Heavy Planting in The Fields of Glory
Dear Mark and Maria Owens,
All have said these games set a new standard for organization and welcome, but the even bigger picture and effect is in showcasing the games, in showcasing Cleveland, whether it be a new field to foster future action addicts to the Irish culture or a new connection, roots for a lost son or daughter of Erin. Much is won in a game, no matter what the final score. The efforts you led brought attention to all the games of football, hurling and camogie, to Cleveland, to tourism and to a destination many had not considered before, but will again.
You were both on site all weekend, and I’m sure long before and long after the games ended, months and years of preparation, partnership and persuasion. But I know that moments get missed, in the rush of doing things right. From the Ohio Irish American News booth and from the fields, I saw what your actions wrought. To say I was proud would not be enough.
Babies crawled on fields while grandfathers misted in memory and merriment. Generations posed for pictures, and teams reveled in raising the cup. Glorious grace in a catch and run, a lancing hurley and even in a shot, “gone inches wide” whose moans echoed a through centuries of Croke Park and back fields, Irish wolfhounds, Cú Chulainn and those ever shimmering fields of glory.
Pictures tell a thousand words they say, and thousands of pictures were taken, shared, facebooked and filed. They will be reminisced over, in a few months, years, and anniversaries, and reflected in a grandfather’s eyes, fifty years from now.
Young soccer players eyes widened and lacrosse players said wow. Government officials uneasy at the prospect of trouble only saw friendships, camaraderie and huge hits closed with a handshake. Players sang and danced with Marys Lane in celebration, or bowed in defeat, then got up to be hugged, and saluted, with “we’ll see you next year Boyo”. They wondered at a community so passionate, so compassionate ~ things we always knew.
You were not alone in your efforts; experts and newbies flooded the fields with kindness, direction and solutions. Big guidance, big bucks and little touches crafted a GAA Games that have reset expectations of what a GAA Games should be. Five denials only made the 6th acceptance that much sweeter, when the last whistle blew.
I have been to a Finals before, I have never been to such a finals. Well done Mark and Maria, well done!
John O’Brien, Jr.
Co Publisher, Editor
Ohio Irish American News
Congratulations to Ali Sullivan Burmeister and Chase Burmeister of Sullivans Irish Pub Medina, who were married September 7th.
Congrats to Cleveland St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football Club, who won a fantastic Overtime thriller over Cleveland St. Pat’s GFC for the Division C North American Gaelic Football Championship.
Congratulations to Vera & Tom Casey and the mighty Casey sisters on Casey’s Irish Imports 25th Anniversary!
Congratulations to Great Lakes Brewery, celebrating their 25th year!