Posts

#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

DSC_0372    DSC_0370

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

 

DSC_0450      DSC_0457

#EC16 Day 2 Review

German Eagles vs Swedish Elks

The 2nd day of matches at the AFL Europe Championships was again graced with beautiful sunshine. The German Eagles and Swedish Elks kicked off proceedings with what many pundits predicted to be the most bruising and physical encounter of the tournament.

Both sides were eager for the contest and this showed when they both started warming up at full intensity 45 minutes prior to the first bounce.

With the breeze at their backs in the first quarter, the German side, took the ascendancy early in the match. The footy was camped in the Eagles forward 50 with only their accuracy for goal proving costly. Tristan Thormann backed up his performance from Sunday to again assert a physical presence to every stoppage or contest he took part in.

Buster Sund picked up the slack for the Elks and did his best to swing the momentum in his sides favour. Despite the Eagles having the better of the game early, the Elks got a goal against the run of play to open the scoring for the day. A quick reply from Germany and this match was all level going into the 2nd term.

The 2nd quarter was a see-sawing affair with the Swedes and Germans trading goals to start the quarter. Andreas Svensson racked up a ton of the footy in the midfield for Sweden while their backline was being well served by Hampus Olsson who had a handful of last ditch intercept marks in the Elks defensive 50.

Jakob Jung showed his class in the midfield and displayed why he was one of the most talked about talents in Europe, while teammate Ruben Streicher was getting off the leash for the Germans up forward and when he marked and goaled from deep in the forward pocket the momentum well and truly shifted in the Eagles favour.

With a two goal lead to the Germans at halftime and kicking with the breeze in the third term meant the boys from Sweden had to muster something special to get back in the game. Some inspirational words from coach, Ryan Tucker, had the Elks come out from the main break like men possessed.

The intensity went up a notch in this game and the Swedish side did everything they could to get themselves back into the match. Spot fires were opening up after each contest with neither side taking a back foot.

Two goals in quick succession for Sweden to Phillip Nilsson and Chris Martensson to open the 4th quarter and the Elks opened the door for a come-from-behind victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be with Germany’s, Jan Huesken, kicking his third goal of the game and sealing what proved to be Germany’s first win in a full 18-a-side match in over 3 years, a great achievement for coach Mark Woods and his chargers.

Final scores: 7.14. 56 to 4.4. 28

Goals:

Germany: J. Huesken 3, R. Streicher 2, M. Herthum, H. Van de Stay

Sweden: K. Karlsson, A. Olsson, P. Nilsson, C. Martensson

Best:

Germany: J. Jung, T. Thormann, J. Huesken, M. Schutoff, M. Preiss, R. Streicher

Sweden: A. Svensson, H. Olsson, B. Sund, A. Tellstrom, T. Persson, J. Nilsson

 

DSC_0162     DSC_0108

 

GB Bulldogs vs Irish Warriors

The much anticipated game against these two old rivals was set to be an absolute thriller and it didn’t disappoint. With a twilight bounce, a growing crowd joined the boundary at Motspur Park to catch a glimpse of these two European powerhouses go head-to-head.

With a few injuries, a no-show and a dip in the Serpentine taking its toll on the home side they had to utilise their full squad for this game. The Irish weren’t without their troubles with a few knocks from their first hit out against the Germans ruling out some of their players.

Squad issues aside both teams were fired up for what was most likely a dress rehearsal for the Championship match in a few days’ time. The match opened with the footy whizzing from end-to-end. Neither side could string together more than a handful of clean possession, with a mixture of nerves and intense opposition pressure forcing simple skill errors.

Muiris Bartley was collecting a heap of the footy across the halfback line for Ireland and was launching the Warriors into attack with his raking left boot. Similarly, for GB was Luke Booth who was everywhere for the home side.

The 1st quarter deadlock was eventually broken by Irish forward pocket, Ryan McCloskey, whose nous around the goals was second to none. Another goal to Padraic O’Connell and the Irish had the better of the opening exchanges.

The 2nd term was a complete scrap. The footy was hot and neither side took a backward step. The Bulldogs were again hampered by their inability to covert forward entries. They finished the first half with 10 behinds and no goals in what proved a goalless term for both sides.

It was a low scoring first half with the scorecard not reflecting the excitement the game was providing its spectators. Jack Coughlan and Chris Britton were doing all they could to get the home side up-and-about while Gavin Murray was proving pivotal for the Irish in the ruck.

The match resumed similar to how it left off. Turnovers were again hurting both sides. Dominic Joyce got off the chain and opened the scoring for Ireland. Ill-discipline crept into the Bulldogs game and coupled with their inaccuracy in front of goal was putting the game out of reach.

With 3 goals to GB’s 0 in the third term the Irish looked like they had this game on ice. Injuries took their toll on the Warriors with a handful of players finishing their day early.

