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Thursday January 23rd 2020
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Hague hurlers triumph in OT, Belgium ladies win great camogie competition

Hosts and tournament winners, Den Haag (Black-Amber) in action against Belgium in Round 1 of this year's European Hurling Championship. (Photo by Jeroen Tibbe).

 

It turned out to be a fantastic opening weekend for both European hurling and camogie last Saturday, as competitive games of a high standard was the order for Round 1 of this year’s European Hurling and Camogie Championship at the Hague, Holland. 

The mens hurling decider between hosts Den Hague and Zurich was a thrilling final as the game went to Over Time with the locals narrowly coming away with a two point win.
In the Camogie, Belgium A ladies out-goaled a gallant Paris side in another exciting final. 

It was an early beginning for all last Saturday with the first games throwing in at 9.30 am in the morning and the temperature already hovering at 25 degrees. 
The Mens competition format saw four teams play 4 x 15 minutes games, while in the Ladies five teams played 5 games of 12.5 minutes. 

The hurling began with Belgium playing Luxembourg and after a close match, Belgium came out on top winning 0-8 to 0-4. Next Den Haag played Zurich, and quickly found out that this Zurich team were well up for it, with players performing like they had been training together all winter.
Den Haag’s backs were in trouble, a goal blitz ensued and it ended with a Zurich win [17] 4-5 to [12] 1-9, leaving hosts the Hague with a mountain to climb.
Next game was Den Haag versus Belgium. Den Haag knew they had to at least win their next two games to get to the final but it wouldn’t be easy against reigning champs, Belgium. Den Haag solved its problems in the back and secured a tight win, beating Belgium [8] 1-5 to [6] 1-3.
Up next, Luxembourg against the form team, Zurich. The Swiss outfit with natives in their side, won it in style  [21] 2-15 to [[8] 0-8; the result confirming their favourite status. Next Zurich and Belgium played, this was a crunch tie for Belgium, as they had to win to have any chance of reaching the final.
Belgium trailed by a point at half time, however a goal late in the second period gave Belgium the win [8] 1-05 to [7] 0-7.
Den Haag had the fortunate situation of knowing they now had to beat Luxembourg by at least 6 points to secure a place in the final. The Hague’s coach for the day Sean Simpson, wisely didn’t tell the players the amount they had to win by and only let them know at the end of the game.
There was little to fear however as they ran out comfortable winners. Belgium went on to win 3rd place playoff against Luxembourg.
The final saw Den Haag and Zurich square off once again.
Zurich started better and kept a lead for most of the game, however, with a minute to go and Den Haag 4 points down, a goal from Shane O’ Sullivan followed by a point from Noel Dillon, saw the hosts grab a  2-8 draw and extra time. Zurich got on the board first with a goal, but the Hague boys dug deep and scored 5 points in the second period of extra time to deny an unlucky Zurich. 

It's all action around the Luxembourg (red-blue) square as Zurich pile on the pressure in a game at Rd 1 of the European Camogie Championship. (Photo by Jeroen Tibbe).

 

The Ladies Camogie was the big surprise, not only because they had more teams than the men for the first time in European hurling history, but also because the standard was of an order higher than ever witnessed before.   

The Paris ladies looked the team to beat as they went unbeaten in the early rounds. Going well aslo was Belgium A early on and both Paris and Belgium met in the final.
In a highly skilled and exciting match, the Belgium Ladies percevered by a goal on a scoreline of [22] 6-4 to [19] 5-4.   

Chairman of Den Hague GAA, Mathew Morris pleased with the tournament outcome, said afterwards that the hurling was very competitive and very little separates the teams in the championship. He also said that the ladies tournament success could point to uncharted waters for the future.   

“I was delighted with the tournament, because all hurling teams were only a puck of the ball away from winning on the day, which means that there is competition now between all teams, which can only be good for European hurling.
“The Camogie was also of a really high standard and will overtake the men’s if it keeps going this way. I would also like to thank the referees for there hard work all day in that heat,”  The Hague chairman said. 

 

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