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.
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.
Vienna Gaels have returned to training, with Monday night’s numbers (38) exceeding those prior to the pandemic. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all. On Monday we decided to use our regular Gaelic football training pitch for a combined hurling/camogie training, aimed at all experience levels. The result was a massive turnout from complete beginners to advanced players. The men’s hurling team have successfully grown over the last few years, and on Monday we saw a huge level of interest in camogie, based on the crowd of women that turned up.
Creating an active and varied training session while still adhering to the current social distancing restrictions has been a challenge that individuals within the club have risen to. Credit is due to the coaches and other people who have helped out, including Fiona Fleming, Kilian Smith, Anne Murray, Noel Fitzgerald, Stephen Walsh, and Darren Gilbert.
Following the regulations is also a whole club effort, and Vienna Gaels members have really come together as a community. The measures in place on Monday were sent out to club members in advance, and included the following: arrive in sports clothes, disinfect hands before playing, do not share equipment, respect 2 metres distance between players, train within your smaller group, respect general hygiene rules, and avoid travelling to or from training in large groups. These measures were put together with the aim of having clear guidance for club members, and will be updated as the situation changes.
Every Sunday there is a casual puc about in Prater open to everyone, hope to see everyone there and at the next hurling/camogie training.
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.
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!
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.