Sunday, 10 November 2013

My first blog in ages

The last time I wrote  a piece for my blog on this Sligo Rovers were the Champions of Ireland, Shelbourne were a Premier Division team, Rovers were a mid-table team, I had just moved into a new apartment and the weather was roasting. It's now November and everything has changed except for the part about Rovers.

The league title is back in Inchicore, and I was there to witness the Saints lift the trophy vs Derry City. I flew to Dublin on the Friday morning and flew back to Deutschland on the Monday. The celebrations went on throughout the night in the Red Cow Hotel with the players and fans and then to top it all off a match against a team with the biggest budget and worst manager in the league - the Scum.

I've been living in my new apartment since August now and we had the biggest party in the history of parties a few weeks ago just for people from our football team. Walls vibrating from the music, people climbing on top of shelves, people passed out on the couch/floor etc etc. The only downside was that someone got sick on our astro-turf bathroom floor. We're having a football team Christmas Party aswell at our place which promises to be bigger and better

Football for the first and second team has been going well also, I've scored three second team goals and one first team goal and managed to miss an 88th minute penalty in the Derby last week. We have a few more weeks of games and training before the Winter break when all the pitches our frozen over (astro turf bathroom will come in handy for Winter training) The league season will start back in March and there's talk of a training camp in Turkey in February which would be quality, if it works out to be too expensive we'll have another camp somewhere in Germany like last season.
My U9 team have finished playing matches for the Winter. We won 5 and lost 3 games and train in the hall now once a week. Our league and tournaments will start back again in January and hopefully the kids keep enjoying their football regardless of the result.

My next trip to Éire will be at Christmas, I have a 10am flight from Frankfurt the night after our work Christmas party which has a free bar. This will be a very very hard challenge to make this flight, first of all I have to make the train on time, secondly I won't be able to sleep on aformentioned train because I have to changeover at least twice, thirdly I won't be able to sleep on the flight because there's always a crying baby or someone at the window seat that has to go to the jacks every half an hour.

Until the next blog,
Champions of Ireland

Oh ye, I forgot to add, I went to Ireland vs Germany in Köln in October, a respectable performance saw the Irish lose 3-0, to all but end our slim chances of qualifying for the World Cup next year in Brazil.

Monday, 26 August 2013

New Apartment, New Football Season, Ireland & Summer

Since my last post in June alot has happened in 2 months. I've moved apartment, been to Ireland twice on holiday and the new football season is underway.
Me and Dec at a Pegasus match
I now live in an apartment in the centre of the town, not fully complete yet but livable. We have an astro turf bathroom, can it get any better than that? My room is finished, new sockets put in, and a few Pats posters and scarves on the wall to make it a Saints room. There's an Irish flag hanging high above the town on our rooftop terrace aswell.

As I said I went to Ireland twice, in June and in August. Firstly with some German friends for a holiday and the second time for my Granny's 80th, to see the Saints beat relegation candidates Shelbourne and to improve my pitch & putt skills.

In June I did some touristy things that I would have never thought of doing before. I went to the Jameson Brewery for the first time which was good and went to a few bars in Temple Bar where I was the only Irish person in the place.

Pitch and Putt

August was a surprise visit for my granny's 80th party. I didn't tell many people I was flying back and then turned up at the front door.All my relations were home, an uncle, 2 auntys and a cousin from Australia and an Uncle and cousin from America. I was home for 5 days and during the that time we got a game of cricket in and a few practise innings in the back garden and two games of Pitch & Putt. My Tee shot let me down but my putting kept me in contention until a disaster on the 16th hole where I lost 2 balls off the tee. I wasn't much better at the Cricket, as a batsman I did ok but I'm a poor Wicketkeeper. There was a few nights in Dalkey with the family and I had three chippers when I was back because they don't do them over here, had a big fuck off roll aswell because also like chippers they don't do them here and brought back 8 cans of Bulmers because they don't do them over here. I left the halldoor wide open one night aswell, but sure look, I was on holidays.
FC06 Bad Kissingen 2013/14

The new football season is back under way.We have a signed a good few new players and one player has left. Our first team have done well since being promoted, winning all our three away games and at home drawing twice and losing once. The second team have won 9-3 and 4-0 and are hoping to get promoted this season.

It was good to get a Saints game in when I was back in Dublin. The Supersaints won 1-0 with a goal from Stephen Maher and luck from the lucky Gerbil. Still top of the league and going for the title

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

May: Champions

What a great month football-wise. FC06 won the league by 5 points, the Supersaints are top of the league and I got my new Patselona jersey.

