We are very happy and grateful to everyone who came to support our club at Night At The Races this past Saturday. We appreciated everyone who provided support – from the volunteers, coordinators, sponsors, and generous donations. We cannot thank you all enough. We are looking forward to a fun 2022 NATR!
Practice: Tuesday’s 6:30 PM at Impett Park (6/1, 6/8, 5/15, 6/22, 6/29) and Thursday’s 6:30 PM at West Side Irish American Club (6/3, 6/10, 6/17, 6/24). New and returning players are always welcomed!
Games: Saturday June 5th at West Side Irish American Club vs. Buffalo. Time TBD
Saturday June 19th At Pittsburgh Celtics. Time TBD
Practice: Wednesday’s/Friday’s 6:30 PM at Impett Park (6/2, 6/4, 6/9, 6/11, 6/16, 6/18, 6/23, 6/25, 6/30) and Sunday’s 11 AM at Squire’s Castle (6/6, 6/13, 6/27)
Games: Saturday June 5th at West Side Irish American Club – Intersquad
Saturday June 19th at Pittsburgh Banshees. Time TBD
Practice (** New Practice time and location) : Sunday June 6th 10AM @ West Side Irish American Club & Wednesday’s 6PM Edgewater Park (lower end) ( 6/2, 6/9, 6/16, 6/23, 6/30).
Games: Saturday June 12th Akron Hurling at West Side Irish American Club @ 11 AM
Saturday June 19th Cleveland Hurling vs. Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh. Time TBD
Saturday June 26th Cleveland Hurling @ Akron – Blitz. Time TBD
Practices: Sunday’s Gaelic Football 3PM & Hurling 4:15 PM at West Side Irish American Club (6/6, 6/13, 6/20)
CANCELLED: Tournament in Detroit, due to COVID issues in the state of Michigan. Be on the lookout for the Invitational to be moved to August
Gold Horn Brewery Happy Hour – Friday July 2nd, 2021. 5-8PM @ 1361 E 55th St, Cleveland, OH 44103. For every beer bought, $1 will be donated to CLE GAA.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) had huge momentum going into 2020 and despite the pandemic persisted and grew in Cleveland. Our Men’s football team continues to recruit and compete, our Ladies’ football team is growing in numbers and talent, and this season our new Hurling team will take the field for the first time in decades, and more and more young players and families are joining our Youth program. We are so excited for the 2021 season! For the Club’s largest fundraiser of the year, the annual Night at the Races, we are looking for sponsors and donations. This year’s event will be May 22, 2021 at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township. We hope you can join us.
We also have the following support options: Opportunities to support the teams, the youth program, and the club include:
Race Sponsor ($100) Due By Friday 5/14 Horse Sponsors ($15) Due By Friday 5/14 Raffle Baskets ($15) Donations & Silent Auction Due By Friday 5/14
Checks Payable to: Cleveland GAA
Pay Pal: Info@clevelandgaa.com
Sponsors and Donors will be featured prominently in our event programs and announced throughout the evening. The profit from the evening will set us on firm ground for the year ahead. From national registration costs, travel expenses, field maintenance and upgrades, to our youth development program and items a simple as new practice balls, it all takes resources.
We are so excited to officially kick off this season with our 7’s Tournament in honor of Sean Gannon. Men’s & Ladies Teams from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee will be traveling to our tournament and playing against each other for a championship. CLE GAA will be following all safety guidelines mandated by the state of Ohio for COVID 19.
When: Saturday May 8th, 2021 – Games will start at 10:30 AM – Championship at 4:30 PM
Where: West Side Irish American Club – Olmsted Falls, OH
What: Men’s & Ladies 7 a side Gaelic Football matches, food, refreshments, craic and Irish entertainment to end the event
Want to get involved? Help us out with Field Prep at the WSIA on Saturday 4/24 & 5/1 – or contact Jim Coyne at email@example.com, if you’re interested in volunteering for the event.
