Friday, November 14, 2008

Boston 15

Suppose the Boston North East Board had to put out a football team to face a county team from Ireland, who would the first 15 be? Who else would you have in the squad? Using home based players from 2008 who would you pick and in what positions? How would they do against the likes of a Leitrim or Sligo, assuming that you would have a committed panel for training and can get a few reasonable competitive games in?

Goalie: D. Traynor (McAnespies)

Corner Back: P. McNicholas (Connemara Gaels)

Full Back: K. Connolly (Cork)

Corner Back: D. Scullane (Wolfe Tones)

Wing Back: C. Lynch (McAnespies)

Center Back: J. Moroney (Kerry)

Wing Back: T. Kelly (Cork)

Midfield: McNulty (Donegal), R. McNeilis (Donegal)

Wing Forward: C. McCrory (McAnespies)

Center Forward: M. McStravog (Armagh-ND).

Wing Forward: K. Curran (Donegal)

Corner Forward: F. Meehan (Armagh-ND)

Full Forward: M. O'Sullivan (Christopher's)

Corner Forward: M. Moynihan (Cork)

Also in Squad: S. McGettigan, S. McGill (McAnespies), D. McGill (Armagh-ND), K. Cox (Connemara Gaels), T. Walsh, D. Redmond (Galway), B. O'Connor (Kerry), D. Kenneally, J. Kenneally (Christopher's/NE Celtics), J. Farrell, K. Gorham (Wolfe Tones), S. Morley, K. Kileen (Shannon Blues), D. O'Malley, G. Toner (Mayo).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Putting the American in the North American Finals

The flavour of the North American finals is changing. What was once an annual gathering of Irish immigrants is gradually attracting many more natives. The first North American finals that I attended was 8 years ago here in Boston. The US still held an allure for many young Irish and the Celtic Tiger had still not quite reached adulthood. With the exception of some football teams playing on the fringes of junior level, the vast majority of players and spectators were from the old country. As for the Yanks swinging a hurl - there'd be more hope a Kilkenny man kicking a football. It was a given that an American would never swing a hurl in a competitive game - it was one of those things that you did not even question - or even imagine. The only hurls ever gripped by American hands were the ones sold to tourists as souvenirs. There was not much of an urgent need to attract the locals, and some of us might also have even felt that the games should by right be the preserve of "Irish" Irish. The following year I traveled to San Francisco, the only time I have visited the city and hopefully not the last, San Fran is a great spot. If you have never been there you should go and visit. When we got to the waterfront I could not believe that out there in the bay was Alcatraz Island. I had to shake myself into reality that I was really looking at a place that I had only ever seen in a movie about it as a child.

Back to the finals. San Fran in 2001 was practically all Irish from Ireland, not the "I'm Irish" variety. The Chicago Wolfe Tones won the senior football final and wrested the title from St. Brendans who had won it the previous year in Boston. The Tones or St. Brendans always put out a team that would scare the life out of many's a county team at home, and there was one junior hurling competiton with teams from Boston, Chicago, and San Fran only (nary an accent that was not Irish within shouting distance of those games), and while not that unusual, American accents were a distinct minority at the event in general never mind on the field of play or even assisting on the sidelines. I remember that there was a ladies junior side that went by the name of OC Roisin. The "OC" stood for Orange County in SoCal (Southern California). They seem to like using those kinds of abbreviations down there, "HB" for Huntington Beach, and you all know what LA stands for. Anyway, the ladies from the OC had a distinct look of soccer players about them, but they were fit and eager. "I wish they all could be California.......", I'd better stop there. If I remember correctly, they beat out our own Boston Shamrocks in the Ladies junior final. A week after flying back to Boston from San Fran the planes hit the twin towers and the pentagon. End of story.

Boston hosted the 2008 finals, and things have changed - a lot. Neither the Tones nor Brendans from Chicago made it, and Chicago's football team that did (Padraig Pearse) did not even make the final. The junior hurling winners were from Philadelphia and while I'm not sure whether any of the players were American Born, there were certainly plenty togged out on the line who were. The best game of the finals was the junior B quarter final between the New England Celtics and Charlotte (that place is in North Carolina by the way). The Celtics are 100% American Born players, and except for the coaches and supporters, no Irish accented players have ever featured in the side on the field of play. Charlotte did feature some players from Ireland, but they too have a plentiful American representation in the side. The game went into extra time and the final score was along the lines of 3-22 to 4-15. Not bad if you like up and down the field stuff and plenty of scoring - and the Americans like that kind of thing. To digress, many respectable sports loving Americans feel thatsoccer barely qualifies as a sport since the concept of a 0-0 draw to them after 90 minutes of play leaves them to wonder what the point of even having the game was. Physical, fast, a lot of scoring. Gaelic games have all 3 in abundance, the locals call that kind of thing sport. Charlotte went on to win the junior B title, while the Celtics have moved on to the Junior A level in the Boston division.

There are now Junior B and C grades of hurling, and the vast majority of these players are from the good ol' US of A. It seems that the seeds of hurling are being planted in the United States, and not necessarily by Irish immigrants, but by the Americans themselves. Milwaukee and St. Louis, hardly bastions of Irish immigrants, have two of the largest hurling clubs in the U.S., though they compete in the lower junior divisions. How long before they move up is anybody's guess, but if the interest holds and the game is passed on to kids to learn and hone their skills then it is fair to say the sky is the limit for the sport in this country. Two such teams that featured in the finals this year for the first time are under the umbrella of the Boston North East Division, the Barley House Wolves from Manchester, New Hampshire and the Portland Marauders from Maine. The Wolves are an interesting story. The club was founded three years ago by a group of National Guardsmen who had just completed a 12-month tour of Afghanistan. As an effort to hold the group who had served together, they formed a hurling club since many had the skills of ice hockey or lacrosse, so they felt that they had the basic skills and would all be at the same level for the new sport. Some of the servicemen went back to serve another tour and brought their hurls with them so as not to lose the skills that they had practiced. I had a conversation last year with one of the founding members and he mentioned a few things that make we wonder where we are headed. One was a desire to introduce the game to kids. There are also youth leagues running in New York, Boston, and elsewhere that are coaching hurling to American Born kids. Some of these kids who entered the leagues 8-10 years ago are beginning to join the local clubs and there are more than a few who have the shape of a good footballer.

