please invite all friends, family, co-workers and quiz lovers to the 6 Nations Bar (48-50 Rue Gretry) on Wednesday the 18th of December at 8pm. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Double delight as Belgium GAA are crowned European Hurling and Camogie Champions

A dramatic day ended with the hurlers taking the European crown in the dying minutes in a tight final against The Hague, winning by just one point. The final whistle marked a unique double for the club on the Hurling/Camogie front as the ladies also took their championship on the final day despite a narrow loss to Holland in the final.

An incredible amount of work and effort has gone into sustaining and developing hurling and camogie in Belgium GAA and the results today speak volumes of the efforts of code officers, trainers and of course players who racked up visits to Paris, Luxembourg and Zurich on their road to victory.

Congratulations to all involved. More in depth reports and pictures will follow in the Belgium GAA Newsletter in September. 


Belgium 4-6 v Luxembourg 1-4
Belgium 1-3 v Holland 0-8
Holland 4-6 v Luxembourg 2-3



Dresden 0-5 v Belgium 5-7
Luxembourg 2-3 v The Hague 3-17
Paris 1-1 v Dresden 2-12

Belgium 0-5 v The Hague 1-12
The Hague 6-9 v Dresden 0-5
Luxembourg 8-15 v Paris 0-3

Belgium 6-12 v Paris 2-3
Luxembourg 7-9 v Dresden 1-4
The Hague 6-22 v Paris 0-3
Belgium 3-9 v Luxembourg 0-2