We are excited more than ever to announce we are back for 2021. It was a long hard year with the pandemic and we are looking forward to getting back onto the pitch while still being safe and healthy.
n 2020, we did not play a competitive schedule, but achieved the following:
Practiced 1x per week throughout summer at WSIA (Men’s/ Ladies)
Conducted inter city football scrimmages on 5 Saturday dates – well attended
Started a Hurling Club/ Team – that played several games and 1 tournament
Shout out to Damon Margida for leading the way with getting Cleveland Hurling on a path for growth
Attracted several new club members/ players this past summer
Conducted Youth Training Sessions (FB & Hurling)
A competitive season is ahead of us with the Men’s & Ladies Football, Hurling, and Youth program and we are excited to get this season kickstarted. We will be holding practices for Men’s & Ladies football and hurling for the month of March and April in preparation for our seasons
Training Sessions – Spring 2021
Men’s Football Training Sessions @ Edgewater Park – Tuesday 3/30 – 6:30-7:30PM – Tuesday 4/06 – 6:30-7:30PM
Men’s Football Training Sessions @ Impett Park – Tuesday 4/13 – 6:30-7:45PM – Tuesday 4/20 – 6:30-7:45PM – Tuesday 4/27 – 6:30-7:45PM – Tuesday 5/04 – 6:30-7:45PM
Men’s Football Training Sessions @ West Side Irish American Club – Thursday 4/15 – 6:30-7:45PM – Thursday 4/22 – 6:30-7:45PM – Thursday 4/29 – 6:30-7:45PM – Thursday 5/6 – 6:30-7:45PM
Sunday 3/28 – 11AM: Squires Castle (2844 River Rd Willoughby Hills, OH)
Wednesday 3/31: 6PM: Edgewater State Park – Kick around
Wednesday 4/7: 6PM: Edgewater State Park – Kick around
Wednesday 4/14: 6PM: Impett Park – Practice
Wednesday 4/21: 6PM: Impett Park – Practice
Wednesday 4/28: 6PM: Impett Park – Practice
Wednesday 5/5: 6PM: Impett Park – Practice
Sunday 3/28 1pm-3pm – Practice Field 6919 Stadium drive, Brecksville, OH 44141
Sunday 4/4 1pm-3pm – Practice Field 6919 Stadium drive, Brecksville, OH 44141
Sunday 4/11 1pm-3pm – Practice Field 6919 Stadium drive, Brecksville, OH 44141
Sunday 4/18 1pm-3pm – Practice Field 6919 Stadium drive, Brecksville, OH 44141
Sunday 4/25 1pm-3pm – Practice Field 6919 Stadium drive, Brecksville, OH 44141
Youth Program: Summer program for the youth will start June 5th, with weekly practices at WSIA at 3PM. All ages at the same time
Kickstarting Events in May 2021
Memorial 7’s Tournament- West Side IA – Sat. May 8th 2021
Night at the Races- West Side IA Pavillion- Sat. May 22, 2021
MIDWEST GAA SCHEDULE 2021
Saturday June 5th: Men’s & Ladies Football & Hurling @ CLE
Na Fianna CLG @ Cleveland St. Pats St. Jarlaths
Buffalo women @ Cleveland women
Akron Celtic Guards @ Cleveland St. Pats St. Jarlaths Hurling
Saturday June 19th: Men’s & Ladies Football and Hurling @ PITT
Cleveland St. Pats St Jarlaths @ Pittsburgh Celtics
Cleveland St. Pats St Jarlaths @ Pittsburgh Banshees
Cleveland St. Pats St Jarlaths @ Pittsburgh Pucas
Saturday June 26th: Youth @ Detroit & Hurling @ Rochester
Midwest Youth Invitational
Cleveland St Pats St Jarlaths Hurling @ Rochester
Saturday July 10th: Men’s & Ladies Football @ BUFFALO
Cleveland St. Pats St. Jarlaths @ Na Fianna CLG
Cleveland Women @ Buffalo Women
Saturday July 17th: Men’s and Ladies Football @ CLE and Youth @ PHILLY
Pittsburgh Celtics @ Cleveland St. Pats St Jarlaths
Pittsburgh Banshees @ Cleveland St. Pats St Jarlaths
Liberty Bell Youth Tournament
July 31-August 1: Midwest Finals Pittsburgh
We are working very hard this year to have a safe and healthy season. We will be following all CDC recommended guidelines throughout this year. Keep up with us through this website, Team Snap, Facebook, Instagram and email. We are very excited to see everyone! Up CLE GAA!!!
