We’re just one week away from the beginning of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic football season and the opening tournament in Vienna on 8 April is shaping up nicely.
Over 200 players representing 10 clubs from Italy, Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic as well as the hosts from Austria will compete for the first bragging rights of the season and vital points for the overall championship – which consists of four events between April and July.
52 Vienna Gaels players are expected to play in the tournament and that high number has helped training reach another level over the past weeks as competition to get on to the ‘A’ teams next week has intensified.
Vienna’s men’s team, two-time defending regional champions, are certain to be pushed to their limits by last year’s runners-up Berlin, Warsaw’s big and youthful squad, while Slovak Shamrock’s showed us their team is on the up after a promising second round of the winter league.
Bad news, however, for Augsburg as 2016’s surprise package and arguably the most impressive side in the region appear severely depleted this year and travel with a meagre squad.
The Gaels’ ladies team has a fresh look this season with at least six new players set to play in the tournament.
A home tournament is the perfect introduction to the competition for the team and they will have an opportunity to test themselves against European powerhouses Munich and Warsaw as well as their Slovak neighbours.
The draw for the tournament will be revealed early next week.