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Stockholm close in on Scandinavian title after Oslo thriller
The Stockholm Gaels have one hand on the John Aherne Scandinavian trophy following a thrilling win over Oslo GAA in the Norwegian capital on Saturday June 30.
Having won the opening round of the championship on home turf, the reigning Scandinavian champions from Sweden travelled hoping to take a big step towards three in a row.
Summer in Scandinavia is a quiet time, but with Copenhagen and Malmö unable to travel and Gothenburg GAA weakened by the absence of key players, there was little or no room for error. Having narrowly defeated Oslo in the final of the previous round, one slip-up by the Gaels could have blown the championship wide open.
The opening game of the day between Oslo and Stockholm was a cagey affair with both sides failing to open a gap. Stockholm had a gilt-edged chance to get a grip on the game in the first half only for their forward to fire narrowly wide from a glorious position.
Stockholm eventually edged out the hosts 0-8 to 0-6 before taking on Gothenburg, who were strengthened by some replacements from the Oslo panel.
The club from the west coast shocked Stockholm with an early goal but they were unable to capitalise, and when Niall Balfe scored a goal for Stockholm he set in train a run of scores that gave Stockholm a comfortable victory and put them in the final.
Gothenburg weren’t helped by another set of forced changes as Stockholm’s subs populated their ranks for their group game against the hosts. That said, Gothenburg took their scores well and with a few of their more experienced hands at the tiller they would have caused a few more problems on the day.
With the ground thankfully drying out and the sun breaking through, the referee threw the ball up for what was a repeat of the final from the Stockholm tournament.
Oslo have improved immeasurably in the last two season and despite Stockholm slotting over an early point, the Norwegians hammered a goal to put themselves in the driving seat.
The rest of the half was hard-fought with Oslo pinging over some points to lead comfortably by four points at the half as Stockholm failed to convert their firepower into scores.
But despite losing Niall Scullion to a serious leg injury, the superior experience and fitness of the Swedes was to take its toll in the second half as they gradually eroded the Norwegian lead.
First establishing a platform, they took their chances calmly when offered and never forced the play, and with minutes to go they had drawn level with a tiring Oslo.
Stockholm finally broke the deadlock as a booming ball from halfback Brian Stokes was collected by Phil O’Connor, who played in Ciaran O’Reilly to fire home and put the reigning champions on the road to victory.
Keith Hearne then tagged on an insurance point to lead by 1-9 to 1-5, but were lucky to survive a late scare as Oslo desperately fought to get back in the game.
A high ball into the Stockholm square wasn’t dealt with and the Norwegians almost managed to turn it into the net before Stockholm somehow found a route to run it out of defence.
It was Oslo’s third tournament final defeat to Stockholm, who have now won seven of the last nine tournaments in the Nordic region.
But the gap to their rivals is closing all the time, and though they will be favourites to retain their title, they are unlikely to have it all their own way as a disappointed Oslo seek to lick their wounds and go one better in the next round in Malmö in August.
A great performance by all concerned- now let’s finish the job!
Season Starts in Stockholm – May 12!
Come one, come all to Gärdet Sportfält in the heart of the Swedish capital, as the Gaelic football season kicks off!
It’s the opening round of the Nordic Gaelic football championship, and this year the Stockholm Gaels will be entering two teams in the regional competition. Our old friends and rivals from Gothenburg, Malmö and Oslo will travel to meet us, with only Copenhagen missing due to a lack of numbers.
On the ladies’ side, the bulk of the action will take place later in the summer, but there is still a competitive tournament with championship points on offer.
The tournament marks a return to where it all began for the Gaels, as it was at Gärdet that our first kickabout took place back in 2009. With newly-refurbished dressing rooms and plenty of wide-open space, we look forward to getting another great season underway.
There will be catering available all day from our sponsors at the Dubliner, and with fun for all the family, we hope to see as many people as possible turn out to see this unique sporting event.