On the Pitch: Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football Club is beginning the year by participating in indoor soccer leagues at the CAPS Fieldhouse in Valley View. The Club has put forth two teams to compete in the Men’s Open and the Coed Leagues. Not only are current players stretching their legs and honing some foot skills in the off-season, but the Club is using the leagues to recruit new players to Gaelic Football and the social aspects of the Association. The leagues run the months of January and February.
Following the indoor soccer, the Club will begin to transition to Gaelic Football at Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted. Coed indoor trainings and games are planned Fridays evenings (7-8pm) in March (8th, 15th, 22nd, 29) and Thursday/Wednesday evenings (7-8pm) in April (4th, 10th, 18th, 25th).
According to Men’s Coach Simon “Sizzler” O’Doherty and Ladies’ Coach Daniel Murray, if the weather is nice enough outdoor trainings could also begin in April for the typical two-a-week sessions. The indoor sessions are formatted for the new player to try a few of the unique skills, get to know current club members, and have fun playing in at semi-competitive speed.
Cleveland GAA is excited to announce that they will be hosting a Gaelic Football 7-A-Side Tournament on Saturday, May 11th, at the West Side Irish American Club. At least two fields will be live with Men’s and Ladies teams from 10AM to 6PM, while the craic will be had in the pavilion. Come out to see the action and join in the Gaelic fun. Corporate promotions are available for this 501-3c event. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off the Pitch: Cleveland is hosting the Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) Foundation Level Coaching Clinic on Sunday, February 10th, starting at 10:30AM at the Flat Iron Café. This full day of classroom and field learning will be presented by the USGAA’s Youth Chairman, Paul Mulcaire.
The course is the first step in coaching Gaelic Football or Hurling at any age and is aimed at beginner coaches. The attendee will be introduced to the Games, taught skill development, learn movement skills, and instructed on the aspects of coaching children, youth and adults. The course is FREE and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is required for those seeking certification. Contact ClevelandYouthGAA@gmail.com.
On Saturday, February 16th, the Club will co-host the annual Night at the Races at the West Side Irish American Club. For the admission cost of $25, the night offers a hot dinner, open bar of Guinness, Harp, Miller Lite, and wine, free onsite child care, race betting, 50/50 sideboards, silent auctions, and raffle baskets. Come join the fun and the Irish sporting community in the Club’s largest fundraising event of the year. The night puts the club on solid financial ground.
The money raised goes into the continued care for the WSIA field, Páirc na Naomh, registration fees, the youth program, and travel costs.
For tickets, horse sponsorship, race sponsorship, advertisement, or raffle donations contact ClevelandGAA@gmail.com. The evening is a great way to catch up with old GAA teammates and to meet the new players.
Youth. Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s is once again offering FREE Gaelic Football nights at Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted on Saturday, January 26th, from 5-7PM; and Sunday February 24thfrom 6:30-8:30. The first hour is reserved for ages 5-8 and the second for ages 9-12.
Following the free sessions, Cleveland is continuing the indoor sessions for a nominal fee of $20. All ages will receive a t-shirt. The younger ones, 5-8, will continue to learn the skills and play in scrimmages in the first hour while the 9-12 group will divide into teams for games in the second hour. Parents can register their players at ClevelandGAA.com/youth. The March sessions will be on the 9thfrom 5-7PM, the 23rdfrom 3-5PM, and the 30thfrom 5-7PM. The April sessions will be on the 6thfrom 5-7PM and the 20thfrom 3-5PM. If you or your company are interested in getting involved in Youth Gaelic Sports, contact ClevelandYouthGAA@gmail.com.
New Players Wanted: Cleveland GAA is open to all who want to play competitive sports, meet new people, and join an athletic, fitness minded club. Go raibh míle maith agaibh (thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. 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. Beyond sports, the Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance, and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 activities for Men, Women, and Youth. Or, visit ClevelandGAA.com.
