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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.

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Gaels share the spoils with Slovaks in Winter League

The third edition of the Austro-Slovak Indoor Winter League proved to be another enjoyable and useful start to the season for the Vienna Gaels and neighbours Slovak Shamrocks.

After February’s opening round in Vienna was a one-sided day in favour of the Gaels, the second half of the competition saw the Slovaks fight back on home court.

All three Vienna teams were level on points after the opening round of matches in the men’s competition, but didn’t have it all their own way in Bratislava.

The Slovak sides enjoyed some success after unleashing some new talent, but couldn’t break into the top three on the overall table.

The Yellow Tits – led by the ferocious defence of Justin “Terminator” Walker and unrelenting pace of Bernie “The Body” Motal – were the most consistent side throughout the league and deservedly picked up first place ahead of the Robin Redbreasts, who were thwarted with a draw against Slovakian side Dalilicious.

Men                                 Wins   Draws Losses Points Difference      League Points

Yellow Tits                           6            0              2                       +23                              12

Robin Red Breasts             5             1              2                       +32                              11

Blue-Footed Boobies         4            0              4                        +6                                8

Dailicious                             3            1              4                         -11                               7

Michalksa Brana                1             0              7                        -27                               2

The women’s competition could not have been any closer at the conclusion as both Slovak sides ended the second round level on points, one ahead of Vienna’s Black Mambas.

Only points difference could separate Lienka and Ladybirds at the end of the day and it was Lienka who were more prolific in front of goal and took top spot.

The tight competition is ideal preparation for both clubs as they ready their new squads for the tough women’s regional championship.

Ladies                         Wins   Draws Losses Points Difference      League Points

Lienka                                3            1              3                        7                                   7

Ladybirds                          3            1              3                        0                                   7

Black Mambas                 3            0              4                       -9                                  6

Yellow Cobras                  2            0              1                        2                                   4

Onwards and upwards to the outdoor season

With pre-season behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the big events. Vienna will host the first Central/East regional Gaelic football tournament of the year on 8 April.

Schwechat’s Rudolf-Tonn Stadion will see teams from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and Slovakia play and a fascinating day of competition is guaranteed.

Expectations are high in the Gaels camp, with great numbers at training and competition for places in the final squads growing fiercer by the week.

2017 season begins with the AGM and Winter League

A new year means a new GAA season and Vienna Gaels mark it with its AGM on Friday 13 January.

All members are invited to come to Flanagans (downstairs) at 19:30 hrs for a review of 2016 from the committee and give some input on how the club is run.

Reports from various areas of the club will be given, elections for the committe held and new initiatives discussed as the Vienna Gaels prepares for a big 2017.

Winter League

The Austro-Slovak Winter League is back for a third year. Preparation for the new season will begin in February with an entertaining indoor version of Gaelic football in Vienna, followed by a second round in Bratislava a month later.

Round 1: Saturday 4th February-hosted by Vienna Gaels in Sport Union (indoor hall) Altgasse 6, Hietzing, 10am-4pm followed by a dinner/drinks and a darts competition.

Round 2: Saturday 4th March-hosted by Slovak Shamrocks in ŠH Mladosť Trnavská cesta 39, 831 04 Bratislava, Slovakia, 10am-4pm, followed by dinner/drinks in bar in town.