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!


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!


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


Vienna Gaels plan for 2018 and beyond at AGM

The membership of the Vienna Gaels gathered for the 2018 Annual General Meeting on Thursday last, the 18th of January at Flanagan’s. Chaired by outgoing Chairperson Simon Deignan, lots of interesting discussions were had by the membership and a new committee was elected for 2018.

Fresh faces for 2018

After several years of service to the club, Simon Deignan, Bernie Motal, Darren Gleeson and Chris O’ Reilly stepped down from their posts of Chairperson,Health/Wellbeing Officer, Secretary and PRO, respectively. The club owes a huge debt of gratitude to all for their fantastic work for the club. In their place, Jimmy ‘The Knife’ Cunningham was promoted to the post of Chairperson, with Anna Psintrou filling the vacated position of Vice Treasurer. Katie Riley was promoted to the vacant Secretary position, with Cian Scollard taking the role of Vice Secretary. Anita Deignan is staying on as Treasurer, Noel Fitzgerald replaced Chris O’ Reilly as PRO, while finally Clara Meiners replaced ‘The Body’ Motal as Health and Wellbeing Officer.

Vienna Gaels Committee 2018

  • Jimmy Cunningham – Chairperson
  • Anita Deignan – Treasurer
  • Anna Psintrou – Vice Treasurer
  • Katie Riley – Secretary
  • Cian Scollard – Vice Secretary
  • Noel Fitzgerald – Public Relations Officer
  • Clara Meiners – Health and Wellbeing Officer

Youth Committee established

With the Irish community in Vienna expanding more and more every year, that has lead to a number of junior Gaels keen to follow in their parents footsteps. On the heels of discussions on this topic, a youth committee has been established with the aim of organising summer sessions of Gaelic football and hurling for the young Irish population of Vienna. It will be headed up by Barry Lunn and Diarmuid O’ Riain. Stay tuned over the coming months for more details.

Progressive Dinner 2018

The ever-successful Vienna Gaels Progressive Dinner returns for the fourth installment on March 3rd. Pair up with a friend for an evening of socialising and food. Kicking off at 18:00, you will attend three houses where you will share a three course dinner at three different addresses. There are 6 people at each meal, three groups of two. You stay with your partner for the evening and will meet two different couples at each course. One of the courses will be served by you and your partner at your home, plus your 4 guests. All participants then meet up for a drink afterwards.

Cost is €30 per person (discount available, please contact the club). You will get a full three-course meal and accompanying drinks for this money, plus every penny goes to the club!

Sign up here to take part:

Show your pride in the club – Vienna Gaels gear for sale!

Club hoodies (42 euro) and tracksuit tops (40 euro) are currently for sale. The perfect gift! Children’s sizes also available, please contact the club at to order.


Nizzo Monferrato win first GAA Handball tournament in Vienna

Written by Noel FitzGerald

Six men’s teams and four ladies teams from three clubs descended on the new, purpose-built Vienna handball walls at USZ Hietzing for the 2017 Gaelic Games Europe Handball Championships. Representing Vienna, the Vienna Gaels, Vienna Franky’s, Austro-Irish Underdogs and Hietzing Hammers contested the men’s championship with visiting teams from the Slovak Shamrocks and Nizzo Monferrato, while in the ladies championship, Vienna was represented by the Vienna Valkyries, Vienniese Waltzers and Reliable Shamrocks, taking on Nizzo Monferrato.

In the men’s group A, the Austro-Irish Underdogs  overcame the Hietzing Hammers, with both sides falling to Nizzo Monferrato, while in group B the Vienna Gaels came out on top, pipping group runners-up Vienna Franky’s, with the Slovak Shamrock’s pulling up the rear. That set up a cup semi-final of Nizzo Monferrato against Vienna Franky’s, while on the other side of the draw there an all-Vienna affair with the Austro-Irish Underdogs meeting the Vienna Gaels.

In the ladies competition, after the group stage, the Viennese Waltzers took on the Reliable Shamrocks in the 3rd/4th place playoff, while the Vienna Valkyries looked to upset the odds against top seeds Nizzo Monferrato.

The Waltzers went on to top the Shamrocks to claim the bronze position, while in the final, the ladies from the Italian club were worthy winners with another comprehensive win.

In the men’s Shield competition, the Hietzing Hammers took on the Slovak Shamrocks, with the former claiming the silverware and fifth place overall in the tournament.

In the semi-finals, the Vienna Gaels took a convincing win to face Nizzo Monferrato in the final, who also dispatched of the Vienna Franky’s in convincing fashion. On this occasion it was tournament favourites Nizzo Monferrato who took the win, their third consecutive title.

The competitions were preceded and followed by workshops from GAA handball development officer Darragh Ruane, who kindly gave his weekend to aid in the progression of GAA handball in Europe, before everyone went to club sponsors Charlie P’s for the trophy presentation and tournament dinner.