Friday, April 21, 2017

Pat O'Brien Cup and Feile Fundraiser Event

Saturday April 29 sees the beginning of the 2017 GAA season at the Irish Cultural Center.  The Pat O’Brien Cup features 3 games with the defending champions, Connemara Gaels, taking on last year’s championship finalists, Galway.  The other ties see Donegal take on Wolfe Tones and Aidan McAnespies play the Shannon Blues.
The cup takes on a new format with each team playing the others in the group, and at the end of group play the top teams will play each other in the final.  The format ensures at least two games for each club before the Championship begins on June 4, and clubs have the chance to get their home based players back into the swing of things, and to blood some the many new home based signings.  Group A:  Aidan McAnespies, Shannon Blues, Galway, Connemara Gaels.  Group B:  Donegal, Wolfe Tones, Christopher’s. 
There will also be a fundraiser at the ICC on Saturday evening for the U14 teams that will be participating in the Feile at the end of June in Ireland.  The competition is a trip of a lifetime for underage players, who put in a tremendous effort preparing for the competition, and the prospect of traveling to Ireland and being part of the team really bolsters the underage programs in the region.  It is a large expense for a family to travel and a successful fundraiser helps defray some of the cost.
Connemara Ace Sean Conneeley chased by Donegal's
Gavin "Fireman" Gallagher
So, next Saturday is a chance to enjoy some early season action and get out to not only support the home based players, but to give the youth support and enjoy some music and Irish dancing at the fundraising event.

Sat April 29 - Schedule of Games:
4:00 Aidan McAnespies v Shannon Blues
5:00 Galway v Connemara Gaels
6:00 Wolfe Tones v Christopher’s
Fundraiser begins at 6:00.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Pat O'Brien Cup Opens April 29

Boston GAA

Season Kicks off April 29 with Pat O’Brien Cup

The Boston GAA season begins on April 29 with the commencement of the Pat O’Brien Cup.  The competition will take a group format with the seven teams who entered drawn into groups of 4 and 3 teams respectively.   After the groups have been completed the top team in each group play for the cup.  Group A:  Aidan McAnespies, Shannon Blues, Galway, Connemara Gaels.  Group B: Donegal, Wolfe Tones, Christopher's. 


April 29

Group A

4:00 Aidan McAnespies v Shannon Blues
5:00 Galway v Connemara Gaels

Group B

6:00 Wolfe Tones v Christopher's

May 6

Group B

4:00 Donegal v Wolfe Tones

Group A

5:00 Aidan McAnespies v Galway
6:00 ShannonBlues v Connemara Gaels

May 13

Group A

4:00 Aidan McAnespies v Connemara Gaels

Group B

5:00 Donegal v Christopher's

Group A

6:00 Shannon Blues v Galway

Provisional Date for final May 20.  Games may need to be rescheduled due to weather.  Championship begins June 4.

Youth Board News

Feile Preparations in Full Swing – Fundraiser April 29

The U14 Boys and Girls are training diligently for the Feile competition to be held at the end of June in Cavan, Monaghan and Fermanagh.  It is yet to be determined where the teams will be based.  A fundraising event will be held on April 29 at the ICC to help defray the cost.  2016 was the first year that a team traveled from Boston in 8 years, and the trip was a resounding success with the team reaching the quarter final.  Auction and raffle items are needed, and your support is greatly appreciated in sending these kids for a trip of a lifetime.

Gorey Community School to visit Boston

It will be an evening for Wexford people at the ICC Tuesday night.  A team from Gorey Community School in County Wexford is on a trip to the United States and will be visiting Boston next week.  The Wexford youngsters will play a Boston U16 and minor team in football and hurling on Tuesday April 11.  The games will commence at 5:00, followed by a reception for the visitors from Wexford.  Come down to the ICC Tuesday evening and welcome the kids!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Boston College take on ISYL Minors

By Rory O’Donnell

On a chilly Sunday afternoon the Gaelic footballers of BC and the Irish Sports Youth League got the ball rolling for the 2017 outdoor season when the teams met in a very exciting challenge match at the Irish Cultural Center.   With the last of the late winter snows still visible in corners of the grounds at the ICC, the players of each team got down to business and played out a competitive 60 minutes of football.  BC had the upper hand in the goals column, while the local minors picked off their points as the game ebbed and flowed up and down the field.  