So it's the Bezirksliga next season for FC06. We drew our second last game of the season at home to FC Thulba and thought we'd thrown it away, to find out that second place had lost so we went into the final game of the season 2 points clear. The final game was away to last place Burgwallbach. After a nervous opening we finally took the league, doubling it minutes later. They pulled one back and it was 2-1 at half time only for us to stretch our lead back to 2 goals straight after the interval. They pulled one back again 3-2 and once again we stretched our lead to two goals. Final score 4-2. As the final whistle went our Promotion t-shirts were given out, Champagne and Beer was brought onto the pitch by fans and the Promotion Party had started,with photographers getting photos for the next day's newspaper.

Our record at the end of the season was - Played: 28 Won: 17 Drew:7 Lost:4 Scored:67 Conceded 28 Points: 58

We have our official Championship Party this coming Saturday with fans, players and committee members.

2 days before claiming the league title it was my 25th birthday, and there's no better present than a 2-0 win away to Bohs. The Saints are top of the league and playing brilliant football. Not only have Barcelona copied our footballing style but they also stole the design of our Patselona jersey which has been re-launched since we first saw it in 2007. The draw for the Europa League is soon and once again I'm wondering where UEFA will send me, Hannover away last year was ideal. Would be great to win a trophy this season and I think it could happen with the likes of Lionel Forrester and Xavi Bolger in midfield. Don't worry Bohs, $hels and Scum fans, we'll send you a postcard from Europe.

Away from football, (at last says you), at the start of July I'll be moving into a new house with a friend from the football team, we were suppossed to move in a few weeks ago but it got delayed. The house is huge, 3 storeys high and will include a roof-top terrace and an astro-turf room in the basement to play football in Winter. It's right in the middle of the town and at the moment we're cleaning it up a bit and getting a new kitchen & bathroom built in.Hopefully the weather picks up and it will be BBQ's on the roof every evening.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The days are getting longer and so is my beard

Story horse. Finally after 5 months of snow it's warm and sunny again. No more heavy jackets, hats and scarves while walking to school, just a shirt and a Saints jersey.

In the last blog I wrote, at the end of March, my football team were three points off the league leaders. Now we are in a better position 1 point off the leaders and 2nd place with two games in hand with the team in 4th place right behind us, so the table is as tight as a camel's arse in a sandstorm. After good wins away to FC Thulba, Stadt Bischofsheim and Eichenhausen and a 2-2 draw at home after coming from 2 goals down confidence is high going in to the final month of games. Our manager keeps reminding us to take one game at a time but it's very hard to not ignore the overall picture and our last game on May 26th. Oh yeah and I've  vowed to grow my beard until I score a goal, as you can see from the photo I haven't scored yet. If I don't score by the end of this season I can see if they are making a new Castaway film and need a new star.

The season with my U9s started back last week after a long winter break. A 7-1 home win last week was followed up by another 7-1 win and a closely fought 5-3 victory . What was unusual about the second win was that we had 7 different goalscorers, which doesn't usually happen in 7-a-side football.

I'm moving into a new apartment in a few weeks with a friend that's on the football team. The apartment is right in the centre of a town, 30 seconds away from my favourite pub. It has a rooftop terrace and two spare rooms,  which we are going to convert into a living room and a bar, and it's 3 storeys. A house warming/birthday/end of season party is planned. I'm finishing my teaching in the school at the end of May so I'll be able to do a few more days roofing, like last summer, in over 35C, while looking for a new job in BK. Something to do with languages like translating or languages. I'm looking into eventually opening an Irish bar but that's more of a dream than a plan to be honest.

I still haven't planned a Summer holiday yet, probably like every year, Europa League with the Supersaints, and maybe a week in Éire. Speaking of the Saints, it was a good 2-0 win down in Cork yesterday, which can be a tricky place to go. The league is starting to take shape now with the teams that are in Europe occupying the top three while the relegation candidates such as Shelbourne, Bray and Shamrock Rovers in the bottom half with a third of the season gone.

Sticking with football, it's great to see two German teams in the final of the Champion's League. Everyone will be packed into the pubs watching the two best teams in Germany (behind FC06). Very hard to call who's going to win it, both teams have world class players and in a final it's so hard to predict.

