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Cúl Camp 2019 – Excitement among the youth of Vienna as Cúl Camp returns for second edition

It’s a big weekend for the young Gaels of Vienna as 28 participants take part in this year’s Vienna Gaels Cúl Camp at the Vienna Gaels Gaelic Football base at Meiereistraße 20, 1020 Wien. Kindly supported by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, the Gaels will be able to host two experienced coaches from CLG Na Fianna, County Dublin for the weekend.

Cúl Camp preluded by GAA introductions in local schools

Arriving this week, our coaching experts will be visiting two local schools, Volksschule der Stiftungs Theresianische Academie and the Danube International School Vienna, in order to introduce Gaelic Games to a new audience of young aspiring Gaels. Some of those children taking part will also be taking part in the weekend’s Cúl Camp, with the possibility for further Gaelic Games sessions in the future thanks to the Gaels’ children’s GAA equipment, ranging from footballs to sliotars, hurleys and helmets, kindly gifted to the club by GAA headquarters.

A weekend of youthful fun awaits

The camp will take place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May. Taking place at our usual Gaelic Football base at Meiereistraße 20, 1020 Wien, it will run from 10am to 3 pm on each day. The camp cost includes for each child; lunch, Cúl Camp Jersey and hoodie and of course, games and coaching from our coaching experts as well as members of the Vienna Gaels. Sports included will be Gaelic Football, Hurling and Rounders, with the weekend being rounded off with the now annual ‘Kids v Parents’ derby game, which is sure to be hotly contested as always. Keep an eye out for updates on our usual outlets on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group!

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Hurling reaches fever pitch in Austria as Vienna Gaels host hugely successful first hurling tournament

On May 4th 2019, the Vienna Gaels had the huge honour of hosting the first round of this year’s European Hurling and Camogie Championship, sponsored by Bank Austria and the Irish Embassy to Austria. The club succeeded in doing so in fine fashion, hosting 86 hurlers and 45 camógs representing 16 clubs across Europe, from Oslo to Zurich and from Den Haag to Dresden. Vienna Gaels PRO, Noel Fitzgerald, reports on what was a big day for the club from the Austrian Capital.

Hurlers start well to startle traditional European hurling powerhouses

Our hurling team fielded their largest squad in history, with Bainisteoir Kilian Smith and Maor Foirne Peter Mongey able to call on the services of a squad of sixteen players for this tournament. The quantity was matched with quality, as new blood such as Fionnán Garvey and Brian Eiffe gelled into a team of Vienna hurling stalwarts such as Darren Gilbert and Ray Abery.

The first game of the day for our men came against perennial cup challengers GSC Luxembourg. Early goals were key as Vienna raced out of the blocks to come into the half-time break with a scoreline of 3-1 to 2-4, Jimmy “Fingers” Cunningham falling foul to injury in this half, which would unfortunately be the end of his day on the field after an entertaining tussle with the Luxembourg full forward line. The game firmly in the melting pot the Luxembourg men went hunting for goals in the second half and ran out winners on this occasion on a scoreline of 5-7 to 3-6.

Big result against Hamburg earns the Gaels their first ever Cup semi-final

The second of our group games pitted us against another traditional cup team, Hamburg GAA, as the Gaels threatened to break new ground by making it into the cup competition for the very first time at a hurling tournament, their superior scoring difference meaning that a draw would be enough to make the cup semi-finals. Vienna started well, taking an early two point lead, Jack Rea scoring a sideline cut from out on the right before Hamburg responded with a goal. A point from team captain Stephen Walsh levelled things before Hamburg struck for a point and another goal to go four points clear, 2-1 to 0-3. The Gaels responded in great fashion, Diarmuid O’Riain pressuring the Hamburg goalkeeper into a short clearance which only found its way to Stephen Walsh, the skipper striking the ball into the empty net to leave Vienna within one. Hamburg would tack on another three points before a Jack Rea free and Fionnán Garvey goal would level the sides once again at 2-4 each going into half-time.

