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.