On another note, hard to believe it's almost 20 months since I moved to Bad Kissingen. Time flies when you're having fun. Here's to the next 20.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Future in BK, Paddy's Day '13 and Easter

I started teaching here in September 2011 and at the end of May I will be finished. It was only a 2 year teaching course and I was lucky to get the second year in the same place to be honest. I would like to stay here and am currently looking for other jobs, specifically with something to do with languages or teaching. If I can't stay here then there are plenty of other opportunities in Deutschland especially in cities such as Frankfurt, München etc.

I could move back to Ireland but I don't think there would be many job opportunities and if I stay here I can keep improving my German. You can never be too good at a foreign language, there's always room for improvement.

In my last blog I talked about St Patrick's Day 2012. Well this year's Paddy's Day was also a huge success with everyone having fun, drinking Guinness and listening to Irish music.The party lasted just as long as last year's. I just hope I'll be here in BK to celebrate it in 2014.

The football is going well also. After two draws in our first two games of 2013 we needed a win which came yesterday against the team in 3rd place,TSV Nordheim, which lifts us above them and another team and into second. We are three points off the top and have a big derby tomorrow away to FC Thulba who are 1 point behind us. We are three points off the league leaders with a game in hand. So there's still a lot to play for between now and the end of May. Our aim at the start of the season was promotion and to achieve that would be brilliant. The league season for my U9's starts back again in the next few weeks once the sun comes out, which as always will be enjoyable and here's hoping there's a few mini Keith Fahey's in the making!

I'm currently a week through my 2 week Easter holiday and it's still snowing,although it reached a sweltering 9C at one stage last week. After spending most of the holiday either training, watching Father Ted or roofing it will be nice to get back to the teaching again. 

After last summer's footballing holiday at Euro 2012 it will be another summer of football again as Ireland's European Club are once again in the Europa League. I'm praying for a team in mainland Europe so I can just hop on a train and to the match. Somewhere like Luxembourg would be ideal, but we'll probably be drawn to a team from Iceland...again. Last season's draw away to Hannover was perfect. 4 hour train from here.

Anyway, have a good Easter and don't eat too much chocolate, like I have. I got a pack if six crunchies in the post off my 2nd favourite Aunty, Maureen. 4 of them eaten already. Have to do with German tea though, ran out of my box of Barry's which lasted well over year. German tea just isn't the same while dippin a crunchie in. (I think it's only an Irish thing to send chocolate in the post!)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Party 2012

With Saint Patrick's Day coming up I'm going to have a look back on last years Irish holiday and how I celebrated it in Deutschland.
Being an Irishman it was only appropriate to have a Saint Patrick's Day party. Last year it was on a Saturday, an ideal day for a party (when isn't an ideal day to be honest).

We'd had a game that afternoon and were ready to celebrate Paddy's Day in our clubhouse. The room was decorated with mini-Irish flags and balloons. A few Irish friends were at the party too, namely Guinness, Jameson, Bailey's and Kilkenny. They had a good time.

Preparation for the party started a week before. We bought the drink from an off-licence, in the shop they were looking at us like we were mad, because I don't think anyone buys crates of Guinness from there, usually just German beer. We then had to come up with our own price list. €2 for a Guinness or a Whiskey with Cola is a bargain in my books. Maybe we made the prices too cheap because 3/4 hours into the party everybody was enjoying themselves alot. 

Everyone was wearing green,  not necessarily anything to do with Éire, like the Deutschland away jersey, but still green, except for me in my red Saint Patrick's jersey. I tried to ban Shamrocks from the party because of their link with a certain League of Ireland team, but easier said than done. At least we won't be seeing any Shamrocks on the continent this year, after a 4th place finish.

By around 2am there were a few of us left, so it was off to the Disco in our Paddy's day costumes. Alot of people inside didn't know that it was Saint Patrick's day so didn't know why we were all wearing green and had tri-colour wigs on and an inflatable "Hammered by the Irish" hammer.

After the disco it was back to where the party had started to finish off what was left of the Whiskey. The next thing I remember is waking up on the table to a knock on the door from one of the guys on the second team asking if we can play for them because they are short on numbers. We decided to play, which was the worst idea ever. The room was in some mess the next day with the music still playing and green confetti and balloons all over the floor. All in all everyone seemed to have a great time drinking the Irish brew while listening to songs by the Pogues, Paddy Eccles and the Dubliners for the night.

