HARPS MAN PROMOTING GAA IN SWITZERLAND.
With a new wave in the Irish diaspora upon us people might be interested to hear how a Monaghan Harps man, Brian Clerkin, is involved in Swiss GAA and to celebrate the stage of development they have reached an historic GAA game will be played on the 22nd of May 2011 between the Zurich Inneoin club and the St. Gallen Bears. A brief introduction to GAA in Switzerland will tell you that Zurich Inneoin has existed for nearly a decade now and they are a European powerhouse in the Hurling Championship. They are previous winners of the European Hurling Championship and have had a successful start to the 2011 season reaching the final in The Hague. For the last few years they have amalgamated with a few players from Saint Gallen to form a team for the Pan European Football Championships. The results were promising as they came Third and Fifth in 2009 and 2010. Following on from that development and the influx of a few new Irish guys the Saint Gallen Bears are a newly formed team trying to establish themselves within the local community. Now both teams are ready for a challenge match against each other to hopefully raise the profile of the GAA in Switzerland and extended the club memberships, interest and involvement with the respective local communities.
The Saint Gallen Bears club started in September 2010 on the Sunday of the All-Ireland Hurling Final. We are all teachers predominantly based in Saint Gallen at a Swiss private school called the Institut auf dem Rosenberg and there have been Irish teachers there since around the mid 1990’s. Brian (Clerkin) is now in his fourth year Institut and is the eldest tenured teacher playing on the team. Membership of the St. Gallens club covers the entire island of Ireland in their origins Monaghan, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Clare, Cork, Tipperary, Wexford, Dublin, Westmeath, Donegal, Mayo, Meath and Waterford. We also have one lad from Edinburgh who is learning the ins and outs of the game and the club has recently recruited its first Swiss player Raffael Hirt who has taken to the game like a natural and his natural sporting ability honed over years in olympic handball, floorball and lacrosse certainly helped. We have a recruitment and development plan for 2011 where we will try to integrate the locals into the game as well as the students of the University of Saint Gallen, and Brian is confident that the club will grow. “Although we are in our infancy we are hard working, extremely dedicated and committed to succeed no matter what, by participating and hopefully winning our regional competition this year as well as participating in the three Pan European tournaments in the shield competition and hopefully winning that also. We will also be recruiting new players with fresh enthusiasm to develop our club on an on-going basis and hopefully we will succeed”.
HISTORIC CHALLENGE GAA MATCH
Sunday the 22nd of May will be the historic first meeting of two Swiss GAA teams in an exhibiton of Gaelic football that will illustrate the development of Switzerland GAA in the last two years and the interclub cooperation. The decade tenured Zurich Inneoin team will play the newly founded Saint Gallen Bears in a challenge match of fair play,
celebration of Swiss and Irish inter cultural relations and football.
Game Time: 13.00 to 14.00 Party Time: 14.15 onwards
Location: Saalsporthalle, Sihlcity, Zurich.