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Vienna ready to host first GAA handball tournament

USZ Hietzing will host the third edition of the GAA handball European team championship on Saturday 18 November, the first time the event takes place in Vienna.

In fact, it’s the first time any GAA handball tournament takes place in Vienna, after the Gaels build two walls specifically for the sport earlier this year, thanks to funding from the Global Games Development Fund.

27 players, representing 10 teams from Austria, Slovakia and Italy will take part in the tournament, the largest field in the event’s short history.

Hosts of the previous two editions and defending champions Nizza Monferrato will be considered favourites to claim both men’s and women’s titles, but the emergence of new talent and formal training over the past few months mean Vienna are excited to challenge the Italians.

Six men’s teams and four women’s teams will take part in the competition, which is scheduled to take place at 10:00-15:30 hrs. Each match will consist of two singles and a doubles game, each of which is up to 15 points, and the points from all three games are aggregated to make up the final score, which is sure to make every game and point count.

As an added bonus for all participants, GAA handball tutor Darragh Ruane will be travelling from Ireland to host two workshops on the day, one at 09-10:00 hrs on the rules and basic handball play for anyone interested in taking up the sport and another after the final matches (15:30-17:00 hrs) on training and coaching, before everyone heads to club sponsors Charlie P’s for the presentation and after-party.

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Gaels reach first senior final in Maastricht

There was no season-ending trophy for Vienna’s Gaelic footballers, but the men’s team showed they belong with the big boys in Europe by reaching the ‘Senior B’ final at the ‘Croke Park Hotel’ Pan-European Championship in Maastricht, Netherlands.

It was a slow start for the men against Rennes and although Vienna stayed in touch throughout, some unnecessary goals proved to be the difference as Rennes ran out 3-6 to 2-2 winners.

With a place in the ‘A’ semi-finals now out of reach, the Gaels were left to fight for a spot in the ‘B’ grade against A Coruna. Vienna were in control throughout, but had to wait until the second half to pull clear with a goal from Stephen Walsh alongside a barrage of points from Niall Colleran and John Baxter. A 1-8 to 2-1 win set up a semi-final date with last year’s finalists Jersey.

Tough day for new-look ladies

The ladies team underwent a bit of a generational change for this event, with a number of young and brand new players playing their first competitive tournament for Vienna.

An agonisingly close defeat to Frankfurt, 0-6 to 1-2, was the closest the Gaels came to a victory, losing their other group game to eventual shield winners Lazio/Prague/Moscow and play-off matches against Belgium and Luxembourg.

It was not the day the ladies would have hoped for, but there were plenty of positives for the new-look team to take as they look forward to the 2018 season.

Injuries take their toll

An injury to Simon Deignan in the warm up was not ideal preparation for the men’s semi-final against Jersey, but they put it to one side and swept past the islanders in perhaps their finest performance of the season, winning 1-12 to 2-4.

The final minutes of the semi-final saw Niall Colleran, one of the most influential players of the day, go down with an ankle injury and he was ruled out for the final against Madrid.

Despite a battling performance, Vienna couldn’t deal with the superior Spanish side in the final and Madrid deservedly won the ‘Senior B’ title 1-13 to 0-5.

Vienna the new home of GAA handball in Europe

For the third year in a row, the club’s European adventure will extend to November, for the GAA handball team championship. However, after two years of travelling to Italy, Vienna will play host to the competition this year.

Thanks to the support provided by the GAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the GAA handball section of the club built two one-wall handball courts at USZ Hietzing during the summer and has been used on a regular basis for training ever since.

The event will take place on 18 November and all European clubs are invited to take part in, regardless of experience.

Information on the sport and taking part can be found here: Vienna Gaels – European One-Wall Handball Championships_Info.

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All eyes on Maastricht as footballers aim to continue European success

Vienna Gaels will be sending full men’s and women’s teams to the Netherlands this weekend (21 October) for the Pan-European Gaelic football championship.

The business end of the 2017 season began on a bright note with the club’s hurlers winning their first competitive match and eventually their first trophy at the Cultech European hurling and camogie championship in Dresden last month, bouncing back from two group phase defeats to win the plate competition.

Since then, full focus has been on the big ball and putting together two strong sides for a tough task in Maastricht.

Improving on 2016

Senior football awaits the men after dominating the Central/East regional championship this summer. The Gaels have been drawn alongside Rennes (France) and A Coruna (Spain) in Group C of the 12-team competition.

After winning the intermediate title in 2013 and 2016, last year’s outing was hugely disappointing for the ambitious team, but a large increase in training recently means that a lack of fitness is no excuse this time around.

Nine teams will compete in the women’s shield competition this year, which will feature 2016 runners-up Vienna.

A number of the squad’s established players are unable to travel this weekend, but there are some exciting additions to the team which will face Frankfurt and a Rome/Prague/Moscow amalgamation in Group C.

Vienna the new home of GAA handball in Europe

For the third year in a row, the club’s European adventure will extend to November, for the GAA handball team championship. However, after two years of travelling to Italy, Vienna will play host to the competition this year.

Thanks to the support provided by the GAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the GAA handball section of the club built two one-wall handball courts at USZ Hietzing during the summer and has been used on a regular basis for training ever since.

