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2002 Euro League Round 2 - Paris, France
Saturday 13th April 2002

Back Row (L-R) John Toal, Níall Barrett, Pat Collins, Paul Larkin, Páudraic Fitzpatrick, Pierre Ray Emmanuelle, Shane McCorley. Front Row (L-R) Niall McCorley, Alex Stojcevic, Dan Galavan, Daire Kivlehan, John Mallon. Not in the photo: Noel Mc Kenna

Níall Barrett SolosIntroduction
On Saturday 13th April 2002, the Munich Colmcilles travelled to Paris for their first tournament of the 2002 season. The players travelling went with high spirits, as they felt that the training with had been done in preparation for the long day of football, was a lot more than some of the other teams taking part. The tournament was an 11-a-side affair, with each game being of 7 minutes a half, with the final being 10 minutes a half. The tournament had a total of seven entries, with teams from The Hague, Luxembourg, Rennes, Brest, and also Frankfurt, who were competing in their first ever tournament, after only being formed a couple of months ago, along with the Cilles and of course the hosts, Paris. The group section consisted of one league, with each team playing each other once, and the top two teams competing against one another in the final.

Munich v Brest
Pierre gets control of the situation Munich's first game was against the team from Brest, and we got off to a great start. The team took the lead through a goal from our French star, Pierre Ray Emmanuelle, who had travelled all the way from Hamburg, to make up the numbers. The lead was then extended with two points from the trainer Níall Barrett, and a point from our only Antrim man, Páudraic Fitzpatrick. The victory looked even more emphatic, due to the fact that the Munich defence kept the Brest team scoreless. Even though it was only the first game, the boys were looking to make this their first tournament victory. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 1-3 : Brest 0-0

Munich v The Hague
The next match turned out to be a completely different affair. Against a much fitter Hague team, Niall McCorley clears the ball the Cilles seemed to be a side that hadn't played together at all. The defence was left at sixes and sevens, with the midfield being dominated by the opposition. Munich opened the scoring when Níall, converted a penalty, which they had won when John Mallon was brought down in the Hague area. That was the stimulation that the Hague seemed to need, as the then went on to score 3 points in the first half, level the score at half time. After the break, the match looked destined to stay level, until a snap shot from the Hague's forward line, snuck past the Munich keeper, John Toal (the only one that got past him the whole tournament), and went in of the inside of the post. After that, the Colmcilles dropped their heads, and the Hague scored another 2 unanswered points to close out the game. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 1-0 : The Hague 1-5

Munich v Rennes
Revenge was the aim of the next match for Munich, who after the loss to the Hague, wanted to make someone pay for the heavy defeat. And unfortunately for Rennes, it was to be them. The match got of to a slow start, with Rennes opening the scoring with their only point of the game. Then Níall got Munich's two first half points, one from play, the other from a free. Munich then came out in the second half with all guns blazing. John Mallon got his first score of the tournament, slotting home a well placed goal, after a fantastic piece of inter-connecting play between the midfield and forwards. Páudraic got the next point, followed by a point from a Rennes defender, after a miss-hit clearance. The final score came from our All-Ireland Club Championship winner, Paul Larkin, after a great solo run split the Rennes defence, Paul launched his shot goal ward in hope of any score, with a point being the outcome. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 1-5 : Rennes 0-1

Munich v Frankfurt
Níall Barrett psyches up the teamFrankfurt were Munich's next opponents, and with this being the first tournament for Frankfurt, the Cilles boys were confident of a win, but once again it was the opposition that got of to the better start, with Frankfurt's Barry O'Neill opening the scoring with a well taken free kick. Munich then replied with great goal from Pierre, who caught the kick out from the Munich keeper, and then turned to run half the length of the field, holding the defenders off with his superior strength, and put the ball into the Frankfurt net. Noel McKenna then got Munich's final score of the half from a free kick. The second half turned out to be Niall McCorley's half, with him collecting the rest of Munich's points, 1-2 in total, to give the Colmcilles their third win of the tournament. Barry O'Neill got a second point for the Frankfurt boys, from another well taken free. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 2-3 : Frankfurt Sarsfields 0-2

Munich v Paris
Paris Gaels were to be next team to face Munich, and with Paris being last years champions, Munich were out to prove that they could compete with any of them. From the start, this match was going to be a tough one for the travelling squad, but they stuck at the task in hand and came away with a victory. Although for a while it looked like Paris may have taken the victory. As in many of the previous games, the other team opening the score, with Paris scoring two unanswered points, before Niall McCorley scored a point just before half time. In the second half, Páudraic brought victory into sight with a well taken goal, with Paul closing the scoring with another well taken point. This left the Munich lads with only one more victory to secure a place in the final. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 1-3 : Paris Gaels 0-2

Munich v Luxembourg
Unfortunately, it was not to be Munich's day, as a single point victory for Luxembourg was the outcome of the final league match. As usual, Munich fell behind first, and it stayed this way, with Luxembourg scoring all of their three points in the first half, leaving the Cilles an extremely hard uphill battle in the second half. The Munich boys came out and gave it their all in the second half, but even two great points from Níall couldn't get them back into the match, and the task wasn't made any easier with some bad sportsman like conduct from the Luxembourg side. Final score: Munich Colmcilles 0-2 : Luxembourg 0-3

The Aftermath!
The second defeat left Munich in a tie for second place with Luxembourg, Dan and Alex take a breather on 8 points, although winning on score difference, with Paris needing a victory of more than 5 points in there last match with Brest, to finish on the same points, but with a better scoring difference. To Munich's disappointment, Paris thrashed Brest, 7-7 to 0-2, and Munich's first final appearance was flushed down the proverbial toilet. The Hague then went on to defeat Paris Gaels in the final, to take their second tournament win of the year. The next tournament that Munich will be attending will be the Blackstuff 7-a-side tournament in Luxembourg, on Saturday May 25th, where the Colmcilles intend to put an end to The Hague's early season dominance, and come away with their first tournament victory.

A Word Of Appreciation
On behalf of Munich Colmcilles GAA e.V., I would like to thank the Paris Gaels, for organising such a well run tournament, and for the wonderful meal which was provided for us in the evening. I would also like to thank the two referees, who did a wonderful job in maintaining discipline, and ensuring that the games consisted of fast, flowing football. München Colmcilles Squad Paris 2002.

John Toal,
2002 Public Relations Officer,
Munich Colmcilles GAA e.V.
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