Summer has arrived at our doorstep! This time of year generates a well-deserved getaway for most of our members, with the end of the school year. If one word was to be utilised this year, it would be unpredictability. Today marks the 1st anniversary of the North vs South Summer Series in Hanoi. An occasion that brought unprecedented joy into our lives amid a global pandemic will express a far distant memory of artificial normality. The great escape was achieved, but Vietnam has welcomed back the void of vicious unknowns.
I forgive the solemn introduction, but it would be a lie to admit that things are ‘grand’ when the city is undergoing yet another lockdown and Gaels members are leaving for new chapters and adventures. Household names and our first inductees to the Saigon Gaels Hall of Fame were announced online on the 8th of June at our Leaving Quiz Party. Marianna Daniels and John Redmond (JR) are now etched into Saigon Gaels history for their countless hours given to the club, on and off the field. The club will never feel the same without Marianna’s and JRs impact and demeanour on everyone in the club, whether it’s through coaching, committee work or the craic. We cannot thank you enough for your service and wish you well in your future endeavours, whether it’s back in your locality or further afield.
The situation unfolding in Vietnam has forced us to say goodbye to other prominent members, who will be listed below. As a club and community, we anticipated brighter days with everything flowing at full capacity, but as is life, it’s fickle. Like our Hall of Famers, we would like to wish all our leaving members the best in the future, and perhaps a return could be on the table.
The club has been extremely proactive in other businesses behind the scenes. Our Charity Officer, Aoife Kelly, is spearheading a Gael's clothes donation drive in the coming weeks. We would like to encourage everyone to get involved in this great cause, with the rainy season approaching, there are many individuals and families that will benefit. Any unwanted clothes and accessories just lying in your wardrobe catching dust can be popped into refuse sacks and brought to the donation address, available in the poster below. For further information, keep your eyes peeled on the Gaels social media or get in touch with Aoife!
Last week the Gaels committee convened to discuss up and coming projects and the questions lingering over sponsorship. To begin with the positives, our former Chairman, Cormac Hamil presented an excellent presentation on the clubs potential for supporting our member’s mental health and wellbeing. The club has always prided itself on being a supportive and inclusive community, reflecting with the Player Support Initiative, offering free professional assistance. A renewed approach is in the pipeline with potential support from Mandela Wellness, Helplink.ie, Saigon Psychology and the ICCD. Concrete agreements are yet to be made at this time, but we would enjoy hearing your ideas on how to raise awareness within the club and in the wider community.
Following the collapse of Danish player Christen Ericksen, further concerns were addressed, including fundraising for an AED for the field at An Phu. The event's widespread coverage has only increased the demand for an AED and training. In the coming months, Alison Griffin, our Health and Safety officer, will provide training for our members. Discussions and deliberation amongst other sports clubs to fundraise for the AED at the facility is underway. We look forward to being part of this and ensuring its sustainability for the community.
We regret to reveal that our sponsor, Playmakers, will be unable to reopen after the lockdown due to complications surrounding the pandemic. Owner James Teague has been an incredible addition to our current sponsors and the bar will be sorely missed by the Gaels, Saints and AFL. The lines are now open to find a possible replacement and add further sponsors to assist our growing club. Talk’s have been conducted with Avonmore Milk, whose products are becoming more visible in the Vietnamese market. Other local businesses have expressed interest in the club, and we look forward to the outcome.
And finally, for any Gael’s who have ordered merchandise or personalised kit, then you better get your head out of the sand and contact Jonny McLoughlin to collect it in the next week or two! Lots of new O’Neill’s equipment is coming through, so we are edging to get back to business on the field once restrictions ease.
We hope that everyone has a safe and productive summer. Also, enjoy the next few weeks of GAA action through GAA GO!
Slan Abhaile go dti na hEireann, Meiriceá agus Aontas na nÉimíríochtaí Arabacha
Susan Li - Social Crew and Events Officer
Richie Blain - Men’s Players Rep
Conor McGuckin - Vice Treasurer
Marianna Daniels - Club Secretary
Mary Coughlan - Camogie Officer
John Redmond - Sponsorship Officer
Alannah OKelly Lynch
Ellen OKelly Lynch