The beginning of the 2013 season has been a busy one for the Amsterdam hurlers. Since the start of February there has been training once week where regular players are honing their skills and new players are being introduced to the wonderful game. These trainings have taken place alongside the Holland Ladies camogie team, which has created a great atmosphere in the club surrounding hurling and camogie.
The hurling team has had three outings this year, each one against the local rivals Den Haag. The Amsterdam GAC hurling team is still in its infancy and these games were very valuable in gauging how our hurlers are developing.
The first outing took place in Den Haag, on their home turf. Nerves and anticipation were high as our new team entered into our first match of the season. The nerves soon vanished as it was clear the game would be hugely competitive from the off, with goalkeeper Tadhg O’Shea solid in goal, Fergal Walsh, Derek Lowry and Kenny Monaghan formidable in defence and Ruairidh Howells and Sean Fitzgerald causing problems up front. The game was tit for tat the whole way through, and Den Haag just managing to squeeze a win by a single point in the end. Final score – 2:12 to 1:14.
The teams second outing was on our own patch in Amsterdam as part of Amsterdam's 10 year anniversary tournament. This game was played on a very windy day so it would be a good test of both teams to see how they could handle the difficult conditions. Den Haag started well, rattling off three unanswered points, which could have been more only for the excellent goalkeeping of John O’ Gorman. John, on more than one occasion put his body on the line to great effect, which kept Amsterdam in the game. Amsterdam slowly started to get into their rhythm however, which resulted in an exquisite goal. After a long testing ball was played in by Fergal Walsh to Ruairidh Howells on the edge of the Den Haag goal, Ruairidh, showing incredible hand eye coordination, flicked the ball into the back of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance. This left the teams level at half time and the game delicately poised. The second half followed similar suit to the first. Den Haag again got off to a flying start getting three unanswered points. However, Fergal Walsh and Derek Lowry started to show what they are capable of in the Amsterdam defence, while Sean Fitzgerald acted as the engine in midfield and Murdo Ferguson and Ruairidh were testing the opposition defence. The pressure put on by the Amsterdam team finally began to pay off, when Ruairidhi, again showing brilliant skill, got an almost identical goal to the first. This left the team’s level going into the final minutes, but a late point for Amsterdam swung the result in Amsterdam’s favour. Final score 2:1 to 6 points in favour of Amsterdam. This was an huge achievement for Amsterdam, having just put an end to Den Haag’s one year unbeaten record, again showing that the Amsterdam hurling team was a force to be reckoned with.
The most recent outing was played in Den Haag again in conditions which were perfect for hurling. This was a highly exciting and competitive game, with huge scores and great skills being shown by both sides. Den Haag came rushing out of the blocks scoring a number of unanswered points before Amsterdam got going. Fergal Walsh was immense in defence, putting over a number of monster scores from long range. Sean Fitzgerald and Ronan Fraser were hugely influential in midfield, cutting the supply of ball into the Den Haag forward line, while supplying perfect ball into our forwards. They also made a substantial contribution to scoreboard, which was extremely important in such a tight game. Pete Jansen was a great target man up front, making some outstanding catches and exhibiting great ball winning capabilities. In the end it was a narrow defeat for Amsterdam by two points. Final score 2:20 to 3:19.
In summary it was a hugely successful start to the year for Amsterdam hurlers, establishing themselves as solid, gritty and determined outfit. The future of hurling in Amsterdam looks bright.