In Focus.....Europe GAA

Go down

In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  bald eagle on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:19 pm

Brian Clerkin, PRO for the European County Board kindly agreed to answer questions posed by our posters for our In Focus section. Questions were posed by the posters of Global GAA and here is the result of our Q&A with Brian, I'm sure you will find it a very interesting insight to the GAA in Europe -


What would be the likelihood be of Europe ever gaining Provincial status from Croke Park, and would it be an avenue worth exploring for European GAA ? (Bald Eagle)

The concept or reality of provincial status could happen if we continue to grow as significantly as we have over the last 13 years. We have grown from 4 clubs in 1999 to over 55 registered clubs currently. Who can tell what will happen in the next 13 years but if we continue to get significant local input from our clubs in Spain, France, Scandanordic and in the Eastern and Central Region in other places then the future looks bright. It would take many more years of hard work from all sectors of European GAA before we become a North America or United Kingdom situation. It could potentially be an avenue worth exploring for European GAA in the future as we now have over 55 registered clubs, development and start up projectsin another 20 cities and 20 countries.

What kind of numbers would be involved in each club? Do you have many Irish clubs going over to play the various European clubs? I presume a lot of ex-pats will have been involved in clubs here and some go out to play their ex-teammates new club? (Parouisa) (Boxtyeater)

Each registered club has at least 10-15 players with the bigger clubs approaching 70 to 100 players. Some clubs can have long standing Irish communities so they could have a big Irish membership overall but a playing base is different. There are Irish clubs who come over to play on occasion for example Den Haag in the Netherlands have a yearly “Invitational” tournament, Luxembourg have “The Black Stuff Tournament” so clubs from home regularly attend these events. There is also the attraction of places like Munich, Amsterdam, Prague and of course Spain so if more clubs from Ireland were willing to take a holiday in Europe and maybe take in a game or two all the better. It is great to maintain old links from home but also to develop new ones such as the opportunities playing our Pan European Football Finals in Limerick last year and our Hurling and Camogie Finals this year in Thurles.

Do you find the teams to be largely transient with a big relatively big turnover of playing personnel? In this I presume many clubs have lads who have emigrated short term (study, work) and so may only be there for a year or two. (Parouisa)

Teams for the most part nowadays are picking from a very steady and committed membership and in the thirteen years of the European County Board of course there are a few clubs that would have had to fold up operations but not so much nowadays. These situations were great for learning how to prevent this happening in the future. Clubs now are well embedded within the communities they represent and do not need the influx of Irish maybe as much as the past. Turnover numbers vary from country to country, club to club but with strong local indigenous links and tireless promotion and recruitment, clubs for the most part are self-sustaining. At the moment there are teams without any Irish players whatsoever and hopefully this trend continues into the future and make Irish players fight for their positions and hopefully bring the non-Irish teams into the top tier competitions in the future.

Most clubs never refuse to take on a player of any nationality or background in the game whether short term or long term for study or for work etc. Clubs in formation these days are hugely committed to making their dream a success overall and can use the addition of a short term situation but overall things are moving to a more medium to long term plan.

Is there much involvement with non-Irish people in the various clubs around Europe? Is there any particular country where 'local' interest is particularly strong? (Parouisa)

In recent times there has been a real surge of non-Irish participants both in existing clubs and clubs in foundation. Brittany in Western France would be the closest thing we have in Europe to a county with nearly 15 clubs with at least a 95% non-Irish participation. In Northwestern Spain we now have 5 teams in Galicia with only one or two Irish players involved. In Ladies football we have most of the Spanish teams, Swedish teams, Estonian team, Munich and Paris team and a good few others with very little or no Irish players at all. My own club in Saint Gallen Switzerland now has more non-Irish than Irish players at the minute and hopefully other clubs follow suit in the future.

I know that Gaelic football in certain parts of France have teams with little or no Irish involved, what are the structures like for developing youth in these clubs? Similarly, are there any areas in Europe where hurling is played with little or no Irish involved? (Bald Eagle)

The structures for developing youth in these clubs is very strong and long lasting as a typical example three of the European Master Tutor Coaches come from Brittany in France. They had a Foundation coaching course organised by Leinster Council about six months ago and there was so much interest in the course that it was oversubscribed. They will also have another one next year to meet the demand. As with everything these things take time to imbed themselves into the local communities but these guys are building properly from the bottom up. Progress is being made at an astonishing rate but it is controlled, well-grounded and structured to last for a long long time. These guys have a real passion for Gaelic games and it is evident for all to see as they put in some serious work to grow the games at all levels.