The action starts at 1030 with activities for kids kicking off at 1300. The finals are due to take place at 1600; at the request of Ireland’s Minister for Sport, a minute’s silence to be held before them to honour those affected by Ireland’s great famine in the mid-1800s.
So come along and join us – we promise a great day, on and off the field!!
Indoor training starts soon!
Both the men’s and ladies’ teams will start the season in Sporthallarna in Bromma. Training sessions will be on Tuesdays (ladies) and Thursdays (men) from 2100 to 2200 at Sporthallarna, which is conveniently located right beside the t-bana station at Brommaplan.
The calendar for the season is almost decided, and new for this year is the Viking Gaels hurling team, which will be drawn from all the Scandinavian clubs – contact philip at stockholmgaels.com if you’d like to take part!
SCANDINAVIAN GAELIC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS 2011!!!
Årstafältet the venue for the Stockholm round
In a little over ten days’ time, competitive Gaelic football will make it’s debut in the Swedish capital as the city hosts the final round of the Scandinavian Gaelic football championship for 2011.
As well as our friends and rivals from Gothenburg, Malmö and Oslo, we look forward to welcoming the two new clubs from Tallinn and Helsinki who will take part in men’s and women’s invitational tournaments on the day.
More information will be made available soon – you can also check out the Facebook event.
So with ten teams, three competitions and three individual prizes on offer, a bar and food run by the Dubliner and music, craic, a bouncy castle and much, much more, Årstafältet is the place to be on Saturday August 20th!
Be part of it.
No trophies, but all to play for after Copenhagen
There was a lot to be positive about after this weekend’s clashes in Copenhagen, but the results weren’t one of them. The men’s team missed out on a Scandinavian final for the first team since the club came into being, and the Whites of the ladies came up just short against a tough, experienced Copenhagen side.
A loss in the opening game against the hosts put us on the back foot from the off. With a sluggish Gaels side taking their time before hitting their stride, Copenhagen had gone out in front before being pegged back.
Stockholm got the upper hand in the second half only to be hit by a sucker-punch goal scored by Seán Coogan. A desperate assault commenced and the Gaels clawed their way back to within a point, and when Phil O’Connor was taken down in the square with seconds left, the ensuing penalty should have been enough – but the spot kick cannoned back off the upright and despite getting their hands on the rebound, the Gaels were unable to put it away and victory went to the Danish side by the slimmest of margins.
With two teams involved in the three-team ladies’ tournament, we divided our girls evenly into Whites and Blacks (their shirt colours) and sent them into battle.
The Whites were next out of the blocks, and the story was eerily similar as the girls of the Gaels got their first taste of competitive action. Copenhagen’s girls hit them with a flurry of points and goals in the first half, but the Whites used the break to re-organise and gave a tremendous second-half display. There were commanding performances all over the pitch as the Whites gave it all they had in the hot sunshine and walked away with a draw in their first-ever competitive game.
Meanwhile, the lads were back in the line of fire against old foes Malmö, and again a bad start was to be their undoing as passes flew astray and scores went untaken. Malmö got a goal in the first half to put them in the driving seat but once again Stockholm collected themselves before pulling themselves back into contention. But in a result that was to prove decisive on the day, the lads couldn’t make it over the finish line and a draw was the final outcome.
The two ladies teams were up next as the Whites met the Blacks, with the Whites running out winners in a high-scoring encounter. The Blacks were now under the cosh, seeking a victory against an experienced and technically proficient Copenhagen side if they were to make it to the final.
Meanwhile, the boys were back in town over on the rugby pitch, and with matters now out of their hands they threw of the shackles and put in a performance against Gothenburg that harked back to their debut here a little over a year previously. Guo Guodong made the pass of the day to set up John Carroll for a well-taken goal, and O’Connor should have added a second, only for his attempted lob to cross the bar for a point instead. Some fine, free-flowing football was played, but all that was left was to wait to see if Copenhagen could beat Malmö and give the Gaels a place in the final.
