Around the Grounds

Berlin win through to the AFLG Grand Final

The Berlin Crocodiles came away with a convincing win in the preliminary final against the Rheinland Lions. Playing away from home the Crocodiles led at every change in what was a relatively tight first half of football. The premiership quarter was best utilized by the Crocs who kicked 8 goals to the Lions 3 to put the game beyond doubt. Final score reading 20.10. 130 to 11.6. 72.

The Crocs will now go into the AFLG Grand Final this weekend against a red-hot Munich Kangaroos. Having gone down by 50-points in their last outing they’ll be looking to bring their best to Saturday’s decider.

Swedish Ravens crank up the Euro Cup preparations

The Swedish Ravens enjoyed their first day of training together in Malmo at the weekend. Their first session provides them with some crucial practice going into next month’s Euro Cup in Lisbon.

Ravens 1

They finished up their training in Malmo with a practice match at Limhamsfaltet. Keep an eye out on the Ravens come Euro Cup.

Ravens

“I don’t understand what all the fuss is about!”

“Lethal” Lars Hagberg of Sodermalm AFC kicked a handful of goals at the weekend. A good effort but nothing too unheard of right? Throw in the fact he did it all with a broken wrist and those 5 goals seem a far more significant achievement. When asked post-match about the injury and goals he was quoted saying “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about”.

Although I wouldn’t recommend it, well done on getting through the game and kicking a few along the way Lethal.

1

Finals Footy hits the AFL

Finals Footy is finally here in the AFL. After a week off following the regular season the top 8 will be fresh and ready to light it up the on footballs biggest stage.

The first week of the finals kicks off with a Thursday morning blockbuster between the West Coast Eagles and the Western Bulldogs with the loser of that game waving goodbye to season 2016.

The biggest rivalry in modern football lights up our screens on Friday morning when the Cats go head-to-head with the Hawks.

The Sydney derby gets its first dose of final action with the Swans taking on GWS in the early morning timeslot of 6:20am BST Saturday morning

Adelaide Oval hosts the Crows and Kangaroos in what sees the loser eliminated a bit later on Saturday morning.

Jump over to http://watchafl.afl.com.au/ to get your pass for the 2016 final series.

Finals week 1 schedule:

Elimination Final: West Coast Eagles v Western Bulldogs                 Thurs 8/9 11:10am BST

Qualifying Final: Geelong Cats v Hawthorne Hawks                           Fri 9/9 10:50am BST

Qualifying Final: Sydney Swans v GWS Giants                                       Sat 10/9 6:20am BST

Elimination Final: Adelaide Crows v NM Kangaroos                           Sat 10/9 10:40am BST

 

Player of the Week – Maria Falkesgaard

AFL Europe Player of the Week

Maria joined the Odense Lionesses in 2015 and with a background in rugby, cattle wrestling and as a floorball goalie, she came to the sport with the strength of bear and the reflexes of a cat. She quickly showed great awareness around the ball and tremendous power both in contest and disposals. Her first game was played less than a month after joining the team and she scored 3 goals on her debut.

A month later she was badly injured and started watching AFL intensely and spent the summer practicing ball handling skills in Copenhagen with the Copenhagen Barracudas. By Euro Cup in October that year, her understanding of the game and leadership qualities earned her the title of captain for both the Odense Lionesses and the Denmark Valkyries. The same year she became top goal scorer in the Womens’ Nordic AFL and for the Danish Valkyries at Euro Cup. Yeah bra!

Name:

Maria Falkesgaard

Club:

Odense Lionesses (Odense Australian Football)

Nationality:

Danish

What position do you play?

Forward Pocket and Ruck Rover

AFL team you support:

West Coast Eagles

Favourite AFL player:

Josh Kennedy and Matt Priddis

How did you find out about AFL?

There was a tryout day at the club and I was persuaded to give it a go by friends who were playing

How long have you been playing for?

A little more than a year

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Had a massive hangover and taking a hard tackle in the first quarter so I had to go out for a couple of minutes, and then kicking three goals when I came back in

Best AFL moment?

Without a doubt, the goal against England in the final of Euros 2015 – go watch the replay on the tube..!

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

I am in general a very boring person, but I’ve got mad knitting skills and I taught my dog “play dead”.

Around the Grounds

Around the Grounds 30/8/16

Helsinki go back-to-back in FAFL Grand Final

The 2016 season ended victoriously for the Helsinki Heatseekers as they beat off a valiant Turku Dockers in the capital on Saturday.