Fionnán Garvey would start the second half off with a converted ’65 and then trade points with Hamburg, before Hamburg would rattle off three points on the bounce. Fionnán would stem the flow with another point before scoring a spectacular goal to put us one to the good. Hamburg would respond with a point to level the game, earning the Gaels the draw they needed to go through to their first ever cup semi-final, on a scoreline of 3-6 to 2-9.

First ever cup semi-final doesn’t quite go to plan for Gaels

Facing into their cup semi-final, the Gaels were up against daunting opposition, the reigning champions of Europe, Belgium GAA, had won their group games by a combined score difference of 55 points. In an unfortunately one-sided game which finished 7-17 to 0-4, however, Vienna were able to blood some new players on the panel, with Mark Reidy, Eric Rearte, Victor Deseille and Ruairi Joyce all seeing their first action for the Gaels. This loss put the Gaels in the third/fourth place playoff against some old rivals in The Hague/Zurich/Cologne, with third place still a massive carrot to win at the end of a gruelling day of hurling.

Camogie heroines face each other in the final

Our camógs each had very successful days with their respective teams for the day, with Hannah Riedler’s Berlin GAA side facing Rachel Minogue’s Holland Gaels in the final of the camogie tournament, as perennial Camogie winners Belgium GAA were knocked out in the group stages, along with Hamburg GAA.

Once again, Rachel Minogue’s scores were key as Holland Gaels beat Berlin GAA in the final by 7-6 to 2-10 to take the honours for the day.

Ultimate honours for Belgium GAA as Hamburg GAA claim Shield spoils

The rest of the day’s hurling tournament went along with what the pre-tournament seedings suggested, with Berlin GAA besting Darmstadt GAA to make the Shield semi-finals before losing out to Hamburg GAA. On the other side of the draw, Dresden had the beating of the Viking Gaels/Belgium B combination to make the Shield final. Hamburg would claim the spoils eventually in the final. In the Cup final meanwhile, Belgium GAA claimed the ultimate honours with a comprehensive 6-10 to 3-6 win over GAC Luxembourg, the scoreline reflecting their overall strength on the day.

Final placings – Hurling

1st – Belgium GAA, 2nd – GAC Luxembourg, 3rd – Vienna Gaels, 4th – Den Haag/Zurich/Cologne, 5th – Hamburg GAA, 6th – Dresden, 7th – Belgium GAA B/Viking Gaels, 8th – Berlin GAA, 9th – Darmstadt GAA

Final placings – Camogie

1st – Holland Gaels, 2nd – Berlin GAA, 3rd – Belgium GAA, 4th – Hamburg GAA

Third place for Vienna Gaels as extra-time is required to best Den Haag/Zurich/Cologne

The Gaels lead off well into this game from the throw-in, Jack Rea winning the ball and scoring from distance. Den Haag tacked on two points then to take the lead before Jack would strike again this time for a goal, to give Vienna the lead. John Baxter and Den Haag would then trade points before Tom Birch would produce a stunning save to deny a goal chance at the back, only for Den Haag to convert the resulting ’65. Johnny ‘Rage’ then struck again, this time, pressuring a short puck out and sneaking the ball into the net, before a quick move from Den Haag got their first goal of the game right before the half-time break, with Vienna leading by 2-2 to 1-4.

Fionnán Garvey would start the second half well for Vienna with a point, only for Den Haag to score three points in succession to leave Vienna in need of a score to bring the teams back on level terms. After some prolonged pressure, the Gaels were finally awarded a free, converted by Jack Rea, before the referee blew for full time, the teams tied at a scoreline of 2-4 for Vienna, 1-7 for Den Haag/Zurich/Cologne, bringing the teams to extra time.

The Gaels started extra time straight out of the blocks, Diarmuid ‘The Dragon’ O’Riain firing in a goal from the restart before Jack Rea landed a point from the resulting puck out. Den Haag would reply with a point to stay in touch, before Jack Rea scored another point from way out on the right. John Baxter would then knock over a point after some great interplay from Diarmuid O’Riain and Eric Rearte, before Diarmuid O’Riain would score a vintage Dragon goal, nicking it past an oncoming goalkeeper and into the net. John Baxter knocked over another point from distance before Jack Rea wrapped up the scoring with a free to earn Vienna their first ever third placing at a European hurling tournament on a scoreline of 4-9 to 1-8, their best ever placing at a European hurling tournament, three years after their debut on this stage.

