Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sun Aug 19 - Senior Football Semi-Final: Donegal v Aidan McAnespies

Donegal 0-13 Aidan McAnespies 0-9

Donegal and McAnespies played out a tense and testy affair.  It was an exciting game in that there was never too much between the teams, and although they spent the hour chasing the game, one felt that there was always a chance for McAnespies to catch their opponents.  Donegal had most of the possession, but had to earn this one, and also had Hugh Boyle to thank for some very good saves after McAnespies had got behind the Donegal defence.  Two sendings off for McAnespies will have them wondering what could have been, but in the end it was Donegal who deserved to advance to the final.

Michael Carroll lines up a shot for Donegal.
Donegal went into the break holding a lead that had it not been for Hugh Boyle it would have been McAnespies with the advantage.  After Donegal popped over 2 quick points from Dermot Connolly and Michael Carroll, McAnespies were in on top of Boyle twice, and twice Boyle denied a goal from point blank range.  Warren Mullen, who entered play following a black card to Eric Finn, opened the account for McAnespies with a point following one of the rebounds off a Boyle save.

The game settled down with Donegal pointing the next 4 scores.  Lee Carr was busy in the corner and fisted over nicely from an angle, with Connolly, Shane Carthy and Murphy following suit clipping over some well taken scores as Donegal edged away.  McAnespies hung in and Mullen floated over 3 nice points , but not before Boyle again saved Donegal, this time from Danny McBride who was clean through following a nicely worked move.  The game started to get testy, and Paul Clifford, who had entered as a sub was sent to the line following an off the ball incident and McAnespies job got that bit harder.  Mullen pointed once more as McAnespies defenders worked very hard to contain the Donegal attack.  It was a slender one point Donegal lead at the break, 0-6 to 0-5.

Warren Mullen shakes off the challenge of Jason Noctor.
The second half was tight.  McAnespies continued to work extremely hard at the back and goalkeeper Robbie Croft was called upon on several occasions to come off his line to intercept as Donegal runners were bearing down on goal.  When in possession McAnespies did well to retain it with patient build ups, however, with the man down there were few options up front and eventually turned it back over more.  Donegal had most of the ball and worked it well.  Carthy was the link man helping out in defence and going forward, but the Tir Chonaill men could not shake off their opponents.  Carr, Connolly and Sean Donnelly pointed for Donegal when the chances presented themselves, and it was Mullen and Johnny Lafferty for McAnespies.

There was just a goal in it with 10 minutes to go in spite of the Donegal dominance, and for a fourth time Boyle earned his keep after getting down well to save from Danny McBride who broke in behind the Donegal defence.  Each team brought in players to keep it fresh on the field, but McAnespies shot themselves in the foot a second time as Rob Piggott, who had been marking Connolly, and played “on the edge” saw a second yellow.  It was now a 2 man advantage for Donegal as the clock ran down.  Lee Carr put 4 in it with 2 minutes left and Mullen answered to keep it to one score between the sides.  The insurance came from a Connolly free in injury time and with 2 score difference the game was Donegal’s.  Donegal will face the Wolfe Tones in the final, and what a game it promises to be.

Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Liam Silke, Niall Keenan, Neil McEneaney, Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, Shane Carthy, Brendan Murphy, Ciaran McFaul, Michael Carroll, Sean Donnelly, Diarmaid Connolly, Lee Carr.

Macs:  Robbie Croft, Caolan Harvey, Eoin Delmer, Seamie Breslin, Rob Piggott, Danny O’Neill, Declan Hughes, Phil McCusker, Eric Finn, Albert Martin, Danny McBride, Eamon Fyfe, Che O’Donnell.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 19 - Senior Football Semi-Final: Wolfe Tones v Shannon Blues

Wolfe Tones 4-17 Shannon Blues 2-9

Wolfe Tones advance to the final next week following a powerful display against the Shannon Blues on Sunday afternoon.  After an evenly contested opening quarter, the Tones netted and from that point on were very much in control.  The lead in to half time saw the Tones tally 2 goals and 6 points to no reply as they stifled the Blues around the middle of the field and sailed through second half at a canter.

