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When in Rome: Vienna Men’s team finish runners up while Ladies finish sixth in eternal city

The Vienna Gaels converged on the eternal city on April 21st for round one of this year’s Central/Eastern Gaelic Games Europe Gaelic Football Championship. The ladies faced stiff competition as they took on seven other teams in the ladies tournament, while the men were one of nine teams looking to claim the honours on the day.

Ladies off to a flyer in local derby

The ladies burst out of the blocks in the first game of the day, a Clara Meiners goal the deciding factor in a 1-1 to 0-2 win over neighbours, the Slovak Shamrocks, as Anna Psintrou led a tenacious defensive rearguard to hold off the Slovaks in the second half. After losing out to champions-to-be Lazio, they gave reigning Central/Eastern champions Munich Colmcilles a serious fright in their final group game, leading at half time before finally running out of steam to lose by 0-11 to 2-2.

Group stage loss hardens men for the long road to the final

With nine teams split into three groups of three teams each, the men’s team faced a tall order to make the semi-finals through the ‘front door’, finding themselves in a group with hosts Lazio and reigning Senior Pan-European champions Cumann Warszawa. After recovering from a scare to beat the host side by 1-6 to 1-4, they were edged out by the Warsaw side by 1-7 to 0-5, subjecting them to the round robin in order to make the semi-finals.

Ladies lose out in goalfest to finish in sixth place

Their third place group finish secured the Gaelettes a place in the 5th/6th playoff against perennial rivals, Zurich Inneoin. The Zurich ladies were an impressive side on the day, beating eventual finalists Cumann Warszawa on the way to their third place group finish, however the Vienna Gaelettes showed no respect for reputations, starting the game off with a Clara Meiners goal. As Zurich ticked the scoreboard over with points, the Vienna ladies stayed in the hunt for goals, Clara adding another to her tally for the day as Jordan Arnswald claimed her first score in Vienna colours. Aisling Pircher saved a penalty harshly awarded against her on the stroke of half time as the Gaelettes trailed by three at the break. They would continue in goal-scoring fashion in the second half, as a long-range Aisling Pircher effort, a Katie Riley fisted goal and a Jordan Arnswald penalty kept them in the game, eventually losing out to a more consistent Zurich side by 5-10 to 6-2.

Men travail the long road to the final

Consigned to the back door, the men’s team made up for lost time, dispatching the sides from Prague and Zurich in quick succession to face group winners Munich Colmcilles in the semi-finals. Early goals were the key here, as a clinical scoring performance led by John Baxter gave the Vienna Gaels a controlled 3-7 to 0-3 win, and a shot at revenge over their early conquerors, Cumann Warszawa.

Men finish runners up as long day in the sun catches up with them

With five games already under their belt, the battle-hardened men’s side squared up once again with Cumann Warszawa, in a rematch of the round one tournament final of 2017, where the Polish side were winners on the day. The game started brightly for Vienna, a John Baxter point giving them the lead, however a fortuitous goal gave the Warsaw side a 1-5 to 0-3 lead at half time. The Polish side would start the second half with a goal from the throw in, and despite giving as much fight as they got, the Vienna side came out on the wrong side of this result, a late penalty putting the sheen on a 2-8 to 1-4 loss.

Player of the tournament awards for Baxter, O’ Riain and Psintrou as Gaels tour the eternal city

Following their superb efforts over the day, Diarmuid ‘The Dragon’ O’ Riain and Anna Psintrou claimed the ‘players’ player of the tournament’ accolades from their peers, while John Baxter collected an official ‘player of the tournament’ award from the referees committee. The Gaels attended the official tournament night out in Scholars bar in Rome, and the following day would coin the catchphrase “When in Rome” far too many times as they enjoyed the sunshine and sights that the Italian capital had to offer.

All signs now point to Bratislava, hurlers head to Dresden

The emphasis for the footballers now shifts towards round two of the Central/Eastern European Football Championship, as the Slovak Shamrocks host what is sure to be a keenly attended tournament for the Vienna Gaels on the 26th of May. First up in May, however, is round one of the The Cultec European Camogie & Hurling Championship, as the Vienna Gaels hurlers travel to Dresden for the opening round. With superb training sessions led by Peter Mongey and a raft of new recruits, excitement is high among the Gaels for this year’s hurling season.

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Vienna Gaels Player Profile – Barry Guihen

The Vienna Gaels player profiles return, this week we talk with Barry Guihen about his love of tea, Paul Walker and playing dress up with the other Barry’s in the Vienna Gaels men’s squad. Barry is a member of our football, handball and hurling squads, as well as having represented the auld enemies over the border, the Slovak Shamrocks in handball. It’s a long story, but rumors persist of a high fee for his performance on the day, like at least a tenner.

Name: Barry Guihen
From: Navan, Co. Meath
Age: 29
Occupation: Researcher in technology, law and ethics, quizmaster.

