Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly: Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
Midwest Gaelic Games are now in full swing, a little earlier than prior years. May 11thsaw the Pittsburgh Pucas travel over to the Akron Celtic Guards in the first hurling match of the season. The traveling Pucas had “goal on” knocking in 8 and adding 18 points (total 42) to Akron’s 2-10 (total 16).
On the football side for May 11th, Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s hosted their first annual Memorial 7’s tournament (seven players a-side) for both men’s and ladies’ football at the West Side Irish American Club. The Cleveland GAA plans to run the tournament yearly while honoring a GAA member of Cleveland or the Midwest who has passed.
This year George Dunne, Jr. (suaimhneas síoraí tabhair dó, a Thiarna), was remembered and the Dunne family presented the tournament MVP’s with beautiful trophies. For the ladies’ bracket, Pittsburgh (fielding two teams) won out amongst Cleveland and Indianapolis. The Cleveland ladies showed strong and won their first match since being resurrected. Well done!
The men’s play subdivided between a championship bracket and a shield bracket. Teams who lost a match in the championship bracket played further games in the shield competition. Fielding men’s teams were Chicago (Patriots), Cleveland (fielding three teams), Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh (fielding two teams).
The men’s final saw a familiar rivalry in Cleveland versus Pittsburgh Celtics, with the visitors raising the hardware after the final whistle. All-in-all, the weather held out and the day was splendid.
Hats off to Jim Coyne, his army of volunteers, and our réiteior(referee), Pat Egan, for running a smooth tournament. Twenty-six games were held on the main pitch (Páirc na Naomh) as the recent deluge of rain left the north field at the WSIA too soft. Thank you to the WSIA, OhioIANews, and the Dunne family for their continued support.
This year’s Midwest format for Men’s Junior football will see league rules applied (important for tiebreakers and forfeitures), with the top finishers representing the division in their grade (Junior B or C) at the national tournament. Buffalo rejoins Syracuse and Albany in the New York Cup. The NY Cup league winner will represent the Midwest at Nationals for the Junior D grade.
So, with leagues deciding the representation for Nationals, the Midwest Finals will be a divisional tournament and chance for clubs to win respected hardware. Be sure to mark you calendars as the Midwest Finals are being held nearby in Akron on August 10th.
The Ladies’ Junior football will still be represented by Pittsburgh Banshees, while both Cleveland and Buffalo develop in their first year of play.
Gaelic games for May and June:
June 1st-Junior Football Men: Detroit travel to Cleveland (1PM throw-in at the WSIA)
NY Cup Football, Syracuse travel to Buffalo.
June 8th: Hurling- Akron travel to Rock City (Rochester, NY).
June 15th: Junior Football Men: Pittsburgh travel to Detroit
NY Cup Football: Buffalo travel to Albany.
June 22nd– Hurling: Pittsburgh (Pucas) travel to Rochester
NY Cup Football, Albany travel to Syracuse
Junior Football Ladies: Cleveland travel to Pittsburgh
Junior Football Men: Cleveland travel to Pittsburgh
Junior D Men’s Football – Cleveland travel to Pittsburgh.
June 29th– Junior Football Men: Detroit travel to Pittsburgh
NY Cup Football: Buffalo travel to Syracuse.
Cleveland GAA Adults: It’s official, Cleveland GAA will have two men’s teams and a ladies’ team competing this summer. Training sessions have just begun so feel free to join, learn a new sport, compete against other clubs, and enjoy the athletic comradery. Men will practice Tuesday’s at Impett (Warren Village area) and Thursday’s at the home grounds, Páirc na Naomh (Field of the Saints), at the West Side Irish American Club. The Ladies’ plan to start their training on Wednesday’s at Impett field as well.
Cleveland GAA Youth: For May, the Youth Club provided FREE FRIDAYS once again. Session 1 at Impett Field from 6-8PM was well attended by several new faces from the area rugby teams.
The sessions were geared towards the new players, with the chance to put the newly discovered skills to action with a scrimmage. Session 2 was held at Edgewater Park.
Now in June, the regular summer schedule will be at the WSIA on Sundays from 4-6PM, except when the Adult club has home games. This year we want to bring the whole club (adults, players, youth, parents, social members, and supporters) together on game days.
The Youth will have their warm-ups then compete after the adults. The kiddos are encouraged to cheer-on and then warm-down with the adult team after the game while the adult teams are encouraged to cheer on and warm-up our young ‘ins.
Cleveland GAA Minors: Players under eighteen years of age on January 1, 2019 are welcome to join the Cleveland Minors squad this spring and summer. Are you or someone you know still wanting to compete in meaningful games? Do you want to represent Cleveland? The Gaelic Athletic Association is looking for players of ages between the ages of 16 and 18 to compete regionally and nationally. Contact ClevelandGAA@gmail.com if interested.
The Midwest GAA will be bringing other Minors to town from Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo to train with high level coaches before the national championships. Sessions are currently planned for June 15 and July 13, before select squads will head to the Continental Championships in Philadelphia on July 25.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh(thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. Consider getting involved at any level. Fáilte (welcome) to all. The Gaelic Athletic Association is Ireland’s largest sporting organization and a bit of home for the Irish abroad here in the US. Beyond sports, the Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance, and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives.
Cleveland GAA is open to all who want to play competitive sports, meet new people, and join an athletic, fitness minded club. Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 activities for Men, Women, and Youth. Or, visit ClevelandGAA.com.
*Vincent Thomas Francis Xavier Beach is a proud Greater Clevelander and emigrant of Michigan. He joined the St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club in 1999 and, with much help, is the current caretaker of the Cleveland GAA. His Irish is a cross of dialects from the University of Cincinnati and An Cheathrú Rua. With his wife, Michelle, he enjoys watching time absolutely fly by as their children, Ambrose (9), Bernadette (8), and Cedric (5), grow. His other hustles are teaching Irish at PJs, coaching CYO basketball at St. Mary of Berea, coaching soccer in Olmsted TWP, and slaying some engineering skills on local concrete and pipe projects.
Meet the Cleveland GAA: Maura English – Ladies Player
Hometown: North Olmsted, OH
High School: Magnificat
College: John Carroll University
Current Residence: Westlake, OH.
I’ve always been involved in the Irish community. From marching with the West Side Irish American Club, dancing with the Burke School of Irish Dance, to competing in the Rose of Tralee. Now my latest undertaking is learning how to play Gaelic football.
My first experience with Gaelic sports was when I volunteered to work the 2013 USGAA Finals here in Cleveland. Then my cousin, Brian White, invited me to volunteer at the 2016 Finals in Seattle.
After years of remaining on the sidelines as a spectator, I finally got the chance to learn the game and play. Only a few months in to learning Gaelic football and I’ve already fallen in love with this fast-paced sport.
The other players and the coaches have been warm, welcoming and patient as they teach the newcomers the skills of the sport. A majority of the ladies on the team are playing for the first time so we are all learning together. The Ladies team is always looking for new women to join the team! For more information email info@ClevelandGAA.com.
Maura English and her cousin, Brian White, Chair of the Seattle Gaels at the 2016 USGAA Finals in Seattle.