Prague was the destination for our Gaelic footballers last weekend for the penultimate round of the Central/East Europe Championship and there was an air of mystery about this adventure.
The men, following victory in Zürich, came into the weekend top of the table but knew maintaining this position would be far from straightforward considering many of the ‘first-choice’ players were unavailable, but this granted an opportunity to a whole new bunch of men to step up and make their mark.
As for the ladies, they were travelling with arguably their strongest team of the year to date, but the one-off addition of Holland and Belgium to the mix meant progressing to the semi-finals in their 10-team competition would be a big ask.
Early shock sets men straight
Vienna’s men made sure of their spot in the semi-finals with victories against Zürich and the Italian combination of Lazio/Padova, but suffered defeat against the hosts in the final group game, forcing the guys to regroup ahead of the knockout rounds.
Two victories (against Rovigo and Prague) and two defeats (against Berlin and eventual winners Holland) was the ladies’ return for their efforts in the group, which wasn’t enough for a semi-final spot on the day, but did set up a date with Zürich, a key match in the overall rankings.
Playoff wins all around
Victory over our Swiss friends meant a fifth place finish on the day and a jump up to third in the regional standings for the women’s team.
Laura Sinnott earned herself one of the tournament’s MVP awards, capping off the team’s strongest showing of the season so far.
The men were left with no substitutes for their semi-final against Berlin, but recent times have shown us that Vienna love semi-finals against Berlin and this occasion was no different. Trailing by two points in the final minute, Tristan Deppe popped up with the winning goal to secure a berth in the final against Prague.
Vienna atoned for their earlier defeat by overcoming exhaustion and the hosts’ best efforts to win 0-8 to 0-3, claim a second consecutive tournament victory and increase the lead at the top of the overall standings. John Baxter was rewarded for his fine performances on the day with an MVP award, the third event in a row in which Gaels player has earned one.
Next up is the 4th Annual Slovak Shamrocks GAA Invitational, played in Bratislava on 17 June, giving our teams a chance to enjoy some 7-a-side football as there are even rumours circulating about a hurling match.
The final stop for this year’s regional championship is Munich on 1 July and a strong squad is expected to make the journey as Vienna look to gather momentum and confidence for this year’s Pan-European Championship.
Ladies’ Regional standings after Round 3
1. Munich Colmcilles – 65 points
2. Berlin GAA – 61
3. Vienna Gaels – 35.5
4. Zurich Inneoin – 33.5
5. Cumann Warszawa – 25
6. Prague Hibernians – 23
7. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico – 22
8. Slovak Shamrocks – 19.5
9. Warsaw B – 10
10. Rovigo – 10
11. Basel GAA – 5
12. Vienna B – 4.5
Men’s Regional standings after Round 3
1. Vienna Gaels – 70 points
2. Berlin GAA – 49
3. Munich Colmcilles – 45
4. Prague Hibernians – 31
5. Cumann Warszawa – 25
6. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico – 24.5
7. Zurich Inneoin – 23
8. Rómhánaigh Augsburg Óg GAA – 17
9. Slovak Shamrocks – 17
10. Padova GAA – 9
11. Vienna Vipers – 8
12. Geneva Gaels – 8
13. Basel GAA – 6
14. Zurich B – 5