With the opening tournament of the 2017 season just days away, you can find all of the information visiting players and clubs need for their weekend in Vienna with the document below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2016 was a memorable year for the Vienna Gaels and while it may not have brought a repeat of the previous year’s success, there were many achievements to be proud of.
The past season saw the club travel to an incredible number of tournaments, across all GAA sports, creating history in the process.
Early season fun
After blowing off the cobwebs with the now-traditional indoor Winter League, played in Vienna and Bratislava, April saw the Gaels head south to Rubano in Italy for the opening round of the regional Gaelic football championship.
Both men’s and women’s teams produced fine performances throughout the day en route to the final, before coming up short against German opposition. However, the following day provided one of the many firsts of the year.
Nine players took on Rovigo in a GAA handball challenge match, just the second competitive outing for the club in the sport. Rovigo took the victory after a morning filled with some tense and entertaining matches, which sparked new interest in the sport.
Retaining regional gold
After an underwhelming visit to Warsaw in Round 2, the final regional tournament in Berlin would decide the overall men’s champion and it came down to the semi-final clash between Vienna and the hosts.
Despite not hitting top gear, Vienna found a way through sheer will and a goal by John Sullivan in the dying seconds to force the match into extra-time. The equalising goal signalled a clear shift in momentum and another goal early in the 2×5 minute extra-time by Diarmuid O’Riain meant that Vienna retained the title for the first time and won it for the third time in four years.
Some bizarre organisational issues left the ladies battling for 5th place on this occasion, but they did it with style and ended their campaign with victories over Venetian Lionesses and Berlin.
Gaels on the world stage
The summer months featured the usual 7-a-side tournaments in Bratislava, won against the hosts and Kuwait Harps, and Wetzelsdorf, which featured the very first hurling match since the code was introduced to the club during the summer, but the big news came from Dublin at the GAA World Games.
Vienna was represented by three players at the massive event, John Baxter (playing for Europe’s Irish men), Katie Riley (European Ladies native team) and Andreas Magerle (Germany native team).
Baxter’s team just missed out on taking home the Shield with a loss to Australasia in the final, Andreas and the German team finished 8th overall, while Katie’s side took the plate after a win over Middle East.
Hurlers and handballers make history
The Gaelic football Pan-European championship tournaments in Munich and Maastricht saw the ladies earn a silver medal in the Shield competition, losing to France in an entertaining final. There was little success for the men, but it provided a valuable reminder of what is needed to compete at that level and will surely set the tone for 2017.
Hurling and GAA handball grabbed the spotlight in October and November, another first for the club and the GAA in Europe.
The traditionally Gaelic football-focused club broadened its horizons in 2015 with entry into the European Gaelic Handball Championship in Italy and the Gaels went one step further in 2016 with entry into all three European GAA final tournaments.
12 men made the trip to Dresden in Germany to take part in the hurling tournament, joined by Katie Riley, who played camogie for Switzerland.
All credit goes to Rob McMahon and Darren Gilbert, who were instrumental in introducing the sport and developing the team.
Our “handball heroes” rounded off the European season in Italy with Jimmy Cunningham, Katie Riley and captain Michael Organ competing in the men’s and mixed tournaments.
An injury to Michael in the opening match brought an end to hopes of winning gold this year, but the club is set for big things over the next 12 months.
2016 concluded with a bang thanks to the first Charlie P’s Champions League, which saw over 40 players take part in a four-team mixed (non-contact) friendly competition over the final two training sessions of the year, won by the Golden Eagles.
This marked the return of Simon Deignan to the field, after a lengthy layoff following a shoulder operation. Big thanks to him for leading the club at training, on the sideline and behind the scenes this year.
We look set for a fabulous year on and off the field in 2017 and it all kicks off with the Winter League in February!
Footballer of the year (male) – John Sullivan
Footballer of the year (female) – Katie Riley
Hurlers of the year – Darren Gilbert and Rob McMahon
Handballer of the year – Michael Organ