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Vienna tournament begins with intraclub clash

The teams are confirmed and the schedule is set for the first Gaelic football tournament of the season!

With more than 30 men’s players making themselves available for Vienna Gaels on 8 April, the squad had to be split in two – the Gaels and the Vipers.

And the schedule has thrown out a cracking start to Saturday morning’s play at Rudolf-Tonn Stadion in the form of an all-Vienna clash.

After months of training side by side, the two sides must face-off at 09:00 hrs, before taking on Group A’s remaining contenders: Munich, Prague and Lazio.

Group B consists of four teams with the highlight encounter between Berlin and Warsaw at 11:00 hrs, while Slovak Shamrocks and the combined Augsburg/Zurich/Basel team will try to upset the odds.

The top two sides from each group will contest the semi-finals and the final is scheduled to take place around 15:30 hrs.

Warsaw the team to beat

There’s always a degree of intrigue and uncertainty when Cumann Warszawa’s ladies team come to town. Having won their one and only tournament last year on home soil, they arrive in Vienna with two teams this weekend and both are certain to make an impact.

Vienna’s ladies find themselves in Group B alongside Berlin, Prague and Warsaw B, a perfect test to measure how far they have come since the end of last season.

Defending champions Munich Colmcilles are in Group A alongside Slovak Shamrocks, Warsaw’s A team and a combined team featuring six Vienna players and Zurich.

The top two sides from each group will contest the semi-finals and the final is scheduled to take place around 17:00 hrs.

The full schedule for both men’s and ladies’ competitions can be found below.

Schedule Vienna 8 April 2017

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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.

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A year of firsts

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.

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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.

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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.

Deignan returns

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!

Awards

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

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Katie Riley relives World Games adventure

On Thursday 11 August, the European Ladies Native Gaelic football team saw their Etihad Airways GAA Worlds Games come to a close. Two days before that, the team of 14 ladies, made up of almost just as many nationalities, took the pitch together for the first time with one goal in site: winning the championship in Croke Park.

On the European Ladies Native Football team, was the Vienna Gaels’ very own Katie Riley. While Katie is native to Upstate New York, she qualified to play for Europe due to the fact that she became a resident of Europe during the summer of 2015. Continue reading