A season that brought us as far east as Dubai, North to Copenhagen, West to Rennes and South to Zurich, will come to an end when the floodlights are switched off in Maastricht on Saturday evening. 24 teams, nearly 400 players and guests will attend. When the days activities conclude, all will disappear into the winter months. Some will never appear again whilst others will return with Spring.
Over 60 Belgium G.A.A. Members will make the short journey across the Dutch border in an almighty demonstration of the growth of our club. Those of you who follow the blog will have read all the prematch torment i normally write about, with players missing for all sorts of reasons. Tomorrow the A team will have 14, the B's 16. There were lads that on another day would have played big roles in the A squad. Tomorrow our only absentees are long term injury victims Crusher and Emmett. Although in Crusher's case, if we asked him to play he probably would as he has been bombing around in training, only five months after doing his cruciate. February will be time enough though.
The A's will have to do it the hard way as our group contains Championship contenders Den Haag and the talented Budapest side. It truly is a magnificant challenge. The B's face Copenhagen, Zurich and Valencia.
From an A team perspective, we can still win it, although with an extravagent series of results which Cluxton sent me today. Our goal is simple though; carry the form from Tir Chonnail Gaels into tomorrows games and enjoy it. If we can dig out sufficient drive then we can really rattle it. There is no hiding that the A team has not trained enough and has yet to show the necessary hunger but hopefully we can find it tomorrow.
The post tournament festivities will take place in Maastricht Football Club's stadium and if last years 'do' is anything to go by, it should be a massive evening. The Ladies will be crowned European Champions regardless of tomorrows outcome and the Hurlers will also collect the European Cup. If the footballers were to complete a treble with a victory in the Shield or Championship, it would be a great end to a turbulent year.