The Bulldogs started the 4th term still without a goal to their name. Cashman finally broke through for the hosts to breath some life into his Bulldogs teammates. Cashman goaled again and before you knew the game was alive. Andrew Walkden jagged another for GB and the game was well and truly turning into a nail biter. A mercurial tap on to an open Liam Burns steadied the ship for Ireland and gave them a 7-point lead with 5 minutes to play.

The footy was locked in the GB forward line with conversion again proving costly for the Bulldogs. They couldn’t buy a goal. It took a left-foot snap deep in the forward pocket from Vice-Captain, Michael Sharp to get the Bulldogs within a solitary point of the Irish with 2 minutes on the clock.

That was all she wrote in this blockbuster with the Irish able to hold on for what was a thrilling 1-point victory. Inaccuracy was the achilles heel for Great Britain and will be something they will look to rectify in their final pool game on Thursday.

Final Scores: 6.5. 41 to 4.16. 40

Goals:

Ireland: R. McCloskey 2, P. O’Connell, D. Joyce, E. O’Murchu, L. Burns

GB: M. Cashman 2, M. Sharp, A. Walkden

Best:

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

GB: M. Sharp, A. Cochrane, L. Booth, A. Overton, C. Britton, J. Coughlan

 

DSC_0269     DSC_0226

AFL Europe Championships – Day 1 Review

Match Reviews 14/8/16

Ireland Warriors v Germany Eagles

The 2016 AFL Europe Championships kicked off in style with the highly fancied Ireland Warriors taking on the German Eagles. In steamy conditions at Motspur Park, the Warriors were looking to stamp their authority as top-dogs of Europe with a strong showing against their opponents.

It didn’t take long for the Irish to open proceedings with a goal after 2 minutes to steady the nerves in the Championship opener. Muinis Bartley was finding plenty of the footy across the wing for the Irish and delivering into the forward line at will.

The Germans found their rhythm midway through the first quarter and held the Warriors firm for the vast majority. Tristan Thormann was herculean for the Eagles asserting his physical presence around the contest and making his opponents think twice with ball in hand with his ferocious tackling pressure.

Key-forward, Kevin McSorley broke the deadlock with an amazing snap on his left foot from the boundary to give the Warriors a steady lead in the closing stages of the quarter.

After a contested start to the game the Irish found a way to get their run and carry going which broke the game open after quarter time. Gavin Murray was not only dominant in the ruck but was proving invaluable around the ground for the Irish. His battle with the Eagles, Johannes Orlowski was one of the highlights of the match as the two big men went blow for blow all day.

Heading into the second half the Irish had a firm hold on the game and were controlling the tempo for large periods of time. AFL London’s Irish superstar, Kevin O’Brien, was dictating play from the centre and topped the possession count by a long way.

The Germans never gave in though and credit must go to their resilient backline for repelling constant attacking forays from the Irish. Donning the boxing headgear, Rob Macher, lead the tackle count and showed real spirit against a wave of green jumpers.

The heat was taking its toll on some of the German players, most notably Karl Haigh, who came off with cramp late in the third. He must have been pulling the wool over his opponent’s eyes as he returned to the field to slot the Eagles second goal of the game after what must have been some miracle work from resident sports trainer, ‘magic hands’ Shanahan

Inaccuracy marred the final quarter for the Warriors who had gone in at halftime with a very precise 10 goals, 2 behinds. Jan Husker snagged his second goal late in the fourth for the Germans who showed real fight and determination. The Irish would be happy with how they gelled after having their first training session together on the Saturday and will go in confident against arch-rivals, the Great Britain Bulldogs, on Tuesday evening.

The final scorecard reading 17.11. 113 to 3.0. 18.

Goals:

Ireland: P.O’Connell 4, K.McSorely 2, D. Joyce 2, R. McCloskey 2, G. Walls, E.O’Murchu, M. Bartley, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Halloran, C. O’Lordian, L. Burns

Germany: J. Husker 2, K. Haigh

Best:

Ireland: K.O’Brien, G. Murray, R. McCloskey, P. O’Connell, L. Burns, L. Hickey

Germany: T. Thormann, J. Jung, F. Neumann, J. Orlowski, M. Priess, K. Haigh

 

DSC_0428 DSC_0435

 

 

Great Britain Bulldogs v Sweden Elks

Host nation, the GB Bulldogs, graced the field in the second game of the tournament against surprise packets the Swedish Elks. With the mercury peaking just prior to first bounce both sets of players knew they’d be in for a fair slog and the first 15 minutes of the quarter proved just that.

The Bulldogs were getting their hands on the footy first but poor skill execution and some silly free kicks were really hurting them.

Dave Jordan steadied the ship for GB with an intercept mark across the wing before delivering a lace out pass to Andrew Walkden who went back to slot the opener.

Inaccuracy was killing the Bulldogs early on and kept the Swedes in the game. Kaj Karlsson was a beast in the midfield for the Elks and was starting to swing the early momentum.

Enter Marc Cashman, the big centre half forward chalked up his first goal of the game following another bullet pass from Bulldogs midfielder Luke Booth. From here on the Bulldogs were dominant.