The Blacks had a tough time of it in their second fixture and despite a brave performance they fell to a dominant Danish team- the old saying “goals win games” was to be proved true once more in the Scandinavian sunshine. Still, the Whites would face off against the Danes in the first tournament of its kind in the region for many years.
Meanwhile, Copenhagen gave it all they had and led Malmö for most of their group game, but the Skåne side came back to snatch a victory and book their place in the final, where they would again meet the hosts. After a much-needed rest in the shade, Mark Rattigan’s men came out and completed the job in a tight, tense final to clainm the tournament victory and put themselves well in contention to regain the crown they lost to Stockholm last year.
There was more heartbreak for the club as the Whites gave it all they had in the final, but despite some superb scores and excellent defensive work, the Copenhagen girls won out in the end. Had there been an award for female player of the tournament, Stockholm could have had more than one representative up for consideration.
Once again, gaelic games provided a great backdrop for a great sporting day in the sunshine in Scandinavia, and all credit to the Copenhagen club for their organisation and hospitality. Congratulations too to both clubs on making the final, and especially to winners Malmö, who showed great character to come from behind to book their place in the final.
The results on the day means that it’s all to play for in Stockholm in August, with Stockholm, Copenhagen and Malmö all in the running for the Scandinavian crown, and Oslo and Gothenburg can still have a big say in where the John Aherne trophy spends the coming winter.
Season hots up as Gaels head to Copenhagen
Having won a nail-biting tournament against Oslo in Gothenburg, the Gaels now head to Copenhagen to see if they can build on the good work already done in the men’s championships. With temperatures rising in the region and five very strong clubs fighting for suprmeacy, nothing will be taken for granted.
The Denmark trip also marks the first time the ladies’ teams travel this year, and with around 20 female players and two of the teams in a three-team tournament, we’re looking forward to a great weekend of Gaelic football!
There’s tons of news on the club front – new pitch, new goalposts, new match and training kit- but a problem with our website interface is preventing anything other than the most basic updates. We hope to have it fixed in the near future- in the meantime keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates on progress from Copenhagen this weekend!
Good luck to the Gaels!
Good luck to those taking part in the Vasaloppet Öppet Spår this weekend!
Keith Hearne, Karl Lambert, Don Conroy and Pär Hellstadius are all on their way to Mora for the 90km cross-country race. Despite never having competed before, the Irish trio have been training hard under Pär’s watchful eye, and they hope to complete the gruelling course in eight or nine hours.
The big challenge will of course be to find somewhere to watch the rugby afterwards!
We wish the lads the very best of luck as they undertake the first major sporting challenge of the year. Those of us left at home are working hard as we prepare for the coming season, where we intend to continue the great success of last year. Be part of it.
Season Preparations Underway!
With the AGM held and a new, expanded committee in place, the club has started 2011 the same way it finished 2010. Indoor training has started for both mens and ladies teams and children’s training sessions are next on the agenda.
Anna Rönngård’s girls are the success story so far- up to 18 girls at each session, and the improvements in the first few weeks have been astounding. We welcome our new members and if the mens’ team were the European success story of 2010, then surely the ladies’ team won’t be far behind in 2011!
The Scandinavian clubs have held a telephone conference and are in the process of finalising the match calendar for the year, and talks are ongoing with our generous sponsors about the financing of the club in 2011. Please pay your membership fee as soon as you can, indicating your name when you do so.
We’ve also introduced the Gaels bond for 2011 where members can volunteer to pay an extra 100 SEK a month- in return for your generosity, we will organise a day out at the Dub with food and drink on the day of the All-Ireland football final.
Our club continues to grow and expand, and as our ladies and junior teams continue to develop, this will be another eventful and exciting year for us and our community in Stockholm, in Scandinavia and Europe. Be part of it.