Funniest (PG) story from your time with the Vienna Gaels?Anything Katie Riley has said that wound up in Darren’s little black book, ‘The Chronicles of Darnia’.

Most memorable trip with the Vienna Gaels? The hurling tournament in Den Haag was a highlight. Being assured by a fella so drunk he was fighting a losing battle with his own equilibrium that he “had played at the highest level” truly was the inspiration my life had been lacking.

If money was no object, what would you do all day? Count my bitcoin and continue to pretend it’s worth anything at all.

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know? Sometimes I do, in fact, stop talking.

What makes you angry? Making a cup of tea and realising I don’t have any milk.

First sporting hero? Meath hero Ollie Murphy.

Ideal date? Quiet pint on a Monday evening, safe in the knowledge that the Gaels are all at training.

Name three things that are always in your fridge? Milk (though it goes so quickly I sometimes get caught out, and then I get angry), cheese and the female characters from my failed novels.

Your last meal before training and first food afterwards? I usually don’t have time to eat as I rush from work. Afterward, a cup of tea cures all.

One team-mate you’d have in your corner in tag-team MMA?
Baxter, although he’d have to promise to only go for the other team!

Who is the best and worst dresser in your squad? Best is maybe Noel and his shoes? John Sullivan’s got a style to him as well. Worst? I suppose it has to go to Barry Lunn in my t-shirts.

Who is the prankster in the squad? Simon, but he’s got an heir to the title in Noel.

Any football superstitions? Only that it takes divine intervention for my shots to not go wide.

What makes you nervous? Extended silence or hearing that Sullivan is leading training.

Last time you cried? Watching Furious 7 in the cinema and that fecking send off to Paul Walker had me in floods.

Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with? Anne Murray or Simon Deignan. Anne because there’s no way she wouldn’t force a solution to it. Simon because the place could be deserted completely, and he’d still know someone who could help us out. After annoying them first.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met? I got drunk with Will Ferrell once. That was a good time.

Who is the most under-rated Vienna Gael? We’ve so many players who put the head down and just get stuck in, but maybe Anita for both how she plays and the trojan work she does behind the scenes.

What’s your most prized possession? I have this mug for tea that my parents gave me and it is perfect in every way.

Best advice you’ve ever received? Stop talking.

Best thing about being a Vienna Gael? Too many reasons to count but it’s probably the fashionable jerseys.

Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael? When we forget to wash the fashionable jerseys.

Describe yourself in three words? Very lucky indeed!

Vienna Gaels player profiles – Alan McKenna and Katie Riley

The Vienna Gaels have never been short on characters, and the class of 2018 are no different. Here, we profile 2017 men’s and ladies footballers of the year, Alan McKenna and Katie Riley!

Alan McKenna 

Name: Alan McKenna
From: Drogheda, Co. Louth
Age: 30
Occupation: Land Surveyor

Most memorable trip with the Vienna Gaels? The trip to Maastricht, Holland for the Pan Euros last year. Good football, great night out, even the odd midnight sauna trip! Great craic from start to finish.

Favourite part of living in Austria? High standard of living, it’s only a couple of hours to Ireland and you can easily visit all the surrounding countries for weekend getaways.

Who is the best and worst dresser in your squad? Simon Deignan usually looks pretty sharp on nights out. Barry Guihen and his strange t-shirt collection has some work to do.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? I once tried a bit of dog in Hanoi, Vietnam. Also ate scorpion and snake in Bangkok.

First sporting hero? Roy Keane.

Name three things that are always in your fridge? Sparkling water, Chocolate and the makings of a meat feast sandwich!

One team-mate you’d have in your corner in tag-team MMA? I think Barry the Brawler is definitely the man for this job!

Who is the prankster in the squad? Maybe not a prankster but Simon Deignan is definitely the joker of the club!

What’s the best show on TV? At the moment Derry Girls. Really funny.

Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with? My wonderful girlfriend Victoria!

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met? I got a photo with Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh in Croke Park a few years ago. He was honoured!

Who is the most under-rated Vienna Gael? Barry Guihen, a gentleman on and off the field.

Your last meal before training and first food afterwards? Fruit before and again after, maybe washed down with a sneaky pint.

Best advice you’ve ever received? College is third level education, travelling is fourth level education, so try to travel as much as possible.

Best thing about being a Vienna Gael? The club is full of great people, both for playing sports and social events.

Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael? At the moment, Bernie the Body’s preseason training!

Katie Riley

Name: Katie Riley
From: Amsterdam, NY
Age: 26
Occupation: Science Teacher

Funniest (PG) story from your time with the Vienna Gaels? I’d have to say all my innocent sayings that always turn out to be something not so innocent. Especially if you do something stupid like ask the WhatsApp group of more than eighty people if anyone is up for the ‘night ride’ on your first week in the group.