Jordan and Sharp were wreaking havoc on the wings for GB while David Hastie jagged two goals back to back to open the second quarter.

Despite not troubling the scorers the Elks were very much threatening the GB backline. Andreas Svensson was central to the cause and was one of the most influential players on the ground for the Elks in the midfield. Jacob Nilsson was doing his best to resist the Bulldogs attack and was continually bombing the ball out of the Swedes under pressure defence.

With three goals to Cashman to open the final quarter, taking his tally to six majors, the heat was well and truly out of the contest.

With some junk time goals stretching the score out to over 100-points the Bulldogs well and truly stamped their authority on their home tournament.

Final scorecards reading 18.17. 125 to 1.1. 7.

The result leaves a tantalising Tuesday evening game against old foes the Irish Warriors which will be a battle of strength vs. speed. This will be one of the games of the Championships with a lot of history adding to the theatre of this faceoff.

Let’s not forget the showdown between Germany and Sweden on Tuesday afternoon which is set to be one of the most bruising encounters of the tournament. Both sides love the rough stuff and will leave nothing in the tank.

Play starts from 4pm on Tuesday.

Goals:

Bulldogs: M. Cashman 6, D. Hastie 3, J. Coughlan 2, C. Cooney 2, A. Walkden, M. Kilheeney, L. Booth, A. Cochran, L. Gedney

Elks: A. Olsson

Best:

Bulldogs: M. Cashman, L. Booth, J. Talbot, D. Jordan, M. Hinchey, M. Kilheeney

Elks: A. Svensson, H. Olsson, A. Olsson, T. Persson, A. Tellstrom, K. Karlsson

 

DSC_0561 DSC_0563

1 DAY TO GO!

AFL Europe Championships Preview

14th -20th August

The pinnacle of full format AFL in Europe has arrived. National teams from around Europe have landed in London to compete for the title of best national team in Europe. Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Germany will contest the men’s division while Great Britain, Ireland and a combination of players from France, Denmark and Britain will form a European Crusaders side to compete in the women’s side of the draw.

The week long tournament will be held at the home of Aussie Rules in London, Motspur Park, and runs from Sunday 14th to Saturday 20th of August. The first round of men’s matches takes place tomorrow with the Irish Warriors taking on the German Eagles at 1pm. This will be followed by the host nation, the Great Britain Bulldogs going head-to-head with the Swedish Elks at 3pm.

The men’s draw has each team play one another once before they contest the finals on the Saturday. The host nation, the Great Britain Bulldogs, along with the Irish Warriors are tipped to be the strongest sides at the triennial competition. The Bulldogs are renowned for their hard and tough style of football while the Warriors like to take the game on and use the space utilising their run-and-carry.

The Swedes and Germans are harder to get a gauge on and they’ll be real surprise packets at this tournament. Both countries have thriving domestic competitions and on their day can cause upsets to their more fancied opponents. The Elks and Eagles won’t mind the underdog tag and will work it in their favour come game day.

The women’s tournament kicks off on the Thursday with three consecutive days of fixtures culminating in the final on the Saturday. The GB Swans have set the benchmark early in 2016 with a host of victories at shorter format tournaments. The Irish girls will do their best to get the ball on the outside where they are most dangerous with their speed and skill. The biggest unknown in the women’s tournament is the European Crusaders. They’re a side made up of the most footy-mad girls from France, Scandinavia and Britain who were desperate to get a game when their countries were unable to fill a full squad. They’ll be a real unknown force in this tournament and depending on how they gel as a side could seriously contend for the top prize.

With games taking place on every other day from Sunday London will be brimming with Aussie rules action. Keep an eye out on the AFL Europe social media and website for updates and match reviews daily.

The full tournament schedule:

Sunday 14th August

  • 1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles
  • 3pm GB Bulldogs v Swedish Elks

Tuesday 16th August

  • 4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks
  • 6pm GB Bulldogs v Irish Warriors

Thursday 18th August

  • 1:30pm GB Swans v Irish Banshees
  • 2:15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
  • 3pm European Crusaders v GB Swans
  • 4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks
  • 6pm GB Bulldogs v German Eagles

Friday 19th August

  • 11:30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
  • 12:15pm GB Swans v Irish Banshees
  • 1pm European Crusaders v GB Swans

Saturday 20th August

  • 12:40pm Men’s third place P/O
  • 2:30pm Women’s final
  • 4pm Men’s final

 

 

 

Ben Durance

 

 

EC Team Preview – European Crusaders

 

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – European Crusaders

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the final of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the European Crusaders a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

We formed the European Crusaders for this full format tournament; most girls on this team have never played for the Crusaders before.

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

Crusaders is a team consisting of girls from more than a handful of different countries, hereunder France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark. As many of the countries in Europe are not able to put together a full format team, we got the opportunity to play as a joint team thanks to AFL Europe. Our team consists of players who have never played before and players who have been playing for several years. We have an awesome team with many good girls with different strengths with different strengths we will try to utilize.

