The 5th edition of the Hanoi Youth Cup took place in My Dinh on 5th December. VAS Hanoi, hosted a very enjoyable event in conjunction with the Viet Celts Gaelic Football Club whose club members had put in a lot of work over the proceeding months in the various schools and Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation GFC. This foundation takes care of disadvantaged children.
Atrocious weather conditions in the days around the tournament affected the build-up but thankfully the heavy rains held off long enough on the day to get all of the games finished.
U18 Boys Competition (Senior)
Hanoi International School 8.10 (34pts)
VAS Hanoi 3.05 (14pts)
Hanoi International School proved too classy an outfit for VAS Hanoi with a number of tall athletic players who were all comfortable on the ball. Jamie Martin made the step up from intermediate level to senior in seamless fashion and won the Jack Kiernan Award for overall Player of the Tournament on the back of his displays.
The award was presented by Jack Kiernan’s grandson and namesake, Jack Kiernan aged 2, who spent a good part of the tournament issuing strict instructions to the players from the sideline.
Do Thanh Tung had a fine game for VAS Hanoi thanks to a hawkish eye for goal and some intelligent play.
Hanoi International School 4.9 (21pts)
Blue Dragon 5.2 (17pts)
Hanoi International School (HIS) won the series with a hard fought battle against Blue Dragon. With an ounce of good fortune, Blue Dragon might well have taken the spoils. However a strong Hanoi International School prevailed in what turned out to be the deciding game in this competition.
HIS coaches, Leo ‘Wiley Fox’ Dyar and Mike Clifford were calmness personified on the sideline over the series as their charges put into practice their winning strategy.
Although it did not result in victory, Blue Dragon coaches on duty, Mark Horkan , Nguyen Dong Viet and Rob Lee were pleased with the standard of the performance.
Blue Dragon 8.6 (30pts)
VAS Hanoi 2.4 (10pts)
This was a niggling affair with a tempestuous bite to it in a game where Blue Dragon was clearly the superior team. The skills and verve on display from the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation GFC were a testament to the excellent work by their Viet Celts coaches. This was the culmination of twelve months training by one of the most dedicated coaching panels put together in Vietnamese Gaelic Football history.
Over the year, those coaches have been Mark Horkan, John Shoulders , Nguyen Dong Viet , Le Thi Thu, Dave Cunningham, Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Brian McNulty, Tho Nguyen, Jim Kiernan, Joe Cashell, Nguyen Van Lan, Rob Lee, Dau Phuong Linh, Will Langslet, Claire Sauvage, Chiara Popplewell, Amy Cowan, Luke Kenny, Joe Vile, Grant Keys, Kim Miller, Brian Lavan, Siobhan Kiernan and Nguyen Thai Thanh.
Champions: Hanoi International School
U13 Boys Competition (Junior)
SIS Gamuda 4.10 (22pts)
Blue Dragon 4.09 (21pts)
The U13 final saw Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation GFC, coached by Nguyen Thi Thanh and Le Thi Thu, take on SIS Gamuda mentored by James Lally and the omnipresent John Shoulders. The match started a little slowly as both teams took time to find their rhythm but began to pick up near the end of the first half. Blue Dragon forced some brave saves out of the SIS goalkeeper and the sides went into half-time level at 1.2 (5pts) to 5pts.
Picking up from where they left off at the end of the first, both teams came out confident and firing in the second half, with SIS, led by Ji Woo, scoring points from all over the attacking half. Undaunted by their larger opponents, however, Blue Dragon was not to be outdone and through a surprising mix of skill, tenacity and unselfish play managed to match their opponents point for point and goal for goal. After a final flurry where SIS seemed to pull away, Blue Dragon again struck back with a goal and a point in the final minute. All participants converged on referee Jim Kiernan, who counted and recounted the score card in disbelief to reveal yet another tie at 3.7(16pts) to 3.7 (16pts).
True to the back and forth nature of the game, both teams again came out blistering in extra-time, with both teams adding yet more fantastic goals and points to their tally. When the final whistle blew, both teams again surrounded the referee whose final score showed Blue Dragon at 4.09 (21pts) and SIS Gamuda at 4.10 (22pts) with SIS Gamuda taking the match by the narrowest of margins in a game which was truly a pleasure for all who watched and took part.
Champions: SIS Gamuda
U15 Boys Competition (Intermediate)
Blue Dragon 8.6 (30pts)
VAS Hanoi 4.7 (19pts)
In the U15 match, Blue Dragon with a few older guest players from SIS Gamuda took on the VAS Hanoi side. Having perhaps a slight advantage in having several players coming in hot from the previous match, Blue Dragon came out impressively, again showing off their fast moving and sharp passing style of play. With the aid of Khanh An and Ji Woo of SIS, Blue Dragon scored several quick goals and were able to carry their momentum into half time carrying the lead.
Despite missing several of their key players, however, VAS Hanoi was undiscouraged, and the team showed its pride by taking the game back to Blue Dragon in the second half. With their new found swagger, VAS scored several fine goals and points thanks in part to Tran Nguyen Nhu Toan and guest player, Farish Sulaiman from Malaysia up front.
They forced several more fine saves out of the Blue Dragon goalkeeper who was a rock on the day. On a difficult day to be a VAS goalkeeper, Nguyen Tran Nguyen won the VAS Junior Player of the Tournament award due to some magnificent saves.
At the end of the match, however, Blue Dragon’s early flurry proved to be the difference as the Children’s Foundation club claimed their second trophy in as many tournaments in a well deserved victory.
Special thanks to Rohan Savage who came down on the morning of the games to help set up. Lana Le organised the medals and trophies. James Lally refereed most of the games and did a fine job together with Mark Horkan and Jim Kiernan. Special mentions to Nguyen Thi Uyen, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, Dong Vinh Khanh, Ann Brown, Cao Thi Huyen Huong and Kylie Atkins for help with logistics. All these contributions were greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Education in Ireland, the Irish Embassy, the Asian County Board, the DFA and the GAA for their vital support of the Viet Celts Schools Gaelic Football Program.
The Viet Celts