Congratulations to the Heatseekers and Dockers along with the Finland AFL for putting on another amazing season in 2016. We can’t wait for season 2017 in Finland.

150 of the best for Port Malmo’s, Gaeten Blonde

The Maulers celebrated in style for one of their most decorated players, Gaetan Blonde, as he played game 150 at the weekend. The Maulers convincingly beat the Helsingborg Saints on their home turf by 213 to nil in a big day out for the club.

Ben Polmear kicked 13 goals while Simon Ward bagged 10. Check out video highlights at the link below.

Munich win through to AFL Germany Grand Final

Round 9 in the AFLG Premiership saw the Munich Kangaroos win through to the grand final with a comfortable win over the Berlin Crocodiles. The final score in that fixture was Munich 15.12. 102 to Berlin’s 8.4.52.

In the Championship Freiberg Taipains/Stuttgart Emus took the chocolates over the Frankfurt Redbacks with 20.11. 131 to 8.6. 54. The Hamburg Dockers defeated the Dresden Wolves via forfeit with the scores reading 80-0, giving the Dockers a healthy percentage booster.

Frankfurt and Hamburg will square off in the Championship decider on the 10th of September.

AFL SWEDEN wants you!

AFL Sweden is on the lookout for a new manager of the men’s national team along with a sponsorship manager for the entire association. For further details on both positions can be found by clicking through the link below.

http://www.aflsweden.se/2/index.php/sv/nyheter/32-two-positions-available-with-afl-sweden

Odense Lions knock of rivals Aalborg Kangaroos away from home

The Odense Lions travelled to Aalborg at the weekend to take on the Kangaroos and came away with a resounding victory, winning 118 to 44.

Christian Belling was awarded best on ground while Yossy Taihutto kicked 3 majors for the day.

Odense

Check out the video below of the Lions giving Birkir Gudmundsson a viking clap to celebrate him kicking his first goal in the Aussie Rules.

https://www.facebook.com/340565146058656/videos/1137188763062953/

 

 

 

Match of the Round

Match of the Round 26/8/16

Finland AFL – Helsinki Heatseekers vs Turku Dockers

The day of days has finally arrived for Finland AFL (FAFL) with the two best teams for season 2016 battling it out for the ultimate prize, to be crowned FAFL Premiers.

The Helsinki Heatseekers will do battle with the Turku Dockers in Helsinki on Saturday in a bid to become back-to-back FAFL Champions.

The Turku Dockers have had mixed results in season 2016 having registered two strong wins over Vaasa Wombats and Helsinki followed by a big home loss to the Heatseekers in the return fixture.

The Dockers have been best served by Elmo Primmer and Pietari Arikka this season. Both young chargers love to run and take the game on which bodes well for Turku in the 9-a-side format. The Heatseekers will have to keep a close eye on 2014 FAFL Grand Final ‘Best on Ground’, Alix Kalliojarvi, who has a track record of performing on the biggest stage.

The defending premiers, the Helsinki Heatseekers, have also been battling inconsistency this season as they have struggled stringing together four quarters of footy. Injuries throughout the year have been key to these inconsistencies with a number of key players sitting on the sidelines for long periods of time.

The Heatseekers will be sweating on the fitness of Adam Vassey, as a player of his quality will most certainly put them in the hot seat to go back-to-back. Sito Lopez is widely regarded as the top ruckman in the FAFL and will hold the key to the midfield battle come Saturday.

With a 1:30pm bounce scheduled no doubt the Talin-Urheilupuisto ground in Helsinki will be jam-packed with footy-mad Finns on the edge of their seats waiting with baited-breath to see who will be crowned 2016 FAFL Champions.

Best of luck to both sides involved.

The coach’s thoughts – Turku Dockers

“Helsinki are always tough to beat at home, especially with their full playing list available, but the Dockers guys showed in the Helsinki tournament earlier in the year that they can be beaten. It should be a tough game, with both teams keen to end the season on a high.”

 

The coach’s thoughts – Helsinki Heatseekers

“This year has seen the competition come a lot closer with Turku beating us in the opening round and us getting the second one back. Vaasa have been a very strong and tough team to get a win over and they are a very big and physical side and like to play hard. Saturday will provide a very good game and best luck to everyone and have a fun safe game.”

