The Viet Celts won the Asian Men’s Plate at the Asian Gaelic Games (AGG) in Malaysia on 10-12 October which was ably hosted by the Orang Eire club of Kuala Lumpur . The Asian Plate is division 4 in the AGG structure or to put it another way, the competition for small clubs. The Viet Celts had been trying to win at Asian level for the past eight years, with some of the current VC men’s team having tried for six and seven years. Understandably grins were permanently pasted to faces for the next few days after the victory.
The Viet Celts Ladies were extremely unlucky to end up in a very difficult competition due to structuring fault lines but battled hard throughout and never gave up in true Duracelts style. Some of the girls from Hanoi also joined up with players from Saigon to form a joint Vietnam team and gave a good account of themselves despite having no substitutes.
Full reports to follow by three of the foremost proponents of the Hanoi Noir style of sports writing, Shaney Moran, Will Bill Langslet and Claire Sauvage.
The Viet Celts
SHANEY MORAN’S REPORT
The dust has settled on an amazing weekend in Kuala Lumpur! This year’s annual Fexco Asian Gaelic Games tournament will be remembered as a historic triumph for the Viet Celts club. With both the Viet Celts Ladies performing heroically in a high level league and the mixed Vietnam ladies team coming away with some excellent wins, the girls really showed how they’ve been improving year on year.
But for the lads, this year was the year of success!
We travelled with the full complement, including new members Gary Rogers and Michael O’Donnell, and were unlucky on Day 1 to be ousted from the Asian Intermediate Cup competition by Orang Eire and Singapore B. However, in the group stages the lads recorded a fine hammering of Singapore F: 8-6 to no score, with a four-goal match display from Mike ‘Shiney-Teeth’ O’Donnell and a first point for Paddy Quinn from North Armagh since an U-12 friendly for the Cullaville Paisleys! A change in tactics to move the same Paddy Quinn into nets was proven as the master stroke toward winning the competition, or so we were told over and over again by Paddy himself!
QUARTER FINAL AND SEMI-FINAL
On Day 2, the men’s team lined out against Thailand in the quarter final of the Asian Plate and went on to win a well deserved victory. This was followed with another impressive display in the semi-final against a growing team from India. Some special mention must go to Niall Hiney, Mark Horkan, Luke Kenny, Michael O’Donnell and Dan Coloe who came to the forefront for us during the knock-out stages.
The final was a much tighter affair against a well-fancied Taiwan team. We came out of the blocks well and took a 03-01 lead into half-time, thanks to scores from Neil Hiney, Shane Moran and Mark Horkan . The second half saw Taiwan come out with passion and, after star-man Neil Hiney was sin-binned for a self-confessed “cynical foul”, the Taiwanese put up a few scores on the board. In the dying moments Shane Moran missed from a tight angle and the Taiwan lads took the ball up the field to pump a good point over the bar. The final whistle blew and confusion set in as both teams figured they’d won. As it turned out it was level-pegging at 04-04 each, and the game was forced to extra time.
Injuries, exhaustion and heat stroke started to take a toll on both teams and the game was still level after the first period of extra time. Neil Hiney grabbed a point and with 2 minutes remaining Shane Moran made up for his earlier mistakes by grabbing 1-2 off the bench at the death to pull away from Taiwan and secure a first Asian title for the Viet Celts in their history.
It’s hard to pick a player of the tournament with so many good displays so it’s better to mention each one individually… Paddy Quinn for stepping into the keeper’s role and literally turning things around for us with his accurate kickouts to keep possession. Dan Coloe for his aggression and ball winning skills, long-passing and getting on to kickouts to start most plays for the Celts. John Shoulders who grew as a defender game on game and stopped his man from playing at all costs. Dave Cunningham for his amazing ability to win 20/80 balls against his favour. Gary Rogers for taking to the sport at a high level after only 3 weeks playing, and introducing the rugby tackle to GAA! Luke Kenny for his amazing workrate, wonderfully taken goal against India and marshalling of Thailand’s Silver Fox. Wild Bill Langslet for providing fresh legs on Day 2 and adding a great element of link-up play around the middle. Mark Horkan who owned midfield in every game, breaking through defences and popping up with vital scores all throughout, including catching a kick-out and rounding 5 challenges before rifling home against Singapore F. Mike ‘Shiney-Teeth’ O’Donnell who’s strength and energy were crucial to our dominance in the middle of the park, and his ability to get up top to score some wonderfully taken goals and points. Justin ‘Rude Boi’ Stevenson for his clever movement and danger in front of goals, including a a mighty fisted goal against Orang Eire. Jim Kiernan for astonishing energy to both play and manage the team, tactically adept as a coach and strong and skillful on the field – Jim’s control of the line ensured the Celts had our strongest, fittest 9 on the field at any given moment. Neil Hiney, arguably player of the tournament, who’s fitness, skill and accuracy put Viet Celts a class above the other teams. And Shane Moran for battling on with some of the worst sunburn seen on an Irishman, and popping up for 1-2 to round off the win in the final. Viet Celts abu and long may the club keep growing!
The Saigon Ladies won the Asian Ladies Plate making it a successful foray for Vietnam at the AGG 2014 so a huge congratulations to them from the Viet Celts. We dedicate a rendition of this fine tune to them.
Nananananananananana…. We’re the Viet Celts! Viet Celts… We’re the Viet Celts!!!