Asian Gaelic Games - October 17-18 2009 in Bangkok

Asian Gaelic Games – October 17-18 2009 in Bangkok

We are the Viet-Celts Ladies, also known as the Dura-Celts. This year we were runners up for the Bowl in the B/C League at the Asian Gaelic Games in Bangkok. Not a bad achievement but when you read our story you will find it is in fact a very impressive one.We were possibly the newest team at the Games, with one month’s training under the watchful eye of our captain Marion Labatut; the only one of us who had any previous Gaelic Football experience. Also amongst our ranks were two backpackers. Two training sessions introduced them to the game and initiated them into the team, making them part of our “Bangkok Twelve”.

As well as our notable limited experience we were also unique at the Games. We had Vietnamese, French, German, American and English players but no Irish. Understandably, as we arrived at the pitches on the first day of the Games, we had low expectations!

Nevertheless we were strong in spirit and our Games began with a win against Malaysia. The weekend was a rollercoaster and we fought hard at every twist and turn of the journey.

Our final game was against a team from China called Shenzhen. The first half started and the heavens opened. Rain fell like rods and the pitch quickly became water-logged. The half time whistle blew, the score was level, the rain was still falling and the rest of the game was off until further notice.

After a long wait our second half began but a minute or so in Marion – our captain and coach – was stretchered off with a twisted ankle. We fought on and play was very tight. Shenzhen got a point in with a kick over the crossbar and what was seven minutes felt like seven seconds. The full time whistle went and we had lost the Bowl final by one point.

At that point we were crushed but looking back the weekend brings nothing but happy memories.

We are now a proper team with our first Games behind us and an exciting future ahead. We continue with our training in order to be ready for our next tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 7th, 2010.

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