Player of the Week – Stuart McKeating

AFL EUROPE PLAYER OF THE WEEK 

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

Stuart McKeating has participated in the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League in March 2015 where the Redbacks placed 3rd. Since then Stuart has been in integral member of the Redbacks as well as being chosen for the Irish Warriors, participating in the AFL Europe Championships. Unfortunately the Warriors went down to the GB Bulldogs in the final but McKeating made an impact and cemented his position in the Warriors with his outstanding performance.

Name:

Stuart Mc Keating

 

Club:

Belfast Redbacks and Irish Warriors
Nationally:

Irish

 

What position do you play:

Midfield – On ball or Sweeper

 

AFL Team you support:

Belfast Redbacks

 

Favourite AFL player:

I’m torn with this one, for two different reasons.. I’m going to say David McElhone on the field because in possession he could find a sober Irish man on St. Patrick’s day. Then off the field I’m going for Conor O’Halloran from the Leeside because his flowery t-shirts are exceptional

 

How did you find out about AFL:

I work along side Gerard Walls and he had just returned from Australia after winning the World Cup with Ireland, so with the hype of the win I went along to a training session with the Belfast Redbacks and I never looked back!

 

How long have you been playing for:

About 4ish years now

 

What is your first memory of your first Aussie rules game:

My earliest memory is playing my first game, a preseason game against the London Wildcats in Belfast, I remember how slick, tough, and classy these guys were, we spent the majority of the time crashing into each other and picking each other up afterwards laughing. 3 years later we would meet the Wildcats again in the Champions League semi final in Amsterdam, a very close game ending in 2 points to the Wildcats (eventual winners) I remember thinking how much further on the Redbacks had came along with my own abilities.

 

Best AFL moment:

I’m not sure I could pick one moment out, I’ve scored some goals, produced big tackles, and even got to see first hand what the top level AFL players can do as I recently marked Marty Clarke in a league game, but if I had to pick I’d say it was witnessing Gerard Lenihan pull off the ‘specky’ of the season in Galway, although maybe after this coming week things could change!

 

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself:

I can confirm that Gerard Walls has indeed got a grizzly bear carpet in his living room, however the poor bear isn’t dead it’s just afraid to move

Around the Grounds

Bulldogs and Swans crowned Champions of Europe

The AFL Europe Championships came to a close last Saturday with the Grand Finals taking place at the home of the Championships, Motspur Park.

The German Eagles claimed third place in their playoff with the Swedish Elks as they held firm for a thrilling 1-point victory.

The GB Swans scored the one and only goal of the women’s final against the Irish Banshees. Tough conditions met the players and provided the large crowd with a real arm wrestle to watch.

In the men’s final the GB Bulldogs got their redemption for their last minute loss to Ireland in the 2013 Championships by convincingly outplaying the Warriors.

Congratulations to all teams who took part in the full-format tournament, especially their coaches and team managers who did an amazing job getting so many players over to London to represent their countries.

Football can’t be played without the umpires who we’d also like to thank for doing such a great job throughout the week. A special mention to Adam Pearce from the AFL who took notes and provided tips to our umpiring squad throughout the week.

Finally, to all volunteers and the great AFL Europe community, thank you for all your assistance. We look forward to our next major tournament, the annual Euro Cup, to be held in Lisbon.

wrap up article

Amsterdam White Devils claim the DAFA 9s Premiership

The Amsterdam White Devils came out on top of what was a see-sawing Grand Final in the DAFA 9s in Amsterdam over the weekend.

A last quarter surge was enough for the White Devils to get over the line against Den Haag Ooievaars who eventually claimed the inaugural DAFA 9s Premiership by 10-points.

Final scores 87 to 77.

Well done to everyone involved at the DAFA for the continued growth and development of Aussie Rules in the Netherlands. We can’t wait to see how the Dutch side goes in the Euro Cup in October.

DAFA 9s 1 DAFA 9s

Berlin League culminates in Grand Final rematch

For the second year in a row it was North vs South Berlin in the Berlin League. The minor Premiers, North Berlin Crows, were looking to enact revenge after going down to their cross-town rivals in last year’s decider.

It wasn’t to be for the Crows who again went down to the in-form Giants by 29-points.

The boys from Berlin won’t have long to indulge in celebrations as their focus now turns to Munich this coming weekend.

Congratulations to the Giants and good luck with the upcoming fixtures.

