Blue Dragon and the Vietnam Swans in the Long Bien Youth Cup
Long Bien Youth Cup U12 (Ref – Jim Kiernan)
Blue Dragon 7.2 (23pts)
Vietnam Swans 2.2 (8pts)
On 5th June, Blue Dragon played the Vietnam Swans in the final of the Long Bien Youth Cup U12 in Hanoi. The event was organised by the Viet Celts GFC and was played in a 7-a-side format.
The Vietnam Swans U12s are the youth Gaelic Football team of the Vietnamese Australian Rules side of the same name and made up almost entirely of the sons of Australians. It’s probably one of the few examples of Australian Rules footballers moving to Gaelic Football and en masse at that, so this situation might facilitate Tomás O’Sé allowing Tadhg Kennelly home for the Christmas.
Blue Dragon is a children’s foundation for disadvantaged kids and the Viet Celts have been running a Gaelic Football club there, Blue Dragon GFC for the past number of years over a range of age groups. Blue Dragon GFC is made up entirely of Vietnamese players. Their U12 team is coached by Sean O’Connell and Thanh Nguyen.
There were excellent performances from a myriad of players on the Blue Dragon team. An end to end game was decided by sharper accuracy in front of goal from the talented Blue Dragon forward line and better ball retention and high fielding by the Blue Dragon midfield together with some dynamic defending. The extremely skilful, Thế Mesi popped up with a number of important goals in the 2nd half.
Vietnam Swans U12 also had excellent performances not least from Segdae Lucardie. His goal at the end of the 1st half kept the game in the balance going into halftime and his point in the 2nd half from a difficult angle was a touch of class. Max Keys and Will Francis put in good stints with a lot of breaking runs.
After the game, Vietnam Swans U12 head coach, Dan Lucardie made a fine speech about the contribution of the Viet Celts to youth sport in Hanoi and the development of Gaelic Football in Vietnam. The Vietnam Swans U12s made a presentation of sports gear from various sports to Blue Dragon. They had collected this in their place of education; the United Nations International School (UNIS) over the last few months. This showed a lot of community spirit and the Blue Dragon players were delighted with the contribution.
Thanks to Le Ngoc Anh for having the awards made. Ex-British boxing champion, Jamie McGough, former Hogan Cup winner, Shaney Moran and the uncompromising Vietnam Swans legend, Mick Francis presented the cup and medals.
Special mentions must go to the Irish Embassy, the Asian County Board, DFAT, the GAA, the Global Games Development Fund and O’Neills for their vital support of the Viet Celts Youth Gaelic Football program.