Hurling in Europe constantly develops year on year and we have teams like Cologne, Germany, Lackenheath Wild Geese US Air Force based in the UK and Budapest, Hungary that hardly have an Irish player on their Hurling teams. The Camogie team in Zurich has nearly all Swiss girls and only one or two Irish girls so they are a real blueprint for the other clubs to follow in the future. They got one Swiss girl in the University of Zurich to play and she got 10 other ladies to come and play. When talking of Hurling in Europe you must always refer back to the Munich Kids Hurling club run by the Kivlehan family and Pat Stakelum who started the project up from scratch and are doing well.

Do you think that in time, young players may choose to go and work and play GAA sports in Europe for the summer in the way that they currently go to America? Would the frequency of your games allow European Clubs to compete with the American working/playing experience and is this something you would like to see happening? (jonsmith)

Young players ever since European GAA began have been adding to our games such as the Erasmus, language or exchange students and many clubs have grown and existed as a result of the Erasmus, language or exchange students. These students augment already strong clubs and maybe bring along a fresh impetus or energy to a club. I would only like to see it happen if it each player was regulated by the European County Board as I think the situation in America only makes a certain team competitive for the short term of the players visit. If the player took on youth coaching or development, club training or working with the new players to give them coaching and experience then the whole thing could work.

One of the biggest challenges we have is also what makes us so unique here in Europe. We deal with 20 separate countries sometimes that can be our biggest challenge but also our biggest advantage.On the continent of Europe it differs country to country for example you cannot play a tournament in Spain during the summer as it is simply too hot and would be too physically demanding as regards dehydration etc. Alternatively in most countries August is the holiday month where everyone takes their holidays and the cities, businesses mostly shut down for the month.

Is it difficult to sort out the practicalities that we take for granted in Ireland such as proper sized pitches and goalposts to play the games? (jonsmith)

As regards practicalities again that depends on the club or the country that the club is in. In Zurich for example who are a club 10 years old they still find it very difficult to nail down a pitch that is exclusively theirs all the time, they struggle and fight year on year with the sports organisation. Then you have a situation like Copenhagen, Denmark or Maastricht in Holland where the public sports facilities can be used anytime as long as they are booked in advance, it costs the clubs nothing and the facilities are there permanently.

Pitch size is never a problem because European GAA is an 11 a side game played on soccer fields. Sometimes goalposts can be hard to organise but the more established longer existing clubs nearly all have goalposts and lots of the new clubs have portable ones themselves. Sometimes all the above situations can cause problems but there is usually always a way around them or a solution that maybe takes a little more outside the box thinking or patience than the readily available situation like in Ireland. If all else fails we always have the European County Grounds with a full 15 a side field with proper standing goalposts if we really get stuck.

I would assume the travel expenses are quite big? Who pays for this and are fundraisers held? (Loyal2theRoyal)

In the large majority of cases each individual player pays for his/her own travel expenses.

The travel expenses are quite big but also the amount of time sacrificed by the players. At the large end of the scale the maximum a player can spend is upwards of 5000 euro and also sacrifice 11 weekends of their year (4 regionals, 4 hurling or camogie and 3 pan European football competitions). That is a monumental commitment and sacrifice by our members and cannot be emphasised or highlighted enough. If Seville Spain for example were to play Tallinn Estonia or Helsinki Finland for example you would be talking over 13,000 kilometers (3 trips around Ireland). At the lower end of the scale teams only attend between 1 and 3 tournaments again due to circumstances either student memberships, amount of travel involved, time sacrificed etc. it could still mean the sacrifice of three weekends and upwards of 300 euro . Clubs that are well established or a little lucky have sponsors that fully understand what is needed in each club, other clubs struggle hugely as most of the people in their city have never even heard of the sports let alone sponsor them. Sometimes it can be really difficult for clubs without a sponsor but they always prevail all due to the massive sacrifices and financial commitments of their members.

