Website: Madrid GAA

The Barcelona Gaels and San Agustín de Guadalix are the Stars of the Show

Madrid, May 9th, by Aisling Daly

The third round of the 2010 Iberian Gaelic football championship was held this Saturday, the 8th of May, in Spain’s buzzing capital, Madrid. The Harps, the hosting team, spent days preparing for the arrival of the other participating teams, the Barcelona Gaels, San Vincent of Valencia, the Naomh Fermin Pamplona men, the Seville men’s team, and the ladies team of San Agustín de Guadalix.

The tournament was a good demonstration of the growth of Gaelic football in Spain. The Seville men’s team, new to the Iberian League this year, made their first trip to play in Madrid.

Other newcomers in the tournament were the ladies of the recently formed team from San Agustín de Guadalix, in the North of Madrid, who came to the tournament with only 5 players and made quite an impact. The best example yet of the increasing popularity of Gaelic football was the Madrid men’s team, who had so many players that they needed to split into an A and a B team in order to give everyone the opportunity to play. The two referees of the tournament were Guillaume Kerrien and Eoin Campbell, who was participating in his first match in the European GAA League.

So it was that around 9.00 on Saturday morning, sleepy looking players from around the country made their way to the Cantarranas pitches. Travelling out was made difficult for quite a few people, especially the two referees, as the ash cloud from a recently erupted volcano in Iceland made a second appearance over Spain, and there were major resulting delays in air travel. In the end however, everyone made it and a big sigh of relief was heaved. The Harps were also relieved to find that the weather provided ideal conditions for players, with lovely cool, but sunny day enjoyed by all.

All the players of the tournament were honoured by the attendance of the Ambassador, Justin Harman. After several photos were taken and all the teams were changed, warmed-up and ready to go, Ambassador Harman performed the throw-in, and the first match of the day began between the Barcelona men and Pamplona.

Although Barcelona were the victors of this match, scoring a goal and 7 points, to Pamplona’s 3 points, Pamplona put up a strong fight, showing with every tournament their increasing ball skills. Running alongside this match on an adjacent pitch was the first ladies game between Valencia and Barcelona. The fight was evenly matched on this side of the field as well, with the Barcelona ladies coming out the winners by a narrow margin of 3 points. Next up for the men was Madrid’s B team and Valencia, with Valencia stamping out a victory of 8 points to the Harp’s 2 points.

Iberian Championship 2010 – Round 3 – Tournament Report

Back to the ladies and it was Madrid against newcomers San Agustín de Guadalix. Although the Harpettes were victorious in the match, the improvement of the ladies of San Agustín de Guadalix could be seen with every passing minute. The players’ past experience in playing on high-ranking handball and soccer teams equipped them with the speed, strength and ball skills required to play Gaelic football. Up next for the men were Pamplona and the young players of Seville, who took a high scoring victory of 3 goals and 8 points to Pamplona’s 2 points. Over on the ladies side, Madrid remained on the pitch and fought out a clear victory over the Valencia girls.

Back to the lads and it was Valencia vs. Madrid’s team A, with Valencia stamping out their win. Back again to the ladies side and it was Barcelona vs. San Agustín, followed directly by Valencia vs. San Agustín, with San Agustín showing their increasing talent and ability and taking clear wins in both games.

On the lads side Seville’s swift strides gave the Gaels a good run around, but Barcelona stood their ground and came out victorious. The following men’s match proved to be an interesting spectacle for all with the Madrid men’s A and B team facing off, and the resulting tension running high. Madrid A proved to be the better team in this game, scoring a goal and 5 points while the B team didn’t manage to score any.

It was now on to the next round for both the men and ladies teams, with the women progressing to the final match and the men to the semi-finals. The main contenders in the semis were Barcelona vs. Madrid A and Valencia vs. Seville. Madrid A vs.Barcelona proved to be a hard fight for both sides, with the Barcelona men coming out once again victorious. The game between Valencia and Seville was also closely matched in ability, with Valencia winning by a margin of four points. Following this Madrid B and Pamplona contended for 5th place, with Pamplona taking a clear victory and winning by two goals.

The ladies final proved to be quite an eventful one. Both teams fought at an evenly matched pace, with the final whistle catching the Harpettes off guard and leaving them with the sinking realisation that they had lost their home tournament to the newcomers. The men’s final between Barcelona and Valencia was probably the most hard-fought and evenly matched game of the tournament, with extra time being needed to decide the champions. In the end Barcelona pulled through, winning by 3 points. A fairly even match was played after between Seville and Madrid A, who fought for 3rd place. In the end Madrid A took the lead in a points shoot-out, securing 3rd place and leaving the Seville team in 4th.

As the matches wound down, all the players headed home to clean up and rest and then arrived for the meal and celebrations looking fresher and sporting varying shades of pink and red, thanks to the day’s persistent sunshine. The trophies for the winning teams were accepted by Niall Brennan for the Barcelona Gael’s men’s team and Menchu for the ladies of San Agustín de Guadalix. Following this it was time for the referees to present the awards for player of the tournament, which were given to
Niall Brennan of the Barcelona men’s team and Martina Rooney of the Madrid Harpettes. All teams then went on to celebrate their according wins, awards, losses, triumphs, weak points and otherwise with a long night of dancing and general merriment.

Iberian Championship 2010 – Round 3 – Tournament Report
The Madrid Harp’s would like to give special thanks to Ambassador Justin Harman for attending the tournament and opening the day’s events, as well as the two referees, Eoin Campbell and Guillaume Kerrien, who both travelled far to attend and refereed all matches in a very professional and agreeable manner. A big thank you also goes out to our team president, Itziar Alberdi, for the great efforts she went to in order to ensure the tournament was a success!

Looking forward to seeing you all back in Madrid in 2011!

Aisling

Complete results below:
Men
Barcelona 1-7
Pamplona 0-3

Valencia 0-8
Madrid B 0-2

Seville 3-8
Pamplona 0-2

Valencia 3-2
Madrid A 1-3

Barcelona 2-3
Seville 1-2

Madrid A 1-5
Madrid B 0-0

Semi-Final
Barcelona 0-4
Madrid A 0-1

Valencia 2-5
Seville 0-7

3rd/4th
Madrid A 0-1
Seville 0-0 (Points Shoot-Out)

5th/6th
Pamplona 2-5
Madrid B 0-5

Final
Barcelona 1-10 Valencia 1-7 (AET)

Ladies
Barcelona 0-5
Valencia 0-2

Madrid 1-5
San Agustín 0-1

Madrid 3-8
Valencia 1-2

San Agustín 4-3
Barcelona 1-3

San Agustín 3-8
Valencia 0-4

Madrid 3-5
Barcelona 0-5

Final
San Agustín 3-4 Madrid 1-7