Berlin

Free access to WatchAFL

Jump onto WatchAFL on the Celebration of Football weekend starting on the 2nd of September with the EJ Whitten Legends game and run through to the 10th annual Hamson-Hardeman Women’s Exhibition Cup.

Click the link below and sign up below.

http://watchafl.afl.com.au/

 

 

 

2016 AFL Europe Championships

Our wrap up of our AFL Europe Championship final day is now live. Congratulations to GB Swans and Great Britain Australian Rules Football on taking out the top prizes.

Exceptionally well fought ARFLI(Australian Rules Football League of Ireland)! Your lads were absolute gentlemen and we could not thank you enough for the amount of assistance you gave AFL Europe throughout the entire week, especially when you valiantly carried the posts off after your tough loss (and every other game day!).

Well done to German Eagles AFL for taking out the third place final and coming down to support the ladies on the Friday, running water and umpiring!! Congratulations to the Swedish Elks on their performance all week, we can’t wait to see you guys go strength to strength for ‪#‎IC17‬

Finally, a massive thank you to our incredible volunteers and those clubs/individuals that helped make the week happen! The Wandsworth Demons, your marquee was exceptionally well used! Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, what an amazing night you gave us on Saturday to cap off a great week! The Generator Hostel for your hospitality for most of our group! And the Wimbledon Hawks for your home ground!

We’ll see you all at #IC17 or ‪#‎EC19‬! ‪#‎AFLinEurope‬

Third Place Playoff – Germany Eagles vs Swedish Elks

The final day of play at the 2016 AFL Europe Championships started with the third place final between the two hardest hitters of the men’s competition, the German Eagles and Swedish Elks.

After a week of near perfect weather London saved its worst day for last with a howling wind running across the field and providing one end with a four to five goal advantage.

After a very physical encounter earlier in the week everyone was expecting this one to be to the same tune and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With the Eagles running with the wind in the first term you thought they would have had the better of the play. This wasn’t the case with a silly 50-meter penalty gifting Jacob Lantz Sweden’s opening goal.

Ruben Streicher was throwing his weight around for the Eagles crunching players left, right and centre. He started up forward but was switch down back early in the piece too sure up a rattle Eagles defence.

Sweden had the better of the first quarter as they went into the break with a 1-goal advantage after holding Germany scoreless.

The physicality went up a notch in the second term as neither side took a backward step. Ill-discipline cost the Elks as Germany got their first two goals of the match from 50-meter penalties.

Playing with the breeze was proving more difficult than first expected as Germany went into halftime up 3 goals to 1 as they were able to keep their opponents scoreless.

The Germans gained the ascendancy in the third term and again kept the Swedes to their solitary first term goal. They were kept in the game through the sheer will power of Hampus Olsson who took a handful of intercept marks and bombed it long out of trouble countless times.

Andreas Svensson had another huge game in midfield for the Swedes and proved why he was later crowned ‘Player of the Tournament’ with another influential performance.

With a 3-goal lead going into the final quarter it appeared the Swedish side had run out of legs. They handled the wind better this time around and were peppering the goals early. 2 goals in quick succession to the Elks and it was game on. When Lantz bent one back from a tight angle they were well within reach and with only moments on the clock the crowd were on their feet.

The Elks were again bombing into their forward line and only needed a point to put the game into extra time. A long kick into the Swedes goal square saw the ball rush through for a behind. Unbeknown to the crowd a free-kick had been given for a push in the back with the Germans quickly kicking the ball well out of danger.

When the final siren sounded neither side knew of the result as the scoreboard displayed a draw. After a moment of discussion, the confusion was cleared and Germany were informed of their incredibly victory.

Full credit must go to coach’s Mark Woods and Ryan Tucker for their amazing efforts not only getting their sides to the tournament but for promoting a hard and tough style of football adopted by their respective sides.

In what turned out to be the match of the day the final scoreboard read Germany 4.6. 30 to Sweden’s 4.5 29.

Goals:

Germany: K. Haigh, J. Huesken, T. Menzel, J. Orlowski

Sweden: J. Lantz 2, K. Karlsson, C. Martensson

Best:

Germany: R. Streicher, F. Neumann, J. Jung, M. Schutoff, M. Thormann, T. Thormann

Sweden: A. Svensson, C. Martensson, H. Olsson, A. Olsson, B. Sund, T. Lindgran

DSC_0172  

Women’s Final – GB Swans vs Irish Banshees

The much anticipated women’s final followed the third place playoff with only a draw and a 1-point victory to the Swans separating the two squads throughout their round matches.