Crusaders have never played together before but is looking forward to play and have fun together as a team, hopefully showing the other women’s teams that we are to be reckoned with.

Denmark Valkyries Team Manager Cyril Marsault has been recruited to coach the Crusaders during the tournament. He will get a helping hand from Maria Falkesgaard who will be a playing team manager for the Crusaders.

AFL Europe Championships focus

The crusaders have never played together as a team before, but all girls have a great sense of teamspirit. We have girls of very different skill levels and therefore we would love improve during the tournament, however we now that we might have a huge challenge here. The strengths of the team are that all the girls are very committed to playing a full format tournament and that all the girls’ love playing footy. The weaknesses of the Crusaders is that we are very low in numbers and that we have never played together before.

Who has the X-Factor?

We have players from both the French and Danish national teams and they are always bringing their best play for tournaments. Furthermore, we have a strong list of British, Kiwi and Australian girls who shows promising notes on field. As this team is pure superstar quality, we do not highlight any one player but the team as a whole. However, we are looking forward to seeing Samara Warren play her first footy game and think this former soccer player will be a nice addition to the team.

Coaches thoughts – Cyril Marsault

”The Crusaders will enter the competition with less expectation to them than to the national teams. The focus on fun rather than performance, and the patchwork from different countries, might come as a disadvantage, but choosing to compete with such a team shows great motivation and courage from the players, which might just be the recipe to unexpected success on the field.”

 

Squad

  1. Maria Falkesgaard
  2. Amanda Teglhus
  3. Maibritt Jansen
  4. Claudia Kwok
  5. Alexandra Daley
  6. Lucy Henderson
  7. Coline Duquet
  8. Mathilde Combes
  9. Claire Pérez
  10. Lynne Wooldridge
  11. Rachel Gouldingay
  12. Rebecca Dickson
  13. Hayley ’The Noodle’ Canton
  14. Samara Warren
  15. Claire Messent
  16. Emma Lundaahl

 

 

EC16 Team Preview – Irish Banshees

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Irish Banshees

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the Irish Banshees a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The Banshees last competed at International level in 2014 where we went down to Canada in the final of the International Cup in Melbourne but managed to bounce back from that disappointment to beat a very impressive England Vixens side in the final of the Euro Cup in London.

Since 2014 a number of our key players have moved on or are unable to travel to London due to other sporting commitments which mean the Banshees side that takes to the field in London will have only 5 players who have previously experienced international football.

On the flip side, the positives for the Banshees is that this year we have unearthed a lot of new talent and their enthusiasm and love of the game will be on display in London.

Brendan Kelly, who is the coach of the Ulster Kookaburras has joined the coaching staff for the 2016 tournaments. Shaun Saurin who previously coached the squad to Euro Cup success is unable to travel to London due to a family wedding but is doing some preparatory work with the team in advance of London.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

At the tournament there will be a joint coaching team of Pat Leavy and Brendan Kelly. The team are in safe hands as Pat, who managed the team at IC14 and EC14 has played with the Warriors from 2003 to 2013 which included two International Cup campaigns as well as numerous Euro Cups.

Brendan has also played in numerous Euro Cups and at IC14. He is currently a member of the Irish Warriors team competing at the Championships and he is hoping to retain the title he won in 2013.

The management team also have a number of support staff behind them, most notable Deirdre Ní Chearaill, former Banshee international and current lady president of ARFLI who has been one of the driving forces behind resurrecting the Banshees in 2016. She will be acting as team liaison.

The team is shaping up pretty well. We can see huge strides in each player’s development since the start of the summer. There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and some very exciting new players will be on show. On one hand you have multiple international medal winners like Emma Kelly, Fiona Roarty and Carolann Cassidy and on the other you have really exciting new prospects like Olivia McCann, Colleen Quinn, Claire Donnelly and Clara Fitzpatrick.

Add in some full format experience from the AFL London league gained by Onóra Mulcahy and Linda Connolly and we think it’s a formidable team.

We have 16 players from the Ulster Kookaburras, 1 from the Galway Magpies, 2 players from London club, the Wandsworth Demons, with the remainder coming from the Dublin Angels.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus

We would have liked to have had more collective training sessions in the lead up to the tournament but to counteract that we have linked in with the men’s carnival rounds in the ARFLI premiership. This has allowed the girls learn the finer points of AFL from looking at the men’s game.

We’re looking forward to playing on a full oval as we rarely get the chance, so in particular we’ll be looking to add width and pace to our game, which will allow the players adapt their Gaelic football skills to a new game. The experience of 18 a side will be of huge benefit going into IC17.

Our strength is definitely the quality of our footballers. All the players have played Ladies Gaelic Football to a high level in Ireland. Our weakness is probably the lack of 18 a side football in Ireland and an inability for the team to train collectively on a regular basis.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Emma Kelly, Onóra Mulcahy and Fiona Roarty can really dominate, so it’s certainly worth watching out for them. As we are travelling with a relatively new squad, a number of players have really improved out of sight over the last few months so it would be unfair to single any one player out.

