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Vienna Gaels move on from disappointment in Bratislava to Augsburg hope

Signs point towards the German town of Augsburg this weekend as the Vienna Gaels look to get their Gaelic football season back on track following a disappointing outing in round two of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship. Here’s Noel Fitzgerald with his account from the sidelines on the Slovak tournament, along with the outlook on this weekend’s action in Augsburg.

Disappointment for the ladies as men topple Munich to make final

An under strength ladies side took to the field in a group with Berlin and the Slovak Shamrocks knowing they were up against it, and the results proved that suspicion, falling to defeats to both, pitting them in the 5th/6th playoff against a tough Prague team. Meanwhile, our men’s team was rolling well in the group stage, pulling up with gas to spare against a combined Zurich/Lazio team and a keen challenge from the Prague Hibernians. Facing a Munich side with whom they dealt with ease in round one of the championship in Rome, they faced a much sterner test here, the Bavarian side bringing more players behind the ball than a Jim McGuinness-coached Panama side. A late Alan ‘Chili’ McKenna point was all that separated the sides, sending them into the final against perennial rivals, Berlin.

Second half surge not enough for men as ladies taught harsh lessons

The Vienna Gaelettes started their playoff game in much better fashion than their earlier games, delivering the intensity they had been keeping until the second half in previous games. However, goals win games and a Prague Hibernians three-pointer in the second half was the difference between the sides in the end as our ladies had to settle for sixth place. All eyes then pointed towards the men’s final, as the stand filled up at the TJ Malinovo football ground, where the Vienna Gaels took on Berlin GAA. Despite dominating possession in the first half, the Gaels struggled to work the ball into target man Niall Colleran in the full forward line, and trailed by six points at the break, 1-6 to 0-3. However they roared back into contention in the second half, as Darren Gleeson slid a goal in under the keeper before Peter Mongey smuggled another three pointer in to tie the sides. With Simon Deignan moving out of goals and making an impact in midfield, the game went up and down the field before two late Berlin goals sealed only their second championship round win, and consigned the Gaels to a second successive runners-up spot.

Championship race hots up as round three brings Central/Eastern GAA to Augsburg

Heading into the next round of the Central/Eastern European Gaelic Football Championship, our men’s team lie one point behind leaders Berlin in second place, while our ladies are in sixth position in a very open ladies championship.

Our men will be joined by some players from Basle GAA, while our ladies will be joined by our friends from S.S. Lazio Calcio Gaelico to complete a strong squad. High honours are not out of reach for either of our sides as both bring lots of experience with them to the Bavarian town. 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!

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Gaels reach first senior final in Maastricht

There was no season-ending trophy for Vienna’s Gaelic footballers, but the men’s team showed they belong with the big boys in Europe by reaching the ‘Senior B’ final at the ‘Croke Park Hotel’ Pan-European Championship in Maastricht, Netherlands.

It was a slow start for the men against Rennes and although Vienna stayed in touch throughout, some unnecessary goals proved to be the difference as Rennes ran out 3-6 to 2-2 winners.

With a place in the ‘A’ semi-finals now out of reach, the Gaels were left to fight for a spot in the ‘B’ grade against A Coruna. Vienna were in control throughout, but had to wait until the second half to pull clear with a goal from Stephen Walsh alongside a barrage of points from Niall Colleran and John Baxter. A 1-8 to 2-1 win set up a semi-final date with last year’s finalists Jersey.

Tough day for new-look ladies

The ladies team underwent a bit of a generational change for this event, with a number of young and brand new players playing their first competitive tournament for Vienna.

An agonisingly close defeat to Frankfurt, 0-6 to 1-2, was the closest the Gaels came to a victory, losing their other group game to eventual shield winners Lazio/Prague/Moscow and play-off matches against Belgium and Luxembourg.

It was not the day the ladies would have hoped for, but there were plenty of positives for the new-look team to take as they look forward to the 2018 season.

Injuries take their toll

An injury to Simon Deignan in the warm up was not ideal preparation for the men’s semi-final against Jersey, but they put it to one side and swept past the islanders in perhaps their finest performance of the season, winning 1-12 to 2-4.

The final minutes of the semi-final saw Niall Colleran, one of the most influential players of the day, go down with an ankle injury and he was ruled out for the final against Madrid.

Despite a battling performance, Vienna couldn’t deal with the superior Spanish side in the final and Madrid deservedly won the ‘Senior B’ title 1-13 to 0-5.

Vienna the new home of GAA handball in Europe

For the third year in a row, the club’s European adventure will extend to November, for the GAA handball team championship. However, after two years of travelling to Italy, Vienna will play host to the competition this year.

Thanks to the support provided by the GAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the GAA handball section of the club built two one-wall handball courts at USZ Hietzing during the summer and has been used on a regular basis for training ever since.

The event will take place on 18 November and all European clubs are invited to take part in, regardless of experience.

Information on the sport and taking part can be found here: Vienna Gaels – European One-Wall Handball Championships_Info.

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All eyes on Maastricht as footballers aim to continue European success

Vienna Gaels will be sending full men’s and women’s teams to the Netherlands this weekend (21 October) for the Pan-European Gaelic football championship.

The business end of the 2017 season began on a bright note with the club’s hurlers winning their first competitive match and eventually their first trophy at the Cultech European hurling and camogie championship in Dresden last month, bouncing back from two group phase defeats to win the plate competition.

Since then, full focus has been on the big ball and putting together two strong sides for a tough task in Maastricht.

Improving on 2016

Senior football awaits the men after dominating the Central/East regional championship this summer. The Gaels have been drawn alongside Rennes (France) and A Coruna (Spain) in Group C of the 12-team competition.

After winning the intermediate title in 2013 and 2016, last year’s outing was hugely disappointing for the ambitious team, but a large increase in training recently means that a lack of fitness is no excuse this time around.

Nine teams will compete in the women’s shield competition this year, which will feature 2016 runners-up Vienna.

A number of the squad’s established players are unable to travel this weekend, but there are some exciting additions to the team which will face Frankfurt and a Rome/Prague/Moscow amalgamation in Group C.

Vienna the new home of GAA handball in Europe

For the third year in a row, the club’s European adventure will extend to November, for the GAA handball team championship. However, after two years of travelling to Italy, Vienna will play host to the competition this year.

Thanks to the support provided by the GAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the GAA handball section of the club built two one-wall handball courts at USZ Hietzing during the summer and has been used on a regular basis for training ever since.

The event will take place on 18 November and all European clubs are invited to take part in, regardless of experience.

Information on the sport and taking part can be found here: Vienna Gaels – European One-Wall Handball Championships_Info.

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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