Boston College Gaelic Football Team
Irish Sports Youth League Minor Team
The final tally would give victory to BC by a score of 2-12 to 8-4, but the score was secondary to a great game of football and what might prove to be an annual event that works towards the development of the game in the region.  The Gaelic football club at Boston College has been in existence for the past several years, and it was a great opportunity for the team to get some competitive action at the local level, and vice versa for the minors.  The ISYL are planning to enter a minor team into the Junior B football competition this season and BC are looking towards the All American competition in Philly in April.

Team Captains Dennis Harrington (ISYL) and
Brian O'Connell (BC), with Ellen Joyce.
A presentation to each captain, BC’s Brian O’Connell, and the ISYL’s Dennis Harrington to mark the occasion. 

ISYL Minors:  Declan O’Sullivan, Peter Bannon, Shane Kenny, John Kenny, Aidan Joyce, John O’Doherty, Stephen Joyce, Aidan Cadogan, Sean Winston, Dennis Harrington, Declan Harrington, Emmet Smith, Colm O’Malley, Gerard Gannon, Jerrard Davoran, Liam Davoran, Matthew Duane, Michael Kerr, Devin Corbin, Nessan O’Donnell.

Boston College:  Sean O’Rourke, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Connell, David Sage, Peter Herlihy, Patrick Toppin, Chandler Williams, Danny Gardner, Tom Rogan, Joe Kenny, Zach Lynch, Brian Crowley, Patrick Doyle, John King, Brian O’Connell, Jack Daum, David Saustad, Sean White, Andrew Provines, Joseph Bauer, John Pugh, Rory O’Donnell, David O’Connor.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Boston Northeast 2017 AGM

The 2017 Boston Northeast Divisional board was elected at last Sunday’s AGM at the Irish Cultural Center.  The meeting was attended by all 21 clubs from the Boston area and the wider New England region.  The meeting proceeded expeditiously with discussion around promotion, youth and games development, and of course expenses of running the games. 

Two motions passed by a show of hands.  The first was submitted by the Boston Shamrocks to ensure all championships are scheduled to conclude 2 weeks before the North American Finals to allow time for the winning clubs to organize travel and figure out covering the expenses.  It was suggested that the schedule be condensed or that championships start earlier, and the motion passed.  Galway football club put forward the other motion to pass, that a senior club’s second team no longer be required to enter the Junior A football competition.

2017 Boston Northeast Divisional Board
The election of officers went smoothly.  Two positions went to a vote.  The first was chairman with John Farrell coming in ahead of John Cunningham.  The voting slips were out again for the position of Registrar.  This time Shane McKenna polled higher than Gerard O’Kane.  The positions were filled as follows:  Chairman – John Farrell (Aidan McAnespies), Vice Chairman – Gerry Prior (Wolfe Tones), Secretary – Nessa Oates (Boston Shamrocks), Asst. Secretary – Ian “Squealer” Murphy (Wolfe Tones), Treasurer – John McDevitt (Armagh-Notre Dame), Asst. Treasurer – Peter Murray (Galway Hurling), Registrar – Shane McKenna (Aidan McAnespies), PRO – Rory O’Donnell (Connemara Gaels), Trustees – Brendan O’Donovan (Shannon Blues), Eddie Feeley (Shannon Blues), Eileen Kerins (Boston Shamrocks).  Bernie Reilly is Honorary President for 2017.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Boston Northeast Youth Board AGM

Boston Northeast Youth Board AGM

The Boston Northeast Youth Board AGM took place Sunday, January 29 at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton.  It was very encouraging to see all the positions on the board easily filled.  There was a lot of enthusiasm and plenty of discussion about how to move forward with competitions and transition to adult level for kids who are in the U16-U18 window, amongst other things.

Two positions even went to a vote – an unprecedented and encouraging development in the young life of the Youth Board.  Laura Corbin (ISYL) and Seamus Tobin (St. Brendan’s) each accepted the nomination for Chairperson, and Laura came out on top in the voting.  Martin Kerr (ISYL) and Peadar Nugent (St. Brendan’s) were on the ballot for Youth Officer, and Martin was voted in for the job.  Best of luck to the new board and on to a successful 2017.