The Blues Darren Wallace tries to break 
through the Tones defence.
After the teams gave as good as they got over the opening 15 minutes the Tones got a hold of the game.  With the teams on even terms on the scoreboard, center forward Thomas O’Reilly fired home a goal from 20 yards after Chris Sallier had worked the opening and found the young Meath man inside the 21 with a bit of room to shoot.  The Blues had been doing well, with Brian Fanning playing well at corner back, and Brian Egan along with Darragh Roche doing well in the forward line the Blues converted some well taken points to keep pace up to that point. 

After the goal it was the Tones well on top.  Six unanswered points put them 9 points to the good and with the forwards forcing turnovers life was difficult for the Blues.  O’Reilly at center forward was dominant for the Tones while Ronan Jones and Paddy Keenan held control of the middle of the field.  O’Reilly converted from the free and James McEntee stole forward to slot over a couple of points.  At the break the Tones were lording it at 2-10 to 0-4.

Darragh Roche on the attack for the Blues.
The Tones just needed to keep control for the second half, and so they did.  Two early points from McEntee and O’Reilly put even more distance between the teams and for the Blues it was a matter of playing for a bit of pride.  A goal from a penalty that was expertly put away by Roche and another late goal put an element of respectability on the scoreboard before the final whistle as each side emptied the bench.  So, an impressive display from the Tones and with Blues making their exit, there will be a new Boston champion in 2018.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Paudie Kenneally, Kevin Maguire, Eoin Buggie, Jack Lynch, James McEntee, Ronan Jones, Paddy Keenan, Mike O’Brien, Thomas O’Reilly, Aaron Elliott, Thomas Beckett, Chris Sallier.

Blues:  Mike Moriarty, PJ Hand, Brian Fanning, Derek O’Brien, Mike Cotterill, Denis McElligott, Maurice Young, Steven Cahill, Dara Roche, Jerry Troy, Connell Lemon, Darren Wallace, Brian Egan.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 19 - Junior A Football Semi-Final: Christopher's v Donegal

Christopher’s 2-9 Donegal 4-14

The second Junior A football semi-final was a surprisingly one-sided affair as Donegal handily defeated Christopher’s.  There were 3 goals in the first half as the Donegal forward line showed some great quickness and inter-passing, and 2 sendings off pretty much doomed Christopher’s to their fate as they were down 2 players a few minutes into the second half.

Eoghan McGettigan on the move for Donegal.
Donegal took a commanding lead into the half time break thanks to 3 goals that rocked Christopher’s.  The first came early from Christy McLaughlin who side-footed from close range after Ashley Carr found him with a hand pass across the face of goal.  Donegal added a second from Eoghan McGettigan, the Donegal U21 player rifled a shot to the near corner from inside the 21, and late in the half it was Carr taking the third for himself.

Christopher’s looked sluggish compared to a sprightly Donegal, and did themselves no favors after Murt Hunt was sent off following an off the ball strike on Sean Winston.  Even at this early stage a goal would be required to get back into the game, and Christopher’s could only match Donegal in the points column.  Conor O’Keefe floated over a couple of lovely efforts for Christopher’s, but Donegal’s McGettigan and Carr did likewise for the northerners.  There could have been a fourth goal after McLaughlin was fouled in the box, but the wily corner forward’s spot kick hit the top of the crossbar and over for a point.

Up for Grabs between Darren Grant and Killian Ryan.
The second half saw Christopher’s almost in with a goal chance, but after the referee blew for a free in another red card was shown, this time to Mark Delaney.  Christopher’s now down 2 players and 10 points.  The hole got deeper for Christopher’s after McGettigan hit the back of the net again a few minutes later.  At this stage with most of the second half to play the game was more or less decided.

