Vienna Gaels interview with Irish Examiner Sport

Our own Noel Fitzgerald spoke to Colm O’ Connor as part of the Irish Examiner Sport podcast. Although the Austrian government has not explicitly referenced when Gaelic sports are allowed to return, measures related to playing sports and having meetups have been gradually relaxed since the beginning of May. Noel gives an overview of how the situation in Austria is currently progressing, with the unique perspective of being elected as a co-chairperson for the club shortly before a global pandemic. Another big topic to cover – how Vienna Gaels will get back to sport is revealed – the social Sunday puc about* is the first careful step. For for information about getting involved with Vienna Gaels, get in touch!

*puc about, puc around:
To meet up with friends for a casual hit around with a hurley and a sliotar. If you do this in a public park in Vienna, expect a few interested looks!

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Vienna Gaels Player Profile – Pádraig Garrihy

It has been a strange few months for everyone, especially due to the lack of training, competitions, and social events. Over the last year we have seen so many new faces join the club. To start off a new series of player profiles, let’s get to know Pádraig.

Name: Pádraig Garrihy / Porridge
Age: 32
From: County Clare
Places you’ve lived: Clare, Galway, France (Saint Emilion), Vienna.

How did you end up in Vienna?
It felt like an adventure. I brought a backpack and my CV – I came here in Jan 2019 and got work in a kitchen.

Do you speak any other languages? Teach us a phrase
Some French, and my German is improving every day.
A French ‘old man’ phrase -“Sante – mais pas de pied”…Do it when cheersing a French person for a laugh. It roughly translates to “Smell – but not the feet.”

Best place to eat in Vienna?
Charlie Ps – best burger in Vienna.

What Gaelic sport do you play?
Hurling and football – half / corner forward

What teammate would you pick to be in quarantine with?
Jack Rea. He’s got lovely calves. 😂😂

How did you find the lockdown period generally?
Really enjoyable. As someone who has switched career paths and countries a lot recently, I don’t have anxiety for ‘maybes’ in the future, I’ve been in pseudo-lockdowns before and thrive in them. Plus, my family and friends are all healthy. I’m starting a podcast in the next 2 weeks – I guess that’s my new hobby. Also keeping sane by hitting a sliotar off a wall near my apartment during the week.

Tell us something about you we don’t know:
I finished 3rd in a 39 mile ultra marathon in Connemara 3 years ago.

Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael?
It’s predominantly Irish, for now. I want see the diversity of Vienna shown within our team line-ups.

Best thing about being a Vienna Gael?
The community itself. We had 80 plus people running for charity in a virtual relay marathon within a week of it being suggested. Echt leiwand oder?

Who is the most underrated Vienna Gael?
Dave Walsh. When he’s not nursing a foot injury, he brings a real touch of class to the hurlers.

What have you learned about yourself during the last two months?
That your energy is very important to the mentality of those around you. Smile more and others smile back. The environment that you choose is very important, especially when things are not going as planned.

Stay tuned for more player profiles, and keep an eye on the Vienna Gaels social media for upcoming announcements regarding training.

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Vienna Gaels host the European Gaelic Football Championships in style

The Vienna Gaels GAA Club enjoyed a very successful third hosting of the European Gaelic Football Championships on October 19th, as over 700 Gaelic footballers from all over Europe descended on Rudolf Tonn Stadion in the Austrian capital to compete in 13 different competitions. Here’s club PRO Noel Fitzgerald with a report on the day and how the Vienna teams fared on the day.

A ‘Thank You’

From an organisational perspective, this was a huge undertaking and not only do the participants on the day but also the Vienna Gaels owe a huge debt of gratitude to the army of volunteers who ensured that this tournament ran as smoothly as it did. From those who were at the stadium on Friday erecting goal posts to the pitch co-ordinators to tournament control to the clean-up operation in the evening, this was very much an ‘all hands on deck’ operation and the Vienna Gaels are very proud to have such a wonderful club with so many people to call on for help!

