Dublin To Host Fitzpatrick Cup

The last weekend of October will see Dublin become the centre of the Australian Football World as the Irish capital hosts the second test of the 2013 International Rules series, but there is more activity besides. The AFL Europe annual general meeting and conference will take place in Kilmainham and just a stones throw away, the inaugural AFL Europe College and University Championship will take place in Islandbridge. The tournament to be known as the Fitzpatrick Cup in honour of AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick will feature his alma mater Oxford University, Northern Regional College, University College Cork and the newly formed Dublin City University. The competition will be played on a knockout basis, with two semi finals, the 3rd/4th Place play off and a Grand Final with all matches 40 minutes in duration.

Schedule.

11.30 Semi Final 1

12.20 Semi Final 2

13.10 3rd/4th Place Play Off

14.00 Grand Final

Daniel Flynn – Signed, sealed and ready to deliver

On the 3rd of October 2013, the 20-year-old Irish player Daniel Flynn signed his first 2-year contract with Port Adelaide Football Club as the club’s first international rookie.

From his county Kildare in Ireland, this elite underage player was destined to a great career as a Gaelic footballer but has recently made the decision to cross the world to play in the AFL.

Flynn showed outstanding performances at the annual NAB AFL Draft Combine recently, running the 20-metre sprint in 2,83 seconds, the repeat sprint in 24,25 seconds and the agility test in 8,08 seconds. These were all top 4 results of the 110 elite juniors from Australia.

AFL Europe is extremely proud of Daniel having come through the Talent ID program run in Europe including the combine run in Dublin in February this year. He showed outstanding athletic ability and a natural movement with a Sherrin tucked under the arm. Earlier this year, he played for the European Legion against the AIS-AFL Academy. His display in that match further raised interest and now he finds himself on the PAFC list.

We wish him all the best for the next season!

Early December will see the next AFL Europe Combine to be held in Dublin. Who will be the next to make the step into AFL?

EUROPEAN LEGION v AIS AFL ACADEMY

Zagreb Hawks Premier of the Croatian League

AAFC President, Croatian Knights player and Hawk hero Josip Kravar tells afleurope.org about their recent league premiership.

Zagreb Hawks won the Croatian League against our friends from Graz for the first time in our short history from 2006. The Hawks have tried so many times to raise this cup, mostly finishing as runners up, but this year we were superior.

After last year seeing the worst performance in the hawks history which involved struggles to have 9 players for every game, losing matches against the Bombers (now Dockers), Giants and Dogs, this season we showed something completely different.

From October 2012, the Hawks showed that working hard for the team pays and we managed to raise a reasonable number of players in the club. Now we are the Croatian club with the most active players. Also, the Hawks traded Milijan Mamić for Tomislav Cvetko (Knights captain and AFL Europe Championships 2013 top scorer) from Dockers and until 2013 they raised young guns that have been recognized on European big stage (Josip Habljak, Hawks rookie was the first ruckman in the team of the tournament European Championship 2013).

During the season, Zagreb Hawks only lost their opening game against the Giants and lost their last game. October 2013 confirmed the Hawks domination against Styrian Downunderdogs.

Best and fairest player of 2013 was Tomislav Cvetko who was also the best goal kicker. Best rookie of 2013 was Josip Habljak.

Next week, the Hawks will attend the Croatian Cup which is a charity event and the last event in the Croatian footy calendar.

There is a great atmosphere in the club, dedication on the field and off the field were recognized and rewarded during the same year as when our brother club won the Premiership. This year has been good for Hawks and here in Croatia, Zagreb Hawks will try to make it a standard story.

In the end, big thanks to our brother club Hawthorn Hawks, especially Mr. Ian Dicker who unselfishly helped us so many times.

Finally, the cup is ours.

Hawks premiership players: Luka Punda, Tomislav Marsic, Frane Boban, Luka Diklic, Josip Kravar, Jan Dolezal, Josip Habljak, Jure Prtenjaca, Dejan Pavkovic, Tomislav Cvetko, Josip Josipovic (c), Dinko Irsag, Marin Kolanovic, Branko Ban, Luka Dukic, Goran Pereš,  Matija Bašić, Kruno Cvitaš,

Coach: Josip Kravar

SANH – Croatia Knights website: www.sanh.hr

Zagreb Hawks website: www.zagrebhawks.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://hr-hr.facebook.com/zagrebhawks

Turku Dockers winners of the Finland Grand Final

Following a hard-earnt semi final victory over Salo, where the much improved Juggernauts got within 14 points of the undefeated Dockers, the Turku boys spent the week leading up to the grand final getting themselves ready for a tough game against 2012 premiers the Helsinki Heatseekers. Helsinki went into the grand final on the back of some good form, having won their semi final against Vaasa by 58 points.

The third place playoff was taken out by Vaasa, who ran hard all day and were too strong for the Salo side. Both sides played with great spirit and will improve next year following the extra experience that some of their emerging players have gained in 2013.

With third place decided it was time for the grand final. The premiers of 2012 up against the minor premiers of 2013 promised to be a contest worthy of the 5th FAFL grand final, and both sides delivered from the outset.

There was nothing in the match early, with the two sides trading goals as they tested each other out. Eventually it was the Dockers who were able to get out to a small lead with a series of goals through the middle part of the second quarter which took them to a 14 point lead in the shadows of half time, then just seconds before half time some clever work from Turku captain Tomi Virtanen found Anti Vasemägi alone deep in the forward pocket. Anti marked right on the siren and was allowed to take his kick, which he calmly guided home from a tight angle, giving Turku a 20 point lead and valuable momentum heading into half time.

The second half started with two quick goals to the Dockers that took the lead out to 32 points, but Helsinki were quick to answer with two goals of their own and restored the 20 point margin. The quarter continued to ebb and flow, but a couple of late goals to Turku got the margin back out to 32 points in Turku’s favour by the final break.

The pressure that both sides had applied all day didn’t drop off, and in a tight final quarter Turku were able to kick three goals to Helsinki’s one to finish up 43 point winners and 2013 FAFL premiers.

The win made it three premierships in five years for Turku (2009, 2010 and 2013), which sit alongside runners up finishes in 2011 and 2012.

Well done to Adam Vasey from Turku who was awarded the Grant Siermans medal for the best player on the ground (Grant coached the Dockers in 2009-2010 and has a perfect coaching and playing record in FAFL grand finals).

Turku Dockers 3.6   7.6   11.10   14.12   (96)

Helsinki Heatseekers 4.4   4.4   6.8   7.11   (53)

Goals:

Turku: Lee Grabski 6, Adam Vasey 3, Josh Walker 2, Craig Primmer 2, Anti Vasemägi

Helsinki: Terry Ludeman 4, Brendan Cliffe, Damian Roberston, Aku Immonen

FAFL GF Tomi tackle (4)

Irish Warriors winners of the Euro Bowl

Michael McCormick

Having come second in their group, defending champions, Ireland were still eager to take home some silverware. They eventually did so in emphatic fashion, beating Finland 78 – 5 to claim the 2013 Euro Bowl.

The Irish were hard to beat all day. Having lost controversially to France in the group stage by a single point, they were not going to let this game slip and they showed that from the moment the siren sounded.

Led by captain John O’Reagan, Ireland burst out of the blocks and kicked the first five goals within minutes of the umpire blowing his whistle to commence the match. Finland fought hard to stem the flow, but by half time the game was all but won.

Irish forward, Dominic Joyce was having a day out, booting several six pointers and setting up many more. The delivery into the forward line from smooth moving midfielders Caoitle O’Baoill and Jimmy Keogh was perfect all game.

The second half was slightly lower scoring from Ireland and Finland were only able to add a few points to their scorecard. As the siren sounded to end the game, the dominant Irish outfit had recorded another victory by a considerable margin to secure a fifth place finish.

Finland had its highest finish in the Euro Cup and will learn a lot from the day. The standout players for Finland throughout the tournament included captain Kaj Karlsson, Ikka Poti, Lasse Punttila and Tomi Keskinen.

England win the Axios Euro Cup 2013

Michael McCormick

A merciless England outfit have upset the host nation to win the 2013 Axios Euro Cup in Bordeaux on Saturday. The inaugural win for England follows a very strong showing at the European Championships in August, in which many of the players represented the runners up, the GB Bulldogs, who lost by a solitary point to home team, Ireland.

Their opponents, France, made the final via a upset win over defending champions, Ireland, and then a comfortable win over Italy in the semi-final. This was the host nation’s first Grand Final and best placing in an international competition.

Four injuries early in the match didn’t help their cause as England dominated all over the ground early in the match, and went in to half time with a 39 point lead.

France came out firing in the second half but all of their opportunities seemed to fall in England’s favour as the visitors extended their lead via the boot of full forward Lee Tarn and goal sneak Jack Wood. Sean Walton was putting on a dominant display in the midfield and the back line was rebounding everything that came their way.

Full Back, Graham Bickerdike’s attempts to put off his opponent kicking for goal earned him the nickname of ‘the chicken’ with the commentary team.

“He looks like a clucking chicken flapping his wings out there,” stated AFL Europe General Manager, Ben MacCormack. “We’ve never seen anything like this, but it’s proving to be effective.”

England full forward, Lee Tarn was awarded the best player in the Grand Final, earning the accolade with a 7 goal haul, the most goals scored by any individual in a Euro Cup Grand Final.

England will be looking to build on their win in 2013 and go back to back next year in a yet to be determined location.

Croatia claim 3rd place in Axios Euro Cup

Michael McCormick

The giants of Croatia completely overpowered a tired Italian outfit to take third place in the 2013 Axios Euro Cup.

The Croatians, who narrowly lost to eventual premiers, England in the semi-final, looked the superior side, with both size and fitness in their favour. The scoreboard reflected this early in the game as they stormed out to a three goal lead.

Italy didn’t have any answers for the dominant Croatians, only managing a couple of goals by half time. Their frustrations were evident in both their performance and behaviour on the field as tussles broke out at both ends.

The man mountain, Tomislav Cvetko, proved a handful, kicking several majors and involving himself in numerous others. The strong bodies and run of Zvonimir Murkovic and Josip Kravar also proved too much for the Italians as they desperately tried to claw the game back, but to no prevail.

Croatia took a commanding lead late in the match and a comeback was beyond Italy. The siren sounded and the Croatians had cemented third place with a thumping 77 – 34 victory.

Women’s footy has a new champion!

The Women’s competition in the Axios Euro Cup 2013 was won by the European Crusaders, defeating France 45-26.

Women Crusaders came from all over Europe, with players from Switzerland, Italy, Iceland, UK and France. It was the first time that the French national team has played an international game.

The women played four quarters of 15 minutes each. The Crusaders, led by their coach Mattia Sacchi showed great skill throughout the game and good potential for future development in female football of the countries represented. The French Inattendues (“unexpected” in French) and their coach Pascal Ivorra competed well but couldn’t match the Crusaders finishing skills.

Erin Walter from Switzerland (American born) was named the best player on the ground.

This game witnessed a lot of excitement from both sides, everyone was very happy to play in this competition and it was a great opportunity for European women to meet each other and share their passion in this great event. No doubt that all these players will go back home willing to share their experience and motivation with their clubs and friends.

Austria win the third division Euro Plate

Michael McCormick

The fast finishing Austrian Avalanche took out the Axios Euro Plate on Saturday, overcoming the European Crusaders, 39 – 32.

Austria appeared nervous in the first half, conceding two goals very early on to the Crusaders, many of whom had met each other just hours before their first match together. The Crusaders back-line rebounded every Austrian attack and their full forward, Yann Cornaton, was dangerous, booting two goals to lead his team into the half time break with a handy lead.

The Austrians played as if they desperately wanted to win in the second half, dominating through the midfield and putting the score on the board when it mattered most. The immense effort from brothers, Christian and Erwin Schober, saw the momentum shift in Austria’s favour and three late goals gave them a famous victory.

In a true show of the variety of players involved in the Crusaders, Bolivian footballer, Franz Mercado took ‘Man of the Match’ honours, having plenty of the ball and kicking four goals for his team. The zippy midfielder, who has been playing Australian football only a short while has a big future ahead of him in the European competition according to AFL Europe General Manager, Ben MacCormack.