The 3rd round of the Iberian Championship took place two weeks ago. The Harps were excited to go to Barcelona and try to win the tournament so we could try to improve our season by taking two great teams. It was the most even tournament of the season. We fought every ball and played our best tournament so far. Even though we were not able to win, we proved that the Harps are still able to put up a fight by getting to one of the finals. We would like to congratulate the champions, Barcelona Gaelettes and Barcelona Gaels. Having won the three tournaments this year they are proving to be unrivalled and are practically the champions of the Iberian Championship!
The men’s tournament started with a draw against Sant Vicent Valencia. The team from Valencia played a great first half, finishing 7 points ahead. The Harps accused the lack of chemistry between the players, having hardly played together this year. We could feel the great teamwork of Sant Vicent, keeping the same level year after year. They work very well together, and this could be seen in the pitch. But the second half was a different story. The Harps achieved a legendary turnaround getting down the seven points and drawing the match at the last second. Jesús San Blas reappeared after the break two months later after recovering from his injury and he was instrumental in the team’s improvement.
Drawing the match against Sant Vicent for the first time this season lifted up the team’s morale. They had won against us in the two previous tournaments, so this time we were more excited to face the rest of the tournament. Next matches against the teams from Galicia were hard but they were won thanks to this motivation. The Fillos de Breogán put up a good fight as they always do making us sweat to win them. The Irmandinhos A Estrada traveled for the first time to a tournament outside Galicia, proving a great determination and fighting for every ball. Good work lads! If you carry on like this you will get people talking about you sooner than you think! We needed a good score against them to get as many points as possible, in case there was a draw against Sant Vicent to get to the final. We did not expect to win against the Barcelona Gaels, who have won every match this year.
But the Gaels weren’t expecting such a strong and organised team: the Madrid Harps. With a great defence and a brilliant Matthew O’Hanlon we drew yet again in a hard-fought match against the bet team this season, which had won every single match until then. This led us to the final against the Gaels, where we couldn’t play as well as in the previous match. The home field advantage and the accumulated tiredness were key factors, and the Barcelona Gaels won the tournament after a disputed match, despite the final result.
The Harpettes also took a powerful team to Barcelona in which we were glad to welcome Alison O’Neill back after two months off the fields due to an unfortunate injury. The tournament started in a very promising way but unfortunately our luck changed. The first match was played against the Fillas de Breogán. The team from A Coruña fought very hard, and are getting better with each tournament. Even so, the match was easily won.
After this great beginning, the Harpettes played against the all-powerful Gaelettes. The first part didn’t go too well and the players from Barcelona soon got a good advantage. Fortunately we were able to react and we played much better in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to get back into the match, due to Barcelona’s big advantage from the first part.
All was to be decided against Sant Vicent Valencia. Our goal was to reach the final. The team from Valencia made a cautious match with a defensive strategy. They played with 5 players defending and only 1 attacking. This was disconcerting because the Madrid Harpettes had never played against a team using this kind of strategy. It was hard to find a good way to knock down their defensive structure. Although the match was very tight, we missed more time at the end. When we were playing our best minutes and about to achieve the victory… the match ended! We only lost by one point, but we were not going to play the final.
The 3rd/4th match was played again against the Fillas de Breogán. The Harpettes really wanted to win, and we achieved the victory! This way, we were the thirds for third time in a row this year.
Last tournament of the season is in Madrid 8th of June. We will fight there until the end for a victory in our home. We will put the other teams still more difficult this time. You can follow all the ratings in our Iberian Championship 2013 and Barcelona Tournament sections.