All planes and trains are leading to Warsaw this weekend as the Vienna Gaels send full men’s and women’s teams to the Polish capital for round one of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship. Here’s Noel Fitzgerald with the latest from the Austrian GAA club.
A new season rises from the ashes of a poor 2018
The 2018 season began with a strong Vienna Gaels squad heading for Rome for round one of the Central/Eastern championship. Coming through the back door, the men’s team came second to an energetic Cumann Warszawa team, while our ladies claimed their first win of the year, beating the Slovak Shamrocks en route to a sixth place finish. Next up was the short hop to our neighbours in Bratislava, as our men slipped up to rivals Berlin GAA in the final despite a brave comeback, while our ladies had a disappointing day out. Augsburg was a similarly poor day out for the Gaels, as the men slipped to a third place finish while our ladies claimed fourth. Finally, the Gaels sent arguably their strongest squads all year to the final round of the championship in Berlin, where our men were undone by a cunning Berlin GAA side on home turf, while our ladies claimed their first silverware of the year, taking home the Central/Eastern Ladies Shield after a win over a combined Slovak/Prague side. The Pan-Euros in Maastricht offered more silverware for our ladies side, bringing home the ladies plate after another win over their neighbours from Slovakia, while three of our men were unlucky to come up short in the men’s Junior final.
2019 season on the horizon while the Gaels send strong teams to Warsaw
While 2018 brought the Gaels men’s team another spate of trophies, they were of the second and third variety. After reclaiming the Danube Winter Indoor League early in the year, in 2019 they will be looking to reverse that trend, starting in Warsaw this Saturday. Debuts will be handed to Ciaran Roe, Brian Eiffe and Cullen Holas, as they join a host of experienced faces in what is a considerably strong team. With reigning Central/Eastern champions Berlin GAA and the perenially youthful Cumann Warszawa to challenge however, they will have their work cut out.
Meanwhile, our ladies side continues their regeneration, with debuts handed to Rachael Beneid, Rachel Minogue, Johanna Probst, Anneliese O’Malley and Hannah Riedler. Clara Meiners skippers the side, as the only lady travelling to have featured for the team who made her debut for the team before 2018. With the newcomers injecting some youth into the side, hopes are high our ladies team will be causing some upsets over the highly fancied Munchen Colmcilles and Cumann Warszawa sides.
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