The board for 2017 is:

Chairperson – Laura Corbin (ISYL)

Vice Chairperson – Mick Sammon (Trinity Milton)

Secretary – Tara Walsh (Trinity Milton)

Asst. Secretary – Liz Hunt (Trinity Milton)

Treasurer – Darren McGurran (St. Brendan’s)

Asst. Treasurer – Grainne Griffin (ISYL)

Registrar – Brendan McGrath (Trinity Milton)

PRO – Rory O’Donnell (Trinity Milton)

Youth Officer – Martin Kerr (ISYL)

Delegates:  Kevin Doherty (St. Brendan’s), Seamus Tobin (St. Brendan’s), Ellen Joyce (ISYL), Kevin Faherty (Trinity Milton).

by Rory O’Donnell

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 A year of firsts for Boston GAA

2016 will be remembered as a year of firsts in the sporting world.  The Chicago Cubs, Leicester City, and Cleveland Cavaliers were among high profile winners in the professional world, and it was no different on the local front for the Boston Northeast GAA.  The Wolfe Tones won their first ever senior football championship, and Offaly hurlers won the junior championship in their maiden season.  From a Boston and Northeast perspective there was a lot to feel good about with regard to the state of affairs, however there were warning signs as well.  Two new hurling clubs joined the ranks in Providence and the aforementioned Offaly, but there was one less club in football as Kerry pulled out this year.  At underage level there was much to feel encouraged about with a team representing Boston at the U14 Feile in Ireland for the first time in 8 years, and there were successes from the local underage clubs at the CYC in Chicago. 

Having started off on an unsteady note following the AGM in February, the season passed successfully, and without major incident, under the leadership of Joe Lydon.  Kerry, who have been in existence for over a century, were added to the list of long standing Boston clubs that have bitten the dust in recent years. There are rumors that the Kingdom may be making a comeback for 2017, and please God, we will see the green and gold back on the field at Canton.  Offaly and Providence were added to the ranks of hurling clubs, bringing the total to 10 – outnumbering the men’s football clubs by one, with 9 playing football.  Indicative of how Americans are embracing the ancient game of CuChulainn, there are now 5 junior B and C hurling clubs representing all but one New England state – a club in Vermont would mean representation in each state in the region. 

Offaly hurlers won the junior championship on the first try.
There were firsts for the Wolfe Tones footballers and the Offaly hurlers.  In their third successive final, the Wolfe Tones faced a strong Galway team, a team that would have been strong enough to come out victorious in years past.  With each team coincidentally looking for their first senior championship in 27 years, the Westerners had the misfortune of taking on a Tones side that made sure that this year there would be no doubt about the outcome.  The Tones had a professionalism about them that was unparalleled and despite a gallant Galway performance, the Tones victory was comprehensive in the end.  Galway hurlers won the senior hurling, and the Boston Shamrocks their first ladies senior football championship since 2012.  The most exciting final of the weekend (from a neutral perspective) was the junior A football where Donegal defeated the Connemara Gaels by a goal.  In the much expanded junior A hurling championship, new side Offaly, made their mark straight away with a win over Galway, who themselves fielded at junior level for the first time in many years. 

Boston Shamrocks had a good year, winning a haul of 3 trophies.
A team of American Born players traveled to Philadelphia to play in an All American football competition early in the year, and were unlucky to narrowly lose out to New York in the final.

At Youth level the Boston/Northeast region sent a team of U14 boys to the Feile Competition, the first team to travel in 8 years.  The team had representatives from 5 underage clubs in the region and did well, winning 2 games and losing 1 in making the quarter finals of their section.  However a strong Hertforshire team come out on top in the quarter final following a one hour trip from Tralee to Kanturk.  The team were hosted by Ballymacelligott and the visitors could not have expected more from the local club who went well beyond the call of duty in making the American visitors feel welcome.

Boston Northeast Feile Team in Kanturk before the Quarter Final.
There was much success at the CYC for local clubs.  The competition was held in Chicago Gaelic Park, which has to easily be the largest GAA facility in North America.  For four solid days acres of sun (and rain at times) soaked fields were filled with boys and girls from all over the United States playing football and hurling.  The Irish Sports Youth League, St. Brendan’s, and Trinity Milton brought 7 national championships back to the Boston area.  The West Seneca Soccer Complex in Buffalo NY is the destination for 2017’s CYC and is eagerly anticipated by the local clubs.  (Good news for parents is that there is a Dunkin Donuts 2 minutes away from the fields – or 12 if you care to walk.)