*Vincent Beach is a builder, footballer, and teacher of Irish language. He is the current chairman and youth coach for the Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jaralath’s Gaelic Football Club. During the off-season he can be found in PJ’s basement at Speak Irish Cleveland. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Cleveland St. Pat’s – St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football Club has a newly elected board: Chairperson – Vincent Beach; Vice-Chairperson – Nick Cobos; Secretary – Tom Beach; Treasurer – Joe Coyne; Public Relations Officer – Dan Kampman; and Player’s Representative – Kevin DeFranco. Congratulations and Good Luck!
A huge thank you goes to two members of the board stepping down from their roles, but not their commitments. First, Vice-Chairperson Jim Coyne has been instrumental both on and of the field, bringing the two former clubs of St. Pat’s and St. Jarlath’s together. Jim will continue to work with the team alongside Simon O’Doherty (Coach), to be a support and alumni recruiter, to run the Super Bowl fundraiser, and to chair the upcoming Cleveland 7-a-Side Tournament. Jeepers! He may be doing more now than he was doing on the board, hahaha. Go raibh míle maith agat, a Shéamuis!
Secondly, Public Relation Officer Steve Pepin has brought the club into the 21st century of social media, having established and grown our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers (sign-up, if ye are not already). Steve is also a veteran of the club (sorry old man) who’s wisdom and experience will be missed from the board.
Steve will be just as active with the Club, as he will now chair the Sponsorship Committee. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org is you are interested in establishing a partnership with your local GAA club. Agus, go raibh míle maith agat, a Stiofáin.
Replacing the lads will be Nick Cobos and up-comer Dan Kampman. Nick, in all essence, has been on the board, having participated in most of the prior years monthly meetings. He will be a great asset this year and for years to come.
Dan Kampman was a fresh face and formidable presence on the field in his rookie season last year. He is one of the guys that got the GAA itch, barely missing a training session and now wanting to get more involved with his Club. We are very excited to have him on board. Go n-éirí libh, a leaideanna!
Onto the fields. At the time of publication, our first groups of footballers will be taking on the softies of that foreign sport, soccer. Cleveland GAA has put both a Men’s team and a Co-ed team into the CAPS Fieldhouse indoor league for a bit of fitness, fraternity, and fun. The league runs every week from January to the end of February. Good luck players.
From the soccer fields, Cleveland has committed to starting an indoor 7-a-side Coed Gaelic Football league. The league will commence in March after an introductory skills session and new players will be mixed with experienced players. The league will run for two months until training for the summer league begins outdoors in May. Sound interesting? Want to learn more, meet new people, and get active in the cold months? Contact email@example.com.
Cleveland GAA is also forming a Ladies Gaelic Football team for competition in the summer. Those interested in playing or learning more should email: ClevelandLadiesGAA@gmail.com.
Youth Gaelic Football: The Youth will once again resume indoor activities on January 12th and 26th for FREE SKILLS CAMP. These are especially for the new player to understand and feel comfortable with the game. The camp will be divided by ages this year.
Following the Skills Camps in January, the sessions will open into League play of games every-other week for the months of February, March, and April. Teams will comprise of up to ten players of the same age group. Contact ClevelandYouthGAA@gmail.com to sign-up or learn more.
Night at the Races: Our annual fundraiser is February 16that the West Side Irish American Club; doors open at 6pm. There is free baby-sitting onsite. The kids have a blast. This event is more than a fundraiser, it is a chance for supporters, alumni, sponsors, players, and families to get together for a few hours and have fun. Full tables are available (8-10 seats) or individual tickets.
The $25 night includes a hot dinner, Guinness, Harp, Miller Lite, wine, and soft drinks. Feel free to bring your own desserts or appetizers. You can also name the racing horses – lots of opportunities for sponsorship and advertisement. Contact Vincent at ClevelandGAA@gmail.com.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook and Twitter for the 2019 activities for Men, Women, and Youth.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh(thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. 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. Beyond sports, the Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives.
As the 2018 year closes, we are reminded of a couple of Cleveland anniversaries. Seventy years ago, Cleveland Gaelic football re-organized and formed St. Pat’s, the longest continually run GAA club in the United States. Fifty years ago, St. Pat’s Cleveland last won the North American Senior Football Championship.
The Cleveland team of the 1960s was dominant, winning in 1962, 1964, 1965, and 1966. The three-in-a-row feat has only been repeated by Chicago Wolfe Tones (1995-1997) and Ulster San Francisco (2012-2014). Cheers to Cleveland history and cheers to Cleveland’s future.
