Hosts lose out to old enemy in gaelic football final

Malmö owns the Øresund after defeating Copenhagen to win the Pan-European Gaelic Football Tournament

The city’s local gaelic football side, Copenhagen GAA, can take a great degree of satisfaction from their performance at the Pan-European Gaelic Football Tournament at the Kløvermarken Idrætsanlæg on Saturday, but in the end they came up short, finishing runners-up to Malmö, a side they had drawn with earlier in the group stage.

The tournament was the first of the season’s pan-Europeans – Denmark had not hosted an event of this size for three years – and 23 teams from all over Europe participated in three categories: men’s senior and intermediate and a ladies competition. Cph GAA had two sides taking part: one in the men’s intermediate and one in the ladies.

The Copenhagen side got off to an uncharacteristic flying start against their German opponents Frankfurt. Some fine point taking by talisman midfielder Robert Walsh and a hat-trick from the turbo-charged attacker Sean Coogan saw them comfortably on their way. It was a perfect start to the tournament for the boys in red and blue and a solid platform for the next match against their strong local rivals from Malmö.

The Scandia side were fired up and quickly established a seven-point lead – victory seemed assured. But the battling Copenhageners hadn’t read the Swedish script, valiantly battling back against all the odds, which included losing a player due to an off-the-ball incident, to finish all-square.

With Everest conquered, nothing could seemingly stop the Danish side now, and they went into their semi final against their Belgian opponents brimming with confidence. And so it proved as the local side enjoyed a proverbial goal feast, scoring seven in just half an hour.

But had they peaked too early, and had their opponents in the final, Malmö, who had convincingly dispatched Paris in the other semi-final, learnt from their previous mistakes? After the heroics in the earlier game, hopes among the Cph GAA ranks were high that they could do better this time round. And trailing by five points to one at the break, and now playing with the advantage of a stiff breeze, there was a tangible feeling in the air, on both the pitch and the sidelines, that the Copenhageners were in with a shout.

Ger Hartnett (right) and Terence Donnelly lead the Cph GAA chargeAlas, it was not to be, and a physically stronger, fitter Malmö side pressed home their advantage. They dominated both primary and second possession and ran out deserving winners.

Nevertheless, it was overall an excellent tournament for the home side with some notable displays. Defenders Dave Drenan and Ger Hartnett were tenacious at the back, in the middle of the park Simon Cahill and the aforementioned Walsh, the player of the tournament, played some superb football, while up front Coogan was always a goal threat and contributed generously on the scoring front.

Meanwhile, in the ladies competition, Copenhagen had much better luck against Malmö, winning by a point in the group stage after a thundering comeback.

But they did not advance. Earlier in the day they had lost out to a well-drilled Munich side and a strong Paris team. The excellent Belgium side won the ladies tournament after a thrilling last gasp one-point victory over the Netherlands.

In the senior competition, the reigning European champions from 2011, Guernsey, overpowered the opposition in the group stages and showed their class in the final against Luxembourg.

The next stop on the European tour is Vienna, where Cph GAA in a month’s time will be hoping to return with more than a silver medal.

Anyone interested in joining the club and giving Gaelic football a try should contact Cph GAA via