The Scottish city of Stirling is not a place that rears its head in conversations about football – until now. Almost equidistant between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Stirling has just been announced as the venue for the next AFL Europe Euro Cup in 2020.
The city is far more famous for Stirling Castle, and William Wallace’s defeat of the English. However, for one glorious weekend next June, Stirling will entertain the cream of European Australian Football.
The club does not boast its own club in the AFL Scotland SARFL league, but that may well change after hosting the premier nine per side tournament. Converted fans and curious onlookers will descend on Stirling and if all goes to plan a whole new batch of recruits, administrators, sponsors and fans will work to ensure the game remains in the city long after the event is over.
Maybe the teams are not at their fullest strength and maybe playing for an off-season cup isn’t quite as intense as a premiership season. However, make no mistake – all players who represented their teams at last weekend’s Movember Cup in Manchester were there to firstly raise money for cancer and secondly – compete, maybe even win.
After all of the pool matches were done and dusted, and the finals played, the Wandsworth Demons from AFL London had taken out the men’s cup whilst the more local Nottingham Scorpions took out the women’s title.
The hosts, the Manchester Mozzies, were runners-up in both men’s and women’s competitions.
The Bordeaux Bombers have had a delayed start to the season – partly due to postponements, partly weather – and have had to wait until Round 3 to take the field and begin their 2019/20 campaign.
However, the wait was certainly worth it as the Bombers held on for a narrow two-point win against the in-form ALFA Lions in Lyon. In a game described by the Lions as “a game of huge intensity”, which remained “intense to the end”, the Bombers have made it one win from one game and a positive start to the season.
It was a surprise loss for the Lions – a home match and coming on the heels of a record victory the previous match. Certainly, it raises the question of consistency for the Lions and this will need to be addressed when teams return to the fields of battle after the winter break. The Lions have a huge percentage, but now sit with just one win from three matches and will need to come back hard after the break.
The inaugural AFL Ireland Leeside League competition was completed last week with the Leeside Lions pipping the CIT Saints on for and against to finish on top of the ladder. Results were not based on a finals series as such, but based on where each team finished after their six matches.
The Leeside Lions and CIT Saints (Cork Institute of Technology) finished the season with four wins apiece after the final round of matches. The Lions had the superior percentage.
The Leeside League Facebook page reported:
“And that's a wrap on The Leeside League 2019. Phew, some going! The Leeside Lions powered home to claim the cup as inaugural winners, hearty congratulations lads. Hard luck to CIT Saints who were pipped at the end by score difference only, great showing boys.”
The opening round of the National University League was played last weekend, hosted by Oxford University. The day was won by Cambridge University in the men’s division, winning both of their games against Oxford University and South Wales Universities, as did the women in their matches.
The conditions were not ideal for footy, but that didn’t stop all teams from hurling themselves at the ball all day. In the first two men’s matches, the Cambridge crew won their matches against both Oxford and South Wales by comfortable margins before Oxford won the last men’s match by 72 points against South Wales.
Last weekend, two French teams not competing in the national league this year – the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes and Lille Eagles - took the field against each other to keep their teams active, motivated and keen for next season. Next weekend a third French team – the Perpignan Tigers – will do the same when they venture to Manchester, England, for this year’s Movember Cup.
The club has been having a rebuild during their two-season long hiatus from the premier French footy competition. However, armed with seven new players for the club, the Tigers are keen to give this new-look team a decent run against quality opposition to build for a possible re-entry to the big time next season.
This will be the first time the Perpignan Tigers will compete in the Movember Cup, but it is a great experience for the club and an exciting move for French footy and the wider European scene. They will only have a men’s team enter, but that ill open the door for women’s teams from Perpignan next year.
After just two completed rounds in the CNFA season, the Bayonne Toreadors are the surprise ladder leaders. Their upset victory against reigning premiers, the Paris Cockerels, has propelled the Toreadors to top spot early in just their second season in the competition.
In the other match, a massive win to the ALFA Lions sees them with a healthy percentage and sitting in second place.
Bayonne hosted the Cockerels in wet conditions. The club has acknowledged that their hard work last year and across the pre-season is paying off, and the evidence is there after downing both the Cockerels and Stade Toulousain. After a tight and tough affair, the Toreadors held on for a well-deserved 15-point win. This sets up a fascinating third round – the last before the winter break – where the Toreadors will host newcomers, the Antony Blues, and could well go to the break undefeated after three rounds and in a huge position to make an assault on finals football in their second season.
The onset of Storm Amélie across Europe, particularly parts of France, Spain and Italy, has affected the weekend’s CNFA matches. The storm saw the Bordeaux region hard hit with most sporting venues closed due to dangerous or waterlogged conditions.
The result of Amélie’s impact was the postponement of the match between the Bordeaux Bombers and Paris Cockatoos as well as the women’s north v south match (Nord v Sud du tournoi féminin) , raising funds for cancer. These matches will be rescheduled for later in the season.
The weather in Paris was significantly better, allowing the Antony Blues to host State Toulousain 2 in their second match as a fully-fledged CNFA team. Once again, the Blues showed a brave face and gave another a solid game. Nevertheless, Stade Toulousain proved far too good in the end, getting away to a 70-point victory.
The Essendon Football club have taken their Irish commitment to its highest level, signing a third player for the 2020 season. On the back of the successful development of dashing half-back, Conor McKenna (fourth in the club’s best & fairest this year) and last month’s signing of Ross McQuillan.
McBride has the potential to become an important key position player at the Bombers at a time of transition for the club as they reshape their own forward structure. The following article comes from the www.essendonfc.com.au website.
Essendon has welcomed its third Irishman, with Cian McBride making the trip across the seas to don the sash in 2020.
The deal will see McBride call The Hangar home until at least the end of 2021.
The new French footy season got under way this weekend with matches in Paris and Toulouse. Whilst two of the results were not surprising, one was down in Toulouse. On paper, the Paris Cockerels, Paris Cockatoos and Bayonne Toreadors were first round winners. However, the games had more to say than that.
The Paris Cockerels were hosting the newcomers, the Antony Blues. It is unlikely that the Blues could find a harder initiation, yet they kept the Cockerels honest all day. The final margin was 40 points, yet that does not do Antony justice.
The Cockerels led by just a point at the first break after both teams kicked five goals. By the half-time break the Cockerels led by twenty points, but still hadn’t shaken the Blues off. Going into the final term, 30 points separated the teams and the Cockerels scrapped to edge further ahead by the final siren.