Most memorable trip with the Vienna Gaels? There was a REALLY long bus ride to and from Padova/Rovigo. We entertained ourselves with the game HeadsUp and I’ve needed seen a better ski jumping impression than Jimmy’s impression on that trip.

First sporting hero? Mia Hamm, I used to play soccer when I was a kid before I got to high school and took up volleyball.

Name three things that are always in your fridge? Butter, Milk, Cheese. I really like my dairy.

One team-mate you’d have in your corner in tag-team MMA? Simon Deignan, I’ve been told he has a blackbelt and that would come in handy here.

Who is the best and worst dresser in your squad? Ivanka I would have to say is the best dressed, she always has the latest high fashions (which she pulls off for bargain prices) and I would have to say I could be the worst dressed, I really like to be comfortable and can’t say no to a nice woolly sweater or a warm flannel shirt or a puffy vest. None of that would fly at NY Fashion Week.

Who is the prankster in the squad? Jen ‘Prank Sinatra’ Nolan has been know to pull a few fast ones on us. It’s always a surprise when she does.

Any football superstitions? I always like to wear the #3 jersey. I’ve had the number since I was playing volleyball in high school. Apparently it used to be Rebecca’s number until I showed up and stole it from her.

Last time you cried? The other night watching Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes knows how to write a tear jerker.

Your last meal before training and first food afterwards? Before training, a peanut butter and cheddar cheese sandwich. After training, another peanut butter and cheddar cheese sandwich.

Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with? I’ve watched enough Gilligan’s Island to know that someone like the Professor comes in handy so I would have to say my boyfriend Tim, since he is an engineer. I think we would be able to survive and make it out of there.

Who is the most under-rated Vienna Gael? Isabelle Wolfsgruber. She has power, great legs and a defense like a brick wall.

Best advice you ever got? My Uncle Pudge has always reminded me that rule number one, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two, it’s all small stuff.

Footballer who was your childhood hero? I didn’t know Gaelic football existed when I was child.

Best thing about being a Vienna Gael? The camaraderie.

Describe yourself in three words? Bubbly, Loyal, Nerd!

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Vienna Gaels prepare for St. Patrick’s Day festivities

The Vienna Gaels are busy preparing for the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day festivities, with a full weekend of activities for all those enthusiastic about the celebration of Ireland’s patron saint. As usual, the Gaels will take part in the Vienna St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival at Stiegl Ambulanz, while the club is also hosting the Foxrock Mothers and Others team for the weekend, with the Vienna Gaels ladies taking the field for their first outdoor game of the year on Sunday, the 18th of March.

Saturday 17th March

At 11:45 the Gaels will be gathering at Schottenstift for the 2018 Vienna St. Patrick’s Day Parade, with the parade officially commencing at 12 noon, proceeding towards Stiegl Ambulanz, at the Altes AKH. From 13:00 until 15:00, the Gaels will be exhibiting gaelic football and hurling for all those interested, please feel free to join in and try our fantastic sports!

Sunday 18th March

It’s the first outdoor gaelic football of 2018 for the Gaels as the ladies football team takes on the Foxrock Mothers and Others team from County Dublin at 13:00 at our usual training ground, Meireiestrasse 33. With a host of new faces along with some familiar ones and a new management team in place, 2018 kicks off for real for the Vienna Gaels ladies this Sunday amid a flurry of excitement. After the game, there will be a fun penalty shootout for all to take part in, and all participants will move towards O’ Connors bar nearby for some food and drinks. Please show your support for the Vienna Gaels by calling out and cheering on our ladies team. There will be lots of gear and volunteers around also if you’d like to try out some skills for the first time!

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Vienna Gaels take the field for 2018 Austro-Slovak Winter League

The Vienna Gaels men’s and ladies football teams return to action this February in the 2018 installment of the Austro-Slovak winter league. In 2017 the Vienna yellow men’s team and the Lienka ladies of the Slovak Shamrocks took home the honours, but who will claim them this year?

What is indoor gaelic football?

Played on a basketball-size indoor court with six players per team, the regular rules of gaelic football preside with a few exceptions. Scoring must be from within the opponent’s half but not within the opposition goalkeeper’s area, and rolling substitutes are allowed. A great way to spend your Saturday, why not give it a go?!

When and where?

The Vienna round is up first, taking place from 9 am at SportUnion Heitzing, Altgasse 6, 1130 Wien. Following the football, there will be an introductory handball session and some inter-club handball games between the Vienna Gaels and Slovak Shamrocks. Afterwards, all taking part will move into the city centre where they will watch Ireland’s opening round of the Six Nations tournament. Round two of the league takes place on the 24th of February in Bratislava.

Can I take part? Can I bring a friend?

Yes and yes! All who would like to take part and try Gaelic football for the first time, or who would like to reignite their GAA careers in the Austrian capital, are more than welcome to take part. Contact us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or by e-mail at secretary.vienna.europe@gaa.ie.