That is the exciting part of a tournament, you never know which player we will be all talking about by the end of it – hopefully it will be one wearing green!

 

Coach’s thoughts – Pat Leavy

“We’d expect to have a fair crack at getting to the final, but we know it will be difficult. The Crusaders will have the best players from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France, while the GB Swans are currently the benchmark in Europe. The GB women’s league is probably the best female league outside of Australia. The Vixens were excellent the last time we played them in 2014 and have improved since.

From a Banshee point of view, how the tournament unfolds will be determined by how our players react to full format and knowing the potential in our team, I’m excited at seeing how they will develop as the tournament progresses but expect a great team performance and hopefully we will get over the line”

 

Squad

  1. Claire Donnelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  2. Terri Kelly (Dublin Angels)
  3. Ciara Mone (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  4. Catherine Collins (Dublin Angels)
  5. Emma Kelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  6. Fiona Roarty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  7. Carolann Cassidy (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  8. Olivia McCann (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  9. Onóra Mulcahy (Wandsworth Demons)
  10. Naomi Curtis (Dublin Angels)
  11. Mairead Walsh (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  12. Marley Bevan (Dublin Angels)
  13. Ursula Murphy (Irish Exiles AFL)
  14. Linda Connolly (Wandsworth Demons)
  15. Leona Russell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  16. Claire Doherty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  17. Clara Fitzpatrick (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  18. Aisling Gillespie (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  19. Edel Gray (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  20. Crea McAleer (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  21. Tracey Moloney (Irish Exiles AFL)
  22. Amy O’Donnell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  23. Nuala O’Hagan (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  24. Colleen Quinn (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  25. Oonagh McAnespey (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  26. Niamh Mc Fadden (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  27. Colleen Mallon (Irish Exiles AFL)
  28. Ashleigh Payne (Dublin Angels)

EC16 Team Preview – GB Swans

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – GB Swans

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the GB Swans a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The GB Swans were established earlier this year by two England Vixens players who wanted the opportunity to play in tournaments alongside the GB Bulldogs (men’s team), including the European Championships and the International Cup. Since the formation of the team, the GB Swans have attended two events, the Champions League in Amsterdam and the AFL London Preseason Cup in Peckham. In what couldn’t have been a better start for the team, they won both tournaments, making a name for themselves as a team to beat. Charlotte Eales and Lisa Wilson, who founded the team, have been working hard to schedule selection days, prepare the team for the upcoming tournament, arrange kits and are working hard to bring in sponsorship. The management team have hugely been helped out by Jason Hill, Team Manager for the GB Bulldogs.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

The GB Swans are lucky to have 3 excellent coaches; Garth Nevin as Head Coach and Lauren Spark & Ian Mitchell as Assistant Coaches who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. On announcement of the GB Swans forming a few months ago, the Swans received nearly 50 registrations of interest from girls across the country. After two selection days in Birmingham and Glasgow, a squad of 26 was selected for the European Championships. The girls come from a number of different teams representing England, Scotland and Wales. Unfortunately, we are yet to have a Northern Ireland girl register, but we hope to get them engaged soon! Clubs that are represented by the GB Swans are: Glasgow Sharks, Wimbledon Hawks, University of Birmingham, Greater Glasgow Giants, Wandsworth Demons, South East London Giants and North London Lions.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus 

The two selection days we had in Birmingham and Glasgow were doubled up as training camps to give the coaches an idea of the skill and fitness level of the girls in order to give feedback to aid improvement before the tournament. Alongside these, many of the players selected for the EC16 team played in the AFL London Preseason Cup back in April. Many of the girls have played together before for the England Vixens and Scottish Sirens, or within their clubs, however this will be the first time for many of the girls playing together.

With many of the girls coming from the AFL London league, there is a wealth of 18 aside experience which will be one of our strengths. However, fitness is always an issue when playing on an Oval as large as the one at Motspur Park. The girls will be looking to neaten up their skills, clean hands and kicks whilst ensuring constant pressure on and off the ball.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Sisters Alex and Danni Saulter have had a bout of injury this season with the latter being out all season with a fractured elbow, sustained in the AFL London Preseason Cup. With both girls nearly back at full fitness they will be a force to be reckoned with; Alex in the half-back line and Danni strong in the midfield. They will both be hoping to replicate their fantastic performances in the 2015 Euro Cup where they both played for the England Vixens who took out the title.

One of our youngest, Chloe Hall, recently moved from playing at the University of Birmingham to the South East London Giants. She has rapidly adapted to the 18 aside format and her knowledge, skill and commitment to the game has been outstanding. She will be one to watch at this tournament and in the future for GB Swans. She also stands out as she has a tomato blush as she exerts herself into the contest. A real leader and hard ball getter!

