A big thanks to the players and shoppers/cheerleaders from the Taiwan Celts who traveled to Kuala Lumpur in July for the clubs first tour of 2010! We all had a ball meeting up with the Orang Eire teams for beers in KL and of course the Gaelic football games on Saturday! Our hosts Orang Eire GAA were very welcoming and put on a really great weekend for us.
The resounding conclusion from everyone in our group: “We gotta do this more often!”
Friday Evening Trip – Taipei to KL
The team plus WAGS met at Taoyuan international airport for the first tour of the year. The WAGS did their duty free shopping and the fellas made “arrangements for” the flight. No sooner had the seat belt been turned off, the McNally in-flight bar started to get it’s first visitors. The pre-flight preparation from the fellas had been to buy Vodka and mixers for the journey, so by the time we arrived in Kuala Lumpur Sean, Pete, Karsten and Graham were nicely merry. A bus journey in to the City had us delivered to our hotels.
Friday Night – Finnegan’s, Curries & Unhappy Brazilians!
A quick hotel check-in and a change into the club Polo shirts and we headed in to meet the Orang Eire team at their sponsor pub Finnegan’s. After watching the Dutch knock the Brazilians out of the world cup, the beers were flowing and everyone was enjoying the atmosphere. Someone decided a Malaysia curry was in order! The search for a curry was as successful as the English soccer World cup campaign. We gave in and stopped at a Chinese restaurant. After heading back again to Finnegan’s for the craic with the KL lads, someone let it slip that it was Karstens birthday. His gift from the team was a cocktail called “A Graveyard”. We don’t know what went into it, but it had the desired effect 🙂 Around 3am the “old guys” made a move for bed, the diehards went clubbing!
Saturday Afternoon – Taiwan Celts vs Orang Blues
With sore heads, the team met at the hotel lobby at 2pm and were picked up by Orang Eire in 4 jeeps. Great weather for GAA, cool with no rain, and the astroturf pitch at the KL International School was reserved for the day. Our first 9-aside match was against the Orang Eire Blues. We held our own for the first half; the half-time score was 1-1 to 0-3 for Orang Eire. By the second half, we were regretting the tray of whiskeys the previous night, and the Blues got on top with a couple of unanswered scores.
KL Ladies Yellow vs KL Ladies Blue
A very entertaining game from the Orang Eire Ladies teams. Even though some of them had joined us at Finnegan’s the previous night, they were all raring to go for their match on Saturday. Strong passing-games from both teams in midfield, and some very skillful play by the forwards made for a really good game. The Orang Eire girls were interested to hear about the TaiwanNu’s, and look forward to meeting up in HongKong!
Orang Yellows vs Taiwan Celts
By this time we were in better shape. From goal, Graham was finding players in free space. Sean and Pete were providing great passes to Duncan and Ronan in the box. JB was all over the field providing support up front and in defense. The backs Danish Dave, Kasten, Tony and Dave Mac were strong and chased the defenders down, hassling them and limiting their playing space. The Orang Eire Yellows are a strong team and are playing competitively every month against AFL teams. Some strong soloing from their midfield, and their impressive fitness levels meant they enjoyed more possession for much of the game. A better performance from Taiwan, but we were outmatched. The Yellows also went on to beat the Blue team, winning the Orang Eire – Taiwan Celts tournament for the day.
The final game of the day, the Taiwan Celts borrowed some players from Orang Eire Blue, allowing us to play a 13-aside game with subs against the Yellows. Every player on the Celts team upped their play dramatically in this game, and like against Singapore last season, we really showed what we’re capable of when we play good football as a team. At half time we were ahead, in the second half the Yellows fitness showed again, and they were able to claw back the difference. At the final whistle, the game was a draw.
Awards, Invites, and a few Beers
After the games the boys from Orang Eire had laid on a huge ice-box full of beers. Club President Pat Gorham presented the captain of the Orang Yellows with an award for winning the final, and also made a presentation to Taiwan Celts club president Graham, to mark the first tour between our clubs (check it out at the Brass Monkey) We formally invited Orang Eire teams to Taipei for the return leg of the tour. This is planned for early next season. Orang Eire also invited the Taiwan Celts to join the KL Invitational tournament next season, along with teams from Singapore, Thailand & Vietnam.
Seated in a private room in a restaurant resembling an opium den, we kept an eye on the Argentina-Germany game while enjoying tasty Indian food. Although the delivery of the dishes was painfully slow it was conveniently located next door to the bistro where we were invited to a birthday party for one of the KL lads. Further beers were consumed, the demolishing of Argentina was watched, and we celebrated a very enjoyable tour with our new friends in KL.