It was a year for celebrating for the Wolfe Tones with their first senior championship.
Wolfe Tones capped off the year with a victory banquet at Florian Hall in Dorchester.  It was an emotional Gerry Prior who took the stage to address the assembled crowd with a heartfelt speech after years of disappointment.  Guests included three of the Dublin All Ireland winners – Philly McMahon, James McCarthy, and Dean Rock, Sunday Game pundit and former Derry footballer, Joe Brolly, and former Meath player, Bernard Flynn.  A great night was had by all, having the chance to rub shoulders with the visitors and listen to some very entertaining stories from their playing days recounted by Brolly and Flynn.   

A trip down memory lane:  Boston GAA Schedule for the month of May, 1973 that was published in the Boston Irish News (Courtesy of Billy Kelly).
No All-Star Game or Fenway Hurling in the Fall this year, but with changes to the registration deadline and home based requirements following the North American Board Convention, clubs will have to be on their toes to get their panels of players lined up for 2017.  AGM in February, registration deadlines in March and April, and it is on to another hot GAA summer in Boston!      

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sun Aug 28 - Senior Football Final: Wolfe Tones v Galway

Galway 2-11 Wolfe Tones 3-16

Wolfe Tones made history winning their first senior football championship with a controlled, professional performance.  The Tones scored when they needed to score and slowed things down when things needed slowing.  All around the Tones did well, from corner back to corner forward, but for the second week in a row, it was Rathnew man, Leighton Glynn, whose imprint was all over the Tones performance.  The game almost resembled last week’s semi-final when the Tones put the game to bed in the latter stages of the first half.  This week, however, Galway put up a spirited second half performance and gave themselves a glimmer of hope five minutes to go, reducing the gap to five points with time left, but the Tones erased that hope with a goal in response almost right away.

Gerry Prior lifts the Pat Mulvihill Cup with Ronan O'Driscoll and Mike O'Brien.
It was a cagey enough opening period.  Galway played patient build up football, while the Tones moved in bursts of speed.  Galway edged into a one point lead after the early exchanges.  Michael Daly, Eoin Finnerty, Barrry McHugh and Kevin Cummins had a share of the spoils for the Tribesmen.  For the Tones Leighton Glynn was again instrumental, the oil that greases the machine.  Along with Paddy Keenan in midfield and Kevin O’Brien in the half backs, the Tones started to take the game over in a manner reminiscent of last week’s semi-final.

Galway had a couple of slack passes out of defence and were punished on the second one with a goal from Shea Tennyson after a back and forth with Glynn.  The Tones then proceeded to tally seven unanswered points while Galway searched for openings that did not present themselves as the Tones swarmed in defence.  A handful of chances were missed by the westerners.  Tennyson, Glynn, Keenan and Gerry Troy were on the mark for the Tones and it was a 9 point lead at the break.

Galway got the start they needed to the second half.  Quick points from Finnerty and Daly were followed by a goal from Cillian O’Sullivan.  O’ Sullivan had been well marshalled all game, but again, it was a bad pass out of the Tones defence that presented the opportunity, and the Meathman finished well.  The Tones kept their patience however and did not let the flurry of scores rattle them.  The response to the goal took the form of three points, Furlong and Keenan the scorers, and the benefit of the goal for Galway was erased.

All in as the team and supporters celebrate the first Wolfe Tones senior football victory.
The final quarter saw the Tones hold on to their 2 goal lead as the teams swapped points, but the breakthrough that had the Tones supporters preparing to celebrate the first championship in the history of the club came when substitute, Tomas O’Connor, won a ball in his corner and use his strength to beat his man and plant the ball into the far corner of the net.  Galway pushed to end and a glimmer of hope briefly opened when a Kevin Cummins goal reduced the gap to five points with five minutes to go, but true to form the Tones replied immediately with a goal from Leighton Glynn as Galway had numbers upfield.  It has been a long wait for the Tones for their first championship, but for all of their supporters in Canton on Sunday, it was well worth it!