 

Coaches thoughts – Garth Nevin 

“I’m not going to lie, I have set high expectations. I believe the talent we have in our team we should push very hard for the No 1 European spot. I hope that the girls send a message to the other countries competing in the International cup in 2017. We mean business. Another aim is to open the doors for the upcoming inaugural year of Women’s AFL in Australia for all GB women. The commitment these women have shown inspires me to pass on every bit of AFL knowledge I have. Whatever the result, I will be extremely proud of these ladies and honoured to be the first ever coach of the GB Swans.”

 

Squad

  1. Beth Bailey
  2. Carolyn Baker (Glasgow Sharks)
  3. Jen Bennett (Wimbledon Hawks)
  4. Freya Blount (University of Birmingham)
  5. Lea Cobham (North London Lions)
  6. Louise Darby (Wimbledon Hawks)
  7. Charlie Eales (Wimbledon Hawks)
  8. Chloe Hall (University of Birmingham)
  9. Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks)
  10. Kirsty Gray (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  11. Rose Lewis (Wandsworth Demons)
  12. Laura Mackay (University of Birmingham)
  13. Jess Milford (Wimbledon Hawks)
  14. Sophie Morris (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  15. Rania Ramadan (North London Lions)
  16. Zoe Rowe (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  17. Alex Saulter (North London Lions)
  18. Danni Saulter (North London Lions)
  19. Caroline Sellar (Glasgow Sharks)
  20. Louise Smith (Glasgow Sharks)
  21. Ellie Sutherland (Glasgow Sharks)
  22. Lynsey Torrance (Glasgow Sharks)
  23. Laura Turner (North London Lions)
  24. Lisa Wilson (Wimbledon Hawks)
  25. Lucy Jones
  26. Laura Park (Greater Glasgow Giants)

 

 

EC16 Team Preview – German Eagles

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – German Eagles

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

The next team preview is of the German Eagles. They’ll be raring to go in the 18-a-side tournament especially after claiming the Bowl at last year’s Euro Cup.

How have the German Eagles been going since Euro Cup 2015?

The Eagles have been slowly building a group of passionate, focused and tough footballers over the past 10 years, as the sport grows along with it in Germany.

The Eagles finished Euro Cup 2015 in Umag, Croatia as winners of the Bowl. This highlighted the growth and development in Germany.

At Euro Cup 2015 a new management team was introduced, they continued to work on the principle of national team growth, whilst adding in a new intensity to the group.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

Mark Woods will continue coaching the Eagles into the Championships in 2016. Woods is an Australian who currently plays in the AFL Germany competition with the Munich Kangaroos. His in-depth knowledge of the local German players will be invaluable come August. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge but more importantly has a passion to develop the game outside of Australia.

A full squad will be on the plane to London for the August tournament. The list will be very new and have many fresh faces. With their usual captain and half a dozen first 18 players missing from the squad this could prove a difficult tournament. With experience lacking there is a chance to blood some new players which can only strengthen the Eagles in the long-term.

Pulling on the German jumper is always a great honour for the players and each player knows their roles to help the Eagles compete strongly.

The Eagles squad comprises players from all over Germany. Most AFL Germany clubs are represented with Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Freiberg, Frankfurt and Munich all providing players to the national squad. This squad will also include some players from England and the Netherlands.

Pre-Tournament Focus

The Eagles have met for a 2-day training camp during the mid-season AFL Germany break and proved a key lead up camp prior to the AFL Europe Champs.

The team is a mix of youth and experience and have established six team pillars they want to be renowned for in the competition. If all players stick to these team pillars they’ll be successful come August.

One key area of focus for the Germans in the lead up has been their ability to work hard without the ball in hand. They believe that this will be a key feature and highlight of their game style.

The Eagles are well-known for their team balance and drive. They are driven to do their country proud. They aren’t here to make up the numbers by any means and want to be the best team in Europe. They are lucky because their players are able to play in any position across the ground and are willing to put themselves on the line for their country.

However, their limited time together will prove challenging and the quicker they gel as a team the more dangerous they’ll become to their opposition.

Who has the X-Factors?

The Germans are strong across the park and are blessed with the ability to play their players in any position. A few names to keep an eye out for are big bodied midfielder/defender, Florian Naumann, who can take a strong mark overhead and hits very hard. Ruben Streicher is a raw talent who plays as a tall forward or ruckmen. He was named in the Euro Cup team of the tournament last year in Croatia and is only going to improve. Jakob Jung is one to watch for the opposition. He has all the attribute of a top-quality midfielder with his speed and skills, he’s also tough as nails so will be hard to stop in the Champs.

Players who have shown significant improvement for the Eagles are Jan Husken and Simon Assmus. Both will be hoping to continue their rapid develop and shake up competition.

The coach’s thoughts – Mark Woods?

“In Euro Cup 2015, Germany played their first matches under a new coaching style and set of team rules. The team had only come together two days before the cup. Yet when we played to the rules and stuck to our style, we played very well. We lost only one game for the day, against Ireland, and that by only a small margin, having been thrashed by them in previous years.

With this in mind, we are looking to continue to grow as a country squad. I will be most proud when we stick to the game plan and the team rules. We will play hard (and of course fair).

