Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association

Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly
Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
by Vincent Beach

To round out the regular season, on July 20ththe hosting Pittsburgh Pucas outlasted the visiting Akron Celtic Guards by the score of 5-20 (35) to 1-6 (9).  For the Midwest Finals they secured the number one hurling seed. Days later, their very own Alex Houreit, Joseph Koniszewski, and Liam Callejas represented the National Collegiate Gaelic Athletic Association all star team at the 2019 World Games held in Waterford, Ireland.  [The World Games is a competition for clubs outside of Ireland, including Britain, North America, Asia, the middle East, Europe, Africa, and Australia. 
Over the past 10 years, club growth outside of Ireland as risen by 100%, totaling over 400.  They compete in Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie, with the finals being held at Croke Park – a chance of a lifetime for anyone].

July 20th was also a busy day in Cleveland as the Men’s Premier team, Ladies Team, and the Men’s Deuxième Team battled their Pittsburgh counterparts at Páirc na Naomh (/park nah neev/ Saint’s Field).  Pittsburgh over ran the Saints in each game, but enough cannot be said for the development of individual players and the teams. 

The Premier’s faced an opponent that will be two grades above them (junior C verse junior A) at the national tournament and the Ladies faced the perpetual powerhouse, Banshees.  The second team played extremely competitively and also faced many players who would be graded above their Junior C/D ranking.  After the games, the WSIA pub was absolutely rocking with players and fans alike.

Over in the New York Cup (Albany-Buffalo-Syracuse Junior D Football) the visiting Albany Rebels fell to the Buffalo Fenians 2-9 (15) to 2-13 (19).  With the Fenians playing in the west of the division last year, the Rebels won the NY Cup over Syracuse, but were unable to retain the top spot in 2019.  Congratulations to the Fenians on the win and to the Rebels on a competitive season. 

Final League Standings:

MEN’S JUNIOR FOOTBALL

TEAM

GP

WINS

LOSSES

POINTS

PITT

4

4

0

8

CLE

4

2

2

4

DET

4

0

4

0

 

JUNIOR HURLING FOOTBALL

TEAM

GP

WINS

LOSSES

POINTS

PITT

4

4

0

8

AKR

4

2

2

4

ROC

4

0

4

0

 

NY CUP FOOTBALL

TEAM

GP

WINS

LOSSES

POINTS

BUF

4

4

0

8

ALB

4

2

2

4

SYR

4

0

4

0

 

Midwest Finals Tournament:  The Midwest GAA finals were held in Akron on August 10th.  Akron Indoor provided the outdoor venue of 4 beautiful fields, two for the adults and two dedicated to youth sports.  The day started off with a blessing over the players for good health and good will from Akron Celtic Guard’s own chaplain. 

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan then spoke and officially declared August 10, 2019 National Hurling Day.  Three national anthems were sung beautifully by Lauren Casey and Coleen Taylor (of Akron Celtic Guards): O’ Canada, the Start Spangled Banner, and Amhrán na bhFiann (as Gaeilge, bhí sé go halainn).    

For the first time in memory, the Cleveland Ladies played the Buffalo Ladies.  Both clubs are new teams this season – showing great growth in the division. Buffalo won out with the score of 5-7 (22) to 3-1 (10).  Following the game, the two clubs joined to form Buff-Land GAA and took on the Pittsburgh Banshees.  The game was tight, but Pittsburgh showed their strength winning by a goal, 3-9 (18) to 2-9 (15).  Not having had their fill, the Banshees then faced off against Cleveland alone, a task not applied to Buffalo by the Midwest Division.  In the end, the Banshees hoisted the cup. 

Another first, Toronto attended the tournament to play camogie.  The core group of Akron ladies were joined by Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, and Cincinnati, who had little game experience to contest Toronto Na Piarsaigh.  Midwest Camogie surprised the visitors knocking in 3 goals and putting 1 over the bar (10) to their 1 goal and 1 point (4). 

Akron Celtic Guards Ladies Camogie Club

Men’s hurling was the feature of the day as the hometown hurlers showcased.  Akron first played Roc City (Rochester, NY) winning 11-20 (53) to 4-10 (22).  The joy on the pitch did not continue though as the Pucas rattled Akron 4-16 (28) to 2-9 (15) paving the way for an undefeated season.  With the win, the Pucas also locked in their seed as the Junior C representative from the Midwest at the USGAA Finals.  Akron will continue on to the USGAA Finals as the Junior D representative. 

While these 12 adult matches were going on, the youth fields were also full bore from 11AM to 3:30PM.  Players and families traveled in from Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh for a 1 hour hurling clinic, followed by Gaelic football matches.  Each age group enjoyed two full matches.  At the U7 and U8 levels, the players were mixed in a true “blitz” fashion. 

U8 Cleveland and Pittsburgh

For the U10s, it was Cleveland against the World (Buffalo/Pitt/Detroit).  At the U12 age, Cleveland and Buffalo teamed up against Detroit and Pittsburgh.  The older ages (U18, U16, U14) were combined, but split by sex.  For the boys, it was Detroit versus the World while the girls was predominately Pittsburgh versus Detroit.  The Youth games verified how strong the future is for the Division.  A record breaking 123 kids participated.  The comradery each year grows stronger amongst the players and families allowing for ever stronger amalgamated teams to represent the Midwest GAA at national tournaments. 

1 U18 Detroit Ladies

Hats off to Akron Celtic Guards, the Midwest Youth Board, Akron Indoor Soccer, and, of course Sullivan’s Brewing Company for rehydrating everyone!

Cleveland GAA Youth.  Beginning September 8th, the Youth will be learning the fastest game on grass – Hurling.  Hurling combines the skills of baseball and field hockey while the games flows with scores similar to Gaelic football. See our flyer or the website.  This is again open to boys and girls, new and current players, ages 5-8 and 9-14. 

Cleveland City Series:  Still want to give football a try?  Both the Men’s and Ladies teams are organizing local games in the fall for past, present, and future players.  All are welcome.  Contact info@clevelandgaa.com for more information.    

Cleveland GAA Save the Date:  GAA Golf Outing is September 28 at Springvale Gold Course in North Olmsted.  Contact clevelandgaa@gmail.com for more information on tickets, advertising, and donations. 

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 of A.  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 (10), 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 slangin’ some engineering skills on local concrete and pipe projects.          

         

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