Seven intrepid Vienna Gaels hurlers and their coach will be taking to the field in Hamburg this weekend for round three of the Cultec European Hurling and Camogie Championship 2018, as the race for the overall Shield title hots up after winning eight out of ten games played thus far this season. Here’s Noel Fitzgerald with a recap of the events in Berlin, as well as a preview to the Hamburg round.
Strong start sets Vienna Gaels up well for Berlin Shield competition
The Gaels brought another strong squad of twelve hurlers, a coach and one camogie player to Berlin for round two of the Cultec European Hurling and Camogie Championship 2018, with debuts for Jack Rea and Ganesha Galhaup.
In the group stage, the Gaels faced into three games, knowing that the more wins they picked up, the better placed they were for the Shield competition later in the day, thus they tore in Setanta Berlin B, taking an early lead, however the Setanta side kept in contention throughout the first half with an important goal. The Gaels steadied themselves in the second half however, coming out on top with a 2-4 to 1-2 win. It was in the second game against Hamburg B where they really revved their engines, coming in at half time four points to the good thanks to good work from Diarmuid ‘The Dragon’ O’ Riain, only for Hamburg to have a bit of a revival early in the second half. The Gaels recovered well, with outstanding points from Matthew Dane and Noel Fitzgerald the standouts in a 1-8 to 0-2 win. They rolled on to the final group stage game against Darmstadt GAA, where they really felt the tenacity of the all-German side, however goals win games, and the Gaels managed to squeeze the life out of the blue-robed side with a 4-4 to 0-2 win.
Vienna Gaels join Luxembourg GAA for Katie Riley’s European camogie swansong
For the Vienna Gaels’ sole camóg to date, Katie Riley, she teamed up with Luxembourg GAA in their quest to topple long-term rivals Belgium GAA. Their day started well, picking up an easy win over Setanta Berlin, Katie among the scorers, however they were outdone by perennial rivals Belgium A in the other group game, pitting them against Hamburg GAA in the 3rd place play off. A goal for Luxembourg was the deciding factor here in a low-scoring affair, picking up Riley’s last piece of silverware before she heads off on her next adventure.
Gaels run into some tough Benelux opposition in Shield competition
Taking with them the highest possible seeding they could from their first place group finish, the Gaels then faced Amsterdam GAA in the Shield semi-finals, whom would prove to be their most difficult opponents this year to date. Battling valiantly, what had so far proved a useful tactic of raining ball in on top of full forwards Noel Fitzgerald and Diarmuid O’ Riain wasn’t bearing as much fruit as previously, and the Gaels headed in to the break behind the Dutch side. However, they stuck to the task, and goals from Noel Fitzgerald and Barry Lunn gave the Gaels hope, narrowing the gap to three points, before Amsterdam would employ a sweeper to close the game out, winning by six points and ending the Gaels’ Shield hopes. They would cap the day off with their first-ever win over Den Haag GAA in the third place playoff, Jack Rea goals being the decisive factor as the Gaels collected their eighth win out of ten games this season so far.
Points race heats up as Gaels head for Hamburg
A strong squad, led by captain Stephen Walsh and coached by manager Kilian Smith head for round three of the Cultec European Hurling and Camogie Championship 2018 in Hamburg as the race for points in the Cultec European Hurling and Camogie Championship Shield hots up. Currently the Gaels are well placed, with 24 points so far thanks to results in Dresden and Berlin. The action kicks off early on Saturday morning, don’t forget to keep in touch by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Vienna Gaels Whatsapp group!