The event will take place on 18 November and all European clubs are invited to take part in, regardless of experience.

Information on the sport and taking part can be found here: Vienna Gaels – European One-Wall Handball Championships_Info.

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Hurlers head to Dresden hunting first official victories

13 Vienna Gaels make the trip to Dresden, a German city known for being a hotbed for hipsters – demonstrated by the fact it has a hurling-only GAA club, for the final round of the Cultec European Hurling & Camogie championship on Saturday 30 September.

A group of 12 men and one woman (Katie Riley) represent the Gaels this weekend, just three weeks after their first tournament of the season was called off in Den Haag.

The wet weather put off three of the nine teams that day, but the six teams which braved the weather played an unofficial tournament and Vienna reached the final of it.

Buoyed by that positive performance, expectations are higher for this weekend than they were ahead of the previous round, when glorious hurling leader Darren Gilbert said he hoped “to win at least one match and come home with as few broken hurls and bones as possible.”

The 12-team men’s tournament sees Vienna placed in a group alongside Stuttgart and top seeds Luxembourg.

First place in each group goes to the cup semi-finals, while second enters the shield. Although confidence is high, beating a Luxembourg team with experience of playing at the highest level will be a huge task for a Gaels squad still in search of a first competitive victory in just their second-ever event.

Katie will compete in the camogie championship for the second year running, as part of the Setanta Berlin/Holland amalgamation, as Vienna continues to build a camogie team of its own.

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Mid-season review: Three championships in a row; the wall gets built!

2017 has been packed full of action for the Vienna Gaels and we’re far from done as the business end of the season approaches.

So before we head into this weekend’s Vienna 7s tournament (26 August from 13:00 hrs at Meiereistraße 18, 1020 Vienna) and the final weekends of Gaelic football, hurling and GAA handball, let’s take a quick look back at our exploits to date.

The third edition of the Austro-Slovak Indoor Winter League proved to be another enjoyable and useful start to the season for the Vienna Gaels and neighbours Slovak Shamrocks.

After February’s opening round in Vienna was a one-sided day in favour of the Gaels, the second half of the competition saw the Slovaks fight back on home court.

The Yellow Tits – led by the ferocious defence of Justin “Terminator” Walker and unrelenting pace of Bernie “The Body” Motal – were the most consistent side throughout the league and deservedly picked up first place.

The women’s competition could not have been any closer at the conclusion as both Slovak sides ended the second round level on points, one ahead of Vienna’s Black Mambas.

Men make it three-in-a-row

The outdoor season began with a regional tournament in Vienna, which proved to be a brilliant day of football, which saw Cumann Warszawa’s youthful and talented squads saw them come out on top in both men’s and ladies’ competitions at Rudolf-Tonn Stadion.

Vienna’s men’s fortunes improved significantly in the following tournaments, coming out on top in Zurich (with Niall Colleran as tournament MVP) and Prague (with John Baxter as MVP). The victory in Prague was particularly sweet as an understrength squad came from behind to beat Berlin in the semi-final and avenged an earlier loss to Prague in the final.

Berlin got their own back in the final regional event, beating Vienna in the final, but the third regional championship in as many years was already safely wrapped up.

The women’s team was involved in a season-long battle for the bronze medal with Zurich, which went right down to the final tournament.

At their home tournament, a narrow loss to eventual runners-up Berlin showed they can match the best the region has to offer. A consistent set of tournaments resulted in a fourth place finish, a single point behind the Swiss side.

Aisling Pircher, Laura Sinnott and Isabelle Wolfsgruber picked up MVP awards during the season so far, backed up by brilliant team effort and spirit by the women’s team at each tournament.

There’s one big tournament left for the footballers in 2017, the Pan-European Championship, held in Maastricht on 21 October, and Vienna will be represented by both men’s and women’s teams for the season finale.

Hurlers ready themselves for European competition

After making their debut at the end of last season, the hurling section of the club has reached a new level this year, with its own training slot, more equipment and ambitious plans for the rest of the year.

The Gaels played against a combined Slovak/Moscow Shamrocks side at the Bratislava 7s tournament in June (video above) and are working hard to get a competitive team for the final two European tournaments of the season – 9 September in Den Haag and 30 September in Dresden.

Hurling training takes place every Wednesday at 19:00 hrs at Steinergasse 12, Atzgersdorf, 1230 Vienna and beginners are very welcome.

Fun and games galore at the summer party

This summer’s party doubled up as a farewell to our dear members Laura and Conan and it turned out to be a fabulous day and night, filled with great food and even better games.

Races of various shapes and sizes, dizzy penalties and a ‘poc fada’ provided more than enough entertainment and we can relive the highlights thanks to the video below.

We built the wall!

Thanks to the support provided by the GAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the GAA handball section of the club now has a place to call home.

Two one-wall handball courts have been set up at USZ Hietzing, training will begin there soon and the Gaels plan to host tournaments in the very near future, with a long-term goal of becoming the hub of the sport in Europe.

Plenty has been achieved and experienced so far this year, but a thrilling few months lay ahead for Vienna Gaels GAA club, starting with Saturday’s tournament in our own back yard.