Everything is set for an exciting weekend in Thurles, the 2012 European Town of Sport, as hundreds of visiting players & supporters make the “Trip to Tipp” from across Europe for the O’Neills European Hurling and Camogie Finals
Over 150 players will take part along with travelling friends, and with many Irish famiies coming along to support the players, over 300 people are expected to spend the weekend in Thurles and attend the Munster hurling final in Cork the following day.
The European Board is overseeing final preparations for this major GAA event which will see ten teams come from all parts of Europe for the culmination of their season which is also an integral part of Thurles’s European Town of Sport celebrations.
Clubs represented include Zurich, The Hague, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris & Luxembourg and in addition to featuring many Irish players, the teams also include players originally from Switzerland, South Africa, Belize & the United States along with many EU countries and a US Air Force team from the UK.
The European Board of the GAA was founded in 2000 with just 4 teams. There are now over 50 teams registered and playing Gaelic Games throughout mainland Europe in 19 countries.
Willie Cashin, Tipperary native and Chairperson of the European GAA Board:
“We are absolutely delighted to be bringing our finals to Thurles as part of the European Town of Sport celebrations and Thurles Sarsfields own International Hurling Festival featuring the Tom Semple Cup. The European Board is only in it’s twelfth year of existence. In that short time, with close support from the GAA and the Camogie Association, we have seen an extraordinary growth in juvenile and adult Hurling and Camogie across the continent. This is only possible with the commitment and passion of the European players who are here to play the Championship Finals this weekend.”
Tony Bass, Secretary, European Board said:
"This is the first time we have brought this event to Ireland. It offers a great opportunity for the Irish ex-pat community in Europe to come home to Ireland and play in front of friends and family. Even more exciting, is the fact that the majority of our teams include non-Irish nationals who have fallen in love with Gaelic Games and now have a chance to visit Ireland for the first time to play competitive games and attend the Munster Hurling final the following day."
Cashin added: “I extend our thanks to John Enright and the entire Thurles organising committee for their invitation. Fr. Tom Fogarty (St. Patricks College), Fr. Emmet O’Hara (Pallottine Fathers) for their generous hosting and I’d also like to thank Shannon Development, Tipperary County Board, Thurles Sarsfields, O’Neills sportswear and the Munster Council for their support in making these Finals our most special to date."
He also paid tribute to the players and all the Board officials for their hard work to bring such a huge project to fulfilment as well as the many sponsors, partners, families, referees and volunteers who are involved in supporting and organising the O’Neill’s European finals.
The European Hurling and Camogie Finals are kindly supported by Shannon Development, O’Neill’s, Thurles Chamber of Commerce, Tipperary GAA & Camogie County Boards, the Leinster & Munster Councils of the GAA, Goalpost Ireland, P.O’Kane Hurley Makers and Gaelic Sportscast.
The Finals will feature five Ladies teams, and five Men’s teams. The games take place on Saturday July 14th from 9.30 am onwards at St. Patricks’ College, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Entry is free for anyone wishing to attend and show their support.
Most of the attendees will also travel to the Munster Hurling Final between Tipperary and Waterford in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. For many of the non-Irish players this will be the first time they will have seen hurling played live in person and what better occasion than the Munster Hurling Final in the cauldron of competition that is Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Everyone is excited, expectant and a little bit tense in anticipation of the biggest weekend in both the European and Munster Hurling and Camogie calendar.
If you are reading this as a local or an interested observer consider for a moment the obstacles for consolidating and growing Gaelic games in Europe? Imagine travelling to Dublin, Donegal, Belfast or Waterford from Thurles several times each year in order to play or referee a match in the ”nearest” GAA club? Imagine finding access to a pitch in a European city of millions which has never heard of Gaelic games /or the GAA? Imagine how to fund-raise to pay for all the bills without an established parish behind the club?
The men and women of our European clubs overcome these obstacles each and every day because of their passion for the national sport and because of the parish community spirit we build around and within our clubs.
Currently more Hurlers and Camogie players than ever before in Europe with Munich and Belgium Youth Hurling and Camogie Projects going from strength to strength from year to year.
The organic evolution of native or non –Irish player hurling teams such as Cologne, Germany and Budapest, Hungary. One to watch for the future.
The Camogie Championship going all the way down to the final Tournament to decide a winner. Paris Gaels, a new camogie club’s strong assault on the Camogie Championship this year while Luxembourg & Belgium Camogie clubs fielded two teams. The Zurich Camogie girls maintained their commitment to participate.
Top teams entering Thurles Finals (following 3 out of 4 rounds)
Paris (FR) – 66 The Hague (NL) – 75
Belgium (BE) – 61 Belgium (BE) – 51
Luxembourg (LU) – 42 Luxembourg (LU) – 44
Holland Ladies (NL) – 40 Paris (FR) – 34
Zurich (CH) – 24 Zurich (CH) – 27
*Lakenheath Wild Geese – 14
*Lakenheath are composed of US Air Force personnel based in Lakenheath USAF in UK.
NB: 25 pts for a winning a round; 20 for 2nd, 16 for 3rd and so on….
Group games commence at 09:30 with finals scheduled for 16:00 & 16:45
Hurling Championship Finals – Thurles Saturday July 14th 2012 at St. Patricks College, Thurles
Time Team Score versus Team Score Umpire/line Pitch
9.30 The Hague v Luxembourg Zürich 1
10.05 Zürich v Paris/L’heath Belgium 1
10.40 Belgium v The Hague Luxembourg 1
11.15 Luxembourg v Paris/L’heath The Hague 1
11.50 Zürich v Belgium Paris/L’heath 1
12.25 Paris/L’heath v The Hague Belgium 1
13.10 Luxembourg v Belgium Zürich 1
13.45 Zürich v The Hague Luxembourg 1
14.20 Paris/L’heath v Belgium The Hague 1
14.55 Luxembourg v Zürich Paris/L’heath 1
15.45 3rd v 4th 5th 1
16.30 1st v 2nd 4th 1
All group matches will be 12.5 minutes a half, 3/4 and finals will be 15mins a half unless previously agreed with CCO, team captains and the referee
CCO – Brian Clerkin (St Gallen) +353 85 1072557
Fiona Byrne (Luxembourg) – 00352 691 968242 / 00353 86 8889700
Brian Sheehy (Zurich) – 00353 85 7166190
Brian Clerkin Tony Bass
Tel: +353 47 83172(h)/ +353 85 1072557 (m) Tel: +353 85 734 1039 (m)
E: firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com