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Hurlers head to Dresden hunting first official victories

13 Vienna Gaels make the trip to Dresden, a German city known for being a hotbed for hipsters – demonstrated by the fact it has a hurling-only GAA club, for the final round of the Cultec European Hurling & Camogie championship on Saturday 30 September.

A group of 12 men and one woman (Katie Riley) represent the Gaels this weekend, just three weeks after their first tournament of the season was called off in Den Haag.

The wet weather put off three of the nine teams that day, but the six teams which braved the weather played an unofficial tournament and Vienna reached the final of it.

Buoyed by that positive performance, expectations are higher for this weekend than they were ahead of the previous round, when glorious hurling leader Darren Gilbert said he hoped “to win at least one match and come home with as few broken hurls and bones as possible.”

The 12-team men’s tournament sees Vienna placed in a group alongside Stuttgart and top seeds Luxembourg.

First place in each group goes to the cup semi-finals, while second enters the shield. Although confidence is high, beating a Luxembourg team with experience of playing at the highest level will be a huge task for a Gaels squad still in search of a first competitive victory in just their second-ever event.

Katie will compete in the camogie championship for the second year running, as part of the Setanta Berlin/Holland amalgamation, as Vienna continues to build a camogie team of its own.