Thursday 8 December 2022

In this edition:

President's end-of-year message

Dear members, supporters and friends of Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA.

As we approach the end of 2022, it's a good time to celebrate another great year at Wellington/Hutt Valley Gaelic Football & Hurling Association.

President Davey Rynne
2022 was the year that things started to return to normal for the world as we saw the end of COVID-19 lockdowns and the opening up of borders. This had a significant impact on both our playing season and on numbers involved in our various teams during the year.

The absolute highlight of the season has, of course, been the success of our women's intermediate football team in being crowned champions of Australasia in October. For the first time ever, Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA was represented in the winners' circle at the state games and it was fitting that our women's team was the one to do so. Winning the games is a great source of pride for the club and the many messages of support that the team and club received during and after the games show how much the win means to members past and present.

To go back to the beginning of 2022, we started the year in an uncertain note with lockdowns across part of the country which meant that the annual national championships couldn't be held in Hamilton in March. We look forward to making the trip back up there in 2023 for this season's finals.

The first major tournament of the year was the Wellington Sevens held over Labour weekend at Awakairangi Park in Upper Hutt. In what was an exceptional weekend of games, and fine weather, we welcomed teams from across New Zealand to participate in the now annual competition. We also welcomed our new Irish Ambassador Jane Connolly and look forward to working closely with the Embassy in the coming season.

The social Gaelic games competitions have continued to be the backbone of our season locally and we welcomed many new and returning players again this year. Unfortunately, we have had to reduce the number of pitches in play due to safety considerations. The standard of play has continued to improve week on week for all our players and we look forward to wrapping up the pre-Christmas season on finals day on Saturday 10 December.

We wouldn’t have the club we do without the support of our sponsors. Whistling Sisters/The Featherston have continued as our main socials sponsors and it’s a credit to them that they have given great support even though the hospitality sector has been under pressure this year. A special thanks also to the Irish Trust in Wellington who generously sponsored the marquees for the sevens weekend in October.

Thanks also to all involved in the running of the club in 2022. The coaches have continued to promote our games to players of all skill levels and abilities, whether it's kids Gaelic games, right up to the masters age group. Your dedication to the cause is very much appreciated. 

The club committee have been exceptional again this year and we are very lucky to have so many dedicated individuals who give so freely of their time and expertise in truly making this the coolest little club in the world. Of course, our club wouldn’t be a club without our members who take part in our games and make all our players feel welcome each and every week. Thank you to every one of you who have played your part in 2022. The club is a home away from home for many and, as we head into the Christmas period, our club provides a family environment for those missing theirs back home.

It would be remiss of me not to mention those people who we have lost in 2022. We mourned the passing of former club stalwart and great friend of the club, Eoinie Farrell, who lost his battle with cancer this year. Eoinie was a huge part of the club in his time in NZ (2011-14) and the events to mark his memory were very well attended. Our thoughts are with Eoinie's wife Eimear and both their families.

I'll wrap up by extending my own and the committee’s best wishes to you all for a very happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2023. 

Nollaig Shona Daoibh
Davey Rynne
Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA

New Zealand Championship 2023

The highlight of the New Zealand GAA calendar returns on the weekend of 25/26 March 2023 in Hamilton. The 2022 championships fell victim to COVID-19 restrictions, so we're looking forward to a great weekend of games in the Mighty Waikato in a few months. Our women's footballers will be gunning for an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies for the season, while our men's footballers and hurlers will be hoping to retain their national titles. It's never too early to start planning your travel, so in the meantime, keep an eye out on flights to the Tron.

Beach tournament

We marked the first weekend of summer with our annual beach tournament at a sun-soaked O Bay on Saturday 3 December. We had a mighty turnout, fielding four teams in both the women's and men's competitions. With the smell of factor 50 strong in the air, and the games played at a frantic pace, we sparked the interest of many a passer-by on the parade throughout the day.

In the women's competition, Team Polar Bear acclimated well to their unusually warm conditions and defeated Team Tony by double figures. The men's competition saw Lizard People scale their first step in their pursuit of world domination with a seven-point win over Caaaavan. Thanks to all players and spectators who came along on the day.