And now on to the football…

Vienna Gaelettes

The Vienna Gaelettes were very much a new-look side at this tournament, with a new coach in Fiona Fleming alongside a host of new players. Blending the experience of club stalwarts such as Zina Scimemi-O’Sullivan and Aisling Pircher with debutants such as Emma Kielty and Johannah O’Mahony, this fresh side faced into some challenging fixtures, first up was a loss to traditional ladies football powerhouses Munich Colmcilles, before Laura Connally scored a goal in a 1-12 to 1-1 loss to Paris Gaels/Belgium. They rounded out the group stage with a 0-2 to 3-9 loss to Copenhagen/Augsburg, whom they would then face again in the Junior B semi-finals, this time tightening up their defence a bit, exiting the tournament with a 0-2 to 2-6 loss. In what was a tough day for the Gaelettes, they can be happy with themselves as so many players encountered competitive Ladies Gaelic Football for the very first time. The future is bright for Ladies Gaelic Football in Vienna!

Vienna Gael Force

Vienna Gael Force made their debut at the Pan Euros as for the first time ever, the Vienna Gaels had the luxury of fielding two full ladies teams at a tournament. As with the Gaelettes, it was a mixture of experienced players with those much newer to the sport, and they also faced a challenging schedule. Up first was their neighbours from the Prague Hibernians, where they were unlucky to lose out by 0-3 to 0-7. Up next was a bit of a mismatch with eventual Intermediate A champions, Fillas de Breogan, before they wrapped up their group stage with a more encouraging performance against eventual Junior A champions Cumann Warszawa B, with Ellie Jansa notching her first goal in a 1-2 to 3-5 loss. Their scoring form would continue in their final game of the day, as they lost 2-3 to 5-10 to eventual Junior B winners Zurich Inneoin/Lazio. The Gael Force ladies can be proud of themselves in a day of debuts for many of their players, alongside Gaels stalwarts such as Ciara Keenaghan, Anna O’Malley and Clara Meiners.

Vienna Gaels

The Vienna Gaels men returned to the Intermediate grade at this Pan-Euros after their last outing in Maastricht in 2017, where they came runners-up in the Senior B championship. Able to field a full-strength side, they were able to give a debut to Micheal Conneely as player/coach alongside club stalwarts such as Mark Campbell, Chris Wright and skipper for the day, Alan McKenna. Losing their first group game to the Frankfurt Sarsfields by 0-3 to 1-5 put them on the back foot before they steadied the ship with a 0-7 to 0-1 win over Cumann Warszawa B. This left them with straight knockout games for the rest of the day, as they beat Den Haag GAA 0-9 to 0-3 before their performance of the day, facing Jersey Irish in the Intermediate A semi-final. In a battling display, the Gaels were leading by three points when a Darren Gilbert diving save was required to keep the ball out of the Vienna net, as they held on for a rematch of their first game of the day in the Intermediate A final against the Frankfurt Sarsfields. Unfortunately for our men the gas just wasn’t left in the tank as a more youthful Frankfurt side won out by 2-11 to 1-3.

Vienna Vipers

The Vienna Vipers were a motley crew gathered from our hurling squad, family members, various people’s phone contacts and the pub but they gelled quickly after learning each others names in the morning. Their first game was a 2-6 to 0-2 points loss to eventual Junior A winners Copenhagen GAA before a chastening loss to the Eindhoven Shamrocks by 3-6 to 0-1 after being level at half time. A narrow loss by 2-4 to 1-5 to a Madrid/Moscow combination was next as the Vipers showed steady improvement before coming back from going 2-1 to 0-0 down to within three points of the Prague Hibernians, only to fall to our neighbours by 3-4 to 2-2. Their finest hour was still to come though, as they took on the Paris Gaels ‘B’ in the Junior D semi-final. Though leading the game early through a long-range Tony Murphy goal, they couldn’t quite shake off the Paris side, who stayed in touch throughout the game. Coach Noel Fitzgerald turned to the bench, was unimpressed by what he saw but utilised it nonetheless, springing Nigel ‘Doc’ Fleming, James ‘Hightower’ Keeney and Niall ‘Student’ Buckley on for some ‘fresh’ legs. The plan somehow worked, as ‘Doc’ got on the end of a speculative attempt at goal to fist the ball over the bar, while Niall claimed a Tom Birch kickout, sparking the move which lead to the game’s winner, as star man Brian McGorrian rifled over the winner to rapturous applause on the sideline. The less said about the following Junior D final afterwards, the better.

