July 3. 2021 Challenge Match: Cologne Celtics vs. Darmstadt GAA

What a day! This was a great day for hurling in Cologne. After a highly disrupted 18 months, the Celts were back on the hurling pitch for a feast of action with our friends and rivals at Darmstadt GAA.

It was the first time the teams had played each other since October 2019 in Stuttgart. Who knew then what the next year would bring! We had planned to play each other again in October 2020, but unfortunately, rising Coronavirus numbers at the time resulted in postponing that match.

Team Spirit and Determination

It might have been delayed, but the action in Chorweiler lived up to the long wait. Since 2019, the Celts have seen some of our stars go; however, we’ve also seen many new players join our ranks. For many players, this was their first real experience of playing in a full-throttle hurling match.

Short some of our more experienced players, this series of challenge matches really displayed the depth of quality our club now has. The hard work in training and in puckarounds, the attention and dedication to improving skills, and our team’s spirit and determination were clearly visible. In so many ways, as a club, we have grown a lot in the last two years!

Cologne Celtics vs. Darmstadt GAA in July 2021 – the ladies showed their support for the 20×20 campaign

Our players fought for each other and for the pride in the Cologne jersey in scorching conditions, as we won out 4.05 to 3.05. A solid spine of Oisín in goal, Liam in full-back, Jan and Seán in midfield and Malte as centre forward was crucial to success.

But in a team game, you are only as strong as your weakest link. With Vangelis, Fabian, Niall, Eddie, Johannes, Kristin, Kea, Justus, Marnix etc. on the wings and coming in to replace players, we didn’t have weak links. This was a real team performance and a massive boost to our players following a frustrating few months.

Darmstadt GAA has been a strong opponent

However, a win can only be described as a good result when the opposition is of high quality. In Darmstadt GAA, we certainly had that. Darmstadt GAA is a club we have enormous respect for, and of course, this respect means that we really want to beat them when we can.

Darmstadt displayed impressive levels of fitness, speed, and team play. Their skills and work rate were obvious to see, and their ability to block down shots and put pressure on our players when striking the ball meant that nothing came easy for us. They used all these qualities to win the two “development” matches afterwards. From watching the quality of the Darmstadt team, we have certainly taken notes of where we can make further improvements.

Cologne Celtics vs. Darmstadt GAA in July 2021

In three tight matches, there was pure and exhilarating hurling. Some fantastic scores and displays of skill. It remained fast-paced and clean hurling. There was no nastiness or foul-play; the teams that won the respective matches did so based on their hurling ability, hard work, and ability to work as a team. Following the games, we came together to enjoy bottles of Radler, Fass Brause and beer before going to Zillich’s Gastronomiebetriebe at the nearby Fühlinger See.

Days like today don’t just happen, and for them to be successful, a whole team of people need to be thanked. Firstly, to Darmstadt for coming up for the match and playing hurling in the spirit it should be played. To the organisers from both clubs, your contribution and the work put in cannot be downplayed. Sincere thanks to the club members who came to Chorweiler to support and encourage the players, umpire, find sliotars, etc.

To Paul, who came from Düsseldorf and helped with the management of substitutions, giving feedback at half-time and all the other jobs you did – we are looking forward to unleashing you on the hurling pitch! Of course, to Steffi for the fantastic photos that will help display a wonderful day for the club. Finally, to all the players involved – what a great advertisement for hurling in Germany.

We’re going from strength to strength!

Kölle abú!

Enjoy some impressions of the day:

Photos by Steffi/penpaperstory

The usage of the images requires the prior permission of the club / contact website admin

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