Awards for Rachel and Eric as Gaels host awards ceremony and afterparty

That evening, the Gaels hosted tournament attendees at Schutzhaus Zukunft for the official awards ceremony. Hosted by club chairperson Jimmy Cunningham, award recipients included our own Rachel Minogue, winning ‘Camogie player of the tournament’, as well as Eric Rearte, who won ‘Non-Irish player of the tournament’.

Both of these awards were the first of their kind to be awarded to Vienna Gaels members, huge congratulations to them both. After the dinner and awards ceremony, the fun and frolics moved to hurling team sponsors Flanagan’s Irish Bar and Restaurant. The following morning, we also hosted a free walking tour of Vienna’s historical first district, led by Stephen Walsh.

A big ‘Thank You’ to all of our volunteers

As always, a tournament of this size could not be done without the help, support and hard work of the many volunteers from the Vienna Gaels who helped out in preparation for, and on the day of the tournament. From the securing of playing fields to catering, lining of the pitches, tournament control, player registration and photography, all of this work was done free of charge by Vienna Gaels members, to which the club must give a huge ‘Thank You’. We look forward to calling on your help once again when we host the Pan-European Gaelic Football Finals in Vienna on October 19th.

What’s up next for the Gaels?

In what will be a jam-packed couple of weeks, first up for the Gaels is their second annual Cúl Camp on the 25th and 26th of May. This year the club is delighted to welcome two expert coaches from CLG Na Fianna, Dublin, funded by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, who will give some GAA coaching sessions in local schools in the days leading up to the Cúl Camp, before leading the coaching of the Cúl Camp that weekend. For more details, please contact us at secretary.vienna.europe@gaa.ie.

Meanwhile, our Gaelic Football teams head to Prague on June 1st for round two of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship, while up next for our hurlers is round two of the European Hurling and Camogie Championship on June 15th in Brussels. To follow us as we embark on these adventures, be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group!

 

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European Hurling and Camogie Championship: Vienna Gaels to host the curtain-raiser for the 2019 European Hurling and Camogie season

Competitive hurling graces Austria for the first time this Saturday as the Vienna Gaels host round one of the Cúltec European Hurling and Camogie Championship, sponsored by Bank Austria and the Irish Embassy, at SV Gerasdorf Stammersdorf, Teichgasse 1, 2201 Gerasdorf. Here’s Noel Fitzgerald with the news on what our players and supporters need to know before this weekend’s action.

Vienna Gaels fielding a strong hurling side as 2019 journey begins

After the rollercoaster ride of the 2018 season ended with our largest ever hurling squad representing the club at the final round in Amsterdam, our hurlers finished the season in second place of the overall shield competition. They’ll be hoping to go one better this season, and will start the new season with just as large a panel. Despite some notable absentees such as Barry Lunn and Peter Mongey, the Gaels have recruited high numbers, reflected in how many players will be making their debut for the Gaels at this tournament. Featuring this weekend for the first time will be Mark Reidy, Brian Eiffe, Eric Rearte, Ruairi Joyce, Fionnán Garvey and Victor Deseille. Coach Kilian Smith returns this season and will face the kind of challenge every European GAA manager would love to have in having a large panel to choose from on the day.

Vienna Gaels field camogie players once again

Previously represented by Katie Riley in camogie, this year the Gaels are proud to have two ladies representing the club this weekend, as Rachel Minogue and Hannah Riedler follow up their footballing debuts three weeks ago with their camogie debuts with the club. Joining up with Berlin GAA for the day, we wish them all the best and to play hard!

Schedule

Our men’s team face into a tough group to start the day, taking on the perennially strong GSC Luxembourg at 10.10, before facing last year’s surprise packages, Hamburg GAA at 11.20. Depending on their results in those games, they will either be taking part in a cup semi-final at 14.10 or a shield semi-final at 13.30. Meanwhile, our ladies with Berlin GAA will face Holland Gaels at 09.30, Hamburg GAA at 11.05 and Belgium GAA at 12.40 before then having either a 3/4 place playoff at 14.20 or a final at 15.00.

