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Malmo take Scandinavian opener


Copenhagen Team. (Photo by Liam Kennedy).

The Scandinavian Regional Mens Gaelic Football Championship got underway last weekend in the city of Copenhagen and here to tell us how the hosts fared and who made the final is  Copenhagen Secretary,
Kenny Grogan.

It was the first meeting of the year between the Scandinavian Gaelic football clubs last Saturday the 22ndof May on a sun drenched pitch on Arsenalvej. Old rivals Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Malmø had a chance to settle scores from last year while newly formed clubs from Stockholm and Oslo were given the opportunity to announce their arrival to Nordic football competition.
The tournament structure was simple – each team to play each other once with the top 2 teams going on to battle it out in the final.
The first game of the day was between Copenhagen and their local rivals from across the bridge in Malmo. The first half was hard fought with each team unwilling to give away any easy scores. Copenhagen’s John Lambert and Fergus Kenny managed to squeeze over 2 points to match Malmø’s 2 leaving the sides level at half time after both sides squandered gilded goal chances. Malmø started the second half stronger and found themselves 2 points ahead after 5 minutes. Copenhagen rallied to pull some scores back and were kept in the game by some brave goalkeeping from Jacob Simonsen. In the closing stages Copenhagen missed a couple of chances to level the game and Malmø came out on top after full time 0-05 to 0-04.

The second opposition Copenhagen faced was Gothenburg – a faceoff between last year’s tournament finalists where Gothenburg were crowned champions after extra time and an unprecedented golden score.
From the offset it could clearly be seen that Gothenburg had lost some of their creative players over the winter break. Copenhagen sensed the weakness and went in for the early kill with well taken goals coming from young Sean Coogan and Tom Wynne. The Gothenburg heads dropped and Copenhagen kept pilling on the pressure with some fine points coming from Adrian Kruszynski, Andrew Sanchez and John Lambert. The Copenhagen defense also gave a steadfast performance with Copenhagen winning the tie comfortably 3-07  (16) to 0-01.
The Copenhagen tails were up now and they were eager to keep their form running into the next tie against Oslo. They did just that, easily overpowering an inexperienced but determined Oslo side. The game finished   3-04 (13) to no score – with some impressive scores bagged again by Sean Coogan and Adrian Kruszynski.

Tom Wynne from Copenhagen braces himself to take on two Stockholm defenders. (Photo courtesy of Copenhagen GAA).

The last game of the round robbing stage was between Copenhagen and Stockholm. Stockholm had been very impressive in earlier games having won all 3.
They played with a style typical of Northern Irish players, swarming around the ball and playing a short, quick passing game. Copenhagen started well against the nippy side however Stockholm soon got into their stride and began to compete. Some heavy tackling ended lively Mark Hassett’s day at half back for Copenhagen after a clash of heads on the stroke of half time –Stockholm leading 0-02 to 0-01. The second half was a tense affair with the tackles continuing to fly. Copenhagen seemed to tire a little at this stage while Stockholm managed to keep their composure in front of the posts – Stockholm eventually winning the game 0-06 to 0-03.
And so it was Stockholm and Malmo to battle it out in the final after Copenhagen secured a respectable and well fought third spot.

Before the final commenced Ladies from Copenhagen took on a combined Stockholm and Gothenburg team in highly entertaining friendly match with the Copenhagen team easing to victory after a very sporting contest finishing 5-05 (20) to 1-02 (5). Mia Bøja and Nina Nielsen were the danger ladies in front of goal while much of the new talent showed promising potential for the future season.

The Men’s final was set to be a thriller with many on the sideline fancying the Stockholm boys to do the business, while others whispered in quiet confidence of Malmø’s chance of taking the glory.
Malmø were much the bigger side and seemed to overpower Stockholm in the early stages. Stockholm couldn’t quiet find their rhythm and seemed sluggish after the physically draining match against Copenhagen. A confident Malmø side went on to win the final with a flurry of classy points kicked by their re-energized forward line – final score 0-06 to 0-02. A big congratulations to Malmø on their deserved and well earned victory.

Although Copenhagen didn’t reach the final they can be relatively content with their performance. The staunch defense lead by team Captain Dave O Connell and Phil Murray were the only team not to concede a goal all day. The midfield and attack gelled well and played some free flowing football at times and matched that with some exceptional scores. Congratulations to Copenhagen’s very own Adrian Kruszynski who was awarded player of the tournament after a consistent eye catching performance throughout the day.
For now Copenhagen will have to settle for mid table in the Nordic region but will be looking to put things right at next month’s tournament in Malmø.

Copenhagen Tournament Results, May 22, 2010