Euro Champs Round 2 wrap
Round 2 of the European Aussie Rules Championships in DCU, Dublin was a contrast to the wet and windy conditions endured last Saturday, it might even have been described as warm on game day 2 (well warm by Irish standards if not aussie ones). Now I’ve got the compulsory discussion for an Irishman about the weather out of the way I’ll get down to talking about the footy. The middle day of the group stages had some very competitive clashes and periods of impressive footy. It was make or break time for some teams and a chance to make the Grand Final for one. First up were the Croats against the Swedes. On Sunday Croatia went to support Mayo at the Gaelic Football at Croke Park and even bumped into the All-Ireland trophy, Sam Maguire.
Mayo have a tall burly midfielder called Aidan O’Shea who won man of the match on Sunday, looking at Croatia it feels like they have a team of Aidan O’Sheas such is their height and physical presence. I think Sweden knew they were in a game where ice baths would be needed afterwards. This was a keenly contested contest from the first bounce with a contrast in styles where Sweden wished to avoid contact and Croatia’s preference for using their height and strength to charge straight down the oval.
Sweden’s greater experience and structure had them ahead for most of the game but then Croatia’s direct approach started to yield goals and they were the width of the goal post away from levelling midway through the final quarter. However late on Swedish ruckman David Wahlberg goaled to give Sweden a nine point lead before the final siren sounded. Final score 5.2 32 to 5.11 41. Even though Croatia lost, a win against the Irish Warriors on Thursday evening would see them advance to the Grand Final, so they still have a lot to play for. Perhaps County Mayo head coach James Horan will be drafted in for words of encouragement before Thursday’s game?
The second game of sunny Tuesday was Great Britain against Germany. Both team’s have some serious ‘High Towers’ with Great Britain’s Anthony Trigg measuring 205cm tall or 6 foot 10 inches as the Brits would say. Trigg was picked as the ruckman for the International Cup 2011’s World XVIII team. He is also playing with Melbourne VFL team Northern Blues only one step below AFL, this is also Carlton’s feeder team and Irish AFL pros Zach Tuohy and Setanta O’Halpin would have learned their trade at the Blues. However the crafty Germans were prepared for this and had an equally tall ruckman, meaning Trigg never got it easy. I’m not sure what they feed these guys or is it just that they were stretched on a rack when they were younger?
Great Britain always had control of this game against a determined German side. Trigg did a lot of good work for the winners and Ian Mitchell was spraying some very nice passes from midfield setting up a platform for another giant, South Cardiff Panther’s Chris James to score a tournament high 4 goals. Not surprisingly Germany had to defend a lot and their full back Fabian Cordts of Hamburg Dockers, who you would swear was an aussie when speaking English repelled team GB time after time in an impressive display. Final score 9.12 66 to 2.3 15. This result means Great Britain have secured their first ever European Grand Final spot with a game to spare. They do not know their opponents yet but it could be any team from Pool A.
The final game of the evening was the big clash of the number 1 and 2 seeds, Ireland and Denmark. They know each other well having contested last year’s Euro Cup final and the 2010 European Championships final with Denmark losing both these games by very narrow margins. As this game proceeded it looked like the Vikings would get revenge as they opened a 4 goals to none lead at the first break. They continued their dominance to half time leading 32 to 16. The Danes were showing greater composure than the Warriors with more accurate kicking and better marking being rewarded on the scoreboard.
At three-quarters time Ireland were still down by 15 points and it didn’t look that promising. However as Ireland surged in the last quarter Denmark seemed to wilt as they also had done on Game 1 against Great Britain. Two goals by Corkman Brian Roche, who had a stormer of a final quarter followed by one by the experienced Kerryman James Goose Flavin had Ireland in the lead for the first time in the game. The icing on the cake was when South Dublin Swans ruckman Paul O’Halloran turned his man to kicked the sealing goal at the siren. After last year’s Euro Cup final, I said Denmark snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I think the Danes will feel the same about this one.
It was a good days footy with Great Britain in the final and the possibility of either Sweden, Ireland or Croatia joining them. If the Irish Warriors can beat Croatia on Thursday they are in the Grand Final, however Croatia might have other ideas, hopefully James Horan is busy elsewhere in the coming days….
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 Thursday all at DCU sports grounds
|August 8, 2013Denmark VikingsGermany Black Eagles 3:00 pm|
|August 8, 2013Swedish ElksGB Bulldogs 5:00 pm|
|August 8, 2013Irish WarriorsCroatia Knights 7:00 pm|
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: 2013, AFL, AFL Europe, Aidan O'Shea, Aussie Rules, Croatia Knights, DCU, Denmark Vikings, Dublin, European Championships, Germany Hawks, Great Britain Bulldogs, Irish Warriors, Mayo, Northern Blues, Sweden Elks.