Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly
Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
By Vincent Beach
The new USGAA 2021 board is now in place after the January 30th Convention. Divisional chairpersons and secretaries met in person in Chicago, while clubs participated remotely through the Teams app.
Comhghairdeas go: Bernie Connaughton (chairperson), John Young (vice chairperson), Tracey Rivera (secretary), Tom Walsh (treasurer), Tom Lagan (registrar), Caoimhe Butler (PRO), Paul Mulcaire (youth officer), and Paddy McDevitt (Central Council delegate).
The big news in Ireland is the GAA has lost its “elite status” during the Level 5 of the pandemic. This means no intercounty competitions or trainings until at least Easter. The push back in the schedule jeopardizes the League that many smaller counties thrive on, and may mean only a Championship format.
To keep the Midwest schedule at hand, it’s worth repeating: the Youth Board is planning for weekend tournaments throughout the year: Detroit on June 26, the Philadelphia Liberty Bell on July 17, and the Midwest Final (location TBD) in August. For adults, the CLEVELAND 7’s tournament will be Saturday May 8th at the West Side Irish American Club.
This tournament will kick-off the Men’s and Ladies’ football season. The Midwest board is still working out the summer league schedule and championship format. Details will be released in mid-March. The USGAA finals will be in Boston in August.
In Cleveland, recruitment continues for both Football and Hurling by word of mouth and social media until the weather breaks. The coaches are working out their training plans, and the managers are sorting equipment and kits. Please reach out if you are interested in getting involved – training should begin in mid-March.
Bhuel (“well” as gaeilge”): last month I mentioned some GAA reading materials, so this month I will recommend some GAA podcasts to keep you tuned in. My go-to podcast to keep up with scores, standings, upcoming matchups, manager and coaching changes, rules changes, schedule formats, and anything else “gah” is the GAA Hour with Colm Parkinson. Parkinson runs both a Football Show and a Hurling Show with regular commentators and guest interviews.
There are a few other podcasts out there doing sport shows GAA-style, including Off the Ball, The Throw-In, RTÉ GAA, GAA on Balls.ie, and a good few others that offer more interviews than news. Right now, there is not a lot going on, but the podcast will keep you up to date on the lock-downs, schedule shifting, and some great interviews.
The next few recommendations will blur the GAA line, but are nonetheless enjoyable and offer variety. The 2 Johnnies Podcast is a comical program from John McMahon and John O’Brien out of Cahir, Tipperary. Both are involved with the local Cahir GAA and O’Brien’s family are hurley makers.
In addition to the sports, the duo perform comedy sketches and have several hit songs and albums. As the lads say, it is best to start off the 2 Johnnies from the very beginning (at least at first) to understand the jokes and sketches. On a recent episode, the pair interviewed Tommy Tiernan and discussed his recent work on the Tommy Tiernan Podcast as well as The Tommy and Hector Podcast with Laurita Blewitt.
Tiernan now resides in Bearna, Co. Galway and coaches underage football with the local club. Both he, Hector Ó hEochagáin (of TG4 fame), and Laurita reference their GAA life and love throughout their comical discussions, reminiscing, and stories. Hope these keep you sane and connected to the GAA worldwide. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay fit.
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 coaching CYO basketball at St. Mary of Berea, coaching soccer in Olmsted TWP, and slangin’ some engineering skills on local concrete and pipe projects.