Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly
Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
By Vincent Beach
There is big news out of Ireland after the GAA elected the first overseas candidate to Uachtarán (president) at the Annual Congress in Croke Park. Larry McCarthy will oversee the position from 2021 through 2024.
Originally from Bishopstown, Cork, he emigrated to Nua-Eabhrac (New York) in 1985. Since then, he has been involved with the New York-Sligo club and has served as both Rúnaí (Secretary) and President of the New York GAA. He is currently a GAA trustee and Management Committee member.
Mr. McCarthy is a lecturer in Sports Management at Seton Hall University. He plans to move back to Baile Átha Cliath (Dublin) for the term. At the GAA Congress, it took four rounds of voting for McCarthy to prevail over Jarlath Burns of Armagh.
GAA Congress Rule Changes
Also during the two -day Congress, 63 motions were debated. Several deal with fixtures for the highest level of the sport or the seating of committees in Ireland, so we will concentrate on those pertaining to the games played here in the USGAA.
Motion 1 passed, allowing sideline officials to bring to the attention of the referee during a break in play any foul play that was missed. Motion 6 was approved and disallows a player to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper after receiving a kick-out, with the penalty being a free from 13m line or position opposite the goalkeeper’s reception.
Furthering the rules with the advanced mark (where a forward or defensive player cleanly catches a ball kicked from outside the 45m after traveling 20m), Motion 7 passed, allowing the defender to immediately tackle (engage) the player if the reception is inside the large square, whereas currently the player is awarded four unhindered steps if foregoing the mark and playing on. Interestingly, Motion 9 allowing for the award of 2 points for a sideline cut over the bar in hurling was defeated. Another defeat was Motion 10 for extending adult matches from 60 minutes to 70 minutes.
For our U12 youth hurlers, Motion 12 now prohibits metal bands on the bos an chamáin (boss of the hurley). Also, in hurling, the black card was rejected in Motion 13.
For our own Midwest Divisional play, Motion 57 passed, further outlining the tiebreaker in the league phase of a championship; in lieu of a play-off game, the head-to-head score difference would first determine, then the highest score for, then a play-off. One further item that could impact the alignment of our USGAA was that Central Council will now decide what geographical areas constitute a ‘County’, a ‘Province’, or fall under the jurisdiction of World GAA (motion 32). World GAA consists of USGAA, New York, Europe, Middle East, Britain, Australasia, Canada, and Asia.
Although all Midwest Clubs are awaiting the divisional board’s release of the summer fixtures and championship format, it appears that the New York state clubs will again participate in their own league – Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany. The rest of the football clubs were in favor of a few “blitz” weekends, where multiple games would be played. Those in favor sited traveling less often and freeing more weekends for friendlies outside the division.
The Midwest also welcomed a new team, Grand Rapids GAA. The hurling vote between Pittsburgh, Roc City (Rochester, NY), and Akron was not unanimous for a blitz or traditional home-and-away format; thus, we wait. On the youth side, the divisional board has selected three weekends to concentrate efforts on: June 27 Detroit Invitational; July 18-19 Philadelphia Liberty Bell; and the August Midwest Finals.
With a swelling of players last season, the Cleveland GAA aspires to field two men’s football teams and a ladies’ team this season. There is plenty of opportunities for new players and social members to join in on the fun.
The board also recently accepted the application for a men’s hurling selector, and you may see more advertisements around town from Damon Margida (former Akron member now residing in the Cleveland area). Hurling sessions are expected to begin in spring. The playing of our cultural games continues to grow in Cleveland and at the home grounds, Páirc na Naomh, at the WSIA.
With the virus shutdowns and postponements, the Cleveland GAA is relying on their social media outlets and website (that will display our master-calendar) to communicate schedules for trainings, socials, and events.
Save the Date
Cleveland will again host the Memorial 7-a-Side Tournament on May 16th at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township. Men’s and Ladies’ football games will likely run from 10:30 to 6:30 on two fields, followed by craic agus ceol (fun and music). There is no charge for spectators and parking will be free for Saturday only (beat the rush).
Go raibh míle maith agaibh (thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. We need your help and involvement, but would most like to share the fun of Irish sport and Cleveland community with you. 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 for all ages.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2020 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.
Cleveland Welcomes Formation of New Hurling Team
Hello OhioIANews Readers. My name is Damon Margida, and I want to develop and grow the National Sport of Ireland here in Cleveland. I am originally from Pittsburgh, where I grew up with my father and brother. After serving four years honorably in the United States Marine Corps, I moved to Akron, Ohio to get know my mother and her side of my family.
After a few years of living in Akron, a couple of my friends and I joined the Hibernian Club. My very first night, I was approached by the co-founder of the Akron Hurling team, who asked me if I had ever heard of Hurling. I had not.
Once I looked it up, I was hooked, immediately! Growing up in Pittsburgh I played hockey and soccer; Hurling seemed to be a perfect fit for me. The following Sunday I went to my very first practice, along with the two other friends who joined me that first night. I have been in love with Hurling ever since. The year we joined just so happened to be the very first time Akron was able to go Nationals, in Boston. It was an amazing experience to see Hurling Clubs from all over the nation and Canada. This was also my first experience watching a Gaelic Football match as well.
I found Gaelic Football to be an amazing sport also. Had I been exposed to it before Hurling, I would have played that. However, I was all in with Hurling.
Akron got destroyed by Chicago in first match, but I was able to schedule a few other matches with other first round losers. All and all, it was great!!
The following year, I became a board member, and five year later I received my coaching award and coached the Akron Hurling team. That happened to be the year Nationals came to Cleveland. It was a great honor for me to lead the Akron team at Nationals that year.
A couple years ago I met and fell in love with a lady from Brecksville. I asked Kasy to marry me, and she convinced me to move up here near Cleveland. I could not be more happy living in Brecksville with Kasy. However, I missed Hurling; I miss competing; I miss going to Nationals and being surrounded with all of those teams and witnessing true Irish culture; there is nothing like watching a Senior Hurling match!
I can try to describe the beauty, power and grace of the Clash of the Ash to you, if you have not seen Hurling for yourself, but I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Copy and paste this link in your browser to see one of my favorite videos, in all its glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biFcgUB98ns
I have known Cleveland had a Gaelic Football team for years. I stood on the sideline many of times and watched them play. I knew if I was to have any luck of creating and surviving in Cleveland with Hurling, I would have to reach out to Cleveland St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club and let them know my intentions.
I was very pleased that they welcomed me with open arms, and now I am member of the Cleveland GAA. I will be able to recruit, develop and coach the Cleveland Adult Hurling team.
Since this is going to be a new experience for the area, and I am expecting a lot of brand-new people to the sport that hasn’t been based in Cleveland in many decades, this first year will be a lot of baby steps. Our plan is to develop the basics and then working through more advance play throughout the summer. All levels of experience and skill are welcome.
It is my hope after the new recruits pick up some skills that I will be able to create teams within the squad to help built some competition, and maybe even schedule a friendly with Akron or Pittsburgh.
The Cleveland Hurling team will be open to both men and women, so please join me and the Cleveland GAA in getting this amazing sport of Hurling off the ground right here on the Northcoast!
I am looking forward to seeing you all out there!!