Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly –Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
By Vincent Beach
Sláinte chugainn ar fad!
Health to us all. A few news-breakers for the Midwest GAA occurred since the last writing. The Pittsburgh GAA hosted a few matches amongst their men’s and ladies’ teams, with those of the Delco Gaels and Buffalo GAA on August 15th. The Gaels represent Delaware County outside of Philadelphia and are an outstanding example of a youth program maturing into an adult club.
Delco brought a men’s team and a ladies’ team. A new Buffalo squad also came down, comprised of many former minor players, to play the Pittsburgh men. The scores mattered less than the competition. Congratulations to all the clubs. As they say in Cleveland, keep the faith.
The second notably event was the fielding of a Cleveland hurling team when they held a joint training session with the Akron Celtic Guards on September 6th in Brecksville. The last recollection of a Cleveland hurling team was the Kickhams of the 1970s ? – if you have any information on Cleveland hurling and camogie, please write to the author.
Back to Brecksville, the day was quite successful for both clubs and nothing brings players out like a little competition. After some drills, the sides moved to gameplay. Notable hurling firsts included Charles Plzak (JCU), Chris Greggila, Taylor Kolenko, Matt Margida, and Dan “Mr. Fit” Murray. The two clubs are working out plans for a few more sessions before the weather turns.
Looking ahead, the Cleveland Youth are back in action outdoors at the West Side Irish American Club. The sessions will alternate each Friday night between Gaelic football and hurling. The program is FREE for boys and girls ages 5 to 14. The WSIA also offers a dinner (4:30-7PM) and live music (6:00-8ish), so that families can take advantage of not cooking after a long work week.
The adult Gaelic Football will also continue outdoors as long as the weather allows. Each Wednesday evening starting at 6p.m. with a coed training session, and every other Saturday a coed inner squad scrimmage – all at the WSIA.
As noted above, the hurling will not only continue with some joint sessions with Akron but will also hold a standing puck-around after football training on Wednesdays and a skills training session on Sundays. If you are interested in trying either code (football or hurling) or are a veteran player wanting to dust the boots off again, reach out to [email protected].
Where Are They Now?
For this month’s “Where Are They Now” moment, we look east to County Carlow. The Cleveland GAA ex-coach Martin Wall is part of the management team for Rathvilly GAA’s Senior Men’s panel, as they work through the club championships. Best of luck to the Wall’s and Rathvilly.
Speaking of Ireland, the club season is well underway, and more county champions will be crowned before this article is published. You can catch top-notch action from GAAGO, County TV (check websites and Youtube for small fees) or Club Facebook live posts, or our favorite TG4 (Irish language television). Come mid-October, the games will transition from club to county. The county championship will run up to Christmas, when All-Ireland Finals will be played.
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.