Beach tournament at Oriental Beach on Saturday 3 December.

Social Gaelic games

We're already five gameweeks in to the pre-Christmas social Gaelic games campaign. It has been great to see many new faces as well as those returning for another season. Our hurlogie competition is now in its second year and we're thrilled to see so many new players giving it a go.

Finals day

Our pre-Christmas finals day takes place on Saturday 10 December from 10am at Ian Galloway Park.

That evening, we'll head to Whistling Sisters for our prizegiving. We have an area downstairs reserved and we'll be there from 7.30pm. There'll be discounts on drinks and we'll be treated to Whistling Sisters' finest finger food.

Team awards will be presented as well as awards for each team's pre-Christmas MVP. We can't wait to celebrate with you all so mark it in your diaries now.

Morning Star Cup

It's do or die in the Morning Star Cup hurling series as Kāpiti Kōwhai and Wellington Kākāriki head into the final game with a win each. Kōwhai took game one of the series with a six-point win over Kākāriki at Ian Galloway on Friday 11 November. However, Kākāriki kept the series alive after a dominant 13-point win on Friday 25 November. With players returning from injury (and laziness) for the final game, the 2023 decider is going to be a doozy. Throw in is at 6.45pm at Ian Galloway this Friday 9 December. You'd be an absolute fool to miss it. 

The teams after game 2 of the 2022 Morning Star Cup hurling series.

Maryland vs Wellington/Hutt Valley

In a tribute to the late Eoinie Farrell, the two great clubs in his life, Maryland and Wellington/Hutt Valley, will play a game on Wednesday 28 December at Maryland GAA's grounds in Westmeath. John Murray (+353872145573) is organising the Wellington ex-pat team if anyone who is at home over Christmas would like to take part.

Family Fun Run

Thanks to everyone who helped out and took part in Eoinie's family fun run on Saturday 12 November. Despite the torrential rain, thunder, and lightning, there was a great turn out. It was also great to see some old faces and meet some new ones. We're sure Eoinie would've been proud.

 Eoinie Farrell's family fun run at Wellington waterfront on Saturday 12 November. 

Kids Gaelic games

Kids Gaelic games have been up and running in recent weeks in both Lower Hutt and on the Kāpiti Coast. Due to a combination of poor weather and other commitments, we haven't hit the same numbers as in previous years. However, our kids in attendance are continuing to learn the core skills of Gaelic games and are improving week on week.

Lower Hutt kids are taking a break now in the lead up to Christmas and will return in the new year. Kāpiti kids will continue for another few weeks in their new timeslot of Thursday evenings at 4:30pm in Te Atiawa Domain before breaking for Christmas.

This year, we have also been lucky to introduce Gaelic games to Eastern Hutt School in Lower Hutt where we've run a number of sessions for Year 3 kids. We'll continue to do this in the lead up to Christmas and continue in the new year.

Successful coaching course

It was great to have Gerard Roe and Glenn Carpenter pop across the ditch on Saturday 19 November for our Australasia GFHA foundation-level coaching course. Held at St Patrick's College, Wellington, eight club members participated in the course and picked up some invaluable coaching skills. Thanks to Glenn for imparting his coaching wisdom, and well done to all our aspiring coaches who took part.

 Foundation-level coaching graduates following the Australasia GFHA coaching course on Saturday 19 November. 

Irish community

Volunteering opportunity at Capital Irish Radio

The team at Capital Irish are seeking anyone who might be interested in learning how to record and edit a radio show to get in touch. With the hope of expanding their team of volunteers, the crew at Wellington Access Radio will provide the necessary training and mentorship. No previous experience is required and the training will be provided on a Thursday evening for anyone who is interested.

You may already be familiar with the radio show given our recent club involvement following the success at the Australasian Games 2022. You can find more information and also check out previous episodes here. If you would like to get involved, email Eilís at Go raibh maith agat.


Check out the links below for the latest news from the region's Irish community:


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