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Did We Meet You Today at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games?

We had such a blast at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games, and it was all because of YOU, the people we were able to meet. Thank you so much for spending some time with us, learning about our sport, and cheering us on as we played. How exciting it was to hear applause and shouting from the sidelines!

The whole idea behind playing expo matches is to show off Irish sports and find other people who might also fall in love with hurling (and maybe Gaelic football, too). We were able to talk with several of you, and we know you’re interested in giving things a shot. We want that more than anything!

You have nothing to be afraid of. Everyone one of us was new at one point, even the very few of us who’d actually played hurling before. Imagine how nervous our founder was when he started a Gaelic sports team with just he and his wife. Sometimes you just have to take that leap, right?

We don’t want you to be scared, so we’ve put together a few articles to help. You should find all the info you need to get you started. If you have any more questions, you can always send us an email. Even better, come out to a match or a training and ask in person.

Everything You Need to Know When Joining the NGAC

How to Get Involved with the NGAC When You Don’t Play

Before we go, we’d like to invite you out tomorrow at 1 pm to watch our fall league opener. It’s going to be a lot of fun, with three very competitive matches with three very evenly matched teams. If you thought you saw some amazing hurling today, you’ve seen nothing yet. We were just having fun, but tomorrow, a trophy is on the line.

We’ll play every Sunday through the rest of September and all of October. Our championship match will take place on the second Sunday of November, on the eleventh. If you can’t come out tomorrow, you can find us at Heartland Fields any other week until the day we find out who will win the Harper Hurl. You’re welcome any time.

We hope to see all of you again soon!

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All the News from the NGAC

NGAC News

The last month has been so busy for the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club that this poor blogger couldn’t keep up with it all. Instead of several posts, we’ll wrap up all the fun here in one big post.

Intro to Hurling Day

It seems that our planned intro days get rained out more often than not. This time, nature one-upped herself and sent snow. Our March 11 Intro to Hurling Day was quickly postponed to the next day, which was of course beautiful and mild.

We welcomed out a few new people, but we fear we may have missed out on a large crowd due to the last-minute postponement. For that reason, we’ve decided to never tell Mother Nature when our next intro day is. Instead, we’ll choose a week each month for beginners to come out and give Irish sports a try. Keep an eye on our events on the Facebook page to catch the next one.

Of course, you NEVER have to wait for an intro day. Beginners are welcome all the time, any time we have social events or training. Someone will always take time out to teach you the basics if you want to learn.

NGAC on Today in Nashville

If you missed our exultant cries of delight on social media, here’s the scoop: On St. Patrick’s Day, Nashville’s WSMV featured the club on their Today in Nashville show. We filmed the spot on March 10 (a day before the crazy snow) at Centennial Park, with two full hours of hurling and Gaelic football scrimmages that resulted in amazing shots from the production crew.

If you haven’t seen the segment yet, check it out below.

WSMV Channel 4

Music City Invitational

Not publishing a write-up for this one was painful, but time kept marching on with more and more exciting things for Nashville GAC. On March 25, we welcomed clubs from all over America to play in a hurling and camogie tournament that lasted all day.

Opening ceremonies, led by Liam Barry, included remarks from club chairman Ryan Buckley, the American national anthem by Jennifer Barry, and the Irish national anthem by Caleb Harper. We were also very fortunate to enjoy Irish fiddle music from Dr. Ron Bombardi as we set up the fields.

Nashville split into two teams—Green and Gold—with Green winning its first match over Indy B. Gold fell to Knoxville but rallied well in their consolation match. Green played Coastal Virginia in the second round and were defeated. Still, it was an exciting day with enough proof for these players to know they’ve grown enormously in skill over the past four years.

The day ended with Atlanta A taking home the Wall Cup for camogie, and Indy A took home the Watson Cup for hurling. We presented the trophies at our afters celebrations with sponsors Smith & Lentz Brewing in East Nashville. It was an amazing day, and we already look forward to next year.

Spring League 2017

Our spring league registration topped out at 45 players, some pretty exciting growth after eight seasons. Each of the three teams has 15 players, and we bumped up play to 11-a-side, with 25-minute halves.

Our sponsors this season have been announced, but if you missed the posts, take a look at the incredible jerseys below, with sponsors East Nashville Beer Works, Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace, and Quore proudly and gratefully displayed.

The season officially started April 2, but it’s not too late to get in on the action. If you sign up by April 23, our third match of the season, you can be placed on a team. After that, you’ll have to wait until the fall.

