Taking the Field of Glory: GAA Monthly
Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association
By Vincent Beach
Off the Pitch Fun
My first order of business on a beautiful, sunny October the 22nd Saturday at Bob-o-Links in Avon was to find Jim Coyne and thank him for his hours spent in the church pews praying for good weather… in late October… on America’s Northcoast. It worked.
The golf course was packed with foursomes of GAA members and supports scrambling through the green fields. The annual event is more than a fundraiser, as it brings together family, friends, and many retired players who are happy to be out with the Gah for the craic. The dinner and post party were held at longtime GAA supporter PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub, with Cleveland GAA’s official trad-band, Full 90, getting jiggy with it. Well done to the organizers: Ryan Bush, Annie Coyne, and Dan Kampman.
On November 4th at the home grounds, the West Side Irish American Club, Cleveland held their end-of-the-year awards banquet. At the youth level, the players are honored anytime they represent the club outside of Cleveland, much like international soccer players representing their country earn caps.
In attendance and earning their first cap, and the club scarf, were Lucy Dietz and our coach, Peter Dietz. Special shout-outs were given to all the players who attended the CYC (Continental Youth Championships) in Chicago and the recent Detroit Invitational (Chicago St. Jarlath’s, Toronto Chieftains, Detroit Harps, and Cleveland Saints).
Men’s Gaelic Football
The men’s football awards were passed out by veterans Dan Kampman, Tim McDonald, and Alec Stott to Rookie of the Year, Sam Nortz; Most Improved Player, Alec Stott; and Player’s Player of the Year, Rhys Quinn. The footballers had a promising year and are poised for a bright future.
USGAA Finals Al O’Leary Hurling Tournament
Coach Damon Margida then presented the Rookie of the Year to Tom Barrett, Most Improved Player to Cory Barry, and Player’s Player of the Year to Evan Barry. With the men’s awards complete, the night belonged to the ladies.
Coach Damon highlighted the inaugural camogie year from the 360 Camogie event to beating the newly minted divisional rival, Pittsburgh Na Laochra, to battling their way into the USGAA final, and closing the season out strong at the Al O’Leary tournament. Awards were presented to the club-wide leading goal scorer, Yi Wang, for Rookie of the Year; to Most Improved Player, Angie Dietz; and to Player’s Player of the Year, Clodagh Murphy. Your Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s GAA Ladies’ Football Champions were introduced by head coach Dan Murray and assistant coach, Colleen Mohney.
It must be noted that the players vote on player of the year and rookie of the year, while the coaches select most improved player. Side note complete.
Rookie of the Year was earned by Marie Murray; Most Improved Player was earned by Annie Coyne, who had a great scoring year; Player’s Player of the Year went to their captain, Maureen Mohney.
The final award of the year was presented by the Club Chairperson and the winner was selected by the club board. The Club Person of the Year is awarded to an individual that embodies the ethos of the Association; volunteerism, the promotion of Irish games and culture, and the lifelong participation in activities for the enrichment of lives and the community. There were several worthy individuals, but the board vote was unanimous for John O’Brien Jnr.
Comhghairdeas le gach duine. Congratulations to everyone. It was a great year, a fun year, and a motivating year for more to come.
Back to the Office GAA Meetings
The offseason is also a time for meetings … annual general meetings, where the GAA decides who their new officers will be and what new rules they will vote on. Cleveland will hold their AGM on December 3rd, and the Midwest will hold their AGM on December 10th. The USGAA’s meeting is referred to as Convention and will be held on November 11-13 in Chicago.
Notable to the Midwest GAA this year for Convention is John Young (Pittsburgh GAA) who is running for Vice-Chairperson, Rob Tierney (Pittsburgh GAA) who is running for Secretary, and Paul Mulcaire (Buffalo Na Fianna) who is running for Central Council Delegate.
John has held several positions in the GAA from club level to the Midwest GAA Chair to the USGAA Treasurer and Vice-Chair. He has continued to serve the GAA this year as the Midwest Camogie Development Officer. Rob Tierney has done the same as Pittsburgh Youth Chairperson, time as Midwest Secretary, and for a number of recent years as USGAA Development Officer.
Besides playing, coaching, and serving on his club’s board, Paul is current Midwest Chairperson and USGAA Youth Officer. The Midwest will be rolling into Convention as the 4th largest division by number of teams in the county, and holding thirty-five votes. Hopefully through the year of reading this column, you have come to realize that, not only is the Cleveland GAA growing, but so are many of the clubs in the Midwest Division. It has been an impressive year.
Áth mór, a chairde. Good luck, friends. We will report back soon on all the news from all the meetings and who will have the honor of leading this great GAA in America organization at the various levels.
The Cleveland footballers (ladies and men) welcome all perspective players and rookies to introductory nights at Rocky River Force (Center Ridge Road) on Thursday, December 1st and 8th, from 8:00 to 9:00 PM. If you have any questions, email us at in**@cl**********.com. The field sessions will be followed by pints at the nearby Gormley’s Irish Pub.
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 2022 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 (13), Bernadette (11), and Cedric (8), grow. His other hustles are coaching CYO basketball at St. Mary of Berea, coaching soccer in Olmsted TWP, teaching Construction Management at CWRU, and laying down some engineering skills on local water/wastewater projects.