As the games across North America begin to encompass more and more Americans, both football and hurling, it will be interesting to see where we end up a decade from now. The Men's senior football final in Denver 5 years ago featured a side from San Francisco that had a majority of American Born players. While they did not win, the fact that they made it there was a talking point. There are efforts being made by the divisions of the North American Board to promote the game to the youngsters, but there is also an interest beyond that from the natives in taking up the games. Last week Ireland beat Australia in an International game that is neither Aussie Rules nor Gaelic Football. It was an obvious source of pride and satisfaction to beat the Aussies. Someday will the Irish be trying to beat the Yanks, or the Yanks trying to beat the Irish, in International Gaelic Football - or Hurling - or both?

Monday, September 8, 2008

North American Finals Results

North American Finals Results
Men’s Football
Senior Final: McAnespies (Boston) 2-15 Sean Treacy’s (San Francisco) 1-7
Intermediate Final: Kerry (Boston) 1-13 Galway (Boston) 0-7
Junior A Final: Ulster (San Francisco) 2-9 Young Irelanders (Philadelphia) 1-7
Junior B Final: James Connolly’s (Charlotte) 1-10 Setanta (San Diego) 1-5
Junior C Final: Patriots (Chicago) 2-15 Boston (0-10)
Junior D Final: Austin Celtics Cowboys (1-17) St. Louis 2-5

Senior Final: Limerick (Chicago) 4-14 Na Fianna (San Francisco) 3-13
Junior A Final: Shamrocks (Philadelphia) 3-10 Na Fianna (San Francisco) 2-11
Junior B Final: Milwaukee 3-15 Washington DC Gaels (3-6)
Junior C Final: Indianapolis 5-9 Michael Cusacks (Chicago) 2-11

Ladies Football
Senior Final: Roscommon (Boston) 1-17 Shamrocks (Boston) 1-8
Junior A Final: Washington DC 5-8 Philadelphia 4-10

Senior Final: St. Mary’s (Chicago) 4-4 Eire Og (Boston) 1-5Junior Final: Shamrocks (San Francisco) 5-10 St. Mary’s (Chicago) 1-6

Monday, September 1, 2008

St. Mary's Chicago Defeat Eire Og in Camogie Final

Joe Grealish Gives the Eire Og Players a Pre-Game Pep Talk.
Eire Og 1-5 St. Mary’s (Chicago) 4-4

Eire Og were up against a tough opponent in the senior camogie final as they faced St. Mary’s of Chicago. In spite of a wholehearted effort on the part of the local side, St. Mary’s were that little bit better and got the vital scores to claim the championship. Three goals in the first half proved to end up being the difference between the teams. Eire Og made a good run at it in the second half, but Mary’s held the local side out and ended up deserving winners.

St. Mary’s held the advantage at the end of the first period thanks to three first half goals. Eire Og did well and registered five scores, a goal and four points. The first, a goal, came from Anna Flanagan and put Eire Og into a two-point lead. Colette Gill had opened the scoring with a point for St. Mary’s with a point from a free. The Chicagoans then proceeded to register three goals in a row. Gill, Miriam O’Keefe – who dropped the hurl and handpassed into the net, and Grainne McCrickland each registered a major for Chicago. Eire Og made a couple of switches and then took a turn to dominate. Ciara Johnson pointed three times, twice from long range frees and once from play, and Michelle Walsh added another. At the half it was Mary’s by four points.

In the second half Eire Og had the benefit of a stiff breeze in their favour and for much of the half dropped high balls into the Mary’s penalty area. Marys’ were first to score in the second period, however. McCrickland and Gill (free) each pointed for the Chicago side. Eire Og then applied a lot of pressure to the Chicago goal, but Roisin Callan was sound under the high dropping ball and the St. Mary’s goalkeeper made some good clearances. Johnson registered the first score of the half for Eire Og with a fine point from play, but with less than 10 minutes remaining the Boston girls had it all to do. With time running out on the local side, Eire Og went in search of goal and generated some chances that went awry.

A last minute goal from Miriam O’Keefe put an exclamation point on the win for the Midwestern side, and while it was disappointment from a Boston viewpoint, the visitors from Chicago deserved the win.

Eire Og: N. Daly, D. Brennan, F. Gohery, A. Joyce, M. Keane, N. O’Neill, Caroline Hanley, Ciara Johnston (0-4), J. McCooey, M. Walsh, Anna Flanagan (1-0), Chris Hanley, S. O’Brien. St. Mary’s: R. Callnan, A. Byrne, A. Redmond, N. O’Keefe, C. Murray, L. Mitchell, A. Wall, E. Hennessey, Colette Gill (1-2), E. McQuaid, N. Kerlin, Miriam O’Keefe (2-0), Grainne McCrickland (1-2).

Kerry win Intermediate Title

Kerry 1-13 Galway 0-7

Both Kerry and Galway participated in the Intermediate Football, and both teams made the final on Sunday. Kerry defeated Ulster of San Francisco in the semi-final, and Galway got a bye straight into the final. Kerry avenged their disappointment in the Boston final with a convincing win. Mickey Joe Hynes put in a fantastic goalkeeping performance for Galway, and the margin of Kerry’s victory would have been much more had it not been for Hynes. Hynes pulled off at least 5 point blank saves to keep his side in the hunt for much of the game.

Kerry opened the scoring with a Jer Molloy point. Kerry had the better of the early exchanges and registered a number of wides before Hynes pulled off his first amazing save of the game from Mark O’Sullivan. With O’ Sullivan bearing down on goal, Hynes kept his nerve and blocked the point blank shot. Galway eventually settled down and registered some scores. Tommy Walsh and Peter Nolan got the tribesmen off the mark, but Kerry responded with scores from Richard O’Sullivan, Johnny Moroney, and Mark O’Sullivan. At the break Kerry led by five points to three.

Kerry took over in the second half and registered ten scores to three from Galway. Mark Evans and Mark O’Sullivan combined to great effect and between them accounted for five of Kerry’s scores. Hynes pulled off another of his magnificent saves early in the half, and Ger Barry pointed from the rebound. Barry followed with a point from play, and then O’Sullivan found Evans for another Kerry score. Evans pointed again mid way through the half and Kerry were in the driver’s seat, leading by six points. John Joe O’Neill and Mattie McKenna did well for Galway in trying to turn the tide, but to no avail. Evans and O’Sullivan each pointed again before Richard O’Sullivan found his namesake, Mark, who finally put the ball past Hynes for a Kerry goal. Conor Hurley capped the scoring with a point, and Kerry made amends for last week with a North American championship.