We are having another party this year to celebrate St Pat's Day 2013. Although Paddy's Day is a Sunday we are going to celebrate from Saturday night into Sunday morning. For one night in the year only Bad Kissingen is Irish! Like last year, we have the drink bought and the decorations hung up. There's no football this weekend because of the snow so tomorrows party can start early afternoon and finish early into the morning, and hopefully this year I get a bigger table to sleep on. Then Sunday (the actual day Paddy's Day is on) will be a day of Lent in which I won't eat anything.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Summer Holiday: Euro 2012

After spending 9 months in the hustle and bustle of Bad Kissingen I decided it was time for a nice, relaxing, quiet summer holiday and no better place to spend it than in Poland at the European Championships. It was the first time that Ireland had qualified for a tournament in a decade and I am living in the country beside where the Euros were being hosted so I really had to go. After getting tickets with help from my good friend and father, John, I was ready for Poland except without accommodation. Then a fellow Supersaint by the name of Alan Brady came to my assistance and said that he and his brother had space in their campervan. So there would be five of us in a four man campervan for 16 days travelling around Poland watching football. The perfect holiday. As well as having tickets for the three Ireland games, we also had some for Czech Republic vs Russia and Czech Republic vs Greece.

I went by train up to Leipzig a day before we had to collect the campervan, and stayed with a friend, Matt, who's also a English Language Assistant in Germany. The next day the journey to Poland would begin....

On the outskirts of Leipzig two of us collected the campervan and were to meet the other three lads in Poland. I'm glad I wasn't driving because that campervan looked impossible to drive and on the wrong side of the road aswell. After travelling across the border into Poland we realised that it would be too late to find a campsite so we pulled into a petrol station and stayed in the car park for the night. There were a few dodgy looking lads loitering around the garage but despite them we eventually got some sleep.

The next day was the Czech Republic - Russia game. We hung out with some Czech fans before the game and had a few beverages. A Czech guy and I noticed that he had Czech flip flops on and I had Irish ones on so we decided to swap one. I still have it now but it's way too big, which means there's some poor lad walking around Czech Republic with an Irish flip flop on around 4 sizes too small.  The game was very enjoyable with a good atmosphere. Here's a picture of us with the Czech fans before the game. (With a Saints flag of course) But that atmosphere was nothing compared to what we were about to witness in Poznan...

We found a space in the Carlsberg Campsite in Poznan along with half the population of Ireland and some of the campervans were quality.  Lads in a campervan beside us had a paddling pool with them, tennis equipment, giant beach balls etc and the party had really started.

Apart from losing, the whole match day was brilliant. The entire day all I could hear was "Team of Gary Breens" "I've got Glenn Whelan that tonight's gonna be a good night" "Stephen Ireland's grandmother's alive-alive-oh" and of course "Olé Olé". After the game there was the trouble between some Croatia and Polish fans but it was a minority. Most of their fans were very friendly to the Irish. As night turned to morning we knew it was soon time to leave Poznan and travel up to Gdansk to play reigning World champions Espana. Could the highest paid international coach in the world out-master the Spaniards, we would have to wait and see.....

After waiting for 4 minutes it was clear to see that the answer was 'no' as Ireland were 1-0 down. I'm not going to describe the game in detail as we all know what happened. After the game it was time to go back into the city and celebrate. "You'll never beat the Irish" etc etc. being sung every 5 minutes but to be fair we did manage to get a few Pats songs going. Gdansk is a great place for a holiday. The beach was good craic, except I swam out too far and almost got hit by a speedboat going by.

Next it was the long trip from Gdansk back down to Wroclaw for Czech Republic vs Greece. We kind of got lost on the way down but we knew the campsite we were staying in was near enough to the zoo so while stopped in traffic one of our lads asked a Polish fella where the Campsite was. It was one of the funniest conversations I've ever heard.

Us: "Sorry mate can you tell me where this campsite is? *Gives name of campsite*"
Polish guy: "You mean Dutch village?"
Us: "What? No campsite. Football. Campsite for campervan. Football"
Polish guy: "Dutch village"
Us: "No. campsite. Where's the zoo? Animals! Where are the animals?"

Then the lights turned green and we were going again. We missed the first half and arrived in our seats just in time for the second half. We met a few Czech lads that we had seen at the first game against Russia. They were much more happy now having seen their team take all 3 points against a mediocre Greek side.

After a night celebrating, a few of us slept under the campervan for a few hours (don't ask) before it was time once again to hit the road and go back to Poznan for the final group game vs Italia. Everyone was wrecked at this stage after 2 weeks of celebrating and the day after the Italia game it was time to go back to Deutschland.

It was only really at the end of the holiday that we realised we wouldn't really be getting our deposit back for this campervan. The floor was a mess, the beds were a mess and we were missing a door. We still don't know how it came off the hinges. The campervan got back to it's rightful owners and thank Gormley we didn't have to pay anything extra.