The wind had picked up and was going to make a big difference in this game and whichever side was going to adapt quicker would come away with the much coveted title of ‘Champions of Europe’.

As expected it was an absolute dogfight to start the game. Stoppage after stoppage was created by both sides fierce attack on the football and their committed defensive pressure.

The crowd were in for a treat as the ruck dual between Clara Fitzpatrick of Ireland and Lea Cobham of GB was incredible to watch.

Onora Mulcahy was paid the utmost respect from the GB coaching panel as they opted to tag the ball magnet by employing her AFL London teammate, Rose Lewis, to do the job.

Despite it being a goalless first quarter the crowd were heavily invested in the game as the ferocity shown by both sides had passers by stopping in to see what all the fuss was about.

50-meter penalties seemed to be the flavour of the day as a GB centre-half forward, Rania Ramadan, was marched into the goal square to convert what turned out to be the match-winning and only goal of the game.

From here the game evolved into a scrap with nearly all 36 players on field descending on the Irish forward 50 to make sure nothing went through the Banshees goal.

The last quarter flew by as the Irish did everything they could to get within range to put through that much needed major. Full credit to the Swans defence who stood up when needed to repel anything and everything that came their way.

When the final siren sounded the home crowd erupted with jubilation and stormed the field to celebrate with the new champions of Europe, the GB Swans. The girls were out on their feet and should be proud of how they represented not only their countries but also the amazing development of women’s football in Europe.

The final scorecard reading 1.2. 8 to 0.2. 2.

Goals:

GB Swans: R. Ramadan

Irish Banshees:

Best:

GB Swans: L. Cobham, A. Saulter, D. Saulter, F. Blount, L. Smith, R. Ramadan

Irish Banshees: C. Fitzpatrick, O. Mulcahy, A. Payne, M. Walsh, M. Beaven, L. Connolly

DSC_0655

Men’s Final – Irish Warriors vs GB Bulldogs

The main event had finally arrived. The all-conquering Irish Warriors were against up-and-comers the GB Bulldogs in what was set to be one for the ages following their 1-point thriller only days beforehand.

Last time they had meet in the European Championships Final was in 2013 when a last second Irish snap gave the Warriors victory.

The Irish had been the form side all tournament, showing why they have been European and International Champions on numerous occasions.

The Bulldogs, in front of a home crowd, had other ideas and jumped out of the blocks early to register 5 first quarter goals to the Warriors 1 running with the wind. Andy Walkden contributed 2 of those majors and was looking dangerous whenever he went near the footy.

The GB side had come out with a plan and executed it to perfection in the opening exchanges. The big test for them was going to come in the second term when the Irish had the wind at their backs.

The second term didn’t go as expected for the Irish who were bombing away long whenever they got the football in their hands. This was exactly what the Bulldogs wanted as their spare man racked up a ton of the footy.

The Irish looked rattled and didn’t have an answer for what the Bulldogs were throwing at them. Their usual run and carry was non-existent and cracks were starting to show.

One of the best players all tournament, Kevin O’Brien from Ireland, was being tagged out of the game by GB’s, James Talbot. The little general from AFL London was quick to tell this reporter of his unsung efforts as a lock-down midfielder throughout the week at the tournament after-party on Saturday.

Likewise, the tournament’s equal leading goal scorer, Padraic O’Connell, was being well held by the dependable, Matty Goodman, whose added counterattack was immense for the home side.

The unthinkable had happened and the Irish had been kept goalless running with the breeze. The Bulldogs had their tails up going into halftime and with one hand on the trophy they weren’t going to let this slip.

A spirited halftime speech from the Irish coach had the boys in green raring to go after the main break. Two quick goals to Colin O’Lordian and Muiris Bartley gave the Warriors a sniff but to GB’s credit they absorbed the pressure and took control of the game.

A late goal to Andy Walkden calmed the nerves of the boisterous home crowd and gave the Bulldogs a 3 goal advantage going into the final term.

The Irish knew they could close the gap and with the wind coming over their shoulders the Bulldogs knew it was still anyone’s game.

The Warriors had the better of the final term but poor foot skills really hurt them going forward and they were unable to convert their chances. Time was getting away from them and when Walkden converted his fourth goal of the day it was all but over for the reigning champions.

A late goal to Kevin McDonnell left it too little, too late for the Irish and when the final siren sounded a new champion of Europe was crowned.