Banquet dinner and afterparty

Once the long day of Gaelic football ended, the events moved to Schutzhaus Zukunft, where a banquet dinner was served while local band ‘Express Train’ entertained the crowd before and after the awards ceremony. Afterwards, the fun and frolics moved to club sponsor bars Charlie P’s and Flanagan’s.

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Exciting times as Vienna Gaels host the European Gaelic Football Championships

Anticipation is building in the Austrian capital as the Vienna Gaels prepare for their third hosting of the European Gaelic Football Championships. After successful previous editions of the tournament in 2012 and 2015, the Gaels are now busy preparing for the arrival of as many as 700 Gaelic footballers from all over Europe for the one day tournament, which will see competition for mens and ladies teams at Senior, Intermediate and Junior grades. Here’s club PRO Noel Fitzgerald with some useful information in advance of the competition.

Where are the European Gaelic Football Championships taking place?

Matches will take place at two separate grounds in the Schwechat suburb between Vienna airport and the city. The grounds are about 10 km from the city centre so please allow ample time to get there. The two grounds are: Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion, Franz Schuster-Strasse 1-3, 2320 Schwechat, between Vienna Airport and the city, where most matches will be played, and Phönixplatz, Alfred Horn-Straße 2, 2320 Schwechat. Please note that the main stadium where the large majority of the games will be played will be Rudolf-Tonn Stadion. Details of the pitches will be provided closer to the tournament. All games will be played on grass soccer pitches, so studded boots are recommended. There is ample free car parking at the stadium for anyone who is planning to drive.

How do I make sure my club are registered to compete?

The registration form has been sent to the respective club secretaries. Due to the high number of expected attendees expected it is important that we receive this information as soon as possible. The cost for the day is €35 per player as standard and includes registration, lunch, and evening buffet dinner. Evening dinner for non-players is €15.

Please pay the total team fees in advance to the account below:

Bank Account Name: SV Gaelic Athletic Association Vienna
Bank Name: Raiffeisen
BIC code: RLNWATWW
IBAN – Code: AT033200000012047817

The registration form contains the option to opt-out of team water bottles as part of our club’s green initiative. Please note that registration forms and full payment are needed by Friday 11th October. Due to the size of the tournament we must confirm numbers and pay suppliers a week in advance. For this reason, we can only accommodate minor changes (+/- 1-2 players) closer to the tournament. The withdrawal of full teams (or a significant number) after 11th October will mean that the team in question will be liable to the full costs contained on their original registration forms.

How do I get there?

Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion Option 1:
Take the U3 to the Jufa Hotel (stop Enkplatz). From there a shuttle bus will be operating to the stadium. The first bus will depart at 07:15 and the journey takes approximately 25 mins.

Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion Option 2:
Take the U3 to the last stop Simmering. From there the following options are available:

• A taxi from here to the stadium costs €12-€15
• Bus 217 (exit Hasenleitengasse at Simmering U-Bahn station) to Brauhausstraße stop. Journey takes 13 mins and departs at 7:48, 8:47 and 9:47.
• Bus 218 (exit Hasenleitengasse at Simmering U-Bahn station) to Schwechat. Mappesgasse stop. It is a 12 min walk from there to the stadium. Bus journey takes 20 mins and departs at 7:22, 8:20 and 9:20.

Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion Option 3:
Take the S7 trainfrom Landstraße/Wien Mitte to Schwechat railway station (direction Wolfstahl or Flughafen (Vienna Airport). Trains depart 15 and 45 mins past every hour, journey time 17 min. The cost of this train is included in the 24/48/72 hour travel ticket mentioned above.
From there the following options are available:

• Taxis should be available costing approximately €7 to the stadium.
• Bus 217 from the station to Brauhausstraße stop. Departs at 8:40 and 9:40
• It is approximately a 10 min walk from the bus station to the stadium.

Phönixplatz:
Take the S7 trainfrom Landstraße/Wien Mitte to Schwechat railway station. Phönixplatz is a 5 minute walk from Schwechat Railway Station.

Other Options:
• Taxi from Reumannplatz (U1) approx. €18-20.
• Taxi from Vienna Airport approx. €10-15

Where is the post-tournament banquet?

On the evening of the tournament, a sumptuous banquet shall take place in the “Schutzhaus Zukunft”, a traditional Austrian restaurant. Dinner will be served at 19:30 and will be followed by the awards ceremony. Live entertainment on the night will be provided by local band Express Train. Schutzhaus Zukunft is located to the west of the city centre. It is 5 minutes’ walk from the metro station “Johnstrasse” on the U3 (Orange Line).

Will there be any more venues for the night out?

After the dinner and awards ceremony the fun and frolics will move onto Charlie P’s pub and Flanagan’s Irish Pub in the historic centre of Vienna at ca. 12:00. Libations to quench the thirst of sportsmen and sportswomen will be served late into the night.

From where will the competing teams be coming from?

Gaelic Games Europe has so far announced a whopping list of 31 clubs who will be sending players to the tournament, with more to be announced. These clubs come from all over the continent, such as Valencia GAA, Azur Gaels, Earls of Leuven, Malmo GAA, as well as teams more familiar to us such as Cumann Warszawa and the Slovak Shamrocks.

Will the Vienna Gaels be competing?

The tournament is set to have one of the biggest Vienna Gaels squads ever competing, with two full men’s teams, the Vienna Gaels and the Vienna Vipers, as well as two full ladies teams, the Vienna Gaelettes and Gael Force. The Vienna Gaels men will take part at Intermediate grade while the Vipers will take part in the Junior section of the men’s competition. Meanwhile, both ladies squads, well stacked with new faces, will be competing in the Junior section.

Are spectators welcome?

Spectators are very welcome to come along and support the respective teams at all parts of the day, with games going from early in the morning all the way up until the late afternoon across seven pitches.

Can I still join the Vienna Gaels and be a part of the tournament?

Yes! The club are very willing to accept all forms of help and support, there are even places on the playing squads for those who would still like to take part. Just contact us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

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European Hurling Championship: Gaels send full squad for first tournament in Danish capital

It’s the first competitive action for the Vienna Gaels in over two months this weekend, as the club sends a full hurling squad to round four of the European Hurling Championship in Copenhagen this weekend. Here’s Noel FitzGerald with the latest on our heroes with the stick and ball.

Full squad travels to Denmark

Coach Kilian Smith brings a squad of eleven Gaels to the Danish capital, handing debuts to Ronan Newman, Pádraig Garrihy and David Walsh, who join club stalwarts such as Ben Grobman and Darren Gilbert. Also featuring recent Team Europe hurler Jack Rea, the squad is skippered by Stephen Walsh.

Vienna face into demanding schedule in quest for shield glory 

After the roaring success that was round one of the Championship in Vienna, both on and off the field, the Vienna Gaels then sent a lightweight squad to round two of the tournament in Brussels, reflected by their results on the day. These results have placed them in group four in Copenhagen. First up is Darmstadt/Cologne/Setanta Berlin at 9.00 for our boys, followed by a clash with the Vikings B at 10.10. Whilst relatively unfamiliar opposition, our boys will be hoping to pick up some winning results in these games, which will see them then clash with the last placed teams from groups one and two in the Shield semi-finals.

Follow our progress!

It’s shaping up to be another dramatic day for our hurling side. Stay in touch by following us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the Vienna Gaels WhatsApp group. A huge day of action awaits!