Galway:  J. Kelly, J. Kennedy, K. McDonnell, S. Cullen, P. Naughton, C. Mannion, E. Kavanagh, E. Stritch, M. Daly, C. O’Sullivan, B. McHugh, K. Cummins, E. Finnerty.   Subs:  Subs:  J. Kehoe, J. Naughton, L. Kelly, G. McCoy, G. Lundy.

Tones:  L. Molloy, M. Grady, B. Fortune, S. Driscoll, K. O’Brien A. McDonnell, I. Whelan, P. Keenan, M. O’Brien, L. Glynn, G. Troy, S. Tennyson, S. Furling.  Subs:  R. Driscoll, J. Naughton, T. O’Connor, D. McCabe, G. Brilly.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 28 - Senior Hurling Final: Galway v Tipperary

Tipperary 1-10 Galway 3-12

Galway dethroned Tipperary in a senior hurling final that was shaping up for a grandstand finish but just as quick, hopes for an exciting finale fizzled.  Galway held a six point lead that Tipp had reduced to four when two Tipperary players were given their marching orders for off the ball incidents.  Galway, who had the edge on their opponents to that point, now had two additional men to see them through to the finish, and it was a delighted captain, Dan Lordan who lifted the cup to start the celebrations.

Galway Senior Hurlers - 2016 Boston Champions
An early goal gave Galway first half momentum.  Paul O’Dwyer’s close range shot appeared to have been saved at first, however, the umpire signaled that the ball had crossed the line and the goal was awarded.  It was helter skelter stuff, neither side willing to give an inch.  About 15 minutes into the game a minor fracas broke out that took a few minutes to untangle, and a yellow was shown to Sean Nally – handbag stuff really.  Mark Ellis scored two mighty points for Galway, one a free from inside his own 65 and another from a sideline 45 yards out.  Galway played the ball well, 2 scores coming from patience and intelligent use of the ball. 

For Tipp Tommy Heffernan was on the mark with the frees, accounting for 3 of Tipp’s four, and with less than 10 minutes left in the period the Premier men had pulled the goal back.  It was Mark Kavanagh who finished into the far corner.  The Tribesmen restored their advantage 2 minutes later after Hugh Lawlor made a lengthy run, the Kilkenny man found Pat White who made no mistake with the goal at his mercy.  Galway’s defending was impressive with Ellis, Lawlor, and Dan Lordan denying Tipp room.  Points were added by Darragh Murray and White to put Galway into a two goal half time lead.  Galway 2-4 Tipperary 1-4.

With just over 10 minutes played in the second half Tipeprary lost the services of Barry Nash with a red card for an off the ball incident.  Cian Lynch had just taken a point off Galway’s six point lead when Nash got his marching orders.  A few minutes later another Tipperary man was shown the line, this time Andrew Ryan for a similar incident.  It was a shame as Tipp had just made it a four point game and with the final stretch of the game coming up were now down 2 players.

Galway netted a third goal, it had more than an air of good fortune.  Ellis launched a bomb into the Tipp goalmouth from distance and defenders and keeper alike left it to each other, the ball went untouched into the net.    Galway had loose men all over the field now, and each Tipp attack was met with a wall of maroon shirts as, with options reduced, each of the Premier men tried to make his own opening.  Cian Lynch pointed twice for Tipp, but Galway had Niall Mullins, White and Kenny to maintain the gap between the sides.  Galway kept their lead intact to the final whistle and it was a delighted Galway team that brought the cup back to Brighton for the celebrations.

Tipp:  J. Maher, M. Carey, C. Neville, C. Ryan, A. Ryan, S. Nally, B. Troy, C. Dempsey, B. Nash, C. Rafferty, M. Kavaangh, C. Lynch, T. Heffernan.  Subs:  E, Moriarty, P. Ryan, Jason Bergin.

Galway:  J. Loftus, D. Quirke, C. Daly, M. Ellis, H. Lawlor, D. Lordan, R. Fitzpatrick, N. Mullins, K. Kenny, P. O’Leary, D. Murray, P. O’Dwyer, P. White.  Subs:  E. Feeney, Brian McGuane, Ray Grealish, Niall Galvin. 

Referee:  Ger Hoey, Co. Clare.

By Rory O'Donnell