VAS Hanoi and Duracelts clash in titanic struggle – VAS Report

             A primordial mist descends towards the end of the game

VAS Hanoi 6.1 (19 pts)

Duracelts    2.9 (15 pts)

On Saturday, 3 April two entities under the Viet Celts umbrella, the Duracelts and VAS Hanoi (Vietnam Australia High School) clashed in a titanic struggle at the UNIS sports complex. The boys are 15 years of age and were playing against a Viet Celts Ladies team that has had two very successful tournaments on the Asian Gaelic Football circuit.

The game was played at a high tempo and was graced with some fantastic scores from both sides. VAS Hanoi scoring sensation, full forward Hoang Nam was on fire and bagged an incredible four goals for his side. It was decided to play 4 periods of 7 minutes each with 3-minute breaks to simulate Asian Gaelic Football tournament conditions as much as possible whilst at the same time giving everybody enough time on the field.

The Duracelts were dangerous in the opening few minutes with some probing attacks that cut through the VAS defence.  Full back Trinh Anh Quang came to the rescue for VAS on three separate occasions in quick succession. VAS Hanoi settled soon after this and started to play an up-tempo brand of Gaelic Football that forced the Duracelts to find some way of counteracting it. VAS Hanoi got their reward in the 4th minute with a fine move finished off with a dazzling half turn, feint and ball curled on a near impossible trajectory into the back of the Duracelts net from Hoang Nam. The Duracelts responded with two well taken points without reply after some great movement up the field. Soon after, Duong Quang Son Tung opened his account for VAS with an angular hooked point from the left hand side of the field. The Duracelts followed this up with another well worked point to finish the period only one point down 1.1 (4pts) to 0.3 (3pts).

The second period opened with VAS midfielders Nguyen Duy Hung and Nguyen Duc Thang getting into their stride and it was a combination move by this pair which set up Hoang Nam for his second goal of the afternoon. His catch was a lesson in how a small man can prosper in the skill of high fielding with the right approach and his sliced kick gave the Duracelts goalkeeper no chance. The Duracelts came back with a marvelous point built from passing moves involving at least six players. Two minutes later, at the other end, Nguyen Le Viet Anh floated a fine ball in to Hoang Nam who caught it and struck again, sending two defenders the wrong way and buried the ball into the back of the Duracelts net. The last few minutes of this period belonged to the Duracelts who came storming back with first, a fantastic goal and then two classy points which again left them only one point behind 3.1 (10pts) to 1.6 (9pts).

The third period opened up with another VAS goal. Ly Trong Hung made a strong  run from his own back line and with a massive punt kick found Duong Quang Son Tung free in space who plucked the ball out of the sky and lobbed it over the outcoming Duracelts keeper after Tran Duy Khanh aka Bo Beo had dragged the Duracelts defence to the opposite side. The Duracelts put another two well worked points on the board to finish the period two points down 4.1 (13pts) to 1.8 (11pts).

The fourth period began with the individual score of the game from Nguyen Duc Thang who soloed his way through the Duracelts defence side stepping a number of players and planted the ball from distance into the roof of the net. The Duracelts came back with a wonderful goal two minutes later and added another point soon after. With the Duracelts breathing down their necks and VAS captain, Nguyen Duy Hung  working overtime, helping out in defence, up popped the VAS  ‘pocket rocket’,  Hoang Nam at the other end, who used his trademark ‘back to goal side-step turn’ and deceived the keeper with an elegant finish. Back came the Duracelts down the field again with a point that might have been a goal had the Gods of Thurles been on their side. The referee called for the ball at the end of the last period and not before time as a primordial soup was descending upon the grounds which would have made further play impossible. The result was a hard fought victory for VAS, winning a close contest by 4 points.

Apart from those already mentioned, Do Thien was fantastic in goals for VAS and pulled off some dramatic saves at vital times. Corner backs, Nguyen Duc Huy and Kieu Quoc Vuong put in very solid performances.  Cao The Tài chased for every ball when he came on in the third period in midfield. The game itself was a great advertisement for Youth and Ladies Gaelic Football in Asia with an interesting contrast of styles and as can be seen from the scoreline, a game of goals versus points.

Thanks to Proinsias Roche from Mayo and Dermot Hegarty, the pride of the Cregan who refereed two periods each with the right mix of authority and controlled anarchy. Thanks also to the dashing Mike Clifford from England who helped out as an umpire and Ted Walters from Australia who had a very successful first stint as a Gaelic Football linesman giving the impression to all and sundry that he had at last found his true calling in life. We also appreciate the support of Rick Nelson and UNIS,  graciously extending to us the use of their grounds at short notice.

Jim Kiernan

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