Euro Champs Round 1 Review
The AFL European Championships opened on Saturday in showery windy conditions that made ball handling difficult at times. The opening game between Denmark and Great Britain had a surprise result with 2010 Euro Championship fourth GB overturning 2010 runners-up Denmark. It might have been the first time Ireland played for Great Britain with Sheffield Thunder’s Mark Ireland being a goal scorer. The Danes led for the first three quarters but GB pushed on in the final quarter to win 7.1 43 to 4.9 33. I didn’t see much of this game because of tournament duties but from the score board it seems the Danes were wasteful in front of goal with GB being very accurate kicking just one behind. The result now means Great Britain are on track for the Grand Final but the Danes will now have to beat Ireland on Tuesday to retain hope of advancing.
Game two was hosts Ireland against Sweden. Conditions were difficult in this game with some heavy rain at times making good footy difficult. It was the lowest scoring game of the three played with Ireland winning by a slim margin of one goal 3.4 22 to 2.4 16. The Irish goals came from Derryman Sean Paul Henry, Co Cork’s Brian Stretch O’Connell and the Kingdom’s Vince Manning. Irish head coach Shaun McElhone will be thankful to come away with a win in a game that was always close. Another win will be required against the stung Denmark Vikings on Tuesday to keep Ireland’s Grand Final ambitions on track. Ireland defender Kevin McSorley was yellow carded near the end of this game and after a tribunal hearing will miss Tuesday’s clash with the Danish Vikings.
The final game of the day was Croatia against Germany. The Croats sporting some unusual haircuts opened the game with wind advantage and a flurry of goals with six coming in the opening quarter. Croatia forward Ivan Ivos was one player that impressed with his strong marking and accurate kicking and with three goals currently leads the golden boot competition. In the second quarter with the wind the Germans recovered kicking 3.2 without reply to reduce the deficit to three goals at half time. The second half of the game was keenly contested but defences become more frugal only coughing up 3 more goals between both teams, final score 7.5 47 to 5.3 33. As I expected the Croats are a strong, tall and very athletic team. I was impressed with there marking and accurate goal kicking and they look like they will trouble any team they play. After a slow start the Germans found their rhythm and put together some fine passages of play. The Germans will be disappointed to lose but encouraged by their competitiveness and will look forward to Tuesday’s meeting with Great Britain.
A great innovation for this tournament is that the matches are being transmitted live and can also be watched later on youtube. This allows us all review a game as it can be a bit of a blur in real time. It will be interesting to see how coaches use this extra information to identify team’s key players and patterns of play. Having watched the Ireland Sweden game again and talked to some of the Irish players they found their isn’t much time on the ball as players are pressing the opposition constantly and the relatively small size of the oval means there aren’t that many open spaces to charge into.
Saturday wasn’t ideal conditions for footy as it was both windy and wet. My iphone weather app states it will be highs of 21C and sunny for the rest of the week, so fingers crossed for players, spectators and volunteers that the weather will behave!
Watch live match footage on game day here http://www.aertv.ie/#afl-live
Watch replays here http://www.afleurope.org/events-media/watch/
Follow the tournament here www.dublin2013.org
Next fixtures on Tuesday all DCU sports grounds
|August 6, 2013Swedish ElksCroatia Knights3:00 pm|
|August 6, 2013GB BulldogsGermany Black Eagles5:00 pm|
|August 6, 2013Irish WarriorsDenmark Vikings7:00 pm|