The European Board will play the final round of their European Hurling & Camogie Championships in Thurles on Saturday, July 14th. Teams from Switzerland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Belgium and Spain amongst others will compete over the course of the day to become the 2012 European Championships.
The games will be held in various venues around Thurles with finals scheduled for Semple Stadium that evening. The event will see more than 200 players and supporters from across Europe and in Ireland descend on Thurles for the weekend. Board chairman, William Cashin, himself a proud Tipperary man said “the European Board is delighted to bring our finals to the spiritual home of hurling in Thurles. Neither the GAA founders in Hayes Hotel in 18884 nor Tom Semple himself could have imagined that that hurling and camogie would now be flourishing across Europe”.
He continued “it is particularly appropriate that the European hurling and camogie finals will be played in the European Town of Sport this year and that our clubs will battle it out with the best teams having the honour to play in the iconic Semple Stadium”.
This is also the first year of an official partnership between the Board and O’Neills who are the official equipment partners of our finals this year. “The European Board is proud to have partnered with O’Neills, who are themselves an institution, in meeting the equipment needs of Gaelic games players and supporters around the world” according to Cashin.
Cashin also noted the importance of the support given by Comhairle Laighean, who through their twinning partnership with the European Board, have supported the development of our fabulous games with coaching, equipment and other assistance. This year the European Board has 51 clubs playing gaelic games across 18 countries outside of Ireland & the UK with an ever increasing number of youth development. He noted that “the European Board, thanks to Leinster Council support, has now trained its own referees, assessors and coaches/tutors and is largely self-sufficient”.
“Whilst many of the of the players in Thurles will be Irish expatriates, a large percentage will be indigenous players from cities such as Zurich, the current European hurling champions who were founded by, and feature, many Swiss nationals on their teams” according to ECB Hurling Officer, Brian Sheehy. They will face a stiff challenge from teams based in The Hague, Paris and Brussels amongst others.
ECB camogie officer, Fiona Byrne, noted that while Paris Gaels currently lead the way in the European camogie championship, “they will come under severe pressure from holders, Belgium , new entrants Holland Ladies and resurgent Luxembourg and Zurich teams”.