Is funding being provided by Central Council/Croke Park. If there is, is it being paid to a central "steering" committee, or are they dealing with the clubs directly.
Do you receive any sports grants from any of the countries where the teams are resident?(Boxtyeater) (Parouisa)


Croke Park helps out greatly and without them we would not have a European County Board. The funding goes to the European County Board and from there it is distributed. From my understanding some clubs in their countries get sports grants for playing the games and also some get cultural and heritage grants for what they do. Some clubs even get access to educational grants for providing a new sport in schools. These are all vital things that spur the clubs on a little bit more and give them impetus and help to succeed in their projects.


What is the feeling in Europe with reference to the International Rules Series between Ireland and Australia, and is there a view that the time/money invested into this could be better used promoting the game in Europe?' (Thomas Clarke)

The International Rules series is a very important thing in the eyes of Europe one of our best players Tadhg Dunne from Luxembourg once made the squad of the International Rules. Anything that brings more worldwide attention to the GAA, our games and the fact that the sports are spreading all over the world is nothing but a positive in our eyes. We feel the series is a great cultural exchange of sports, culture, history and traditions between countries that pasts have been intertwined for a long time. If we had access to the same kind of development link project we would be delighted.The game always needs promotion in Europe but the fact that we have activity in over 75 cities and 20 countries is testament enough that the game doesn’t really need all that much promotion. The general feeling we get from new cities and countries is that the game sells itself, the skills, the high scoring, fitness, decision making involved attack and defence etc. What the European game needs is recognition. Recognition could give us access to more facilities, sports grants an equal footing with other sporting organisations. Recognition from International Sports organisations such as Olympic recognition would help us greatly.

Does Europe have a representative team that play competitively and if so in what competition? (Bald Eagle)

The County Europe Ladies in 2012 have played in the New York Ladies 7’s where they battled to a semi-final. We had a European representative at the Poc Fada in 2011 and 2012 both competitors represented Europe very well in the Cooley mountains.The mens European 7’s have also played in the Saint Jude’s 7’s in the past few years last year finishing third in the Shield. Anytime we can show a representative is a great thing for GAA in Europe.

Would you like to see Europe being invited to play in the British Junior Provincial Championship as a “guest” county, should the opportunity arise and be practical? (Bald Eagle)

I would love to see Europe being invited to play in the British Junior Provincial Championship as a “guest” county but to make such an ambitious project a reality but it would take some serious changes to current situations. If the opportunity were practical then I definitely think Europe would consider the proposal seriously and give it the merit and credit it deserves. First of all, the logistics and expense of getting a team Europe together regularly for training would take huge amounts of money, time and sacrifice from players and organisers. To participate in the above Championship it would also take a sponsor specifically to deal with something like this to cover hotels, flights and other costs. In Europe the cost benefit of such a project would have to be analysed meticulously and also the players commitment and work and family considerations would also need to be taken into account. I would like to think of the GAA in Europe as being ambitious but practical in their outlook.

Would it be envisaged, that in the medium to long term future there would be participation in the championship along the lines of London and New York? (Boxtyeater)

Hopefully if Europe continued to grow both in terms of player base and club base.In European GAA it’s funny because the more we continue to grow the smaller and more accessible a potential county Europe team could be. The regional competitions could take on a life of their own and the central focus of a County Europe team could unite the whole operation. The difficulty would always be logistics and travel but if a big sponsor were found to fund flights and training weekends, kit, equipment, and if the sacrifice and commitment were there from the players then the possibilities of such a project could be achievable. Some clubs are over 10,000 kilometers apart so you can see our problem.

What do you feel that other overseas units could learn from Europe GAA to help the global appeal of our games to non-Irish? (Bald Eagle)

There is a Global GAA explosion and in a lot of cases Irish are not even involved.

Take note of the hurling clubs starting in America with hardly any Irish players, look at Brittany (12 teams), A Coruna (Spain 6 teams) and the countless other examples around Europe of non-Irish full teams or nearly all non-Irish.I hope that everyone can take note of the hard work, dedication, application, sacrifice and commitment that has gone into our games and their development in Europe.

Anyone can play our games, they don’t have to be Irish, they don’t have to have played back in Ireland. Our games are selling they are promoting themselves, wake up and get on board and support us rather that look upon us negatively. The greatest success is that the games are alive, the games are spreading and that non-Irish are picking up our games above all other sports because they like and even love them. In some cases the non-Irish get more out of the games than we Irish do. The Irish people are leaving in Ireland in most cases unhappy what’s wrong with giving a little happiness, preservation and development of Irishness abroad and also opening and welcoming sports that are attracting all comers.