Dan Kenneally netted after a high ball into the box, and Chris Moynihan put a lovely point over the bar, but the scores only served as a teaser for what might have been from a Christopher’s viewpoint had they managed to retain a full complement of personnel.  Donegal controlled matters for the remainder and basically saw out the clock.  The result sets up a north and south final with Donegal meeting Cork, the last 2 champions on the Junior A championship with Cork defending and Donegal the 2016 winners.

Christopher’s:  Mark Delaney, Mark Russell, Murt Hunt, Sean McHugh, Pat Kenneally, Tom Kinsley, James Horgan, Killian Ryan, TJ Stenson, Chris Moynihan, Pat Kerrigan, Dan Kenneally, Conor O’Keefe.

Donegal:  Lee McCarron, Declan McBride, Gavin Reilly, Sean Winston, Darren Doherty, Aidan McLaughlin, Darren Grant, Mark Dunphy, Ciaran McDevitt, Rocky Ivers, Eoghan McGettigan, Ashley Carr, Christy McLaughlin.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 19 - Junior A Football Semi-Final: Cork v Aidan McAnespies

Cork 0-14 Aidan McAnespies 1-7

Defending champions Cork came through their semi-final with a 4 point win over McAnespies.  Cork looked good value for the win at the break as the rebels held a 5 point lead and looked in control.  Early in the second half McAnespies came back to reduce the gap to 2 points before Cork pulled away again in the latter stages.

Cork center back, Alan Murphy, on the ball.
It was the sure kicking of Adam Ryan that had Cork in the ascendancy in the opening half.  Ryan slotted 4 frees over the bar as Cork held the advantage in most areas of the field.  Brendan Turley also contributed on the scoreboard, as did Alan Murphy and Jack Lynch.  The Cork men worked the ball well into the forward line and from back to front looked well on top.  McAnespies created a handful of chances and Lorcan Mallon converted two, with one added from Gareth O’Neill to make it 0-8 to 0-3 half time score.

McAnespies came back in the second half to test their opponents.  James Rigney did well in the half back line, and McAnespies tallied 4 points to Cork’s one in the first 15 minutes following the restart.  Mallon almost netted, however, Mark Farrelly made a brilliant foot save to deny the McAnespies center forward.  After Mallon finished a well worked move to put 2 points in it, Cork regained the advantage.  Sean O’Donovan pointed and was followed by two scored from Ryan.  Cork restored the lead to 7 points before a last minute goal from a JP Gallagher penalty gave some consolation to McAnespies.

Cork: Mark Farrelly, Mike Carolan, Stephen Lambert, Seamus Loftus, Alan Murphy, Conor Jalim, Jack Lynch, Cormac Clarke, Adam Kenny, Brendan Turley, Emmet Smith, Seanie O’Donovan, Adam Ryan.
Macs:  Gareth McAlinden, Sean Clifford, Kyle Morrison, Marty Bogue, Jimmy Rigney, Mickey Boyle, Eoin Ward, Conor Bogue, Shane McKenna, Lorcan Mallon, Ciaran Wallace, Gareth O’Neill, Jason Knight.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 18 - Junior C Hurling Semi-Final: NH Wolves v Providence HC

NH Wolves 3-16 Providence HC 1-2

The NH Wolves earned a place in next week’s junior C hurling final with a solid display against Providence in the Junior C Hurling semi-final.  A goal in each half from Mikael Gregoire and some good combination play from the back saw the Wolves through to the win.
The Wolve's Jason Burpee shoots.
The first half belonged to the Wolves.  Displaying a level of skill and connectedness that comes with years of practice and playing together, the men from the Granite state steadily built up a sizeable lead.  Corner forwards Jason Burpee and Mike Gregoire got on the scoreboard early, Gregoire putting one score over from a very tight angle.  Along with Sam Durfee in the half forward line, it was all Wolves.  

The Providence back line were busy and Travis Croker, Martin Green and Mike Walsh did well to stem several Wolves attacks.
About 20 minutes into the half it was an eight point to no score lead, and Providence mounted a promising attack that had goal possibilities, however the ball was cleared and the goal came at the other end with a nice finish by Burpee.  Providence’s efforts showed a little more bite in the latter stages of the half, and a goal came from Mike Kenneally after two brave saves from Will Mullen in the NH goal.  At the break it was a 10 point lead for the men from New Hampshire.
Juston Stasz Clears Under Pressure.
Providence gave a better account of themselves in the second half and made the Wolves back line work, Austen Clarke popped over a nicely taken point and the Providence men threatened the Wolves goal on a couple of occasions but could not breach the wall.  Gregoire and Sean Naughton each pointed a brace to extend the lead for the New Hampshire side, and the result was never in doubt.  As a heavy rainstorm set in it was the Wolves who would be coming back next week to meet defending champions Worcester in the final.

Wolves:  Will Mullen, Alec Foley, Jay Abramowicz, Ryan Nickerson, Juston Stasz, Sean Naughton, Dan Hanna, Mark Misiarski, Sam Durfee, Pat Naughton, Mikhael Gregoire, Jason Burpee.
Providence:  Brendan McGinn, Mike Walsh, Chris Ryan, Matt Parks, Travis Croker, Martin Green, Austen Clark, Jimmy Glendinning, Adrian Ganley, Mike Kenneally, Padraig Doyle, Brian McNamara, Corey Diamond.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 18 - Junior B Football Final: Galway v Donegal

Galway 2-12 Donegal 1-6

Galway captured the Junior B Football Championship amid atrocious conditions at the Irish Cultural Center on Saturday afternoon.  It was not a day for hopping the ball and footing was shaky to say the least.  In spite of the conditions the players coped well for the most part and those in attendance were treated to a well contested game of football.  Leading by 2 points at the break, Galway made a late surge to hammer the win home and give the Brighton club something to take from the 2018 season.

John Farrell presents Galway Captain, Tom Davey, 
with the Junior B Football Trophy
At one point in the opening half Galway led by a seven points and looked to have matters well under control.  The tribesmen were quicker to the loose ball, and there were plenty of them in the greasy conditions, found their men well, and had Niall Manning in form at center forward.  Manning pointed Galway’s first 2 points, and corner forward Cormac Kelly another before Kevin Cummins nicked over from a tight angle and then hammered home a goal. 

Pat McLaughlin had the lone score for the northerners, and apart from a couple of wides, Donegal were very much on the back foot –until McLaughlin struck with an unlikely goal.  A long range effort from a free slipped through the keeper’s hands and just under the crossbar, and Donegal were a transformed side after the score.  McLaughlin pointed again and Nicky Kelly put a third over the bar to make it a 2 point game at the half with Donegal having new found life to their game.

Galway really needed a score after the restart to reassert themselves, but it was McLaughlin with a score to narrow the gap to a point.  Galway were denied a sure goal by an amazing triple save from Noel McDermott.  First Manning’s shot was saved, then a superb dive kept out Kevin Cummins shot off the rebound, and a third effort was also stopped in a heart stopping sequence.  Galway however did get themselves on top again. 

Captain Tom Davey and Paul Cummins performed well in the back line, and with Galway again finding their rhythm the points began to flow once more.  Four in a row from Cummins and Manning put Galway up by 5, but Donegal were not done and kept battling.  The gap was narrowed to a single score following two McLaughlin points on the trot, but Galway had a strong finish in them.  Tom Maloney pointed after coming on for the injured Eoghan Kavanagh, and soon afterwards a brilliant finish from Leon Kelly into the far corner of the net put the affair beyond question.  Manning put another brilliant effort over the bar and the Galway line began the celebrations in the rain.  It was a convincing win in the end and for Galway Football a great win to finish off the season. 

Galway:  Colin Melody, Tom Davey, Danny Burke, Peter Bannon, Paul Cummins, Mark Cahill, Leon Kelly, Eoghan Kavanagh, Kieran Keegan, JJ O’Neill, Niall Manning, Kevin Cummins, Cormac Kelly.  Subs: Shane Lohan, Ryan Gary, Kevin Healy, Tom Maloney, Sean Whelan, Seamus Gallagher.

Donegal:  Noel McDermott, Shane McDaid, Michael McBride, Liam Sage, Denis O’Rourke, Dylan Costello, Mark Dunphy, Johnny Byrne, Diarmuid Moyne, Pat McLaughlin, Sean Winston, Philip Brennan, Michael McGinty.  Subs:  Lochlainn Byrne, John Doogan, Ciaran Mc Devitt, Ronan Shovlin, Cian O’Brien, Hugh Devine.
By Rory O'Donnell

Friday, August 17, 2018

Playoff Weekend at the Irish Cultural Center

Senior football semi-finals this Sunday with Aidan McAnespies and Donegal meeting in one game and the Shannon Blues playing the Wolfe Tones.

Tones v Blues: Sunday Aug 19, 3:00

It was close between the Blues and Tones 
earlier this season.
The Tones and Blues met earlier in July and the Tones just about defeated their opponents with 2 points to spare.  Going into this game it will be the Tones favoured to advance to the final.  Although less than convincing in their last outing, the Tones have plenty of talent to call upon. Ronan Jones and James McEntee, both players who will feature with Meath in the near future, along with Westmeath’s James Dolan.  Youth program product, Jack Lynch, is fitting in nicely in the half back line and Chris Sallier at corner forward capable of making a score out of nothing.  Dean Curran brings pace to the attack and will be hard to contain for the Blues.  The Blues will be looking to neutralize the Tones attack, Tipperary man Brian Fanning is likely to get the Curran assignment.  The North American and Boston defending Champions, the Shannon Blues are a club with a never say die attitude and will need to bring it Sunday.  St. Mary’s man, Paul O’Donoghue, brings class to team, while veteran campaigners Dennis McElligott, Darren Wallace, and Darragh Roche up front will be sure to cause problems for the Tones.  Jerry Troy would surely hope to put one over on his former team, while American Born Blues men Conor Fitzgerald and Maurice Young have been here before.  A betting man might have the Tones shading it by a score.

Aidan McAnespies v Donegal: Sunday Aug 19, 4:30

Brendan Murphy - A Big Addition for Donegal.
Donegal are heavy favourites, not only in this game but also to go the whole way.  Anything less than a Donegal win would be a huge upset.  The northerners have built a team of heavy hitters with Liam Silke of Corofin fame, Oisin O’Neill from Crossmaglen, and Donegal’s Michael Carroll were joined at the end of June by St. Vincents men, Shane Carthy and Dermot Connolly, and Carlow’s Brendan Murphy.  Of the big names, it has been Carthy who has shone the brightest in Canton.  The New York born All Ireland winner has been a key cog in the Donegal machine since arriving.  Oddly enough, another key player has been goalkeeper Hugh “Yank” Boyle.  This season the Donegal keeper has made countless key saves to keep opposing teams at bay.  Donegal suffered the loss of key home based payer, Brian Donnelly to injury and will be looking to his brother Sean, Kieran McDevitt, and captain, Jason Noctor at the back to keep McAnespies from getting a foothold in the game.  McAnespies find themselves in the same position as last year, looking to beat the favourites to make the final.  On the home based front McAnespies are one of the stronger sides with Che O’Donnell, Paul Clifford, Seamie Breslin, and Eoin Delmer in the ranks.  McAnespies are coming off a playoff win, the first Boston team this year to advance in a senior football knockout game, and will have their work cut out to knock off this Donegal team.  With speed from Eric Finn and Rob Piggott on the wings, McAnespies will have to keep Donegal retreating and put pressure on the back line for the 60 minutes.  Can the Macs replicate the heroics of last season?  On paper you would say hopes are slim, but games are won and lost on the field. 

There is plenty of playoff action on the junior front.  Saturday sees the second championship final of the year with Donegal and Galway battling it out for the junior B title.  Galway topped the table with just one hiccup, a loss to Donegal.  Donegal were only 2 points behind in the table and this is sure to be a game between two evenly matched teams.  The game is at 4:15 on the back field on Saturday.  

Also on Saturday we see teams traveling from either end of the region to meet in the junior C hurling semi-final.  Providence and the NH Wolves from Concord NH will meet at the ICC at 3:00 Saturday to decide who will meet Worcester in the final the following week.  There are also 2 junior A football semi-finals with Cork and McAnespies playing Saturday at 5:30, and Donegal meeting Christopher’s on Sunday at 1:30 on Sunday.  Cork topped the table and are the defending champions, but Christopher’s and Donegal were hot on their heels all season.   
Sat Aug 18
3:00 Junior C Hurling Semi-Final:  NH Wolves v Providence
4:15 Junior B Football Final:  Galway v Donegal
5:30 Junior A Football Semi-Final:  Aidan McAnespies v Cork
Sun Aug19
1:30 Junior A Football Semi-Final:  Christopher’s v Donegal
3:00 Senior Football Semi-Final:  Wolfe Tones v Shannon Blues
4:30 Senior Football Semi-Final:  Donegal v Aidan McAnespies

Monday, August 13, 2018

Boston Northeast GAA Playoff Picture Clears

By Rory  O'Donnell
The weather did not make it easy and conditions were soggy on Saturday and Sunday, but with playoffs starting and not time to lose, games had to be played.  There were 2 junior B semi-finals decided at the weekend.  Galway defeated the Connemara Gaels 3-12 to 1-10 on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday Donegal defeated Cork by 1-8 to 2-3.  It sets up a junior B final with Galway meeting Donegal.
In junior C hurling Portland and Providence met in a playoff to decide who would meet New Hampshire Wolves in the semi-final next weekend, it was Providence by a point, 3-10 to 3-9, and Portland just missed a last minute equalizing opportunity.
In senior football the big result was the Wolfe Tones defeating the Connemara Gaels in atrocious conditions by 6 points.  There were goals galore as the Tones put 4 past Eoin Connolly, and the Gaels banged in a couple of late ones to make it a 4-12 to 3-9 score.  With the Shannon Blues defeating the Gaels it sets up a mid-week playoff between the Gaels and Macs to see who will advance to the semi-final next weekend.  The Blues defeated Galway by a 0-18 to 1-10 score and will play the Wolfe Tones next Sunday one semi-final.
The Connacht Ladies delivered a heavy defeat to the Boston Shamrocks, 3-9 to 1-2 to see the final game of the series leaving the Shamrocks needing to win.  A Connacht ladies win or a tie will result in the Cup going to the westerners, while the Shamrocks will be looking to force extra time with a win. 
In hurling Wexford beat Offaly and as a result the teams will meet in a playoff to see who goes to the junior final as the teams finished in joint 4th place.  So, a lot of mid week and weekend action to look forward to!
Boston GAA Results
Junior C Hurling Playoff
Portland 3-9 Providence 3-10
Junior B Football Semi-Finals
Galway 3-12 Connemara Gaels 1-10
Cork 2-3 Donegal 1-8
Senior Football
Wolfe Tones 4-12 Connemara Gaels 1-9
Galway 1-10 Shannon Blues 0-18
Senior Hurling
Offaly 6-6 Wexford 3-17
Ladies Senior Football
Connacht Ladies 3-9 Boston Shamrocks 1-2
Wed Aug 15
5:00 Senior Football Playoff:  Connemara Gaels v Aidan McAnespies

Thursday Aug 16 
5:00 Senior Hurling Semi-final:  Galway v Fr Tom Burke’s
Sat Aug 18
3:00 Junior C Hurling Semi-Final:  NH Wolves v Providence
4:15 Junior B Football Final:  Galway v Donegal
5:30 Junior A Football Semi-Final:  Aidan MCAnespies v Cork
Sun Aug19
1:30 Junior A Football Semi-Final:  Christopher’s v Donegal
3:00 Senior Football Semi-Final:  Wolfe Tones v Shannon Blues
4:30 Senior Football Semi-Final:  Donegal v Gaels/Macs Playoff winner