Vienna Gaels came into Round 1 of the Pan-European Gaelic football Championship knowing the going would be tough and the opposition did not disappoint in the sweltering heat on Saturday.
The men’s team were drawn in without a doubt the toughest group of the event, alongside perennial powerhouse Belgium and the standout team of the South/East region this year, Augsburg.
Vienna were treated to back-to-back matches at the beginning of the day and although they showed they could match both opponents at times, the superior point-scoring ability of both Belgium and Augsburg proved too much to handle.
The women’s team didn’t have it any easier in their group. Red-hot favourites Belgium were played exceptional football and wasted precious few chances on their way to victory, while Berlin seemed to be a more even matchup until they produced a flurry of goals in the second half.
Ending the day on a high
On to the playoffs and another Belgium side awaited the ladies in the 5/6 place playoff. Vienna kept up with Belgium ‘B’ for much of the match, but clinical finishing proved to be the difference and that is something the team will definitely take away from this tournament.
The men took on a joint Eindhoven/Leuven side in an entertaining playoff semi-final, which had a bit of everything over the 30 minutes. Extra-time was needed to separate the teams and in the end it was another loss for Vienna, this time by a single point.
Finally, a victory came for the men in the 9/10 place match against Frankfurt. Vienna fell behind to an early goal, but Diarmuid O’Riain cancelled it out within minutes. A nervy second half saw the Austrian side hold a lead throughout, thanks to Darren Gilbert in goal, and the match ended with a one-point win.
Senior football is beyond our men this season and focus will shift to winning a third intermediate title in four years when the season comes to an end on 24 September with the Pan-Euro finals in Maastricht.
But first, a tournament closer to home is on the horizon. 13 August is the date for the annual Wetzelsdorf 7s. As well as a plethora of men’s and women’s Gaelic football matches, a hurling match will be played in Austria for the first time, another step in the right direction for the fledgling hurling section of the club.