Kerry: D. Diggins, D. Forde, S. Moriarty, J. Barry, D. Fox, M. Godley, J. Moroney, R. O’Sullivan, M. Evans, J. Molloy, P. Devane, M. O’Sullivan, M. Sweeney. Galway: M. Hynes, B. Dalton, S. Gallagher, P. Cummins, JJ O’Neill, A. Murphy, B. Rickerby, T. Walsh, P. Nolan, M. McKenna, B. O’Hora, D. Redmond, T. Schneider.

By Rory O'Donnell

Roscommon Take First Ever North American Trophy

Roscommon 1-17 Boston Shamrocks 1-8

The Roscommon senior ladies added another piece of silverware to this year’s haul by capturing their first North American Championship. Roscommon and the Boston Shamrocks contested the Ladies senior football final. Roscommon entered as Boston champions and the Shamrocks stepped in as the second home team, and both made the final. Roscommon displayed some lovely football over the course of the 60 minutes and fully deserved their win. Coming out of the back line there was almost always a player on the move looking for the ball, and once play moved into the forward line the Roscommon forwards displayed some nice inter-passing. It did not help the Shamrocks cause that stalwart Sinead Walsh had to leave the field mid-way through the first half with what looked like and injury to the ribs. Karen Maloney lit up the scoreboard with some brilliantly taken points for Roscommon, and there were some scenes of great joy as Roscommon Captain, Laura Burns accepted the first North American trophy on behalf of the club.

Roscommon recorded a formidable score of 1-11 in the first half. A Maggie Fox goal after 7 minutes settled the side. Aisling Jennings put the Shamrocks on the board with a point from a free soon afterwards. Roscommon displayed some great shooting, notably Sligo native, Karen Maloney. The Shamrocks struggled to lift the Roscommon siege in the first half and get the ball out of their own half. Roscommon capitalized on their wealth of possession and led at the half by a score of 1-11 to 0-5. Maloney put two wonderful scores over the bar, both from the right side of the field. One was a fantastic long distance strike from play and the other from a sideline ball. The Shamrocks showed some flashes of what they can do, setting up three scores in a row for Ann Doherty, Jennings, and Mary Cullen in the final 10 minutes of the half. Roscommon, however, held a strong advantage at the break, but the Shamrocks would have a breeze in their favour in the second half.

The Shamrocks' Mary Cullen is pursued byRoscommon captain Laura Burns.

The Shamrocks made some inroads into the Roscommon lead early in the second half as they lifted their game. With the backs digging in and scrapping for every ball to deny Roscommon possession, Ann Doherty won the ball on the 65 and ran directly for goal. Doherty pulled the trigger 14 yards out and the ball struck the back of the net; the Shamrocks were back in it. Roscommon kept the pressure on. After Jennings tagged on a point for the Shamrocks, Roscommon responded with three points on the trot. Caroline Benson scored the first, and again, Maloney kicked a sideline over the bar and almost immediately afterwards followed with a great score from play; Roscommon were now back in the ascendancy. The Shamrocks kept up the fight to try and turn the tables. Another goal chance came – and went. Doherty was fouled in the penalty area and Jennings’ placed shot came back off the post. The Shamrocks added a point from a Jennings 21-yard free, but Roscommon finished the game as strong as they started, with three points in a row and few could argue that the Rossies did not deserve their first North American championship.

Shamrocks: M. Harrison, S. Killeen, S. Boylan, C. Greir, J. Branigan, J. Rock, J. Donnelly, S. McHugh, C. McEleaney, S. Walsh, Ann Doherty (1-1), L. Purcell, K. Rohan, Aisling Jennings (0-6), Mary.Cullen (0-1). Roscommon: N. Kavanagh, L. Burns, J. O’Connell, P. Bourke, Kyla McManus (0-1), J. Rogers, Jackie Mulligan (0-1), E. McGirr, I. McNulty, Karen Maloney (0-11), Caroline Benson (0-1), Sharon McGovern (0-2), Maggie Fox (1-1), D. Murphy, F. Claffey. Sub: Saline Reynolds (0-2).
By Rory O'Donnell

Aidan McAnespies Win Second North American Title

Aidan McAnespies 2-15 Sean Treacys 1-7 (San Francisco)

McAnespies won their second North American Championship on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Aidan McAnespie at the Aughnacloy checkpoint in county Tyrone. Their first North American Championship came in 1998, on Aidan’s 10 anniversary. Kevin Barry’s of Philadelphia provided the semi final opposition, and the home side came through a dour enough encounter with a five point win. Kevin Barrys proved to be a tough opponent to break down, and in the second half made a run at McAnespies, scoring five points in a row to come within a point. Steven McGettigan then made the breakthrough and netted to put McAnespies in a comfortable lead. Declan Lally followed with a fine point to secure progression to the next stage.

In the final McAnespies met Sean Treacy’s from San Francisco, who defeated Chicago Parnells in extra time in their semi-final. McAnespies played some good, error free, football in the final and looked comfortable throughout. In spite of conceding a goal late in the first half that brought the visitors level, McAnespies maintained their composure and continued to focus and work hard, and ran out convincing winners in the end.

McAnespies looked comfortable in the first half, and went in at the break with a five point lead. Within 10-15 minutes of the throw-in it looked apparent that the South Boston side had the aces in its deck. The McAnespies back line did a lot of mopping up as Sean Treacy’s lost their way when entering the attacking zone. Christy Lynch had an excellent first half at corner back, as did Danny McBride in the middle of the field. The Strabane man supported the back line well and played the part of link man when McAnespies played the ball out of defence. McAnespies made good use of their posession. The local side went into a three-point lead in the early going, with Darren Ryan and Colm McCrory scoring the three points between them.

Treacys got off the mark after 13 minutes with a Mike McCauley point. There were a couple of lengthy stoppages as a result of some heavy challenges, and once things got going again in earnest, Treacys got themselves into the game. After Declan Lally added another point for McAnespies, Gene Griffin and McCauley again pointed for Treacy’s. The San Francisco side drew level after 26 minutes when Mark Gallagher goaled. It came somewhat against the run of play, and McAnespies got the goal back before half time. McAnespies were the beneficiaries of a somewhat curious decision by the referee who blew for a free out for a pick up after Declan Traynor came off his line and bundled over an attacking player – a let off for the home side. Steven McGettigan and Ryan each pointed, and the Alan Feeney goaled in injury time after being fed by McCrory. McAnespies led by five at half time.