The Midwest Division held their annual general meeting (AGM) in Cleveland at PJ McIntyre’s on October 27. The newly elected board is: Chairperson Dave Slevin (Buffalo Fenians), Vice-Chair Keith Knott (Akron Guards), Secretary Seán Stayduhar (Pittsburgh Pucas), Treasurer Danielle McCullough (Pittsburgh Banshees), Public Relations Officer Ty McTigue (Cleveland St. Pat’s), Registrar Matt Lomot (Buffalo Fenians), and Youth Officer Garrett O’Donohue (Detroit Wolfe Tones). Congratulations to all and good luck.
Delegates from clubs and divisions across the country met in Chicago on November 9th& 10thfor the USGAA’s annual convention. Also in attendance were Jerry O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Munster Provincial GAA (of which USGAA is organized as a county), and Niall Erskine Chairman of World GAA.
World GAA comprises of all the GAA organizations outside of Ireland including USGAA, New York GAA, Gaelic Games Europe, Middle East GAA, Britain GAA, Australasia GAA, Canada GAA, and Asia GAA. The USGAA will be sponsored by Masita (uniforms and kits provider) and Guinness. Tag in your social media @GuinnessUS and your local GAA club @ClevelandGaelic when enjoying ‘a bit of the black stuff’.
This year’s USGAA AGM had more delegates than can ever be remembered. There are ten divisions across the county and all were well represented: Central (Chicago area), Heartland, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast (Boston area), Philadelphia, Southeast, Southwest, and Western (San Francisco area).
The Register’s report had many interesting facts: 178 teams from 130 clubs, 5,394 members, 1,207 resident players (Irish born), 2,713 American born players, and 551 sanction players. The organization remains financially strong, and continues to be supported by the GAA (Croke Park) for increased participation and development.
The Finals are being held in Leesburg, VA., about an hour outside of D.C., a week before Labor Day (August 23-25). Next year’s AGM is in dreary San Diego!
Cleveland GAA Update: Cleveland GAA will be participating in off-season indoor soccer Co-Ed and Men’s leagues. If you are interested in playing and learning more about Gaelic Football, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cleveland annual general meeting will take place at PJ McIntyres on December 7. If you have young ones, we will have skills camps to teach the game. Contact us: ClevelandYouthGAA@gmail.com.
Cleveland GAA would also like to announce the arrival of Ladies Gaelic Football Coach Danial Murray, from Knocknacarra, Galway (just east of Craggy Island, so it is). Daniel will be head coach for upcoming training sessions and the 2019 season. Those interested in playing or learning more should email: clevelandLadiesGAA@gmail.com.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook and Twitter for fall and winter activities for Men, Women, and Youth. Planning is in the works for friendlies, open games, fitness training, and indoor.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh (thanks y’all) to our readers and supporters. Fáilte (welcome) to all; consider getting involved at any level.
The Gaelic Athletic Association is Ireland’s largest sporting organization and a bit of home for the Irish abroad here in the US. Beyond sports, the Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives.
The autumn GAA season is the time players get to recharge their batteries, take care of injuries, and get back into the strength conditioning that is often foregone for the endurance and skills training of the regular season. Likewise, for the clubs and divisions, it is a time to recover from the busy weeks of play, plan for the future, and strengthen the organization.
Yearly goals are re-evaluated, budgets are re-examined, and development programs re-strategized. At every level of the organization (GAA) the annual general meetings are occurring to facilitate many of these efforts.
This year, Cleveland will host Midwest Division of the US Gaelic Athletic Association (US GAA) for their annual general meeting (AGM) on October 27that PJ McIntyre’s. The AGM attendees represent every city, code, and grade team in the Division. During this meeting officer recaps are read out, the divisional bylaws discussed or voted on, and a new executive board elected.
Over the recent years, important new programs have been debated and implemented, including: Divisional Playoff Weekend, division-wide Trip to Ireland Raffle (club fundraiser), referee training and retention for each club, and division-wide development programs (grants). Following the MWGAA AGM, the USGAA will have their meeting running from November 9 through 11 at Chicago’s Gaelic Park. Much the same as the divisional AGM, the USGAA’s is on a larger scale and, in recent times, with a larger impact to our local clubs.
