With a very early start for the team, the Amsterdam mens Gaelic football team set off to Brussels, on Saturday 12 April. Kickoff for the first game was scheduled for 10:30 am.
Thanks to efficient driving by Darren and Derek, and Marty not getting too lost, the team arrived safely and punctually.
The group stage games would be against Belgium B and Luxemburg. In the first game against Belgium B the team showed a strong and disciplined attitude, resulting in a convincing win for Amsterdam. In the second game of the group, Luxembourg beat Belgium B. Belgium B were now eliminated from the tournament and the last group game would determine who would finish top and get the more advantages draw for the semi final. The game against Luxembourg started very well, and the team showed much of the same spirit and drive from the frist game. Unfortunately we let Luxembourg back in the game in the second half, and lost our lead. The game ended in a draw, and the top place position was decided on goal difference. Firstly points scored - here both Amsterdam and Luxemburg had exactly the same. Secondly points conceded - here Amsterdam had coincided 4 less points, and therefore won the group and went into the semi final to face Eindhoven.
Eindhoven might not have been part of the Benelux tournament for many seasons, but their team has grown strong, so they would certainly not be a push over. Going into the game the strains of a long day of football slowly started to show on the team, with some players picking up small injuries and knocks. We went into the game strongly and confidently. We wanted to make it to the final! The game started well, and Amsterdam dominated through most periods. Never under estimating the opposition but once again showing great discipline and devotion. Amsterdam won the game comfortably, but at a price, as key players were injured during the game.
The final would be between Amsterdam and the hosts of the tournament, Belgium (A). Straight from the kick off this was an intense game that both teams were hungry to win. Despite the injury situation, Amsterdam played tough and confidently, leading at half time by 4 points. However a strong performance by the team was not enough to withstand the pressure from Belgium who quickly got themselves back into the game with two quick scores, followed by a goal that seemed to take the last wind out of the Amsterdam players. Both teams fought on in a well played final, and at the end of the game Belgium were victorious on their home turf.
It is always disappointing to lose a final, especially when the team was fighting very well, and showing lots of drive and passion. The final was certainly not a walk over game for Belgium, so we can be proud of the hard work and the performance of the team on the day. In addition to this, Marty was named best player of the tournament. We had a new player, Steven, who played his first tournament, and even manged to score a few points again Eindhoven!
The big word of today was TEAM. We showed great team work, giving that extra edge for the team, and despite missing a number of key players, we performed admirably and can be proud of our second place in this tournament.
Well done lads. Keep working hard at training - we're seeing the benefits directly on the pitch!
Next tournament is in Amsterdam, our home!