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UCC Bombers Team Preview – Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

In the lead up to the 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Cork, Ireland on the 4th February we’ll be taking a look at each side attending the annual universities tournament. We’re kicking off the team previews with the host University men’s side, the University College Cork Bombers.

The Bombers will be looking to impress in front of a home crowd and regain the ‘Fitz’ after missing out at the past two tournaments.

What has happened since the last Fitzpatrick Cup?
Another season, another Fitzpatrick Cup. Since last year’s competition the Bombers have had a successful year on the field, winning their first Rebel Shield and having players in their ranks selected for National Teams. This year, the Bombers kicked off the year in typical fashion, with a BLAST, beating the current ARFLI Premiership winners, the Leeside Lions, in the first round of the Rebel Shield. The Bombers have drawn high numbers of players to training this year, pushing one another to improve week on week. This year the Bombers have had a high turnover of players, and a whole host of new players are eager to go one step further than last year.

Fitzpatrick Cup history
– Inaugural winners of the Fitzpatrick Cup 2013.
– Runners-Up 2015 & 2016

Players to watch
With the Leeside Lions being the current ARFLI Premiership winners it’s safe to say footy has taken off on Leeside. The Bombers provided a number of players who went on to play for the Lions, with the likes of James “Enzo” O’Callaghan and Jack Kelleher having gained valuable experience competing against footballers who have been playing the game for a number of years.

A number of Bombers have gone on to represent the Irish Warriors over the past 12 months, with the likes of Peter Traynor, Rory O’Donnell, Paul Murphy, Matt Bell, Oisín Collins and Ronan Sheehan all given the opportunity to represent their country.

While the Bombers have an exciting crop of new players, providing the team with new and fresh ideas, players like Shane O’Sullivan, James Galvin, and Conor Beasley are just a few of the new players the Bombers have on board this year. You mix this in with the Bombers that have Fitzpatrick Cup experience like Evan O’Connor, Dean Johnson and Joe Maguire, and I think it’s safe to say the Bombers go into this year’s Fitzpatrick Cup full of hope and expectation.

So who’s in charge?
Yet again the Bombers are led by the Lions double act of Eoin O Súilleabháin and Chris O’Brien. Eoin has represented the Irish Warriors over a number of years and has won it all as a player. Now he hopes to replicate that success as a manger. Chris O’Brien was the figurehead behind the Leeside Lions’ march to an undefeated ARFLI season and Premiership crown, all in his first year in charge. He too will be hoping continue this success going forward with the college.

Interview with Eoin O Súilleabháin – Head Coach of UCC Bombers

Aims for the tournament?

“Our aims are to win it. No point in beating around the bush, it’s what we’re all aiming for. To be European Inter-varsities Champions.

On top of that, we also want to host a great tournament. The Fitzpatrick Cup is fast becoming one of the biggest events on the AFL Europe calendar, and we want to push on and make this year’s installment the best yet.”

Which players have the X-factor?

“It’s always tough to pick out individual players from a list. In UCC we have a high turnover of players, through graduation, impact of other sports, etc. so we essentially have a new crop each September, boosted by a few players with a year or twos experience. It’s an exciting prospect, and when you see their natural talent on show, you just need to guide them along.

We have a few in our list that have had call ups to the National Team, and some GAA and rugby converts that have taken to the game well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform.”

How have the preparations been going?

“Preparations have been going well on the whole. ARFLI have introduced a Winter Championship that has us playing regular footy, and we had the first leg of The Rebel Shield recently which was another opportunity to get a run out. Although neither were a 9s format, we’ve been focusing on that at training. Numbers have been great, application and effort the same, so hopefully it will all come together.”

What are the main attributes of your team?

“It’s tough to pick specific attributes when we haven’t played fully as a team yet, but the intensity of some of our guys for the footy is amazing.  The boys go whole-heatedly for the ball, take knocks and bumps, and just get on with it.
That, coupled with a few good legs and big grabs, it helps to get a good footing in a game.”