Of course, we also travel to tournaments in the summer, so go ahead and join up anyway so you’ll be ready to play for Nashville GAC when we head to our first competition.

spring league 2017 jerseys

The Ben & Morey Show

This all brings us to last night, when Benjy Flynn and Britti Himelfarb represented the club on live, late-night talk show The Ben & Morey Show. If you haven’t heard of Ben and Morey, look them up. If you haven’t been to a show, make a point to head over to the Performing Arts Center at Centennial Park on a Thursday night.

Ben and Britti represented the club with pride and a lot of humor. They both had the crowd in stitches with their quick wit, but they also managed to convey their serious love for Irish sports. The club Instagram has a few images from the evening, and we hope to soon post the full interview.

If you met any of us at the show, please feel free to reach out with questions. You can also join us for intro sessions, trainings, or just to watch a match. Our Facebook page has an event schedule with all the latest information, or you can check the calendar here on the website.

This Sunday is week 2 of the spring league. We’d love to see you out there at 3135 Heartland Drive in Donelson!

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The Blue Notes Take the Harper Hurl

blue notes champs

Blue Notes Best Leesiders 4-12 to 3-6

Congratulations to the winners of the spring league championship. The Blue Notes, captained by David Bowen, fought to stay on top through most of the season. The Leesiders were worthy foes, though, snagging a couple wins – just enough to keep the Notes from getting complacent. The exciting season culminated in a championship match between the reds and the blues.

In the first half, it looked as though the Leesiders might just snatch the victory from the Blue Notes’ confident clutches. After the break, the blues came back with a vengeance. In perhaps the most exciting match to date, the teams wrestled the lead from each other again and again. When the final whistle blew, the Blue Notes remained on top.

blue notes captain

We offer a hearty congratulations to all the Blue Notes team members: David Bowen, Corbett Ouellette, Benjy Flynn, Gillian Walshe-Langford, Molly Bombardi-Mount, Sam D’Amico, Aaron Joley, Trevor Hoagland, Bill Rodriguez, and Andrew Kamp.

Thanks to the referee Chris Davis and the Ports for officiating.

Special recognition goes to Caleb Harper, who forged our league trophy from solid steel.

Finally, thanks to everyone in the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club for all your hard work in promoting Irish sports in Nashville. Baile Ceol Abú!

blue notes and leesiders

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7 #CamogieProblems All Players Know to Be True

And 3 Reasons We Play Anyway

camogieproblems

Camogie players are equal parts girl and badass, which sometimes creates unusual issues that no hurler has to deal with. Still, we know that #CamogieProblems are part of the joy of playing, even when we deal with these:

Are we girly or badass today?

Who needs other hobbies, anyway?

Formalwear is an absolute #nope

War wounds ???????????????????????? #GAA #camogie

A photo posted by Cara Ni Fhearain (@cara_ni_fhearain) on

A hurl is like a best friend, and it hurts to lose one

Sakeeee ???? devo! But at least we won ???? #brokenhurl #hurl #camogie #gaa #devo #goodcounsel #woo

A photo posted by laura ???? (@laurabradyx3) on

If we waited for the rain to stop, we’d never play

You have your definition of sexy, and we have ours

Bandages are totally an accessory

“When your legs don’t work like they used to before” ???? #camogie #nopainnogain

A photo posted by Amanda (@amandagill92) on


Why do we play? Because it’s still the best damn game in the world. Also…

Could be worse! Could be playing in 1916

We’re always there for each other

Even your bruises know you love it

hurling bruise

Share with a fellow camog and tweet us your #CamogieProblems @NashvilleGAC.

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4 Facts You Should Know About Hurling

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If your fact-finding mission about hurling includes watching a match, breathless and eyes bugged out while you try to absorb everything going on, then it’ll be a long while before you learn everything you need to know. There are a few things that everyone who’s ever played the game hold true in their hearts—things no fact-finding mission could ever erase.

  • Once you play hurling, no other sport will suffice.
  • Sure, it looks dangerous. What’s the point of playing a sport that can’t get you killed?
  • You’ll be made fun of for wearing protective gear other than the required helmet.
  • A pint after training, matches, or a general puck around is required. REQUIRED.

Ask anyone who plays; they’ll back us up. And while this might convince you to give hurling (or camogie) a shot—and thank God, because that’s what this blog is all about—it still doesn’t give you the hard facts.