Andy Walkden was huge for the Bulldogs and became only the second player in the tournament to register a unanimous best on ground performance. A huge effort in a grand final by the GB half forward.

The final score read 7.9. 51 to 4.5. 29.

Both sides proved they be tough opponents when they play in next year’s International Cup in Melbourne and will do their Countries and AFL in Europe proud.

All sides should be proud of how they represented their countries and we can’t wait to see how everyone develops in the future.

A huge shout out to the umpiring squad for officiating an amazing week of football and to all volunteers who gave up their time to help in any way possible.

Hopefully we’ll see a few familiar faces at the upcoming Euro Cup in Lisbon.

Goals:

GB: A. Walkden 4, M. Cashman, D. Hastie, C. Britton

Ireland: M. Bartley, G. Murray, C. O’Lordian, K. Mccdonnell

Best:

GB: A. Walkden, L. Booth, J. Coughlan, M. Hudson, C. Britton, M. Goodman

Ireland: G. Walls, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Halloran, D. Joyce, D. McElhone, K. O’Brien

DSC_0675

 

The Top 10s

WOMEN

Player of the TournamentVotesTeam
Clara Fitzpatrick41Irish Banshees
Rania Ramadan28GB Swans
Claire Messent25Crusaders
Onora Mulcahy25Irish Banshees
Danni Saulter25GB Swans
Alex Saulter24GB Swans
Aisling Gillespie23Irish Banshees
Rebecca Dickson21Crusaders
Marley Beaven19Irish Banshees
Chloe Hall16GB Swans

 

Leading Goal KickerGoalsTeam
Aisling Gillespie6Irish Banshees
Caroline Sellar3GB Swans
Danni Saulter3GB Swans
Rania Ramadan3GB Swans
Ashleigh Payne2Irish Banshees
Lea Cobham2GB Swans
Chloe Hall2GB Swans
Naomi Curtis2Irish Banshees
Ciara Moane1Irish Banshees
Louise Darby1GB Swans

DSC_0718

MEN

Player of the TournamentVotesTeam
Andreas Svensson27Swedish Elks
Kevin O’Brien26Irish Warriors
Muiris Bartley24Irish Warriors
Gavin Murray24Irish Warriors
Jakob Jung22German Eagles
Hampus Olsson21Swedish Elks
Andrew Walkden16GB Bulldogs
Tristan Thormann14German Eagles
Buster Sund14Swedish Elks
Ruben Streicher14German Eagles

 

 

Leading Goal KickerGoalsTeam
Paudric O’Connell9Irish Warriors
Marc Cashman9GB Bulldogs
David Hastie7GB Bulldogs
Andrew Walkden7GB Bulldogs
Jan Huesken6German Eagles
Dominic Joyce5Irish Warriors
Jack Coughlan5GB Bulldogs
Muiris Bartley5Irish Warriors
Gavin Murray5Irish Warriors
Eoin O’Murchu4Irish Warriors

 

DSC_0723

 

 

 

 

#EC16 Women’s Day 2 Match Reviews

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Irish Banshees vs European Crusaders

The women went back-to-back in their reduced carnival format to determine which two teams would qualify for the final on Saturday. First up on the second day of play were the Irish Banshees playing against the European Crusaders.

The Irish girls felt right at home with the gloomy skies and drizzling rain replicating the climate of Croke Park in their homeland.

Naomi Curtis opened the scoring for the Banshees with a classy goal. The rain didn’t deter Marley Beaven who continued to take the game on with her blistering speed, even having a couple of bounces along the way.

Goals to Fiona Roarty and another to Curtis gave the Irish a commanding lead just before the halftime break. Samara Warren was providing great tackling pressure for the Crusaders whilst out on the wing and got the ball into their attacking fifty against the odds on a number of occasions.

Aisling Gillespie added another goal to her already impressive tournament tally just prior to the siren and it was four goals to nothing.

The heavens opened after the break and the match turned into an absolute scrap. Neither side were giving away an inch. The slippery surface was proving challenging for a number of the players with many going ‘head over biscuit’ in their attempt to gain possession.

Gillespie decided she wanted a couple more goals before the game was over and she did just that scoring two more before the final siren sounded.