Playing with the breeze and away from the sun in the second half, the Boston side extended their lead to eight points as what appeared to be inevitable came to fruition. McCrory pointed twice from play and once from a free. Shane Glennon, who had entered as a sub in the first half, stemmed the bleeding with a well taken point for the visitors and looked like the San Francisco side’s best attacking option. McCrory’s speed continued to cause problems for the visiting back line in the second half, and the Monaghan man added another point for McAnespies. Danny McBride and Lally added two more points and with 10 minutes left the locals led by 10 points. Treacy’s went looking for a goal - or two - that would be required to pull off a late comeback, and twice Glennon could have netted but shot over the bar. Colm McCrory underlined a great overall performance with a goal at the death. McAnespies win their second North American championship.

Captain Colm McCrory hoists the North American Cup and also won the man of the match award.
Macs: D. Traynor, G. Norton, C. Lynch, D. Donegan, N. Kerr, Alan Feeney (1-0), Danny McBride (0-1), M. Stanbrook, Declan Lally (0-2), C. Galligan, Darren Ryan (0-3), Steven McGettigan (0-1), Colm McCrory (1-8). Sean Treacys: H. Hughes, C. Murphy, B. Molloy, Mark Gallagher (1-0), Stephen Driver (0-1), C. Conneeley, S. McAleer, P. Turnball, R. Kane, Mike McCauley (0-2), Gene Griffin (0-1), B. Nugent, D. Faherty. Sub: Shane Glennon (0-3).
By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, August 25, 2008

Senior Hurling Final - Wexford Come Through in Tremendous Battle

Wexford 1-20 Tipperary 2-16

Wexford just made it over the line ahead of Tipperary in a photo finish in the senior hurling final. It was a game that had the punters going from muttering about being too one sided at half time, to talking about how it was the best game of hurling every seen by the time the final whistle sounded. The Slaneysiders won the game with literally the last ball stuck in the Boston hurling championships. Wexford looked like they would walk it after the first 30 minutes, but Tipperary pulled themselves back into it and brought the game into extra time. It was back and forth for the 20 minutes of the extra period with the lead changing hands 5 times, the final time in Wexford’s favour with a Mark Walsh point from play as there was not even time left for the puckout.

In spite of losing Shane Hennessey for a period early in the first half, Wexford put their stamp on the game. By the end of the first period the Wexfordmen held a comfortable seven point lead. Mark Walsh took the free taking duties and put three over the bar. Hennessey had accounted for three points before exiting the fray. Wexford got a goal courtesy of Joe Clarke, who Peter Ryan fed and Clarke smashed the ball home. Walsh rounded off the scoring with a free before half time. Tipperary did not manage to find room to shoot. Dominc McGill was on form at center back and Wexford won most of the possession from puck outs. Frances Devanney, Thomas Waters, and Alan McCrabbe each pointed for Tipp, who trailed by seven points going into the break.

Tipperary took the field for the second half with a changed lineup, and notably Owen McCormack came in as a substitute. Wexford got the first score of the second half, another Mark Walsh free, but Tipp got some hope from a goal right from the puckout. After Dominic McGill put one over for Wexford, Tipperary scored 6 points in a row to narrow the deficit to a single point. Then came another penalty. Alan McCrabbe took it and this time shot low and put Tipp a goal to the good. Wexford answered with three points on the trot to level the scores, and with the game on the line Tipp missed two great chances to take the lead, the shots drifting wide. Mark Walsh then put Wexford ahead on the stroke of 30 minutes, but Tipp answered immediately with a point from Gareth Sinnott to send the game into extra time.

Tipp took the lead in extra time with a point from Owen McCormack, but lost it, won it back and then lost it again for the last time. There were wonderful catching, hard hitting, and great scores in a game that had the spectators glued to their seats. It looked like Austin Murphy’s point would win it but Frances Devanney equaled it with as good a score. With 30 minutes up Mark Walsh had the final shot of the game and made it over the bar for Wexford to win their third hurling championship in a row. It was a game worthy of a championship final, and fittingly the final game of the Boston championships.

Wexford: E. Sprune, D. Brennan, D. Redmond, P. Holden, Dominic McGill (0-1), Richie Kehoe (0-2), B. Dalton, Joe Clarke (1-0), Mark Walsh (0-10), Shane Hennessey (0-5), Austin Murphy (0-2), P. Ryan, C. O’Connor. Tipp: J. Howard, R. Hennessey, J. O’Sullivan, M. Jordan, C. Dempsey, J. Coughlan, S. Power, G. Barry, Thomas Waters (0-1), Frances Devanney (0-3), Alan McCrabbe (1-5), John McGrath (0-1), Gareth Sinnott (0-2). Sub: Owen McCormack (1-3),O. Mahoney (0-1).

by Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football Final - McAnespies Make it Four

Gareth Concar and Graham Norton vie for the advantage.
Aidan McAnespies 4-6 Donegal 1-7

McAnespies took their fourth championship in a row with a comprehensive victory over Donegal, and truth be told, the margin of victory could have higher. It seems a far cry from the Buffalo Bills days of the South Boston side when victory in the big one always escaped them. An early first half goal, followed by a second mid way through the half put the Macs in the drivers seat, while Donegal did nothing to help their cause. When enjoying a long spell of dominance in possession, and a chance to regain their footing and recover, Donegal kicked wide after wide. The usually reliable Kevin Curran and Dualtach Molloy missed some good chances, and Donegal’s hopes drifted away as the wides mounted.

McAnespies got off to a dream start, and never looked in danger of giving up their title from the word go. Conor McGourty goaled in the third minute, and the score was quickly followed with points from Steven McGettigan and Colm McCrory (free). McAnespies had a couple of chances to blow the game wide open before Doengal got a score. McGettigan found McGourty with a great pass and McGourty’s shot hit the post. Donegal introduced Ciaran Bonner to the fray in an effort to turn things around, and Bonner did bring some mettle to Donegal’s efforts. Dualtach Molloy finally pointed from a free after 10 minutes, but rather than settle down the side, Donegal proceeded to kick 5 wides. With Donegal enjoying a good spell in terms of possession, McAnespies netted a second time. Danny McBride was pulled down in the box as he bore down on goal, and Christy Lynch placed his shot well into the bottom corner. The wides mounted for Donegal as neither Dualtach Molloy nor Kevin Curran could find direction. Eventually Molloy pointed from play, and David Donegan put one over for McAnespies before the half time whistle. McAnespies by seven at the half; 2-3 to 0-2.

