Duracelts on St. Patrick’s Day in Vietnam

The Duracelts had the honour of meeting Ireland’s Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources Conor Lenihan at a function for St. Patrick’s Day at Melia Hotel in Hanoi. The club captain and commander-in-chief Marion Labatut delivered the following speech to the Minister and guests on behalf of the Duracelts Women’s Gaelic Football Team.

“Thanks M. Lenihan for receiving us during your stay in Vietnam.

I’d like to thank the Irish embassy for organizing this special event and for inviting us tonight. Thanks to the Viet Celts men’s team, especially Jim, Gareth and Colm for believing in us and helping us to develop.

The Duracelts started with nothing but motivation, and a little bit of craziness. We had no Gaelic footballs, no experienced players, no proper pitch, no boots, no gloves…and NO Irish player!

Thanks to assiduous training and great team spirit, our football greatly improved and we are now able to demonstrate brilliant skills, including soloing !

We’ve come a long way since we started last September, and since our first games in Bangkok in October.

This is the result of a beautiful collective work, on the pitch and off the pitch. We have an extraordinary panel of great ladies on that team. We come from Vietnam, Germany, France, England, Australia, the USA, and even from Ireland! Thanks Trish for getting involved; for bringing your excellent football and coaching abilities to the team…and this Irish touch that we were missing so much.

I’d like to thank especially all the Vietnamese Ladies who decided to be part of the Duracelts. They are what make this team so unique; we’re the only team in Asia with so many local players. Lana, Thuy and Nhung who played great football in Bangkok. Trang and Hanh who demonstrated their combativeness in Kuala Lumpur; Thu, our trusted goal keeper, and Phuong, a very dedicated new player.

Each player’s skills and qualities are what make the team mighty : Angelika’s powerful kick, Sarah’s determined attitude, Claire’s catches and soloing , the speed and skills that Elisa and Catherine have brought to the midfield, Nicole’s and Ziska’s tenacious defending, Hannah’s dedication to the team. We obviously miss Claudia, but she’s probably starting a new team in Frankfurt. This is how the Irish culture spreads the world, through Gaelic football lovers, whatever their nationality!

And this is only the emerged part of the iceberg; we have many determined new players who bring all their will to learn and their high potential to the training sessions. I’d like to thank Camille, Christel, Bau, Aude, Katy for being the bright future of this team ! We hope that you’ll be part of the squad for the South East Asian Games in Jakarta in May!”

~ Marion Labatut, the Duracelts ~

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