This being said, all of the players want to win. I want to win.”

Team List

  1. Florian Naumann
  2. Jonas Nebel
  3. Simon Assmus
  4. Martin Schuttoff
  5. Jakob Jung
  6. Jan Ostrawsky
  7. Johannes Mast
  8. Constantin Pixa
  9. Martin Krichler
  10. Markus Preib
  11. Martin Bauer
  12. Sebastian Esche
  13. Rob Macher
  14. Ruben Streicher
  15. Jan Husken
  16. Johannes Orlowski
  17. Sven Bonus
  18. Henrik van de Stay
  19. Jonas Jakobeit
  20. Matthias Schmitz
  21. Tobias Menzel
  22. Moritz Herthum
  23. Jascha Jung
  24. Karl Haigh
  25. Tristan Thormann
  26. Rob White
  27. Uli Schmoll
  28. Johannes Binninger
  29. Waldemar Schlundt
  30. Richard Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EC16 Team Preview – Irish Warriors

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Ireland Warriors

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

Next up to be previewed is the Ireland Warriors. The boys from Ireland are always up around top of the placings and will be looking to further assert the dominance in London.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

Since the International Cup in 2014 the Irish Warriors have been consistent participants in the yearly Euro Cup. They finished third in the 2014 and were beaten by Croatia after the siren in Umag in the third-place playoff. There has been a high volume of player turnover in recent years for the Warriors.

The positive for the Irish is that their Draft Cup competition unearthed a lot of new talent and the squad will contain a number of players making their Warriors debuts.

The management for the Irish Warriors has undergone significant changes in recent years. The team at IC14 was managed by Paul Brogan and coached by Shaun McElhone, who led the team to wins at Euro Cup 2011 and 2012 as well as retaining the AFL Europe Championships in Dublin 2013. Shaun’s success was unable to travel Australia for IC14 but had the side coached under the watchful eyes of David Stynes and Lachlan Buzsard.

Since the success of the recent era a new coaching and management team has been put in place and it has evolved over the last few years. They’ll be looking to go one step better than previous tournaments and come away with the win at the Champs come August.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

The joint coaching team of Brian Currane and Ciaran O’Hara, both of whom have worked with the team since 2014 and began the process whilst IC14 was underway.

Brian was one of the best forwards in Ireland for many years and was a member of the winning International Cup side from 2002. He was also involved in an administrative capacity for the AFL Europe Championships in 2010.

Ciaran has for many years been involved in the management of the National team, having travelled as an assistant to the International Cup in 2002. In the 2008 and 2011 instalments of the tournament he also managed the team. He coached Croatia at the last AFL Europe Championships in Dublin and has a wealth of experience coaching Irish club teams.

Supporting the coaches is a number of people, most notably, former captain Cian Quigley as team liaison.

The team itself is coming together well, blending a mix of youth and experience. With multiple International medal winners like David McElhone, Eoin O’Suilebhain and Gerard Walls mixing with some really exciting prospects like Stuart McKeating, Paul Murphy and Luke Hickey this Warriors side looks pretty formidable. Add to this some full format experience from the UK Leagues and the Irish could be hard to stop.

The side is made up of 9 players from both the Belfast Redbacks and Leeside Lions, 2 from the Galway Magpies, 2 from South Dublin Swans and a number of player representing UK Clubs such as the Manchester Mozzies, North London Lions, Wandsworth Demons and Wimbledon Hawks.

Pre-Tournament Focus

Due to very busy domestic league schedules it has been difficult for the Warriors to meet for training camps. Their players will be in form with regular carnivals and premiership games throughout the year keeping them fit and with good touch.

The Warriors will relish the opportunity to run out onto a full sized oval seeing as they don’t usually get the opportunity. They’ll look to add width and pace to their game which is something Irish players are traditionally very good at. With a high calibre of football player, the Irish will always a tough opponent and will be very difficult beat. Their Achilles heel is always their inability to train as a team before big tournaments which will put pressure on them early in the Champs to gel as quick as possible.

Who has the X-Factor?

The ruck duo of Gavin Murray and Dominic Joyce will be ones to look out for and can be really dominate. They could dictate first use for their midfielders which is key to winning big games.

The improvement shown by players like Sean Paul Henry is going to be vital for the Warriors. His natural athleticism has always had him at the forefront of opposition discussions but not his foot skills have become a focal point of his game which makes him a really exciting prospect for the Irish side.

Coaches thoughts – Brian Currane?

“We’d expect to have a fair crack at defending our title, but we know it will be difficult, GB were very good in 2013 and have improved since and the home advantage for them could be the percentages they need to take out their first European Championship.”