McAnespies defence gave no room to Donegal all afternoon.
Things did not improve for Donegal after the restart. Within 3 minutes McAnespies had themselves another penalty and again, Lynch did not err in his shot. McAnespies now 10 points ahead. Frustation crept in for Donegal, Bonner had his name taken shortly afterwards. The futility of Donegal’s efforts were underlined by the removal of what had been the mainstays of their attack all season, Dualtach Molloy and Eamon Murphy. Ironically enough, their replacements, Michael McGinty and Ronan Diver each pointed shortly after their introduction. McAnespies regained control of affairs again, Alan Feeney, who had an outstanding game, and Christy Lynch who was on top of his man all day, each pointed from their back line. David Donegan also contributed on the scoreboard with a goal after 20 minutes and Donegal’s chances of winning evaporated completely. Plenty of satisfaction in the McAnespies camp having been beaten in each of the junior football finals, taking the big one more than makes up for it.

Macs: D. Traynor, Christy Lynch (2-1), G. Norton, David Donegan (1-1), N. Kerr, A. Feeney, M. Stanbrook, D. McBride, C. Galligan, D. Lally, Colm McCrory (0-1), Conor John McGourty (1-2), Steven McGettigan (0-1). Donegal: N. O’Connell, T. Maguire, P. Witherow, O. Wade, K. Cunningham, N. Hegarty, D. McNulty, R. McNeilis, Dualtach Molloy (0-1), E. Murphy, K. Curran, G. Concar, Declan Murphy (1-1). Subs: Michael McGinty (0-1), Ronan Diver (0-2), Ciaran Bonner (0-1).

Ladies Senior Football Final - Roscommon Steal the Show

Tir na nOg 1-7 Roscommon 1-8

Roscommon pulled the rug from under Tir na nOg at the very last minute with a late goal to steal the Ladies senior football championship. With Tir na nOg leading by two points everything changed as Roscommon scored two minutes into injury time to claim the Ladies Junior Title.

Tir na nOg enjoyed a healthier dose of possession than their opponents in the first half and held a four point lead at the break. The forward line displayed some great passing and registered some fine scores. A goal from Lisa McAleer mid way though the half put Tir na nOg in the drivers seat. With Roscommon leading by three points to two, McAleer put an excellently placed shot inside the foot of the far post to put Tir na nOg ahead. Tir na nOg put the Roscommon back line under pressure and registered three more points before half time through Grainne McClean and McAleer. Karen Maloney got one back for Roscommon before the half time whistle to make it a Tir na nOg four point lead at the break.

The Tir na nOg back line shone in the early going as Roscommon endeavored to turn the tables. Winning high balls, blocking kicks, and competing well, Tir na nOg frustrated Roscommon’s forwards. There were a couple of stoppages for heavy challenges that required the intervention of the physio as neither side was willing to give an inch. Colleen Barrett put the Brighton side five to the good, and Claffey cancelled her point. After 17 minutes of play in the second half the difference between the sides was still four points until Karen Maloney put a fine free kick over the bar from 45 yards for Roscommon.

Maloney followed with a great point from play to reduce the deficit to two points with 10 minutes to go. It was Roscommon’s turn to show some steel at the back, Laura Burns made some timely interventions. Maloney further reduced the gap to a point with a free with just one minute to go. Right after Grainne McClean put Tir na nOg two points to the good with a free Roscommon delivered a hammer blow. Roscommon swept up the field and full forward Fiona Claffey rounded her marker to shoot into the back of the net. Tir na nOg had one final chance to equalize but Maria Keane’s long range free drifted wide of the far post. When the final whistle blew Tir na nOg could hardly believe what had transpired, while Roscommon celebrated.

Tir na nOg: F. Gohery, N. Daly, C. O’Higgins, S. Bourke, D. Murtagh, D. O’Sullivan, A. Molloy, J. Moran, A. McDaid, Colleen Barrett (0-1), K. Murphy, Grainne McClean (0-4), Lisa McAleer (1-1), M. Keane, Angie Monaghan (0-1). Roscommon: N. Kavanagh, L. Burns, J. O’Connell, P. Bourke, K. McManus, J. Rogers, J. Mulligan, E. McGirr, I. McNulty, Karen Maloney (0-7), C. Benson, S. McGovern, M. Fox, Fiona Claffey (1-1), L. Harte.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football Final - Donegal Take the Junior Crown

McAnespies' Paul Meegan Looks for help.
Donegal 1-9 Aiden McAnespies 0-10

Donegal captured the junior A football championship in a very exciting, bruising, and tense encounter with Aiden McAnespies. Donegal played some great football, and forwards Paul Boyce and Aiden O’Hagen proved huge factors in their victory. Donegal led from the start but McAnespies made it close at the end, almost pulling off a late victory as Gary Hennessey’s shot flew over rather than under in bar during injury time.

Donegal got off to a great start in the first meeting of the day between the two clubs, and got into a five points to two lead after 15 minutes. McAnespies then had the better of things for the remainder of the first half, but missed several good chances to score. In contrast, Donegal’s only foray forward resulted in a Paul Boyce point that lifted the siege. McAnespies’ Shane Lynn made it six points to three at the half with the game very much open.

Possession was keenly contested around the middle of the field, and each side fought hard to gain an advantage. Jonathan Byrne and Simon McDonagh for Donegal and Thomas Tuite and Shane Lynn for McAnespies contested everything as if their lives depended on it. McAnespies made inroads early in the half and reduced the deficit to a point with scores from Eugene McKenna and Tuite. However, Donegal came back with a score from a Paul Boyce free. Boyce then won a penalty that was taken by former Tyrone minor, Aiden O’Hagen. O’Hagen’s well directed shot found the back of the net and Donegal were five points to the good. McAnespies made a huge effort to cut into the lead. Barry Brogan ran from corner back to point, and Shane Lynn, McKenna and Nigel Regan each pointed to make it a two point game with less then 3 minutes left.

Donegal's Paul Boyce on the attack.
Ricky Rush pointed to put Donegal three to the good again, but Gary Hennessey rushed through from midfield immediately from the ensuing kickout and his shot from the 21-yard line flew over the bar – a goal would have tied it. McAnespies put the pressure on Donegal in the final minutes in an effort to get the goal that would win the game, but Donegal held out and took the first of the games between the teams.

