Vienna Gaels New Committee 2021

A GAA club thrives on the sweat and determination of its members. It needs volunteers who care in order to be effective and drive things forward. Vienna Gaels is lucky to have such a large body of committed people who are working hard to develop and grow Gaelic games in Austria.

At the helm of that determination each year is the executive committee, elected annually at the Club AGM.

This year’s committee consists of:

Alan McKenna – Chairperson
Cian Scollard – Secretary
Zina Scimemi-O’Sullivan – Vice Secretary
Ronan Newman – Treasurer
Mark Campbell – Vice Treasurer
Elisa Cola – Health & Wellness
Shane Moloney – PRO

We all extend our warmest thanks to the outgoing committee for all their hard work, and for managing and guiding the Gaels through such unprecedented times.


Alan McKenna – Chairperson

Alan comes to us via one of the oldest towns in Ireland; lovely Drogheda. He’s lived in Vienna for almost 5 years and works as an Engineering Surveyor. He has been involved with the Gaels for almost all that time. This is his second year on the committee and he’s excited about taking the helm for 2021. This year brings many challenges as well as opportunity, and Alan is ready to take it on. If you’d like to know more about Alan, check out his player profile.

Cian Scollard – Secretary

Cian joined the Vienna Gaels in 2015 and has been on the committee since 2018. Originally from Tralee, Co. Kerry, but don’t hold that against him! Cian is an active player with the football and hurling teams and has very fond memories of travelling to tournaments the length and breadth of Europe. Cian enjoys golfing, cooking and dancing the tango. He’s a vegetarian (with occasional relapses) and is committed to reducing his carbon footprint wherever possible.

Zina Scimemi-O’Sullivan – Vice Secretary

Zina has been with the club since August 2018. Joining the Gaels was the third thing she did in Vienna after moving into her apartment and starting work. A coworker suggested that she should come to training, and she has loved it ever since. The club has been like a family. In her new position she hopes to give back to the club as much as it has given to her.

Ronan Newman – Treasurer

Ronan joined the Gaels two years ago, six months after moving to Vienna. Last year he took on the role of Treasurer in the club. Unfortunately due to COVID, the Gaels were somewhat restricted in developing further in 2020 – but he’s very much looking forward to working together with the committee in 2021 to seek out new investment opportunities in recruitment of new members, youth development and continuing on the success of previous committees to drive the club forward and promote all 5 codes that the club now has in place.

Mark Campbell – Vice Treasurer

For the second year running now, Mark is the Vice Treasurer of the Vienna Gaels. He helps ensure money is always “resting in the account’. This is his 3rd year with the Vienna Gaels and he is looking forward to another year on the committee and hopefully a few training sessions, tournaments and social gatherings to boot.

Elisa Cola – Health & Wellness

Elisa’s love of sport is rivaled only by her love of prosecco, so you’re in safe hands! Elisa joined the Gaels at the end of 2019. She is a very active person, across all kinds of different sports ( football, basketball, handball, swimming etc). She is also a vegetarian and tries to live sustainably. She finds her lifestyle is perfectly suited to being the H&W officer and is excited to see what we will be able to plan and organise as soon as contact sports and regular fitness activities will commence once again.

Shane Moloney – Public Relations Officer

Shane joined the Gaels in the strange year of 2020, and hates writing about himself in the 3rd person. However, Shane can’t break voice & tone style this far into the document so Shane must continue as he was.
An avid hurler, having played for Setanta in his youth and Réalt Dearg in his not-so-youth. Shane is excited about bringing dank memes and viral content (no pun intended) to Vienna Gaels in 2021, as written in his acclaimed self help GAA book “How to Recruit New Players and Influence People”.


2021 will not be a normal year, but we’re nothing if not optimistic. There is still plenty of opportunity for progress as a club, particularly with regard to recruitment and youth development. Covid-19 casts a shadow over everything, but it cannot diminish our eagerness to get back on the pitch. For some of us, these games we play form part of our very consciousness. Ask someone what Vienna Gaels GAA is and you’ll get a few answers, but at the heart it’s a community. It exists to enrich the lives of its members. We hope we can bring some enrichment to your lives this year, and look forward to seeing you on the pitch soon. Until then, take care of yourselves and each other.

Beir bua agus beannacht,
Shane.

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Vienna Gaels in the news once again – ahead of the curve

Vienna Gaels’ reputation in Ireland is once again strengthened by our feature in this week’s Northern Standard newspaper. The Northern Standard is available as an ePaper @ northernstandard.ie.

Co-chairperson Noel Fitzgerald was interviewed by the paper to highlight Vienna Gaels and our post-lockdown measures. As Austria was one of the countries to go into an early lockdown, it means we are also coming out of lockdown before other countries. Our position means that we can share our successes as well as our challenges with others.

Another article in the same paper focuses on the journey of the Vienna Gaels GAA club, with an interview of one of the club founders, Des Reilly. Des is one of the club’s active members, from helping newer players, becoming one of the most prominent referees within Gaelic Games Europe, as well as representing his native Monaghan.

This follows on from Vienna Gael’s recent feature in the Irish Examiner – again the current Covid-19 situation was the contextual backdrop for the interview.

