Taking the Fields of Glory: GAA Monthly, Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
By Vincent Beach
Sláinte chugainn ar fad! Health to us all. With the state orders on contact sports, the Cleveland GAA has resumed practices once a week; Wednesdays from 630-745 at the West Side Irish American Club. The training is co-ed and new players are always welcome.
To keep the comradery normally found on game-weekends, the Club has started their GAA day every other Saturday, where an inner-squad scrimmage is played starting at 11AM at the WSIA. Again, the atmosphere is casually competitive – new players and alumni are welcome.
The new hurling club continues their training on Sundays in Brecksville and has added a puck-around on Wednesdays after the football practice (745-9). All equipment is provided – just bring your shoes and water bottle.
Around the Midwest, there are reports that Akron and Pittsburgh have also begun training. Looking ahead as much as one can, the Midwest Board has canceled the official season, but foresees some friendly matches or multiple team blitzes later in the year. In that spirit, several clubs around the country are planning smaller, localized tournaments for the fall. Time will tell.
Off the field, Cleveland continues their infrastructure improvements at the home pitch with the installation of the second set of back nets. The project has entered Phase 2 – Part B – Subpart ii. Special thanks to Micheál Máirtín Mac an Ultaigh.
In Ireland, the GAA has presented their Inter-county competitions plan with training starting mid-September and the first matches being played on October 17. Games will continue through November and December, ending Christmas week. Football will follow a provincial knock-out format where New York will not play and London will be subject to travel restrictions.
Hurling’s MacCarthy Championship will be a straight knock-out provincial championship with a back door. The McDonagh Cup will repeat as a round-robin with the winner promoted to the MacCarthy Championship in 2021. The Christy Ring and Nicki Rackard will be a straight knock-out with a relegation match. For all the Warwickshire Hurling fans, the Lory Meagher will retain last year’s format.
All matches will finish on the day (no replays) relying on extra time or penalty kicks to decide. Competitions will be held for the U20 and Minor’s levels, but no Junior championships this year.
For the LGFA (Ladies Gaelic Football), counties have been drawn into 4 Groups. From each Group, the top 4 teams will progress to the semi-finals of knock-out football. Starting date is yet to be released.
For Camogie, the Championships will take place between October and December beginning with group play (round-robin basis) and then progress to knock-out rounds. Minors will follow a similar format.
Finally, the Cleveland GAA would like to wish Nick Cobos the best of luck in Arizona. Nick has been a stalwart supporter of Gaelic games in Cleveland beginning in 2012 with St. Pat’s GFC, winning a national championship in 2015, helping broker the re-unification of St. Pat’s and St. Jarlath’s, advocating for the resurrection of Ladies Football in Cleveland, and growing the club on many levels. He will be missed at training sessions, trips to games, fundraisers, and socials. Good luck, ádh mór, buena suerte. Our paths will cross many more times, friend.
Sláinte chugainn ar fad! Health to us all.
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 (11), Bernadette (9), and Cedric (6), 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.