Donegal: E. McLaughlin, D. Harkin, R. Grant, K. McGee, D. McNulty, F. Granaghan, S. McDonagh, J. Byrne, Paul Friel (0-1), Adrian O’Hagen (1-3), Paul Boyce (0-4), M. Corr, S. Kelly. Ricky Rushe (0-1). Macs: B. Arkinson, Barry Brogan (0-2), B. McMenamin, N. Clancy, C. Dempsey, Thomas Tuite (0-1), Shane Lynn (0-2), G. Hennessey, Nigel Regan (0-2), M. Doherty, E. Daly, P. Nugent, Eugene McKenna (0-4).

By Rory O'Donnell

Intermediate Football Final - Galway Take the Title

Johnny Moroney and Brian Mullin contest a high ball.
Kerry 0-10 Galway 0-13

Kerry looked like they had this game in the bag after the first 20 minutes. The Kingdom led by eight points to one, and Galway looked like they were just not interested. Whatever happened in Galway minds, or Kerry minds for that matter, the game was turned on it’s head for the final 40 minutes. Galway outscored Kerry by 12 points to 2 over that period. Perhaps Kerry thought the game was won and rested on their laurels, perhaps Galway realized there was a championship to win, and started playing some football.

Richard O’Sullivan, Bernard O’Connor, and Mark O’Sullivan were lording it and having their way with their opposite numbers in the early going and it looked like there was only one team interested in winning the game. Johnny Moroney stole forward from center back to point, and O’Sullivan, Ger Molloy and O’Connor each scored for Kerry in the early going. As the points accumulated in the Kerry column, Galway supporters were beginning to wonder if their team were interested. The tribesmen answered that question and pulled themselves back into it. Graeme Molloy led the charge with three points, one from a turnover that highlighted the change in momentum from Kerry to Galway. After Galway had made it three points to eight, Ger Molloy was coming out of defence for Kerry in what looked like another move that would end in a Kerry score, only to cough up the ball to his namesake, who soloed up the field and made it a four point deficit instead of Kerry extending their lead to six. Galway added points from Joe Clarke, Molloy, and Tom Walsh before half time and Kerry’s lead was down to one point, and the momentum lay with Galway.

Galway took over in the second half, and really should have put the game away in the first 20 minutes. Molloy, Brian Mullin, Peter Nolan and Tom Walsh played a big part in Galway’s dominance during this period, but there were at least four if not five shots at goal that on any other day would have gone over, but Galway missed them all. Galway did take the lead on a point from Peter Nolan, but by that stage should have been four or five ahead. Kerry were badly struggling and seldom attacked the Galway goal. It began to look as if Galway regret all those misses. Brian Mullin extended the lead to two, before Martin Sweeney pulled a point back for Kerry with five minutes to go. Kerry must have been wondering how they were still in the game and had a chance to win it. Mark O’Sullivan found himself through with room to shoot, and his shot came back off the crossbar to Ger Molloy whose shot went wide.

Galway rallied to put two more over the bar through substitute Richie Kehoe, and extended the lead to three points. The tribesman could have buried the game when Kehoe found Matt McKenna with a lovely pass and McKenna blazed wide when a sure goal was there. Less than a minute later Kerry had the chance to equalize, but Sweeney’s shot trundled inches wide. Kerry laid siege for the last minute to try and find the equalizing goal, but Galway held out. Peter Ryan got under a couple of balls to clear, and there were what looked like 22 players inside the Galway 21 yard line. Galway held out and in doing so won a second intermediate championship in three years.
Kerry: D.Diggins, D. Forde, S. Moriarty, M. Godley, Johnny Moroney (0-1), G. Barry, Richard O’Sullivan (0-2), David Waters (0-2), Ger Molloy (0-1), Bernard O’Connor (0-2), P. Devane, Mark O’Sullivan (0-1), Martin Sweeney (0-1). Galway: P. Ryan, S. Melia, M. Rafter, JJ O’Neill, Joe Clarke (0-1), S. Gallagher, B. Mullin (0-1), Graeme Molloy (0-3), Matt McKenna (0-1), Tom Walsh (0-2), Peter Nolan (0-1), D. Redmond, Eoghan McCormack (0-2). Sub: Richie Kehoe (0-2).

Junior Hurling Final - Tipperary Take the Junior Title

Wexford 2-7 Tipperary 3-15

Tipperary put on a great team display and showed great sense of purpose to win the junior hurling title on Saturday, and in doing so took their second Boston junior title in a row. After 15 minutes Tipp’s focus along with their desire showed through as they worked themselves into an unassailable lead. Brendan McLaughlin was on form and the Carrickmore man scored two goals at key junctures of the game to help put the game beyond Wexford.

Wexford held a slight edge after the opening quarter, but then Tipperary gradually took control of the game and scored a goal and five points without reply. McLauglin feasted on an abundance of possession as plenty of ball found its way into his corner, and scored a fine goal with 20 minutes played. His partner in the full forward line, Paul Ryan, had goaled earlier in the game, and Tipperary will have been happy with first half return in that department. At the opposite end of the field, dual corner back, Christy Lynch executed his duties well as Wexford found the going tough in the final third of the field. At one point Mark Daly made a fine save from Graeme Molloy, but soon afterwards, Shane Kehoe scored Wexford’s goal. It was a fortunate one that looked to be heading over the bar from long range, but dropped short and with the sun in the keepers eyes, into the back of the net. Wexford’s points came from Stephen Delaney, while McLaughlin, Daithi Waters, and Fergal McDonnell pointed for Tipp. At the half Tipp led by a goal and four points.

Christy Lynch carries the ball out of defence for Tipp as Graeme Molloy shadows him.
Tipp drove home their advantage in the second half. Scoring a goal and five points to two points for Wexford, Tipperary wrapped up the game. After extended their lead with points from Kevin McGreavey and Paul Ryan, McLauglin showed his predatory instincts and Tyrone man fired home a rebound, which more or less sealed Wexford’s fate. With 10 minutes to go Wexford generated some goal chances, but Mark Daly saved well on a number of occasions. Wexford battled on and managed a goal from Tom Drennan and Graeme Molloy points, but Tipp were too far ahead for the Wexfordmen to have a serious chance of catching them. A deserved win for Tipp, who go on to the North American Finals as Boston champions.

