Rubano, Italy is the venue for the first round of the South/East Europe regional Gaelic football championship this Saturday and 28 players will make the trip south by bus on Friday evening to take on regional friends and rivals for the first time this year.
Seven men’s teams will participate in the opening round, while six compete in the ladies competition.
The men will defend their title against hosts Padova and German duo Berlin and Augsburg in the group phase, with the top two sides progressing to the semi-finals.
As for the ladies, who look to build upon last season’s 3rd place finish, they face Berlin/Prague and Venetian Lionesses ‘B’ in their group and hope to reach the semi-finals with a top two finish.
Both squads look strong heading into the tournament. One notable absence is Simon “The Jägermeister” Deignan, who will turn his attention to striking fear into all opponents from the sideline as coach of both sides on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the men’s backline should be well protected with the likes of Jimmy “The Knife” Cunningham, Diarmuid “The Dragon” O’Riain and Justin “The Terminator” Walker; the names alone will send shivers down the spine of the region’s finest footballers.
|Men’s team||Ladies team|
|John Baxter||Rebecca Adeline|
|Jimmy Cunningham||Lucy McMahon|
|Simon Gabriel||Aisling Pircher|
|Darren Gleeson||Anna Psintrou|
|Andreas Magerle||Isabelle Wolfsgruber|
|Bernhard Motal||Anita Deignan|
|Chris O’Reilly||Jennifer Nolan|
|John O’Sullivan||Clara Meiners|
|Cian Scollard||Michelle O’Hurley|
|Philipp Reingruber||Ciara Pircher|
|Barry Guihen||Katie Riley|
|Men’s competition||Ladies competition|
|Group A||Group B||Group A||Group B|
|Vienna Gaels||Munich||Munich||Vienna Gaels|
|Padova||Rovigo/Lazio||Venetian Lionesses A||Venetian Lionesses B|
Sunday is GAA handball day
10 of the Gaels’ secretive society, the “Handball Heroes”, must resist temptation and avoid celebrating with too much vigour on Saturday night, as another challenge awaits.
Sunday morning(!) sees a challenge match against Rovigo, sparked by the epic encounters between the clubs at the GAA handball European club championship last year.
The teams shared the spoils in Nizza Monferrato in November with a 2:1 victory each, but a new-look Gaels selection plan to win bragging rights against their hosts once and for all.
Here’s the team that will take to the court on Sunday: