Over the next month AFL Europe will be taking a look at the teams travelling to the International Cup in Australia this August. First up we’re checking in with the reigning European Champions, the GB Bulldogs, who will be looking to push deep into the finals after multiple mid-table finishes in previous tournaments.
What’s been happening since European Championships in 2016?
The GB Bulldogs were crowned European Champions in August last year after a convincing victory over the Irish Warriors. They kept their 18-a-side football rolling following with hit-outs against the Dutch and a rematch against the Irish over in Dublin.
They had a number of players in the Euro Cup in Lisbon with England finishing third and the Welsh and Scottish having solid tournaments.
Trials at the start of March provided players to showcase their athletic abilities.
What’s scheduled/planned for the months leading up to IC17?
Over the next couple of months, the Bulldogs will have a competitive hit-out in the London Footy Carnival against the visiting Canadian Development squad.
They will also be training as a squad twice per month in the lead up.
Who’s impressed on the training track/trials?
All players selected have impressed in the categories required by the coaches. Below are some of the top results from the March trials compared to the combine held by AFL NZ.
Vertical Leap: 84cm vs Ryan Spivey 79.3cm
20m Sprint: 2.91s vs Ross Denton 2.90s
Agility Test: 7.89s vs Andy Walkden & Marc Cashman 8.34s
Beep Test: 14.10 vs David Hastie 15.7
Hear from GB Bulldogs head coach, Dean Thomas, from his interview on aflengland.org.
Ross Ashman – Manly Warringah Giants Luke Booth – Huddersfield Rams Australian Football Club – Vice Captain Chris Britton – Manchester Mosquitoes Marc Cashman – Wimbledon Hawks Andrew Cochran – Manchester Mosquitoes Jack Coughlan – North London Lions Adam Coxsell – Caulfield Bears Ross Denton – North London Lions George Dibble – Wolverhampton Wolverines Australian Rules Football Club Ryan Floyd – Fitzroy Football Club David Hastie – Wimbledon Hawks Jason Edward Hill – Wimbledon Hawks Douglas Houston – UTS Bats And Shamrocks Football Club Myles Hudson – Wimbledon Hawks Mark Ireland – Sheffield Thunder Mini Alex Markham – Caulfield Bears Luke Matias – Caulfield Grammarians Football Club Dominic Mitchell – Powerhouse FC Luke Murchie – Caulfield Bears Alex Overton – Huddersfield Rams Australian Football Club Owain Ryland – South Cardiff Panthers Ryan Spivey – Sussex Swans Australian Rules Football Club Michael Sharp – North London Lions James Talbot – North London Lions Andy Walkden – Manchester Mosquitoes Sean Walton – Caulfield Bears – Vice Captain Alex Watson – The Wandsworth Demons Sam Willatt – Sandringham Zebras Will Worthington – The Onkaparinga Valley Football Club – Captain
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2017-05-12 15:26:072017-05-12 15:26:07IC17 Team Announcement - Great Britain Bulldogs
Last night a handful of the AFL Umpiring squad gave up their time whilst on tour to sit down and have a chat about all things umpiring with several our current AFL Europe Umpiring team.
The boys shared stories of how they got into officiating the game and provided a great insight into some of the challenges they face in the recruitment and retention of high quality umpires. A massive thank you must go out to Shane Hill, Head of Umpiring, for arranging the get-together.
L-R: Hayden Charles, Gary Gila, Matt Stevic, Chris Goodman, Shane Hill, Ian Kafka, Jordan Bannister, Steve McInerney, Shaun Ryan, Josh Davey
Stay tuned on the www.afleurope.org for information on umpiring courses being held here in England in the new year.
Can you top the TruChallenge?
I’m sure that by now you’ve noticed the GB Swans and their TruChallenge taking over social media. If you think you and your club can top the ‘flick and kick’ challenge, then follow the link and post your video on Facebook. Be sure to tag AFL Europe!
ARFLI 7s kicks off
The first ARFLI 7s session was held over the weekend with 3 teams contesting the reduced format game. The County Lions, City Lions and UCC Bombers took part in the inaugural tournament in what was a great success.
ARFLI will be running several sessions around the country throughout the winter months. The full results from the first session are as follows:
County Lions 6.6.6. 102 to UCC Bombers 3.10.7. 97
City Lions 6.8.5. 113 to UCC Bombers 2.6.6. 62
City Lions 5.12.7. 129 to County Lions 7.5.11. 111
UoB and Oxford battle it out in a thriller
The boys from the University of Birmingham clinched a thrilling 3-point victory over rivals, Oxford University, in an incredible display of Aussie Rules.
Testing conditions didn’t stop the intensity of the match with a supremely competitive contest experienced throughout. A strong Oxford side were unrelenting in their pressure and they’ve set the scene for a big year of university football.
In the women’s match, the Oxford girls proved too strong for their opponents. Both matches were played in great spirit with massive congratulations to all players involved. We’re looking forward to the return fixture between these two university football powerhouses.
Talent Combine uncovers stars of the future
The 6th AFL Europe Talent Combine was held at the weekend under the watchful eye of the AFL’s International Talent Manager, Tadhg Kennelly. 23 boys from Ireland and France were selected to attend the combine and were put through a range of fitness and skills tests over the course of the weekend.
Massive congratulations to all the boys who tested as well as their parents for attending the information session on the Saturday afternoon. Tadhg and his team ran another smooth combine and will have a very tough decision to make when selecting the boys to take part in the AFL AIS Tour of Florida next year.
It’s been just over 2 months since the Great Britain Bulldogs held aloft the European Championship trophy. It’s a day their opponents, the Irish Warriors, won’t forget too quickly as they were completely outclassed at a game they’ve dominated for years.
The Bulldogs used their home tournament as a platform to launch towards their ultimate prize of claiming the International Cup next year. Since their EC16 victory they’ve played Holland, in what was their opponents first ever 18-a-side international, and had players involved in the 9-a-side Euro Cup with England, Scotland and Wales.
The Irish were hurt badly by their final performance at EC16, it stung a lot. If anything its provided them with the perfect wake up call for their International Cup preparations. They bounced back at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon but ultimately fell short in extra time of the final against a strong Croatian outfit.
This weekend sees the two sides meet again for the first time since that EC16 final, this time on the Warriors home turf in Dublin. The National Sports Campus plays host to the next epic chapter of this fierce rivalry and with a traditional 2pm bounce scheduled its sure to attract a large crowd of vocal Irishmen and women.
Both teams are coming in with numerous changes to when they last met. Alex Watson, Charlie Steel, Anthony Brannigan, Jordan Wynne and Tomos Wyn-Jones enter the mix for the Bulldogs.
The Irish welcome Oisin Collins, Roch Hanmore and Peter Traynor into the side. They’ll sorely miss playmakers Kevin O’Brien and Muiris Bartley in this hit-out but it provides an opportunity for some others to take the next step up.
Neither side will be taking a backward step in this encounter as it provides all 44 players an opportunity to stake their claim for a place on the plane next August. Good luck to everyone involved in this one, hopefully matches like this become a regular fixture throughout the season.
Player to watch….
Andy Walkden was the difference between the two sides in the EC16 final in what was a man of the match performance. His form hasn’t dropped off as he earned team of the tournament honours at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon. The Warriors will have to keep a close eye on the crafty half-forward if they are to be any chance.
Ryan McCloskey was unstoppable at EC16 before a shoulder injury interrupted his campaign. His absence in the forward line was sorely missed in the later stages of that competition. The small forward doesn’t need many possessions to hurt his opposition so whichever Bulldog marks up on him will have to be switched on at all times.
A word from….
GB Bulldogs – Team Manager Jason Hill:
“This gives GB more vital preparation going in to International Cup 2017. It was great winning against the Irish in London but this will be a totally different game in their home conditions and if we want to compete at IC17 we will need to be able to take the game to teams in uncomfortable places. A lot of thanks goes to Ciaran from Ireland for setting up the game and we are excited to bring a GB side across the Irish Sea in what we hope will be a more regular fixture.”
Luke Booth (Captain) (Huddersfield Rams)
Michael Sharp (VC) (North London Lions)
Chris Britton (VC) (Manchester Mosquitoes)
Anthony Brannigan (Tyne-Tees Tigers)
Sean Paul Henry
Lewis Gedney (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
David Hastie (Wimbledon Hawks)
Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks)
Alex Overton (Huddersfield Rams)
Ryan Spivey (Sussex Swans)
James Talbot (North London Lions)
Matthew Warwick (West London Wildcats)
Jordan Wynne (Wimbledon Hawks)
Andrew Cochran (Manchester Mosquitoes)
Marc Cashman (Wimbledon Hawks)
Jack Coughlan (North London Lions)
George Dibble (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
Tim Gower (Manchester Mosquitoes)
Jason Hill (Wimbledon Hawks)
Michael “Spike” Kilheeney (Manchester Mosquitoes)
Owain Ryland (London Swans)
Charlie Steel (Wandsworth Demons)
Andy Walkden (Manchester Mosquitoes)
Alex Watson (Wandsworth Demons)
Tomos Wyn-Jones (University of Birmingham)
Coach: Brian Currane
Coach: Dean Thomas
Support Staff: Hilary Wilson, Charley Dakin, Millie Morgan
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-10-21 10:12:312016-10-21 10:12:31Match of the Round
Holland vs Great Britain – Battersea Park, 10:30am
This Saturday the 24th of September will see Holland make the journey to London where they’ll be making their 18-a-side debut against newly crowned AFL Europe Championship winners, the Great Britain Bulldogs.
The match provides both teams with invaluable experience with the Bulldogs preparing for the International Cup in 2017 and the Flying Dutchmen continuing their rapid development as an AFL playing nation.
Battersea Park with be transformed into a full AFL oval allowing both teams to gain further knowledge of players and tactics in the year leading up to IC17.
The Flying Dutchmen will be bolstered by a couple of Australian’s who reside in Amsterdam, along with a handful of players from Oxford and AFL London to fill out a full squad of 22. Getting a squad together is a great achievement by all involved in Dutch football. They’ve been incredible hosts of the AFL Europe Champions League over the past two years and the DAFA 9s was a great success in season 2016. The Dutchies will be a strong opponent for the Bulldogs and despite going into this game as underdogs the punters might fancy the boys in Orange.
The Bulldogs have selected a slightly changed side from the European Championships with coach Dean Thomas looking to gain further insight into other eligible players in the build up to Australia. Craig Degville, Ryan Cawley, Dominic Mitchell, Charlie Steel, Tomos Wyn-Jones, Ian Mitchell, Spike Kilheeney and Josh Keeney join the squad. The remaining EC winners are Chris Britton, Michael Sharp, George Dibble, Lewis Gedney, Alex Overton, Jack Coughlan, Owain Ryland, Andy Walkden, Luke Booth, Myles Hudson, Jack Wood, James ‘Ryan Crowley’ Talbot, Matt Warwick, David Jordan, David Hastie and Andrew Cochran.
Bulldog’s Team Manager, Jason Hill, had this to say:
“It’s great to be able to get another fixture on the back of a successful EC and Neil Cooke has been pivotal in putting together a Dutch side to make their debut at this level. Great Britain AFL and the DAFA share a very positive relationship and we will do what we can to help grow their game and compete at this level. This gives us more valuable time on the pitch in preparation for IC and gives coach, Dean Thomas, a great chance to view more players within his system. We’re looking to be the most prepared Bulldog’s team of all time and believe that games like this will help us achieve that. I look forward to welcoming the Dutch to London now and in the future”.
The match is a great initiative and is something AFL Europe is be aiming to help facilitate more of in the near future. With a 10:30am bounce and at beautiful Battersea Park be sure to stop in and watch some full format Aussie Rules.
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-09-23 14:11:092016-09-23 14:11:09Match of the Round
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a question sheet.
What position do you play?
Half forward/half back
AFL Team you support:
Crows/Bulldogs (can’t decide!)
Favourite AFL Player:
How did you find out about AFL?
My basketball coach at university used to play AFL for England and moved to Australia to play. When visiting in Australia I went to watch him at a game and he took me for a kick afterwards. On moving back to London I looked up Aussie rules in London and wandered down to the Wimbledon Hawks and the lads were so welcoming…fell in love with the sport instantly.
How long have you been playing for?
Just over 2 years
What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?
It was Wimbledon Hawks Ladies Day 2014 and we managed to rumble up 20 girls to play a ten aside exhibition game and within 5 minutes one girl broke her leg and by the end another had broken her hand and there were plenty of bumps and bruises to go around – loved it!
Best moment in your career?
Playing for the England Vixens and thrashing Denmark in the Euro Cup final in Croatia to become champions.
Any other information or quirky stories?