How to get there?

First games of the day will throw in at 09.00, with the last game being the hurling cup final at 15.30. To reach SV Gerasdorf by public transport take the S2 train, stopping at many of Vienna’s railway stations (Landstraße/Wien Mitte, Hauptbahnhof, Meidling, Floridsdorf, Praterstern), which go directly to Gerasdorf Railway Station (Gerasdorf b.Wien Bahnhof). These trains for Gerasdorf go in direction of Wolkersdorf im Weinviertel or Mistelbach/Zaya. The S2 goes at 30 minute intervals. Journey time is approximately 25 minutes. Alternative route: Take the underground U1 (red line) to Leopoldau at the vey north end of the line. Switch to the S2 train or the 125 bus for the remaining short hop to Gerasdorf. From Gerasdorf Railway Station it is approximately a 20 minute walk from the train station to the
stadium. It is also reasonably priced to reach the fields by Uber, depending on where you are starting from in the city.

Awards dinner, afterparty and historical walking tour

On the evening of the tournament, a sumptuous banquet shall take place in the “Schutzhaus Zukunft”, a traditional Austrian restaurant. Dinner will be served from 19:30 and will be followed by the awards ceremony. After the dinner and awards ceremony the fun and frolics will move onto Flanagan’s Irish Pub in the historic centre of Vienna at roughly 22:30. Libations to quench the thirst of sportsmen and sportswomen will be served late into the night and live music will be laid on for the event.

The following morning, Vienna Gaels GAA have arranged a free of charge historical walking tour of old Vienna for the Sunday forenoon. What better way to unwind after the strains of physical competition and those of the after party than to amble through the city’s enchanting streets and learn its lore of yesteryear?

Time and place: Sunday 11.30 in front of the church on Minoritenplatz by the Minoritenplatz exit of the Herrengasse U3 stop (orange line) in Vienna’s First District.

Follow our progress on the day!

With such a busy weekend of events ahead of us, stay in touch by following us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group. There are even whispers of Facebook Live coverage of selected games! We are very much looking forward to a wonderful event, and hope to have the support of all of our members, supporters and friends, both in Austria and throughout the continent.

 

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Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship: Vienna Gaels collect important points as the race for the 2019 championship begins in Warsaw

The Vienna Gaels were in Warsaw last weekend as they had mixed results in round one of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship. Here’s club PRO, ladies team coach and men’s team benchwarmer Noel Fitzgerald with his report on the weekend’s action.

Men emerge from tough group to make semi-finals

It was an early start for our men’s team as they faced Cumann Warszawa B at 8:30 in the morning, in what could only be described as Arctic conditions. Early goals were key, as a hat-trick from John Baxter lead the Gaels to a 4-4 to 1-3 win over the young student side. It was Munich Colmcilles next, as our men struggled to eke past the Bavarian side by 1-5 to 0-3, John Baxter once again the deciding factor as his converted penalty was the key to victory. Finally, the men’s team management shuffled the pack somewhat for their final group game with Cumann Warszawa A with one eye on the semi-final tie later on in the day, slumping to a defeat which left them second in their group and still in the hunt for tournament honours.

New-look ladies side compete with vigour in their first outing of the year

Our ladies side fielded four debutants in what was yet another new look team at a regional tournament, and this naivety maybe showed itself a bit in their first game, while battling well, they fell to a defeat to defending regional champions Munich Colmcilles by 1-8 to 0-2. They upped the ante considerably for their second fixture however, going toe-to-toe with Cumann Warszawa B for the entire game in what was the game of the tournament for the club against the team who would eventually finish in third place overall. Warsaw struck early for a goal as they reaped the benefits of drawing on some experienced Cumann Warszawa A players, but the Gaelettes replied with a first goal for debutant Anneliese O’Malley. Level at half time, the Gaelettes went ahead for the first time with a point from Ciara Keenaghan, which Warsaw B replied to with a point of their own. Rachel Minogue then ticked over a point to put the Gaelettes ahead again, before tragedy looked to strike as Warsaw moved in on goal, only for goalkeeper Clara Meiners to put in a brave challenge, conceding a penalty in the process, which she then duly saved. The Gaelettes defence held stiff until the very last moment where Warsaw broke their hearts, their star player breaking forward to grab a second goal and take the game by 2-1 to 1-2. Finally, the Gaelettes lost their final group game to a well-stocked Prague Hibernians team by 0-5 to 0-4, putting them in the 7th/8th place playoff later on in the day.