Vienna Gaels puc about as featured in the Irish Examiner

We are always happy to chat to media, please get in touch with Vienna Gaels if you would like to do a feature or interview.

Thanks to the Northern Standard and the writer of the original articles; Colm Shalvey.
Thanks to the Irish Examiner and the interviewer Colm O’ Connor.
Thanks to Ray Abery for the photographs.

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Vienna Gaels Player Profile – Ray Abery

It’s a new week in Vienna – businesses are opening, training is returning, and most importantly – another player profile is here for you to read! Let’s get to know Ray Abery.

Name: Ray Abery
Age: 28

Where have you lived?
I grew up in Portugal, studied in Glasgow, lived for a few months in the Netherlands and Belgium, and now I’m here in Austria.

What’s your occupation?
Naval Architect, one of not so many in Austria.

How did you end up in Vienna?
I finished my degree ad followed my love for boats here.

Do you speak any other languages? Teach us a phrase.
Aye, I speak German and Portuguese fluently. There is this Portuguese saying; “Nasceste com o rabo virado para a lua” and you’d say it to someone lazy but fortuitous, similar to always landing on one’s feet. It translates to “Born with your bum facing the moon.”

What restaurant do you recommend in Vienna?
Is this for Tripadvisor? In my opinion, the Martinigansl at “Carmen und Ich” before Christmas trumps all.

Who brought you to Vienna Gaels?
That would have to be Barry Guihen- We met at the pub quiz he used to moderate at the Highlander on Garnisongasse. “You should try hurling, you’ll pick it up in no time,” he said. A few years later and I’m still at the level of a hockey player holding a hurley.

Ray reaching new heights with Vienna Gaels

What sports do you play?
I’ve enjoyed playing hurling as a defender. And I play and coach field hockey at SV Arminen.

How have you found the lockdown? Did you pick up any new hobbies?
It was a necessary evil I guess, but the morning commute was a dream with so little traffic. My girlfriend and I have been discovering the surrounding nature by bike and on foot, which has been so fun. Lobau, Bisamberg, and the Wienerwald are all scenic and readily accessible.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?
Seeing as we’re most likely not going to be able to travel far, I’m looking forward to hiking in the Austrian mountains.

What’s your secret skill?
I learned to identify all national flags for every country in the world to win a 10p bet. Does that count?

Best thing about being a Vienna Gael?
The good atmosphere among my teammates. An 8 hour bus ride to Dresden turns from gruelling journey to 8 hours of card playing fun.

Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael?
Trying to explain why hurling is fun with three or four plum-shade bruises after a tournament.

Who is the most underrated Vienna Gael?
As a defender I’d say Tom our hurling keeper. As a player he’s a phenomenal shot stopper, and off the pitch he’s an all-round funny guy.

What do you miss from home?
I miss swimming in the sea. You can’t quite scratch that itch with lakes and rivers.

Favourite snack?
Those Billa jaffa cakes with a cup of tea.

What have you learned about yourself during the last few months of lockdown?
I learned that I am quite easily entertained, and that Age of Empires II is bags of fun.

If you started a podcast, what it be?
I do love a good podcast, mine would be about nautical trivia and be titled Mythboaters.

What advice would you give to someone moving to Vienna?
Apart from joining the Gaels – don’t let the grumpiness of the Viennese fool you, they’ve warmth and humour hidden beneath that outer layer.

Vienna Gaels football training returns to Monday evenings at Rugby Union Donau. The following guidelines are to be followed:
Changing rooms are not yet available, come dressed to play
Disinfect your hands before training
Avoid sharing equipment (such as gloves) with others
Respect 2 metres distance from other players
Train in groups of max 10 persons
Respect general hygiene rules (hand washing, and cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue)
Avoid arriving or leaving training in big groups
If you’re sick, stay home!

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Vienna Gaels Player Profile – Dunja Sustic

As the club starts to plan a slow return back to the pitch, the focus is now on trying to recognise everyone after 3 months of untamed hair growth, lack of sunlight, and varying levels of ‘corona-fitness’. However at least with the Vienna Gaels Player Profiles you are guaranteed to learn more about a few members of the club in great detail. Let’s get to know Dunja.

Name: Dunja Sustic
Age: 31
From: Zagreb, Croatia.

How did you end up in Vienna?
I came to Vienna as an Erasmus student, loved it, and moved here.

Favourite place to eat in Vienna?
Charlie P’s of course – otherwise I would say Spanish tapas; Puerta del Sol.

How did you get involved with Vienna Gaels?
One of the regulars in Charlie P’s introduced me to Irish football.

Dunja at the Pan Euros in 2019

What sport do you play, and what other sport would you try?
I play Gaelic football, mostly defence. I would try handball.

What teammate would you pick to be with in quarantine?
Lucy and Nives, they can handle the craic 🙂

Did you pick up any lockdown hobbies?
Yes I did. Started baking, and now I can make a badass carrot cake.

What is your favourite snack?
Radishes and spring onions

What are you looking forward to this summer?
Going home finally and enjoying holidays on the coast.

What is your secret skill?
I trained professionally at table tennis for 7 years.

Dunja has already made a big impact with the ladies football team since she started playing. We look forward to seeing her in action at the next football competition, and before then, maybe at the next Vienna Gaels table tennis competition…