Final scores: 6.5. 40 to 0.0. 0

Goals:

Ireland: A. Gillespie 3, N. Curtis 2, F. Roarty

European Crusaders:

Best:

Ireland: A. Gillespie, O. Mulcahy, C. Fitzpatrick, U. Murphy, M. Beaven, L. Connolly

European Crusaders: C. Messant, M. Falkesgaard, C. Perez, H. Canton, A. Daley, R. Gouldingay

 

DSC_1403

Irish Banshees vs GB Swans

The two powerhouses of the competition were next to meet on the hallowed turf of Motspur Park. Following their thrilling 1-point game the previous day the growing crowd was getting excited about the prospect of this match.

Ireland had the better of the opening exchanges with a goal to, you guessed it, Aisling Gillespie giving them the upper hand from the get go. Marley Beaven was in a rich vein of form, constantly utilising her pace to either break the GB lines or chase down opponents.

The match was very congested and despite the rain affecting the player’s skills and execution it was one of the most fiercely contested and intense matches of footy at the tournament thus far.

The Swans wrestled back the ascendency and were peppering their forward fifty. They just couldn’t sneak through a goal and the Irish defence were herculean in their efforts to keep the ball from sailing through the big sticks.

The Banshees took the 1 goal lead into half time but neither side were comfortably in control. This one was going down to the wire, again.

The second half started how the first left off. The footy was hot and the tackling was intense. As both sides tired the game opened up and the ball was moving around the ground more freely. Ashleigh Payne was causing headaches in the Irish forward line and threatened the goals a number of times without prevail.

Alex and Danni Saulter were doing all they could for the Swans to move it forward but behinds were all the hosts could manage. With a minute on the clock and the Irish up by 6-points the ball flung into the Swans forward for it to be marked by the dependable Chloe Hall, who rushed back off the mark and slotted it through to level the score lines.

With only seconds left to go the Swans marked about 35 meters out with the siren sounding in the background. Any score would get the Swans the victory but a flooding back Banshees side stopped the ball on the line to keep the scores at 8 apiece. Another nail biter between the two rivals.

With a draw and a 1-point game between these two they’ve set the scene for an absolutely incredible decider at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon.

Final scores: 1.2. 8 to 1.2. 8

Goals:

GB Swans: C. Hall

Irish Banshees: A. Gillespie

Best:

GB Swans: A. Saulter, D. Saulter, C. Hall, L. Cobham, S. Morris, L. Wilson

Irish Banshees: M. Beaven, C. Fitzpatrick, A. Gillespie, O. Mulcahy, L. Russell, A. Payne

 

DSC_1471

GB Swans vs European Crusaders

The Crusaders were desperate to register a win before exiting the tournament and a battle-weary Swans side were vulnerable following their previous game.

The Swans were backing up from their nail biter just moments earlier and went into this one hoping to avoid injury after already booking a spot in the grand final the next day.

The footy was like a bar of soap after another downpour and made it difficult for either side to get any clean possession. Maria Falkesgaard of the Crusaders was at the bottom of every pack while Rebecca Dickon again collected a ton of the football at centre half back.

Laura Park scored the only goal of the half for GB in a hard fought match thus far. The Crusaders were yet to register a goal for the tournament and they had one last half to do it.

The Crusaders came out on a mission and they came so close to getting that elusive goal on a number of occasions. They just couldn’t string together that final kick even with the crowd getting behind them with every forward entry.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the combined Crusaders side who also played their last game of the tournament. In a great show of sportsmanship, the two remaining women’s teams and crowd tunnelled the girls off the field in a show of appreciation for getting a side together against the odds.

The GB Swans will now face off with the Irish Banshees in tomorrow’s decider with another thriller in store.

Final score: 4.6. 30 to 0.0. 0

Goals:

GB Swans: L. Park, D. Saulter, R. Ramadan, L. Smith

European Crusaders:

Best:

GB Swans: R. Ramadan, D. Saulter, L. Turner, L. Cobham, A. Saulter, Z. Rowe

European Crusaders: M. Falkesgaard, R. Dickson, M. Jansen, C. Messant, C. Duquet, R. Goldingay

 

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#EC16 Men’s Day 3 Match Reviews

Irish Warriors vs Swedish Elks

The third round of men’s games kicked off with the unbeaten Irish Warriors taking on a determined Sweden. Hot and muggy conditions met the players at Motspur Park with both sides struggling personnel-wise following the hard-fought opening rounds.