Team List (includes emergencies)

  1. Muiris Bartley (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  2. Sean Paul Henry (Belfast Redbacks)
  3. Luke Hickey (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  4. Brendan Kelly (Belfast Redbacks)
  5. Stiofan Mac Finn (Wimbledon Hawks)
  6. Tom McKenna (Belfast Redbacks)
  7. Paul Murphy (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  8. Conor O’Halloran (Leeside Lions)
  9. Eoin O’Suilleabhain (Leeside Lions)
  10. Tom Stack (Manchester Mozzies)
  11. Gerard Walls (Belfast Redbacks)
  12. Liam Burns (South Dublin Swans)
  13. Conor Fitzgerald (Wandsworth Demons)
  14. David McElhone (Belfast Redbacks)
  15. Sean McGlinchey (Belfast Redbacks)
  16. Stuart McKeating (Belfast Redbacks)
  17. David Miller (Belfast Redbacks)
  18. Gavin Murray (South Dublin Swans)
  19. Kevin O’Brien (Wandsworth Demons)
  20. Eoin O’Murchu (Wandsworth Demons)
  21. Conor Fitzgerald (North London Lions)
  22. Dominic Joyce (Leeside Lions)
  23. Ryan McCloskey (Belfast Redbacks)
  24. Kevin McDonnell (Galway Magpies)
  25. David McGinty (Galway Magpies)
  26. Kevin McSorley (Belfast Redbacks)
  27. Kevin O’Brien (Wandsworth Demons)
  28. Padraic O’Connell (Leeside Lions)
  29. Coilin O’Lordain (Leeside Lions)
  30. Rory O’Donnell (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  31. Alan Tobin (Wandsworth Demons)

EC16 Team Preview – Swedish Elks

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Swedish Elks

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

What’s happened since the International Cup in 2014?

The Elks have remained relatively quiet since the International Cup in 2014. The team participated in the 2014 Euro Cup with mixed results. They also hosted the 2015 Nordic Challenge beating Norway and Denmark (for the very first time) to claim the title.

2016 has seen the Elks host regional training sessions as well as a combined session following the Swedish Cup tournament in Norrtalje in June this year.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships?

Head coach Daniel McClaer resigned in 2015 and the board spent a lot of time finding a new coach before finally settling on Brett Petersen based in Malmo. Unfortunately, Brett will not be attending the Championships in August so the team will be coached by manager and AFL Sweden President, Ryan Tucker.

There are a few new faces in the team but the majority of players have played in the Elks squad for a number of years. They hope to mix the older generation with the youth coming through but finding the right balance will be key.

Players are spread all across the country with all but one active team not having a player represented. Sweden have also taken advantage of neighbouring countries not entering a team with players from Norway, Finland and Lithuania.

Pre-Tournament Focus?

The lead up to this tournament has not been perfect having only recently secured a new head coach the team has not received the desired amount of attention moving into the Championships. Unfortunately, combined training sessions and team meetings have not been able to happen as planned which puts the Elks behind the eight-ball in terms of preparation. In saying this, the group of players play with and against one another at club level week in, week out which provides a level of familiarity.

The biggest hurdle will be the adjustment of newer players to the 18-a-side format after playing at 9-a-side format for their respective clubs. The Elks are renowned for their fitness, determination and voice on the field which will more than make up for any other areas they may be lacking.

Who has the X-Factor?

You can never go past veteran Andy Svensson. The oldest player in the team seems to get younger when he plays footy. Having played since the early 2000s he is a valued member of the team. Andy was a member of the combined Denmark and Sweden side that took out the championships 20 years ago in 1996.

New Elks, Alex Olsson and Calle Wrang have proved in domestic footy that they can produce, whilst stalwarts Chris Martensson and Hampus Olsson will lead the team with bravado.

One of the most improved players is Buster Sund from Norrtalje. He was just 17 years old at International Cup in 2014 and gained valuably from that experience to become one of the most dominant players in the Stockholm league in the past two years.

Coach’s thoughts – Ryan Tucker

“For me this tournament will serve as a great learning tool for the players looking to play in IC17. A bunch of new guys have never played 18-a-side footy and I am excited to see what can happen when the game widens. I am happy with the team we have put together and I think we have some great strengths in our fitness and passion for the game. our size will also be a factor during the tournament which we can hopefully exploit. Even though we have a few new players to the team our experienced players have a number of years behind them which will be very useful in tight games.”

Team List

  1. Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
  2. Anton Tellström (Helsingborg)
  3. Jacob Lantz (Helsingborg)
  4. Hampus Olsson (Helsingborg)
  5. Jacob Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  6. Philip Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  7. Robin Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  8. Niklas Jonsson (Norrtälje)
  9. Martynas Alijosius (Norrtälje)
  10. Erik Lindqvist (Norrtälje)
  11. Gustav Svensson (Norrtälje)
  12. Buster Sund (Norrtälje)
  13. Tim Lindgren (Port Malmö)
  14. Tobias Gogu (Port Malmö)
  15. Tony Persson (Port Malmö)
  16. Jonas Lovén (Port Malmö)
  17. Christopher Mårtensson (Port Malmö)
  18. Jonas Birgén (Årsta)
  19. Mattis Kvarnström (Årsta)
  20. Oscar Magnusson (Solna)
  21. Pekka Tångström (Göteborg)
  22. Kaj Karlsson (Södermalm)