1. Hurling is about 3,000 years old.

Let’s consider the things that were going on in the world during the first years that hurling was played. The Iron Age. Ancient Greece. The Roman Empire. The Persian Empire after that. It’s even older than the recorded history of Ireland. If you’re looking for a sport that will impress your friends, you’ve found it.

2. A hurling pitch in Ireland can be as big as 158 yards by 98 yards.

Yeah, the pitch is huge, but that much flat, open space is hard to find here in the States, so we usually use American football or soccer fields. We also play with fewer people on teams. If we played with Ireland’s usual 15 a side, then there wouldn’t be enough room to run on the smaller fields here. In larger cities, such as Chicago and New York, the Irish populations are big enough to warrant full-sized fields and teams. For the most part, however, you’d get started on something much smaller here.

3. Protective gear really is sparse.

Imagine a sport this brutal played without any protective gear at all. That’s what happened for three thousand years. Before 2010, the hurley (stick) was the only protection a player could count on. Now, helmets are required. And, while you might get a little ribbing from your teammates for investing in additional protective gear, it’s never a bad idea to protect other parts of your body as well. (You may or may not want to click the link. Among other sports-related injuries, you’ll also be regaled with a tale about a shattered testicle.) Really. Wear the gear.

4. Even the best hurlers in Ireland play for free.

In this sport, glory is all you get. There isn’t a single professional hurler or camogie player in the world. These hurlers draw crowds in the tens of thousands, risk life and limb, and bring home enormous trophies to their home counties, all because they love the game that much.

Now, be honest with yourself. Wouldn’t you love to play a sport that inspires that kind of dedication? Wouldn’t you love to hit the pitch with your teammates and lose yourself in a sport that’s been three millennia in the making? Wouldn’t you love to finish off a day of Irish culture and sport with a cold beer and banter with your local hurling club?

You can. And if you reach out now, you WILL. If you’d prefer to check it all out before you join, that’s cool. Visit our Facebook page to see what we’re up to all the time. Come out and watch a puck around and get an introduction to the people, the equipment, and the game.

And remember, if you’re reading this but don’t live in Nashville, it’s not over yet. Google hurling in your city. There’s probably a club nearby. If there’s not, maybe it’s about time someone started one.

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Nashville Hurling League Match Report

Nashville GAC City League Week 2

Jameson Hurley Reporting

Week 2 of the Nashville City League saw three fantastic matches played at our new home pitch, Heartland Fields. Whatever deal the Board made to get the fields must have included a provision that all games be played in 90+ degree weather. It was agreed upon by the captains that water breaks would be taken at the midpoint of each half, and with that hopeful reprieve, the Leesiders and the Ports entered Dante’s Inferno for the first match of the day.

Coming off two defeats in Week 1, Captain Gill’s Leesiders looked to get a win. An enthusiastic pep talk raised the spirits of the white and red side as they took the field. The scoring came quick from both sides, but it was the Ports who pulled to the early lead with back-to-back goals. Johnny “Bad Back” Sticks was put to the test in goals, allowing 3 in the first half alone. The stand out strike of the half came from Renee Anzivino’s foot as she kicked the ball over the head of the Leesider keeper. The Ports were in full control of the match at half, but the Leesiders, with memories of the crushing defeat at the hands of the Ports in week one, were determined to not go down with out a fight. It was C.S. Kammerzell at the helm, seemingly scoring at will. The Leesiders charge was nearly complete when, with scores level, the Ports scored a fantastic goal near the end of the game. In the end, the Ports were the victors in the thrilling and very close match. Ports 4-4 (16) to Leesiders 2-7 (13).

With no rest time for the Leesiders, it was on to the second match of the day. Captain Aaron Joley readied his mighty Blue Notes as the Leesiders took time for a brief recovery. It must have been the painful loss of that very close first match that motivated the Leesiders, as the determined side came out swinging from the opening throw in. It was the skillful C.S. who once again led the charge. Sticks, having learned much from his first time in goal, placed his “goals closed” sign up, denying the Notes several opportunities to hit the back of the net. Jamie Norris and Brendan Reynolds did their best to keep the Blue Notes in the game, but at the end of the day, the scores came too often from the Leesiders, and the Notes fell 8-8 (32) to 2-8 (14).