Wexford: E. Kenny, M. Deegan, P. McArdle, JJ O’Neill, M. Brooks, J. Brett, J. Bergin, J. Dooley, Shane Kehoe (1-1), Steven Delaney (0-3), N. Moloney, Graeme. Molloy (0-2), C. McArdle. Sub: Brendan Cauley (0-1), Tom Drennan (1-0) Tipp: M. Daley, J. Hickey, C. Lynch, J. Duane, K. Power, S. Ryan, David Waters (0-2), Fergal McDonnell (0-1), K. O’Donnell, J. Feeley, Kevin McGreavey (0-1), Paul Ryan (1-1), Brendan McLaughlin (2-9). Sub: Colm McCrory (0-1)

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior B Footall Final - Celtics Take First Boston Title

Paul Bannon Breaks Through the McAnespies Defence.
Junior B Football Final

McAnespies 3-5 New England Celtics 4-8

It has been a long time coming, but for the New England Celtics the wait was worth it. After eight years and 4 finals, the Celtics won their first Boston Championship. Youth was a factor as the Celtics ability to keep up the tempo over 60 minutes proves crucial to the outcome. The Celtics extended their lead to double digits early in the second half,and threatened to run away with it. With 10 minutes to go McAnespies caused the local born players some anxious moments as they put a goal and three points up to a solitary point for the Celtics, but the Celtics hung on until the final whistle and received their just reward after a long wait.

The first half featured 5 goals, 2 for McAnespies and three for the Celtics. Both sides had periods where they played good football. When it seemed that the Celtics were about to pull away, McAnespies reined them back in. With the sides sitting on a point each, the Celtics goaled first with a Liam Fleming penalty. Will Fleming was fouled in the area and first cousin Liam converted the kick. Niall Duffy pulled a goal back for McAnespies but the Celtics goaled again through Paul Bannon. Bannon picked up a breaking ball and fired home with only the keeper to beat. The Celtics were looking good and though it was early in the game, seemed to have control of affairs. McAnepies, however, answered with another goal. Paddy Stones shot from close range and now it was McAnespies leading by a point. The Celtics came back with a goal, their third, and two points to finish the half. Two Liam Fleming dead ball kicks from long range sailed over the bar, and then Will Fleming goaled on the stroke of half time to give the Celtics a four point advantage at the break.

The Celtics got the all important scored after the restart with two Fleming frees and after 10 minutes a Pearse Lombard goal put the all American side nine points ahead. The Celtics won possession from almost all kickouts. Danny Kenneally Liam Fleming, and Jerry Kenneally led the Celtics charge, while Brendan Kelly and Pearse Lombard were instrumental in the forward line. The Celtics then kicked several wides, which almost came back to bite them as McAnespies made a late run. Trailing by 10 points McAnespies narrowed the deficit to 5 with five minutes still to go, and one began to wonder whether the Celtics had it to hang on. Paul Meegan goaled and points came from Owen McCusker, Paddy Stones and Declan Slevin. Slevin’s shot was for goal and shaved the crossbar on the way over; the Celtics were living dangerously. Unfortunately for McAnespies time was the enemy, and the Celtics managed to settle down and see out the clock. There were few who would begrudge the Celtics their first win, least of all McAnespies with whom there have been some hard fought battles over the years.
Pearse Lombard Tries to Find a Way Through.
Macs: C. Taite, P. McKenna, C. Trayner, S. McGlinchy, A. Comerford, F. McDonald,T. Tuite, J. Taylor, D. Gormley, Paul Meegan (1-1), M. Casey, Paddy Stones (1-2), Niall Duffy (1-1). Subs: Owen McCusker (0-1), Declan Slevin (0-1). Celtics: R. Graber, M. Fleming, P. Kerrigan, J. Kenneally, K. Fleming, C. Walsh, D. Kenneally, Liam Fleming (1-5), Brendan Kelly (0-1), Paul Bannon (1-0), Pearse Lombard (1-2), M. O’Connor, Will Fleming (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sundays Results

Senior Football: McAnespies 4-6 Donegal 1-7
Senior Hurling: Wexford 1-20 Tipp 2-16 (Extra Time)
Ladies Senior Football: Roscommon 1-8 Tir na nOg 1-7
Junior A Football: McAnespies 0-10 Donegal 1-9

Reports will follow...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Finals Results

Ladies Junior Football: Tir na nOg 3-8 Boston Shamrocks 0-2
Junior B Football: New England Celtics 4-8 Aiden McAnespies 3-6
Junior Hurling: Tipperary beat Wexford
Inter Football: Galway 0-13 Kerry 0-10.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Finals Previews

Sunday August 24, 1:30
Ladies Senior Football Final - Tir na nOg v Roscommon

Tir na nOg have looked like contenders for the championship all year. The Brighton side suffered only one defeat during the season to the Boston Shamrocks. Tir na nOg are a strong side and have some excellent forwards. Maria Keane would be the first name that comes to mind when mentioning the Tir na nOg forwards, but there are others that can make hay for Tir na nOg. Angela Monaghan at full forward, Colleen Barrett on the wing, and Katie Murphy at center forward. Roscommon won their first game of the season last week, and have reached the final by virtue of a fine overall performance against the Boston Shamrocks. Roscommon have some powerful weapons in their arsenal in Fiona Claffey, Karen Maloney and Caroline Benson, not to mention a solid keeper in Niamh Kavanagh - which can keep them in it even if the team is not playing well. Given Roscommon's record up to last weekend, the Shamrocks may have taken them a little lightly and fell into a big hole, however, when the Shamrocks dug in Roscommon found it difficult to keep up their momentum and escaped with a one-point win. The pressure will be on Tir na nOg since they carry the weight of expectation on their shoulders, not to mention that this would be the first senior championship for the club - the first one is the hardest to win. If the Brighton side start off in top gear Roscommon could find it tough going. I'd have to favour Tir na nOg to win their first senior football championship.

Sunday August 24, 4:30
Senior Hurling Final - Wexford v Tipperary
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)

Wexford are going for three-in-a-row for Boston championships on Sunday afternoon. The Slaneysiders have been a mixed bag this year, starting off well, going off the boil for a couple of games, and then putting in a great performance against Brighton rivals, Galway. Wexford have some players to turn a game. Shane Hennessy in the forward line, Austin Murphy in the middle, and Joe Clarke in the half back line will be key. One name that featured prominently early on was Richie Kehoe, the Wexford county hurler who decided to spend a year in Boston, started off the season well, and even last week his performance seemed to be lacking some spark. Tipp have grown into the season and made the final with their last game of year. Some may argue that Tipp should start games a man down since twice this year they have lifted their performance following a sending off of one of their own. Tipp have some solid players in Richie Hennessy, John Coughlin, and Cronan Dempsey. Then there is the Dublin county hurler who decided to came to Boston this year, Alan McCrabbe. Like the team as a whole McCrabbe has looked more comfortable as the season has progressed and a good performance from him will be vital to Tipp's cause. With last weekend off, Tipp could get off to a slow start, and falling behind in the early going could prove fatal. Wexford would seem to have the horses to claim their third Boston championship in a row, and I'd have to say I'd expect to see the Slaneysiders ahead when the final whistle blows.

