November 22nd, 2023
Recap of 2023
As the European County Committee convenes at its captivating Annual Convention in the beautiful city of Malmo this weekend, we are delighted to present a snapshot report showcasing the remarkable growth achieved in 2023 through the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of our officers, volunteers, referrees, players, and fans. Our community
First, we need to recognise how far we’ve come in Europe! From the first recorded meeting in 1999 with representatives from 5 small clubs, we have now evolved into a vibrant community of over 4,000 members, spanning across 100+ clubs in more than 20 countries. Governing such a vast and diverse territory is an unprecedented challenge within the GAA and should not be understated, the varying languages, cultures, socio-economic landscapes, and, not least, the different climates we share!
The Growth and advancement of Europe as a County, has led us to what could be considered one of the most exciting and pivotal points in the evolution of Gaelic Games in Europe, the era of regionalisation. To those of you unfamiliar with the term, it signifies the European County Committee’s delegation of governance responsibilities to regional committees overseeing specific areas of Europe. To draw a parallel that resonates with the Irish expatriate vocabulary, think for a moment of another well-known land that has been occupied by Irish settlers, New York. New York and its 5 major boroughs.
In the eyes of the GAA, Europe has its own 5 ‘boroughs’:
- The Benelux: Encompassing clubs in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg, with some German clubs also participating due to their proximity to the Benelux border.
- Central and Eastern Europe: Comprising all clubs from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, and Russia.
- Iberia: Home to all clubs in Spain, Catalonia, Galicia, Portugal, and Gibraltar, further divided into sub-regions such as Galicia and Andalucia.
- Nordics: Encompassing Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Estonia.
- North-West: Inclusive of all French clubs, including Jersey and Guernsey islands. The North-west also has a sub-regional structure.
Remarkably, nearly all of these European regions were represented at the World Games in Derry, with 43 European teams.
Coaching: Despite the devastating loss of European stalwart and all-around legend, ‘Jano’ from our County Committee, we had another great year of constructive workshops and coaching courses. Fortunately, another European Icon, Anna Marie O’Rourke, was ready to continue Jano’s legacy, ensuring our coaches remain well-prepared. In 2024, we conducted nine coaching courses and workshops throughout Europe, with contributions from Leinster council and our own European coaches leading the way.
Turning our attention to Camogie and Hurling, Meadhbh Bolger, our new Camogie Boss, made a remarkable debut on the committee, resulting in a significant increase in Camogie tournament participation with 16 clubs involved. The growth trend is set to continue into 2024. Congratulations to Belgium GAA who convincingly topped the league for Camógie, and congrats to Hamburg who finished 2nd, and deserve a special mention for attending all rounds, and having so many German Camógs!
In Hurling, Des Treacy, a revered figure in the Viking Gaels, presided over a thrilling year with 31 clubs joining the fray. Congratulations to Luxembourg who conquered Europe this year, and again, credit to the mighty Hamburg who finished second and are forging a reputation as a Hurling and Camógie powerhouse in Europe.
In the realm of Football and LGFA: The 15s football and hurling scene saw Amsterdam taking center stage, supported wholeheartedly by all of the Europe community in both of their Leinster bouts. Although victory eluded them in 2023, their progress continues to inspire as they inch closer to becoming the first European team to win competitively in Ireland. Unfortunately, the mighty ‘Craonh Rua’ ladies from Brussels, Belgium, couldn’t overcome the Glasgow ladies in their competitive fixture.
The Belgium-based ladies did have reason to rejoice as they reigned supreme in the Pan-Euros. It was Warsaw that were crowned champions of Europe on the men’s side in Europe’s biggest football fixture! Credit to Den Haag for hosting an amazing, multi-venue event, with what has to be described as a feast fit for kings!
Handball: Fionn Ó Súilleabháin, from Slovak Shamrocks, produced successful tournaments in Brno, Bratislava, Paris and Toulouse, and estimated that there are approximately 50 players in Europe. The most exciting news from the handball world is perhaps what is on the horizon in 2024, “We are formally beginning the journey for Europe GAA to be formally affiliated with GAA Handball, this will allow us to be able to play in provincial tournaments, and All-Irelands, receiving much more support from the organisation.” Another triumphant display form. European Officer.
Our efforts to enhance youth infrastructure are yielding positive results. According to Youth Officer Perase Bell’s report, the European Feile recently occurred in Berlin and successfully drew participation from nine teams. Additionally, three official Cul Camps were organized in Vannes (Brittany), Berlin, and Frankfurt. The success of these significant events was made possible thanks to the valuable guidance provided by the Leinster County board. They generously sent two individuals from Wexford to share their insights into running a successful Cul Camp.
Now, back to the 5 boroughs of Europe for our regional news updates:
- Four successful rounds of Benelux football took place in 2023 (special mention to Eindhoven Shamrocks, who hosted the biggest round in history).
- Another great milestone was the first-ever regional hurling round, also hosted by the Shams.
- Special mentions to Amsterdam and Belgium ladies that represented Europe on the mainstage in the 15s.
- Four successful football rounds took place in the region, hosted by Warsaw, Vienna, Munich, Budapest)
- A new club, Wroclaw was welcomed to the CCE community.
- Three regional teams were sent to the World Games, including a non-Irish. hurling team
- A 2-tiered championship for football across 2 weekends in 2 cities occurred.
- The Senior Finals were televised by Galician TV and streamed online by them too.
- The First ever handball tournament takes place in December.
- 18 clubs participated in at least 2 tournaments.
- The North-Westen region saw growth of 10% across both players and clubs.
- The French national men’s team made it to the final of the World Games.
- They sent 13 representative teams to the World Games, with nearly 200 players, mentors, and coaches involved.
- Vannes won the Eurpoean youth Feile.
- The Viking Gaels became an official club
- Gavle won the Nordics Football Championship
- Stockholm produced their first-ever Camogie team
McKeevers Europe Store
We are thrilled to announce our new European GAA store. Support our cause and represent Europe at home, and around the World!
Mise le meas
Alan Mac Gearailt
Hon the Earls!