Recent introductions have included player health insurance and methods for clubs to pay, and the ever-revolving debate on the number of sanction players (players over from Ireland) allowed on a field at a time for every grade level. In addition to the congressional activities, several workshops are held for club cadre to take back in implement in their home towns, namely centered around recruitment, social media, and club health.
From Chicago, it will be back to Cleveland and back to PJ McIntyre’s for the club AGM held the first weekend in December each year. Although the meetings can seem mundane to players and supporters who would rather be running up a pitch or cheering on the action in a match, they do offer a set-time to evaluate and question the goals and actions of the current board, the direction of the club, the fiscal actions, and health of the organization. The organization belongs to the volunteer members who comprise her, and the GAA embraces these democratic processes that continue to grow and evolve the game we love.
One evolution we saw was introduction of the “mark.” It brought into play on the defensive side of the field, and better said, during kick-outs a ball cleanly caught in the air beyond the defensive forty-five meter line was awarded a free kick (four second limit to play). The thought and result was to encourage the aerial skills of fetching and catching that were being eroded to the short, possession-retained kick-outs being displayed by many teams. This year there are five new proposals on the floor to further encourage offensive play kicking – catching skills, and to revisit the penalties. They will be before “Congress” this year for experimental implementation into the League competition.
Handpass – To introduce a restriction of three consecutive passes of the ball with the fist or open hand by players of the team in possession.
Sideline Kick – That the ball shall be played in a forward direction from the kick. (Exception: In the case of a side-line kick being taken by an attacking player on or inside the opponents’ 13m line, the ball may be kicked in any direction).
The Mark – To extend the application of the Mark to the clean catching of the ball on or inside the 20m line from a kick delivered on or beyond the 45m line without it touching the ground.
Sin-Bin – The Penalty on the day for a Black Card Infraction or two Yellow Card Infractions – an ordering off for ten minutes in a Sin Bin.
For a kick-out, two players only from each team shall be positioned between the two 45m lines.
The goalkeeper and a maximum of six players from each team shall be behind the respective 45m lines, until the ball is kicked.
The ball from the kick-out shall travel beyond the 45m line before being played by a player of the defending team.
Other Rules relating to the kick-out to remain unchanged.
These rules, again, are experimental and will only be implemented in the League play if approved by the GAA Congress. Changes involving playing rules of Gaelic Games are only possible in years divisible by 5, making 2020 the year the above proposals could be implemented into the Championship play.
Cleveland GAA Update. The inaugural Golf Outing & Banquet was a huge success. Go raibh míle maith agaibhto all of our sponsors and volunteers who made the day fantastic: Skylight Financial, OhioIANews, Ecoverse, Guinness, Great Lakes Brewery, Gormley’s Irish Pub and Barbershop, Beach Contracting LLC, Turner Construction, Five Points Coffee & Tea, Cobos Insurance, Bayer Healthcare, Circle 17 Custom Furniture, A. Steven Dever Co., LPA, Alexis Exhibits, Diversified Fall Protection, and Mr. Rory O’Neil.
Special Congratulations to our 2018 award winners: Club Person of the Year Simon O’Doherty, Most Improved Player Rob Frank, and Rookie of the Year Danial Kampman.
Cleveland GAA would also like to announce the arrival of Ladies Gaelic Football Coach Danial Murray from Knocknacarra, Galway (just east of Craggy Island, as they say). Daniel will be head coach for upcoming training sessions and the 2019 season. Those interested in playing or learning more should email: email@example.com.
Follow @ClevelandGaelic on Facebook and Twitter for fall and winter activities for Men, Women, and Youth. Planning is in the works for friendlies, open games, fitness training, and indoor. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org more information.
Some of the club members were recently featured on the Bush League podcast to tell the story of the Pat’s/Jarlath’s.
From Bush League:
“In this episode we examine what happens when having one team isn’t enough for Cleveland’s Gaelic football community. You’ll hear what the players say about the moment when this rivalry spanning 30 years, culminated on the sport’s biggest stage, and the surprising story of what happens after.”
