The Grand Slam plus one - Five in a Row - European Hurling Champions! Belgium hurlers travelled to Den Haag for the final tournament of the European Hurling year on Saturday to line out against a depleted Den Haag side. For numerous reasons Lux, Zurich and Paris all failed to travel. With the championship already won there was only pride and enjoyment to play for and the two sides set about doing just that. The format for the day was three 20-minute periods and while Belgium comfortably rotated players throughout the game the beleaguered Den Haag squad all played the full 60 minutes.
The contest was never in question as Belgium won five out of five tournaments on the year and sixth in a row extending back to the 2008 season. There were a number of remarkable plays on the day including Davy trying for a point from his own end line, Aidan going on his only run of the year and realising why it's better to take his points, a great dispay of catching and ruthlessness from the recently returned prodigal son, Fergal Mythen along with Eoin Sheanon and Daire Cott. Michael Hough made an impression playing as a back which may be a sign that the apocalypse is upon us. Dan Kellehar made his debut for Belgium GAA and promises great things for next season. Phil R. and Kevin K. used their speed, stamina and skill to thwart DH's skilled players time after time; Jarrett continued to make a case for combining ice hockey and hurling into a single sport, Conor Aylward was in heavy rotation by strategic master Martin Crowley for his breadth of skills. Declan didn't make it as he's still waiting for his baby to arrive despite plying the lovely Olga with curries, steaks and all manner of inducements; and Crusher provided continual support and insight from the sidelines. Like every tournament it was a team victory and the Saturday night celebrations made that clear.