I went back to Bad Kissingen with a sore head, memories that will last a lifetime, and a flip-flop from a Czech fan. The craic was 90.You'll never beat the Irish.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

17 Months in B.K. City (Part 2)

As I said in my first blog, I will talk about football, youth coaching and general life in Bad Kissingen.

So before I arrived here, I knew I'd need to find a football club, so I went about this 3 months before I arrived. I'm now playing for FC06 Bad Kissingen and coaching their U9 team aswell. I'd be bored alot of the time if it wasn't for football here as it occupies up to 6 days of my week. 

Here's our team photo from the start of the season. We are doing well at the moment, we're 2nd and hoping to get promoted. 
I think I've played in every position except goalkeeper. I scored my first goal in Germany as well at the start of the season. A great cross into the box and I planted the header into the top corner. The keeper had no chance. Unfortunately at the wrong end! Own goal. I later got substituted and we lost 2-1. I was playing centre back that day and since then I've been gradually moved further away from our own box. A few games on the bench didn't seem to be far enough away from our box so that's why I started up front in a friendly last week, scoring 0 goals in total.

As well as trying to play football I coach the U9s team, which is good fun. We have tournaments monthly and are also in a league. We train twice a week in Summer and once a week in Winter. It's enjoyable for the kids, parents and trainer, especially the tournaments where prizes are given to every team.

Away from football for a while. There are some of the differences I've noticed between Deutschland and Ireland. Everything is so much cheaper here. Nights out are a third of the price, you don't need to bring I.D. and the clubs close at around 5am. Accommodation is so cheap aswell. I've never rented in Ireland but from what I've heard it can be treble the price compared to here. I don't know how Shamrock Rovers have done it for 26 years. 

Another major difference between here and Éire is the school system. School begins here at 8:00, they don't wear Uniform and it's a mixed school. Lessons finish at 1:00 and then they have sport or other activities afterwards. We had winter sports day a few weeks ago and went sledding and skiing at the Kreuzberg.

They celebrate Karneval here, unlike in Ireland. Everyone dresses up and goes crazy for a few days. Here is a picture of my costume. 4 of us did a Moulin Rouge dance aswell at our football team Karneval Party. After a weeks practise we were ready and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. The party went on all night with some great costumes on show. I didn't know whether to use the girls or boys bathroom, but the hairy chest and beard gave away the fact that it was just a costume. Ich habe sehr viel Spaß gehabt. Es ist so schade, dass wir Karneval in Irland nicht feiern.

 A few things to look forward to over the next month:

  • League of Ireland season starting
  • Easter Holidays (Osterferien)
  • Saint Patrick's Day Party
  • My league season starting back after a long winter break

Again, feel free to comment or if anyone is thinking of moving abroad to a non-English speaking country and wants advice feel free to ask questions.

Come on the Saints,

Monday, 25 February 2013

17 Months in B.K.City

After 17 months of living in Germany's capital city, Bad Kissingen, I've decided to start writing a blog. With the snow cancelling the football and the fact that I now have proper internet after months of using a Vodafone stick with limited internet access,  I now feel this is an appropriate time to start a blog.

If I were to write about everything that I have done in 17 months this wouldn't be a blog, it'd be an autobiography so I'll try and sum up my time in Bad Kissingen in a few paragraphs.

After applying to become an assistant teacher in Germany I was expecting to be allocated Munich, Stuttgart or a town/city that I had heard of. I got a letter to say I would be teaching in two schools in Bad Kissingen, the most famous Spa and health resort in Germany. I'm almost a year and a half here and I can't say I'm any healthier now than when I arrived but I am more of a Spa. 

Teaching went well anyway, the craic was had and the students learnt about League of Ireland football and Irish culture. After finishing my first year of teaching in May 2012, I applied for a second year with little optimism that I'd get the same town. Thanks to some help from friends and the town council I'm still here, teaching in a different school. 

As well as teaching, which I do three days a week, I'm also working as a roofer on Thursday and Friday. The difficult part isn't the roofing it's the weather. From over 30C in the summer to -15C in the winter, and after 8 hours of being on a roof, I honestly count down the hours until I can go home and just get into the shower for  about a half an hour.

I don't want to write too much in my first blog, so in my next blog I'll talk about playing football, coaching a youth team and being the only Irishman in B.K. City

P.S. I've added a translation tool at the top for my German friends and friends living in the Gaeltacht