Ladies finish seventh as they look with optimism to round two

Our ladies tend to save the best for last and this tournament was no different, as goals from Anneliese O’Malley and Ciara Keenaghan helped them to a 2-0 to 0-1 win over Berlin GAA B to seal seventh place and some valuable points in the 2019 Championship race, as they strive to better last year’s sixth place and Shield win. Rachel Minogue starred in midfield in her first appearances for the Gaels, while there were solid performances all over the field from usuals such as Zina Scimemi-O’Sullivan and Jenny Cockton. Hannah Riedler and Rachael Benéid were solid in their debuts, while Anneliese O’Malley secure the golden boot with her two goals. Ciara Keenaghan and Clara Meiners rotated being focal points for the team outfield with playing in goal, as this outing puts the ladies in good stead heading into round two of the championship in Prague.

Men’s side settle for third place as they’re caught off guard by Berlin once again in the semi-finals

Still sore from losing their grip on their regional title last year, the Gaels faced into their semi-final with Berlin GAA with much vigour. However, they were undone once again early on in the tie, as Berlin capitalised on Vienna’s kick-out difficulties to rack up a 1-6 to 0-1 lead by half time. This lead was compounded in the second half as our men’s side slumped to a fifth consecutive defeat to the reigning regional champions, who would then go on to take the final by the scruff of the neck against Cumann Warszawa A, eventually succumbing to a last second penalty against the side from the Polish capital.

This left our men’s side in a third/fourth place playoff with a Zurich Inneion/Lazio team, who had made the semi-finals courtesy of a win over Prague Hibernians. Shuffling the pack once again for this tie, the Gaels led early through a Noel Fitzgerald fisted goal, only to be cancelled out by a goal for the Swiss/Italian side. Bernie Motal then broke forward to put one in the bottom corner before debutant Cullen Holas and Zurich/Lazio traded points, to leave the Gaels ahead by 2-1 to 1-1 at the half-time break. The second half was a more terse affair, as Zurich scored a second goal to level the scores and both sides missed chances to go ahead from placed balls, before Ciarán Roe zipped down by the byline to cut the ball back for Noel Fitzgerald to score a point from close range. The Gaels held out for the remainder of the game thanks to some last-ditch defending and a large portion of luck as Zurich/Lazio missed a series of convertible frees, to take the win and third place by 2-2 to 2-1.

This result also leaves the Gaels in third place in the Championship race, within four points of rivals Berlin GAA in second, with first place Cumann Warszawa not expected to field sides for the rest of the championship. John Sullivan, John Baxter, Cormac Walsh and debutant Ciarán Roe led from the front for the Gaels in this tournament, while Stephen Walsh, Justin Walker, Jimmy Cunningham, Victor Deseille and Bernie Motal put in dependable performances at the back. Brian Eiffe and Cullen Holas made encouraging debuts, while Darren Gleeson was commendable in goal after being thrust into action following Alan McKenna’s injury in the group stages.

May looms large as a huge month of action for the Vienna Gaels

For now Vienna Gaels eyes turn towards the first ever hosting of a European Hurling and Camogie tournament in the Austrian capital on May 4th, as well as the second hosting of a children’s Cúl camp on the 25th and 26th of May, before round two of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship in Prague on the 1st of June. Stay in touch with the Gaels for news on all of the above by following us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group!

 

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Central/Eastern European Football Championship: Gaels head to Warsaw as 2019 campaign begins

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.

Follow our progress on the day!

With a raft of big games on the menu for the Vienna Gaels teams, stay in touch by following us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group, as your PRO strives to provide the best GAA coverage in all of Poland. A huge day of action awaits!