I am genuinely addicted to footy; since starting I have helped set up and run the Wimbledon hawks ladies, played for England twice, set up the GB Swans team, started the Clapham Cubs Auskick club and started umpiring.
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-09-14 18:42:422016-09-14 18:42:42Player of the Week - Lisa Wilson
The final round of the CEAFL season is upon us and taking place in Prague tomorrow. Following two successful round-robin tournaments in Croatia and Austria the culmination of the CEAFL season will take place at the Rugby Club Petrovice, Prague 10.
The CEAFL ladder after 2 of 3 rounds:
Zaprude Giants 30 points
Styrian DownUnderdogs 20 points
Sesvete Double Blues 20 points
Velika Gorica Bombers 14 points
Zagreb Dockers 12 points
Zagreb Hawks 10 points
Prague Dragons 8 points
Ploce Eagles 6 points
After winning the first two tournaments the Zaprude Giants are in the box seat to take out the CEAFL premiership on Saturday. The combination of their skill and experience has proved pivotal in securing top spot on the ladder.
The Styrian DownUnderdogs were left reeling after being undefeated going into the final of round 2 where they went down to the all-conquering Giants. They’ll be looking to make amends after having a breakout season.
In their second year of existence, the Sesvete Double Blues are sitting equal second on the table and are quickly closing the gap between the middle and top tier of the competition. Don’t write them off for a push for the title.
In their first year as a club the VG Bombers are rapidly improving and show courage that is second-to-none. The only just missed out on beating table toppers, the Giants, in the previous tournament.
The two Zagreb sides will have a full complement of players to field sides at this tournament along with the Ploce Eagles. The three teams were absent from the Graz tournament but did provide a handful of players for the Prague Dragons.
The home side will be looking to stamp their authority on the CEAFL in the final round. Despite being out of contention they be hoping to finish season 2016 on the right note and they’ll prove a very difficult opponent on the Petrovice pitch.
There will be 7 teams competing at tomorrow’s season finale with a group of four and a group of three locking horns. The two groups look as follows:
Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers
Velik Goric Bombers
Play is kicks off tomorrow at 9am with the final set for 3:30pm. The full schedule is as follows:
9am: Prague Dragons vs Zagreb Dockers
9:30am: Zaprude Giants vs Sesvete Blues
10am: Styrian DownunderDogs vs Zagreb Hawks
10:30am: VG Bombers vs Zaprude Giants
11am: Prague Dragons vs Styrian Downunderdogs
11:30am: Zagreb Dockers vs Zagreb Hawks
12pm: Sesvete Blues vs VG Bombers
12:30pm: Prague Dragons vs Zagreb Hawks
1pm: Zagreb Dockers vs Styrian DownunderDogs
2pm: First Semi-Final
2:30pm Second Semi-Final
3pm: Third Place Final
3:30pm: Grand Final
Anything could happen in tomorrow’s tournament. Best of luck to all teams and supporters.
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-09-09 20:27:092016-09-09 20:27:09Match of the Round
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 email@example.com 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.
Stuart Mc Keating
Belfast Redbacks and Irish Warriors Nationally:
What position do you play:
Midfield – On ball or Sweeper
AFL Team you support:
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
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-08-24 12:24:372016-08-24 12:24:37Player of the Week - Stuart McKeating
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.
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.
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.
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.
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-08-24 12:19:072016-08-24 12:19:07Around the Grounds
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
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.
Germany: K. Haigh, J. Huesken, T. Menzel, J. Orlowski
Sweden: J. Lantz 2, K. Karlsson, C. Martensson
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
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.
GB Swans: R. Ramadan
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
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.
GB: A. Walkden 4, M. Cashman, D. Hastie, C. Britton
Ireland: M. Bartley, G. Murray, C. O’Lordian, K. Mccdonnell
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
The Top 10s
Player of the Tournament
Leading Goal Kicker
Player of the Tournament
Leading Goal Kicker
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-08-23 15:36:132016-08-23 15:36:132016 AFL Europe Championships
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
Ireland: A. Gillespie 3, N. Curtis 2, F. Roarty
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
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
GB Swans: C. Hall
Irish Banshees: A. Gillespie
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
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
GB Swans: L. Park, D. Saulter, R. Ramadan, L. Smith
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
afleuropehttp://afleurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AFLEurope-3.pngafleurope2016-08-19 21:10:112016-08-19 21:10:11#EC16 Women's Day 2 Match Reviews
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