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Vienna men extend regional lead, ladies produce best performance of 2017

Prague was the destination for our Gaelic footballers last weekend for the penultimate round of the Central/East Europe Championship and there was an air of mystery about this adventure.

The men, following victory in Zürich, came into the weekend top of the table but knew maintaining this position would be far from straightforward considering many of the ‘first-choice’ players were unavailable, but this granted an opportunity to a whole new bunch of men to step up and make their mark.

As for the ladies, they were travelling with arguably their strongest team of the year to date, but the one-off addition of Holland and Belgium to the mix meant progressing to the semi-finals in their 10-team competition would be a big ask.

Early shock sets men straight

Vienna’s men made sure of their spot in the semi-finals with victories against Zürich and the Italian combination of Lazio/Padova, but suffered defeat against the hosts in the final group game, forcing the guys to regroup ahead of the knockout rounds.

Two victories (against Rovigo and Prague) and two defeats (against Berlin and eventual winners Holland) was the ladies’ return for their efforts in the group, which wasn’t enough for a semi-final spot on the day, but did set up a date with Zürich, a key match in the overall rankings.

Playoff wins all around

Victory over our Swiss friends meant a fifth place finish on the day and a jump up to third in the regional standings for the women’s team.

Laura Sinnott earned herself one of the tournament’s MVP awards, capping off the team’s strongest showing of the season so far.

The men were left with no substitutes for their semi-final against Berlin, but recent times have shown us that Vienna love semi-finals against Berlin and this occasion was no different. Trailing by two points in the final minute, Tristan Deppe popped up with the winning goal to secure a berth in the final against Prague.

Vienna atoned for their earlier defeat by overcoming exhaustion and the hosts’ best efforts to win 0-8 to 0-3, claim a second consecutive tournament victory and increase the lead at the top of the overall standings. John Baxter was rewarded for his fine performances on the day with an MVP award, the third event in a row in which Gaels player has earned one.

Next up is the 4th Annual Slovak Shamrocks GAA Invitational, played in Bratislava on 17 June, giving our teams a chance to enjoy some 7-a-side football as there are even rumours circulating about a hurling match.

The final stop for this year’s regional championship is Munich on 1 July and a strong squad is expected to make the journey as Vienna look to gather momentum and confidence for this year’s Pan-European Championship.

Ladies’ Regional standings after Round 3
1. Munich Colmcilles – 65 points
2. Berlin GAA – 61
3. Vienna Gaels – 35.5
4. Zurich Inneoin – 33.5
5. Cumann Warszawa – 25
6. Prague Hibernians – 23
7. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico – 22
8. Slovak Shamrocks – 19.5
9. Warsaw B – 10
10. Rovigo – 10
11. Basel GAA – 5
12. Vienna B – 4.5

Men’s Regional standings after Round 3
1. Vienna Gaels – 70 points
2. Berlin GAA – 49
3. Munich Colmcilles – 45
4. Prague Hibernians – 31
5. Cumann Warszawa – 25
6. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico –  24.5
7. Zurich Inneoin – 23
8. Rómhánaigh Augsburg Óg GAA –  17
9. Slovak Shamrocks – 17
10. Padova GAA – 9
11. Vienna Vipers – 8
12. Geneva Gaels – 8
13. Basel GAA – 6
14. Zurich B – 5

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Vienna taste success in Switzerland

Vienna Gaels’ men went one step further than April’s final defeat last weekend in Zürich, winning Round 2 of the Central/East Europe Gaelic football championship on 6 April and storming to the top of the ranking.

The Gaels travelled to Switzerland with the biggest men’s squad in recent years, while the ladies joined forces with Prague Hibernians for the day.

After getting the day off to a perfect start with a comprehensive win over Geneva, the men were shaken by a 1-8 to 2-5 draw with Lazio. This proved the perfect wake-up call and was followed by a 12-point victory against the hosts.

The Vienna/Prague ladies combination struggled to score early in the day, which cost them dearly in matches against Zürich and Munich, where there was no major gap in ability.

Berlin/Basel proved to be the toughest test of the day as the eventual tournament winners scored six goals, but the ladies ended the group with a 3-3 to 1-4 win over Lazio.

Immediately afterwards came the 3/4 place playoff against Zürich. Although the Vienna/Prague side had become a true team at this stage, fatigue and lack of depth in the squad took its toll and the hosts ran out five-point winners.

A pair of German clubs stood in between Vienna’s men and a first tournament win since 2015 and they proved to be two very different matches.

While Munich were dispatched in a straightforward manner, 2-12 to 0-2, the final against Berlin was far from simple and it was a single goal which separated the sides after 30 minutes of football, the Gaels running out 2-7 to 1-7 winners.

The victory puts Vienna in a very healthy position in the men’s championship, with two rounds left to play (3 June in Prague and 1 July in Munich), while the ladies will hope for a full squad in the upcoming rounds to break into the top three.