It was now the Blue Notes turn to rebound from a loss as they remained on the pitch for game 3. The Ports, well rested and hydrated, but maybe a bit stiff, looked to be the early favorites in the game. Nick Chamberlain and Eric Vick gave the Ports the early lead with goals in the opening minutes. But Jamie Norris and Timothy Ryan Buckley were set on saving the day for the Notes. It was clear to all in attendance that the heat was taking its toll on all of the players as tired legs and minds moved about the pitch in lethargic fashion. The game was not without thrills though, and as the clock ran down it was clear that this game was set for a fantastic finish. With the referee’s announcement of a minute to play, both sides dug deep, and pushed for a victory. With 1 last attempt for a point, Jamie Norris burned what little gas was left in his tank, but the score would not come. At the blow of the whistle, the score sheet read: 3-3 (12) to 2-6 (12), a TIE.

Who will come out on top in next week’s matchups? Join us at Heartland fields for all the action. As a reminder, games will begin at NOON so that we can finish in time to cheer on the USA as they take on Portugal. Match 1. Leesiders v. Blue Notes; match 2. Blue Notes v. Ports; match 3. Blue Notes v. Leesiders.

Standings: Ports 10 points, Blue Notes 4 points, Leesiders 3 points

 

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Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club Launches Inaugural City Hurling League

Match Report: June 1, 2014

Jameson Hurley

10341841_248306115293023_996863059459184260_nOminous skies and a worrisome weather report hung over the launch of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club’s inaugural city hurling league. But the players arrived in force, the pitch was prepared, and the historical event went off in brilliant form.

After a league rules seminar by club chairman, Johnny “Sticks” Watson, opening ceremonies were underway. Introductions were made, and then as if ordered by Cú Chulainn himself, the clouds let loose, and the rain began to fall. The incomparable design team of Timothy Ryan Buckley and Grant Shelton Gill received thanks and gifts for their hard work on the jerseys and club crest.

With a proper rain now coming down, guest of honor, Roger Ryan from the Blackrock National Hurling Club in Co. Cork, Ireland, threw in the ceremonial first ball to NGAC club founders Anji Wall and John Watson. The humidity reminded us we were in Middle Tennessee, but the rain, and Roger’s presence, made us feel like we were at Croke Park preparing to play in the All Ireland!

Three teams warmed up and prepared to take on the day. The light blue/navy “Blue Notes,” the navy/gold “Ports,” and the white/red “Leesiders” would each play two 30-minute matches. Up first were the Ports and Blue Notes.

With the rain still falling steadily, the Ports and the Blue Notes took to the pitch in the first ever hurling match in Nashville, TN. Captain Corbett Ouellette’s Ports, in their navy and gold kits, were first to strike with a cracking goal. Blue Notes’ captain Aaron Joley kept his team focused and the assembled crowd were treated to a great half, all be it a wet and low scoring half. Rain moved out of the area during the second half, and the scoring opened up. The match proved to be a great opener for the club’s new Sunday tradition. Final score: 2-3 (9) to 2-1 (7) in favor of the Ports.

Coming off that first win, the Ports took on the Leesiders in the second match of the day. Captain Grant Gill’s team looked fantastic in the red and white of Co. Cork as both teams took to the field. The Ports were first to strike when Johnny “Sticks” Watson left Nick Chamberlain unmarked, costing the Leesiders an early point in the contest. The fit feet of the Ports kept the pressure on through the first half, leaving the Leesiders with huge deficit going into the second half. With inspirational words, captain Gill motivated his troops, and the second half was better for the team in white. Unfortunately for the Leesiders, scores would not come. In the end, Captain Ouellette’s Ports crushed the Leesiders 4-3 (15) to 2 goals (6).

The now tired legs of the Leesiders remained on the pitch to take on the Blue Notes in the final match of the day. Captain Gill’s crew, having learned from their first match, reorganized a came out swinging. With the sun now shining, both teams put on a fantastic display of the ancient game. In goals for the match, Peace Corps man, CS Kamerzell, was put to the test, but rose to the challenge, making some spectacular saves. It was clear that both teams came to play as the ball moved around the field with spectacular precision, but in the end, the lethal combination of former MTSU club mates, Timothy Ryan Buckley and Jamie Norris, proved too much for the Leesiders. Final score 5-3 (18) to 3-3 (12)

The day was a great start for what is sure to become a long tradition in Middle Tennessee. The Ports now sit at the top of the league table ahead of the Blue Notes followed by the Leesiders.

Ports: 6 points; Blue Notes: 3 points; Leesiders: 0 points.

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