Faolan Symth and the Cao Bang Expedition

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In the month of May, visiting coach, Faolan Symth from Co. Meath spent three weeks from 4th-25th with the Viet Celts in Hanoi . This was due to a joint initiative of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the GAA with the logistical involvement of the Asian County Board (ACB). Faolan’s remit was primarily youth coaching and in particular to help out some of the VC coaches already involved in youth development with new ideas and techniques. Vietnam Australia School (VAS) coach, Jim Kiernan and Hanoi International School (HIS) coaches Mike Clifford (Gloucester) and Leo Dyar (Mayo) were very grateful for this help. Faolan spent most of his time in Hanoi at these two schools as well as helping out at the South Asian Youth Cup on 24 May.

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On 9 May, Faolan Symth, Jim Kiernan (Westmeath) and VC head coach, Shaney Moran (Galway) travelled eight hours by sleeper bus to Cao Bằng, a mountainous town in the North-East of Vietnam to promote Gaelic Football there. A former VAS Hanoi teacher, Nông Văn Tô had introduced the game to Cao Bằng and the idea was to give him some support.

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The training session was set for Saturday, 10 May. The coaches who travelled up from Hanoi couldn’t have asked for a better group to train. The 24 players present listened attentively to the instructions and showed a lot of natural skills by putting everything into practice. Leinster GAA kits were handed out as prizes at the end. Afterwards there was a question and answer session on Gaelic Football in general and life in Hanoi and Ireland in particular.

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VTC 3 television sent a camera crew to record the event and a news clip ran on Vietnamese sports news  for the next few days.

VTC 3 added some background information to the same clip about Gaelic Football for the discerning Vietnamese sports fan and this altered clip ran on a Vietnamese sports program for the next fortnight.

The involvement of VTC 3 would not have been possible without the organisational work of Phan Cuong and the Irish Embassy. Thanks to them and also Nông Văn Tô for hosting us.

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Jamie’The Frog’ McGough had put a lot of work into the trip but unfortunately was unable to join us due to unforeseen circumstances immediately prior to departure from Hanoi and was a big loss to the expedition.

Jim Kiernan

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Filed under News, Vietnamese Schools Gaelic Football

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