Men’s Regional Standings After Round 2
1. Vienna Gaels – 45 points
2. Berlin GAA – 33
3. Munich Colmcilles – 32
4. Cumann Warszawa – 25
5. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico –  20
6. Zurich Inneoin – 17.5
7. Prague Hibernians – 11
8. Rómhánaigh Augsburg Óg GAA –  9
9. Vienna Vipers – 8
9. Geneva Gaels – 8
11. Slovak Shamrocks – 7
12. Basel GAA – 6
13. Zurich B – 5
14. Padova GAA – 4.5

Ladies’ Regional Standings After Round 2
1. Berlin GAA – 41 points
2. Munich Colmcilles – 40
3. Cumann Warszawa – 25
4. Zurich Inneoin – 20.5
5. Vienna Gaels – 20.5
6. Prague Hibernians – 15.5
7. Slovak Shamrocks – 11
7. S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico – 11
9. Warsaw B – 10
10. Basel GAA – 5
11. Vienna B – 4.5

 

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Warsaw on top at the end of successful Vienna tournament

Cumann Warszawa’s youthful and talented squads saw them come out on top in both men’s and ladies’ competitions last Saturday (8 April) in Rudolf-Tonn Stadion, Schwechat.

Vienna Gaels hosted the first Gaelic football tournament of the 2017 season in the Central/Eastern Europe region, with over 200 players representing 17 teams taking part.

Having trained side by side all season, Vienna’s men were pitted against each other in the opening match of the day, which saw the ‘Gaels’ run out 1-8 to 0-1 winners over the less experienced ‘Vipers’. This match also saw Jimmy ‘The Knife’ Cunningham claim the first mark of the season, since the new rule was introduced this year.

The rest of their Group A matches continued in much the same way, with the Gaels winning all four matches to finish top of the pile, matches which saw John Baxter and Simon Deignan return to action after spells on the sideline, while the Vipers’ draw with Lazio saw them finish fourth.

The ladies got their day off to the perfect start as they built a strong lead against Warsaw ‘B’, but a single Warsaw player turned the match on its head in the second half and snatched the match by a single point.

Vienna’s Gaelettes bounced back brilliantly to win against Berlin and Prague to book a place in the semi-finals.

Home glory out of reach

Ironically, the unfortunate loss to Warsaw ‘B’ left Vienna with a semi-final against the day’s only unbeaten side, Warsaw A.

The side has made clear strides since the end of last season, but nothing could be done to stop the students, who went on to win the title with a 3-6 to 1-6 victory over Munich Colmcilles.

It was a fourth place finish for our ladies at the end of the day, after coming out on the wrong side of a one-point game against Berlin.

Berlin stood in the way of the men and a spot in the final against Warsaw. Last year’s rivalry with the German club opened in scrappy style and the Gaels were down by two points at the break. Calmer heads prevailed in the second period, however, and Vienna outscored Berlin nine points to one, cruising to a final score of 1-12 to 2-3.

Warsaw were a different beast and Vienna knew it coming into the final. The home side jumped out to an early lead with a goal and point without reply and things were looking good early on.

The Polish-based students increased the pressure and two goals late in the half turned the game completely. Warsaw continued in the same vein in the second half and deservedly took the title with a 4-6 to 1-5 victory.

While the 1st place trophies went back to Poland on Sunday, two individual awards stayed with the Gaels. After an eight-month exchange in the Netherlands, Aisling Pircher marked her comeback with a 3rd place MVP trophy in the ladies’ tournament, while Chris O’Reilly picked up 2nd place in the men’s event.

Next stop – Zürich

Three rounds remain in the regional championship and the next event is just weeks away. On 6 May, the Gaels will make the trip west towards Zürich, Switzerland, inspired by the weekend’s matches and knowing that improvements must be made to come out on top in a fiercely competitive region.

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Anticipation grows for season opener in Vienna

We’re just one week away from the beginning of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic football season and the opening tournament in Vienna on 8 April is shaping up nicely.

Over 200 players representing 10 clubs from Italy, Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic as well as the hosts from Austria will compete for the first bragging rights of the season and vital points for the overall championship – which consists of four events between April and July.

52 Vienna Gaels players are expected to play in the tournament and that high number has helped training reach another level over the past weeks as competition to get on to the ‘A’ teams next week has intensified.

Vienna’s men’s team, two-time defending regional champions, are certain to be pushed to their limits by last year’s runners-up Berlin, Warsaw’s big and youthful squad, while Slovak Shamrock’s showed us their team is on the up after a promising second round of the winter league.

Bad news, however, for Augsburg as 2016’s surprise package and arguably the most impressive side in the region appear severely depleted this year and travel with a meagre squad.

The Gaels’ ladies team has a fresh look this season with at least six new players set to play in the tournament.

A home tournament is the perfect introduction to the competition for the team and they will have an opportunity to test themselves against European powerhouses Munich and Warsaw as well as their Slovak neighbours.

The draw for the tournament will be revealed early next week.