The GAA is the original social network and now it is truly spreading all over the world and including everyone inbetween Irish and everyone is being swept up the spirit, competitiveness and social benefits of the game.

Brian Clerkin European GAA PRO


_________________
Follow our Twitter feed @Global_GAA

bald eagle
GAA Hero
GAA Hero

Doire
Number of posts : 2764

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  bald eagle on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:26 pm

Folks, i would firstly like to say a massive thanks to Brian for agreeing to take part in this Q&A, it is good for those of you that have never played any for of GAA overseas to gain an insight into the challenges faced by the clubs and the sacrifices made by the players.

Thanks to you all for asking questions, I forwarded all questions and thankfully all were answered, i hope all posters enjoy reading the responses to their questions and those posed by other posters.

Please let us know what you think of the interview, personally i think you asked some brilliant questions with Brian providing some great detailed answers for us.

As with all participants in this feature, the European GAA are on Twitter and well worth a follow at @europegaa

Should any of you wish to ask some up to date questions, as this was originally commissioned a while back, Brian has stated that he would happily answer them

A great deal of work has went into this, i would greatly appreciate it if guests to the site, and our posters, would leave some feedback on this Q&A for us.

_________________
Follow our Twitter feed @Global_GAA

bald eagle
GAA Hero
GAA Hero

Doire
Number of posts : 2764

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  scoopmine on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:09 pm

Top class I know Brian he was a legend in our college. Fair play lads!
avatar
scoopmine
GAA Minor
GAA Minor

Cavan
Number of posts : 281
Age : 29

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  Boxtyeater on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:11 pm

Another excellent Q&A provided by BE. Oddly, the 2 best of these have been provided by a Clerkin.

Top notch answers from Brian here, comprehensive and given with a very positive approach. Top marks Brian and many thanks. There's a fair amount of time and money expended in the involvement in our games by individuals out of their own pockets in fairness...
avatar
Boxtyeater
GAA Elite
GAA Elite

Leitrim
Number of posts : 6970

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:54 pm

Great answers Brian, and a lot of thought has clearly gone into them. It really is amazing to think of how much great work is being done unnoticed. Tremendous stuff all-round.

(And well done to BE also!)
avatar
Thomas Clarke
GAA Elite
GAA Elite

Tyrone
Number of posts : 4209

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  bocerty on Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:15 pm

Very informative Brian many thanks for the time and effort taken to answer the questions. Apologies for not posing any questions myself must have overlooked this one.

Thanks to BE too for another great Q&A session

_________________
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt
avatar
bocerty
Moderator
Moderator

Tyrone
Number of posts : 5920
Age : 44

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  Parouisa on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:50 pm

Gaelic football to make La Liga debut in Seville
Twelve months after hurling was showcased in front of NFL fans before Superbowl XLVI, an exhibition game of Gaelic football will be played during half-time of a La Liga Primera Division game in Seville next Monday.

As part of Irish day at Sevilla FC, the local GAA club, Éire Óg Sevilla, have been invited to play on the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan pitch during the interval of the hosts’ clash with Granada.

The showcase is part of Sevilla FC’s marketing plan to attract more non-Spanish people to become members of the club.

Every home game will have a different country theme and next Monday has been declared an Irish night.

Éire Óg Sevilla will be given six minutes to show their skills and the action will be broadcast live on Marca TV.

The invite is a welcome boost for GAA in Andalucia where Éire Óg are one of three active GAA clubs — Costa Gaels and Gibraltar Gaels also competing in the regional league. Nationally, there are nine units in Spain.

Any Irish national who turns up to the stadium on the night will gain admission for a discounted price of €5 while the Irish flag will also be hung from the stadium flagpole.

Irish Ambassador to Spain Justin Harman will also attend the game and will give an address prior to kick-off. An Irish music group will be performing as well.

Last February, hurling demonstrations were put on by the Indianapolis hurling club in the city’s Superbowl village prior to the game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

As the GAA aim to expand their games abroad, president Liam O’Neill has strongly hinted New York could host a regular season game to celebrate the county board’s 100th anniversary next year.
avatar
Parouisa
GAA Hero
GAA Hero

Dublin
Number of posts : 2476

Back to top Go down

Re: In Focus.....Europe GAA

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum