Saturday 3 pm, the sun is burning. It is matchday 1 and we could all feel this special tension within the team when starting into a season that is virginally lying ahead of us. It was also the first time German-Swiss All Stars played together as one team. Although the Swiss are known to enjoy their neutrality, the German side is honored to join this alliance for the season 2018/2019. As it still feels new, it can be mentioned here that three former Swiss players made it into the starting eleven. After a while this counting may disappear as we grow together as a team. And the way we played this match, was for sure the close to perfect starting point we all had wished for. The first half already started quite intense with the Gaelics having more ball possession but never really able to seriously threaten GSAS defense. Jan and Basti were keeping it very tight at the center and also Arnaud and Quirin worked a lot over the wings leaving not too much to do for the back four and keeper. Though the flipside was that Hamza and Di did not receive many useful passes upfront and hence, first half ended nil-nil. Not too much changed in the second half, the game was still very intense and there were not too many chances on both sides. For the rare ones of the Gaelic side, Joe in his first match for GSAS kept us alive with some difficult saves. The referees also did a good job calming down both sides, while noticing the game was still fair, but discussions were becoming more heated. While the Gaelics were anxious to score soon, we noticed that there is something in the air. In minute 60 or so, the time came when a well-played counter attack was converted by Arnaud in cool style being served by Basti with a decent straight-forward assist. Even though after that the Gaelics had even more ball possession in the last 30 minutes, they could not seriously threaten the GSAS defense with their long and wide balls anymore. And after one of their strikers was sent off, it was rather GSAS with some dangerous set pieces who could have put it to 2-0. Especially the substitutes Alex, Marius and Thomas were the ones that brought fresh legs to keep and secure the 1-0 advantage. After the final whistle it was clear we really started into the season with a clean sheet and 3 points. What a perfect day! Players happy, Managers happy, El Presidente happy, Main Sponsor happy and thanks for all supporters coming round. Believe you saw an entertaining match with two strong teams. So probably happy as well. Difficult decision whom to pick as MoM with actually 14 men of the match on our side especially considering the incredible saves from Joe or the 100% won headers rate from Flo as boss in the back, but the decision goes to Basti alias "The Machine" fighting for the team for every single ball and eventually giving the assist for the winning goal after a beautiful solo. Being runner-up last year, we could feel the disappointment of the Gaelic side. Thanks for a still overall fair match and if both sides can keep up this attitude, we shall both have a successful season. Good luck and looking forward to playing you in the second half of the season.
Well, the season kicked off with a disappointing loss for the Gaelic Lions to the German & Swiss All Stars at Turf City. There have been several changes at the Lions with a new manager (myself), new players arriving, as well as a departures, however the nucleus of the team remains unchanged. The game was played with great intensity and the Lions controlled possession for large parts of the game but lacked a cutting edge, spurning several good chances to take a deserved lead. GAS were well organised and their work rate was exemplified by going in at half time at nil-nil. As the game progressed and legs became weary, both teams made personnel changes and midway through the second half, against the run of play, a lapse of control by the Lions resulted in a counter attack, which proved decisive. Tensions were raised, as we went looking for an equaliser, and Alan Donogue was deservedly sent off for reacting to a flailing arm by the GAS center half. Unfortunately histrionics took center stage which created a bad tempered end to the match. I understand several GAS players had to leave soon after the match to catch a flight to LA, given their nominations at a prominent award ceremony! Conor King, Brett Bowman and Stephen Swords all had opportunities to level but it just wasn't our day. Debutant JB, playing on the left had a great game and has already become and integral part of the Lions squad. I am very excited to be part of the Cosmo League and to be managing the Gaelic Lions. The desire and passion shown by both teams, throughout the match, was first class and i am impressed with the standard of play and energy given the sweltering heat. I wish the GAS team and management much success this season and look forward to our return match later in the season. Best, Kevin Bilsby