Gaelic football is a centuries old Irish ball game played by teams of 15—or 13 in the United States—on a field very similar to a soccer field. The objective is to pass the ball into the other team’s goal for three points, or through a set of two uprights for one point. It’s been played in the greater Cleveland area for nearly a century, and during that time teams from the Forest City have been good. Very good.
Today, Cleveland St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football Club, a team formed after Cleveland St. Pat’s and Cleveland St. Jarlath’s merged, is the country’s defending national champion, but this year the pressure is on and the stakes are high. They are under the microscope, and they know it. Every club in their division, which includes teams from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, and more than forty other teams from throughout the United States are watching every move they make. As they prepare to kick off the 2016 season, Head Coach Martin Wall knows that Lakewood is going to be a big part of their title defense.
“This year is certainly going to be different,” said Wall. “We can see how other clubs are filling out their roster and the moves they are making. Make no mistake about it, they’re coming for us. It’s not a time to get fancy, we’re keeping it simple. We’re going to work on our fitness and be bigger, faster, and stronger than we were last year, and we’re going to recruit athletes who want to compete. Lakewood is going to be a big part of that.”
The first stop for the men of Cleveland St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’s will be Birdtown Crossfit, a local gym that focuses on strength and conditioning. As Wall tells it, the team’s competitiveness began to turn the corner at the end of the 2013 season. The team’s skill level was improving to be sure, but the biggest difference was their overall endurance, strength, and durability. He asked around and found that a number of his players had been participating in regular workouts at Birdtown. Always quick to take advantage of a good opportunity, Wall and the club’s board of directors worked with Birdtown Crossfit’s owners Tricia Tortoreti and Jillian Neimeister to develop a customized six-week pre-season strength and conditioning program for his players that will begin in March.
“As far as the results of Birdtown workouts,” said Wall. “I’ve seen them myself, so there’s no question there. I can say from firsthand experience that their programming has improved some of our players, even extended some of their playing careers. They know what they are doing.”
Next up, according to Wall, the team needs to recruit new athletes who are interested in learning a new, fast-paced, competitive game. Gaelic football is like any other sport — if you aren’t moving forward, if you aren’t building for the future, you’re moving backward. In many ways, new player recruitment is always the hardest part of the plan. Most athletes simply don’t know or understand the game of Gaelic football, so it can be a bit daunting. Fortunately for the team, that is an easy bridge to cross in Lakewood. Considering the number of players who call the city home, most folks have probably run into more than a few around town, or at least shared a pint with one of them.
Mid-fielder Chris Weimar, half-forwards Kyle McIntyre and Nick Cobos, and full-forward Rory O’Neil all call Lakewood home, and long-time player and starting center half-forward, Kevin Pap, is the owner and operator of Plank Road Tavern.
“Yeah, if you’re in Lakewood, St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’s guys are not hard to find,” said Cobos. “We’re kind of all over. If you can’t find one of us, just head up to Plank. Get yourself something to eat, have a pint. One of us will be there soon enough. Best joint in town.”
This type of neighborhood retail recruiting—where new players are brought in by old players they know from the neighborhood—is a bit untraditional. For St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’ though, it’s key to their success.
“In a lot of ways we’re a small-market team,” said Cobos. “When you look at cities like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, you’re talking about clubs with hundreds of players backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars. In that regard, it’s impossible for us to keep up with them. They can afford to do whatever they want. But look at the past ten years. Cleveland has four national championships. Can they keep up with us on the field?”
The results are hard to dispute, but the club knows how intimidating a new game can be to potential players. According to Cobos, that shouldn’t stop them from trying. “Here’s what I tell guys, everybody has a first day. All of us. But when you boil it down, it’s a simple game. Run. Catch. Kick. If you’re an athlete of any sort, you’ll pick it up quickly,” he said. “If anything you’re going to have a great time, and you get to hang out with great guys. It’s not the worst way to spend a summer.”
If you are interested in learning more about Gaelic football or Cleveland St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’s GFC, you can find them on Facebook at /stpatsgfc, follow them on Twitter @clevelandgaelic, or head up to Plank Road Tavern at 16719 Detroit—somebody will be there soon enough.