Buster Sund, fresh from the AFL Europe Coaching Course held on the Wednesday, was running around like a man possessed. Every chance possible he was battering the opposition with his physical presence. When asked what game plan Sweden followed at the coaching course the big Swede simply responded with the words, “we go and smash them”. The Irish will vouch that Buster was following his coach’s wishes on this day.

Despite their typical physical presence, the Swedish side’s ill-disciple cost them with back-to-back fifty meter penalties gifting the Irish the opening goal.

David McElhone was leading from the front in the Irish engine room. The wrecking ball was doing it all both on the inside and lacing out opponents with adept outside work.

Regular Ireland ruckmen, Gavin Murray, was given a reprieve from his usual role and switched up forward for the boys in green. The big man showed his versatility with a big pack mark and goal to register the first of his four goals.

The Swedes were best served by Hampus Olsson down back, who again took numerous intercept marks. His side were left reeling when he went down with a quad strain.

A second quarter surge put the game comfortably in Ireland’s favour as they dictated play at will. Chris Martensson was doing all he could in the Swedish midfield to stem the free-running Warriors.

A massive fire up from now playing coach, Ryan Tucker, had the Swedes raring to go after half time. The Elks dominated the early exchanges but were unable to convert their opportunities. Their defence pressure has been the benchmark for the tournament and they didn’t disappoint in the third term by only allowing two Irish goals.

The Swedes ran out of legs in the fourth term and the class of Ireland shone through. Most notably Muiris Bartley who was running hot with three consecutive goals to cement his spot as one of the star players of the tournament.

A long-bomb from Eoin O’Murchu put the nail in the coffin as the Irish claimed top spot and a place in the AFL Europe Grand Final this coming Saturday.

Their upcoming contest with Great Britain is one of the most highly anticipated matches in recent history especially following their 1-point thriller on Tuesday.

Final Scores: 19.14. 128 to 0.5. 5

Goals:

Ireland: G. Murray 4, P. O’Connell 3, M. Bartley 3, D. Joyce 2, K. McDonnell 2, E. O’Murchu 2, C. O’Halloran, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Lordian

Sweden:

Best:

Ireland: G. Murray, M. Bartley, D. McElhone, K. O’Brien, D. Joyce, P. O’Connell

Sweden: B. Sund, C. Martensson, J. Lantz, A. Svensson, A. Tellstrom, A. Olsson

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GB Bulldogs vs German Eagles

After a mostly overcast and cloudy day the sunshine broke through for what was the final game out of five for day three of the AFL Europe Championships.

The GB Bulldogs had a point to prove after horrible kicking in front of goal against the Irish two days previously halted their chances of beating their arch-rivals.

The big hitting Germans were hoping to take it to one of the bigger AFL nations and wanted to impose their trademark strength at the contest.

Martin Schuttoff started the game strongly for the Eagles while Jason Hill was finding a heap of the pill after switching into the midfield.

David Jordan opened the scoring for the Bulldogs following a nice passage of play along the wing and into the forward flank. A further 3 goals and the Bulldogs went into the quarter time break in a comfortable position.

Jakob Jung of Germany was shown the ultimate respect from the Bulldogs coaching staff who smartly opted to tag the smooth moving midfielder. Despite amazing efforts from both James Talbot and Matt Goodman the classy midfielder worked his way into the game to provide Germany with some solid resistance despite the Bulldogs overall dominance.

A three goal second quarter to GB’s David Hastie allowed the home side to take full control of the match going into the main break.

Bulldog’s veteran, Owain Ryland, showed why he’s one of the most capped players in the squad with a very dominant showing across half-back and through the midfield to start the second half.

All heat was out of the match mid-way through the third term with both sides having one eye on the upcoming finals matches on Saturday.

Warwick continued to work hard in the ruck and gave his midfielders first use in what was a great contest with Germany’s Johannes Orlowski.

The Bulldogs ran out the final quarter with a further three majors.

The final scorecard reading: 18.14. 121 to 0.5. 5

Goals:

GB Bulldogs: J. Coughlan 3, D. Hastie 3, L. Gedney 2, A. Overton 2, D. Jordan, C. Cooney, M. Sharp, A. Walkden, J. Harvey, J. Hill, M. Kilheeney, M. Whiteley

German Eagles:

Best:

GB Bulldogs: M. Warwick, G. Dibble, O. Ryland, J. Coughlan, A. Walkden, M. Sharp

German Eagles: J. Jung, M. Preiss, T. Menzel, T. Thormann, M. Thormann, K. Haigh

 

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