Player of the Week – Stuart McKeating

AFL EUROPE PLAYER OF THE WEEK 

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

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

Name:

Stuart Mc Keating

 

Club:

Belfast Redbacks and Irish Warriors
Nationally:

Irish

 

What position do you play:

Midfield – On ball or Sweeper

 

AFL Team you support:

Belfast Redbacks

 

Favourite AFL player:

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

 

How did you find out about AFL:

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

 

How long have you been playing for:

About 4ish years now

 

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

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

 

Best AFL moment:

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

 

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

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

Around the Grounds

Bulldogs and Swans crowned Champions of Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wrap up article

Amsterdam White Devils claim the DAFA 9s Premiership

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

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

Final scores 87 to 77.

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

DAFA 9s 1 DAFA 9s

Berlin League culminates in Grand Final rematch

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

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

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

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

Berlin

Free access to WatchAFL

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

Click the link below and sign up below.

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

 

 

 

2016 AFL Europe Championships

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

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

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

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

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

Third Place Playoff – Germany Eagles vs Swedish Elks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goals:

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

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

Best:

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

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

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Women’s Final – GB Swans vs Irish Banshees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goals:

GB Swans: R. Ramadan

Irish Banshees:

Best:

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

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

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Men’s Final – Irish Warriors vs GB Bulldogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goals:

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

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

Best:

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

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

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The Top 10s

WOMEN

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

 

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

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MEN

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

 

 

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

 

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#EC16 Women’s Day 2 Match Reviews

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Irish Banshees vs European Crusaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final scores: 6.5. 40 to 0.0. 0

Goals:

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

European Crusaders:

Best:

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

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

 

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Irish Banshees vs GB Swans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final scores: 1.2. 8 to 1.2. 8

Goals:

GB Swans: C. Hall

Irish Banshees: A. Gillespie

Best:

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

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

 

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GB Swans vs European Crusaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final score: 4.6. 30 to 0.0. 0

Goals:

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

European Crusaders:

Best:

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

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

 

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#EC16 Men’s Day 3 Match Reviews

Irish Warriors vs Swedish Elks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Scores: 19.14. 128 to 0.5. 5

Goals:

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

Sweden:

Best:

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

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

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GB Bulldogs vs German Eagles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goals:

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

German Eagles:

Best:

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

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

 

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#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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

 

AFL Europe Match of the Round

SARFL Grand Final – Greater Glasgow Giants v Glasgow Sharks

It’s an all Glasgow showdown in the Scottish Australian Rules Football League (SARFL) this weekend. Linlithgow Rugby Club is backing up to host the season finale with a 2pm bounce scheduled.

The Glasgow Sharks won through to the grand final with an 11-point win over archrivals, the Edinburgh Bloods, in last weekend’s preliminary final. The Sharks finished in 3rd place with 4 wins from 6 games.

The Greater Glasgow Giants have been the benchmark of the SARFL in season 2016 and won automatic qualification for the grand final after claiming the minor premiership at the end of the regular season. They won’t need any extra motivation going into this game after going down in last year’s final.

The two sides have only met once so far this season which was at the start of June where the Giants got over the Sharks in a 6-point win. If this game is anything to go by then Saturdays final should be an absolute thriller.

Both sides will go in near full strength, however, the Giants were left shattered after key player and ruckmen, Mark Townsend, broke his leg in the last game of the season. His tap-work and presence in the middle of the park will be sorely missed by the minor premiers.

The Giants will be best served tomorrow by former Scotland captain, Ross Thomson, last year’s joint SARFL Best and Fairest winner, Dougie Smith and young Scottish half-forward Keir Wotherspoon

The Sharks will be looking for captain and fullback, Andy Butler to hold down the fort in the backline. Andrew McManus is a lively type in front of goals for the Sharks and he’ll need to be kept in check by the Giants if they want a chance to win this game. Also keep an eye out for James Hancock and Alexander Clark to have big games after running into some hot form at the business end of the season.

The all Glasgow final is going to take centre stage this weekend for Scottish AFL and the previous history between the two clubs bodes well for a spectacular culmination to what has been the hardest fought SARFL season to date.

Coach’s thoughts – Greater Glasgow Giants, Douglas Hunter

“It’s fantastic for Glasgow to have both teams in the Grand Final and shows the depth of talent in the city. Games against the Sharks are always tough and that Grand Final intensity will only add to that. Whoever comes out on top will have earned it and we believe we’re a great chance of being that team.”

Coach’s thoughts – Glasgow Sharks

“The grand final is the culmination of the work the club has put in over the last year. We are bolstered by a great semi-final win and will take great confidence into this game knowing that our best is capable of beating anyone.”