Benelux Football Tournament Report: Leuven May 21 – 3 in a Row!

Another great weekend hosted by the Earls of Leuven which saw Belgium GAA women field a total of 3 teams! Another successful day for our ladies’ team saw them take home the championship and shield trophies while our men’s team fell short of qualifying for the final. 53 players in total lined out in the Belgium colours for the competition.

The men’s team managed to top a difficult group against Leuven, Luxembourg ‘B’ and Amsterdam ‘B’. They started the day off with a win against Luxembourg ‘B’. The 2nd game of the afternoon was against Amsterdam ‘B’ who managed to knock the lads out in the previous round in Eindhoven. This time, Belgium managed to overcome Amsterdam ‘B’ from behind with a great performance. The final game of the group was against the hosts Leuven, who also won their two games. Another very tough game saw Belgium defeat Leuven. With Belgium topping their group they were matched against Den Haag in the championship semi finals. A game which was forced to extra time with the men’s team just falling short at the end. 3rd place is where they finished for the day as Leuven conceded the 3/4th place playoff.

Some of the Belgium men’s players spent the day competing with Frankfurt who managed to win the Sheild final which was great to see! Thanks very much to Frankfurt for hosting the lads and giving them plenty of game time.

The lads enjoying the hospitality hosted by Leuven

For the first time since 2010 in Benelux, a ladies’ team managed to field a total of 3 teams. The first meeting of the day was Belgium ‘A’ vs Belgium ‘C’ which saw ‘A’ take the win. Belgium ‘A’ continued their good form by beating Den Haag/Hamburg/Maastricht and Luxembourg to top their group. Belgium C wasn’t as successful in the group and qualified for the shield completion. In the other group, Belgium ‘B’ managed to beat Dusseldorf/Frankfurt but fell short against a strong Amsterdam side and the hosts Leuven. This meant Belgium ‘B’ joined Belgium ‘C’ in the shield competition with Belgium ‘A’ going for the top spot in the championship.

Belgium ‘A’ won their semi final against the host Leuven 4-08 to 2-03, which meant a repeat of the first two Benelux finals against Amsterdam. Belgium ‘A’ came out on top this time where the result didn’t reflect on how tough the encounter was, with a final score of 5-08 to 0-08. It was also Grainne Aylward’s first time making an appearance with Belgium GAA in 3 years!

An interesting affair was on the cards for the semi final of the shield where Belgium ‘B’ were up against Belgium ‘C’. Belgium ‘C’ managed to get their first win of the day by defeating Belgium ‘B’ and qualifying for the shield final. Belgium ‘C’ finished a great day with another win by beating Dusseldorf/Frankfurt in a close encounter of 1-09 to 2-04 in the shield. This meant another trophy was travelling back to Brussels on the quick train journey home!

Smiles all around after a very successful day for the Belgium Ladies Team!

The ladies team continued to show their dominance of the Benelux competition who have won all 3 tournaments so far this season and take a step closer to winning it outright. For the women to field 3 teams and take home the championship & shield titles on the day, it is safe to say that it’s a magnificent achievement and the players/management should be extremely proud. For the men’s team, it’s back to the drawing board for them but they still remain in contention for the Benelux championship, so it’s all to play for!

Photos of the day can be accessed here.

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