Sunday August 24 3:00
Senior Football Final - Donegal v Aiden McAnespies
Referee: Paddy Russell (Tipperary).

A contrast in styles. McAnespies have been the pace-setters this year, and at times have looked far ahead of any of their nearest rivals. In their last couple of games McAnespies have looked mortal. The return to Ireland of players of the caliber of Mark Goettsche, David Conway, and Johnny Laverty has brought the side down a peg or two, while Donegal have seen Dualtach Molloy return after a hand injury. McAnespies are the more physical of the two sides, their back line played the Shannon Blues tough and did a good job keeping the Blues forwards in check. Colm McCrory seems to have found himself in the forward line again, and last week Benny McGettigan probably had his best outing in at least 2 years. Of course there are also Declan Lally and Conor McGourty. The St. Bridgets, Dublin, clubman who is spending the summer in Boston has been an important cog in the McAnespies machine, while McGourty is a forward of the highest class. Keeping the Dublin and Antrim county players in check will be important for Donegal's chances. Donegal are a finesse team and are capable of playing some lovely football. The northerners have a good midfield pairing in Donal McNulty and Ronan McNeilis. The side's fortunes have revolved around these two and they will need to be on form for Donegal to have a chance. The question is whether Donegal's forwards will be able to cope with the McAnespies backs. Molloy, Gareth Concar, and Eamonn Murphy have been to the fore in that area of the field but may be at a physical disadvantage. The Donegal backs will also have to cope with the likes of Lally, McCrory and McGourty - a tough assignment. Donegal will need to control posession from kickouts and make McAnespies chase them in order to win. McAnespies are the safe bet if the game becomes a grind it our affair, and I'd have to go with them to make it four in a row.

Boston GAA Finals Schedule

Saturday August 23

Field A
2:30 Junior Hurling Final: Wexford v Tipperary
4:00 Junior B Football Final: New England Celtics v Aiden McAnespies
5:30 Intermediate Football Final: Galway v Kerry
Field B
3:00 Ladies Junior Football Final: Tir na nOg v Boston Shamrocks

Sunday August 24
12:00 Junior A Football Final: Aiden McAnespies v Donegal
1:30 Ladies Senior Football Final: Roscommon v Tir na nOg
3:00 Senior Football Final: Donegal v Aiden McAnespies
4:30 Senior Hurling Final: Wexford v Tipperary

Directions to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton:
From Route 128 North or South, take Exit 2A for 138 South (Stoughton). Follow for 3.6 miles, (shortly after the third set of lights) turn right on New Boston Drive and the ICC is straight ahead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Senior Football Semi-Final: Aiden McAnespies v Shannon Blues

Gary Gaughan tries to put some distance between himself and Graham Norton.
Aiden McAnespies 2-10 Shannon Blues 1-10

McAnespies won a place in the senior football final where they will face Donegal after a hard fought win over the Shannon Blues. Twice McAnespies goaled, blows that would have knocked the stuffing out of most teams, but the Blues fought back and came within a goal of knocking off the team that finished top of the table. The game was physical and tough, and McAnespies played it tight in the back line and found the room at the right times to put themselves in a winning position.

McAnespies held the edge at the end of the first half. A Declan Lally goal after 20 minutes put some daylight between the sides. With McAnespies leading by a point, Lally made a burst through the Blues defence and slid the ball under the advancing Declan Hawes. Up to that point it was fairly even, with McAnespies perhaps holding a slight edge in terms of the balance of play. Phillip Lydon had put three frees over the bar for the Blues and Thomas Cryan one. For McAnespies the scoring was spread out a little more; CJ McGourty, Lally, Colm McCrory, and Christy Lynch (all the way from corner back), each pointed. The Blues tried to get the ball to Gary Gaughan at every opportunity, and when receiving the ball on the run, Gaughan looked dangerous, but the McAnespies back line swallowed up the Sligoman on several occasions. McAnespies finished the half the stronger side. Conor Galligan and McCrory pointed, while Lydon converted a free that was conceded by McAnespies by virtue of a badly taken free in their own defence. At the half McAnespies led by five.
CJ McGourty rises to meet an incoming pass with the sun in his eyes.

The Blues began the second half well and made a run at McAnespies. After McCrory pointed for McAnespies, the Blues put three unanswered points over the bar to bring it to within a score, but McAnespies struck with a second goal. McGourty fed the inrushing Lally who sidefooted into the empty net. This followed a Lally point, and the lead was seven. The Blues had something left in the tank to mount a late comeback. Philip Lydon pointed from a free and as the Blues carried the game to McAnespies they won a penalty. Ken Kileen, was introduced to the fray and the experienced Sligoman was bundled over in the penalty area. Lydon kept his cool and made no mistake with the shot. Another point was added by Neil Ewing with less than a minute left, but the Blues could not make it all the way back as McAnespies held out in the waning seconds to see themselves through to yet another Boston final.

Blues: D. Hawes, K. Cryan, S. Kelly, S. Ruane, D. Kelly, Neil Ewing (0-1), S. Henry, R. Hennessy, Gary Gaughan (0-1), Philip Lydon (1-6), G. Henry, D. Wallace, Thomas Cryan (0-1). Sub: Ken Kileen (0-1). Macs: D. Traynor, Christy Lynch (0-1), G. Norton, D. Donegan, N. Kerr, A. Feeney, D. McBride, M. Stanbrook, Colm McCrory (0-3), Declan Lally (2-2), Conor Galligan (0-1), CJ. McGourty (0-2), S. McGettigan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football Semi-Final: Wolfe Tones v Donegal

Wolfe Tones 0-6 Donegal 1-15
Keith Cunningham comes out with the ball for Donegal as Marty Farrell challenges.

Donegal advanced to the senior football final in impressive fashion with a resounding win over the Wolfe Tones. Donegal totally outclassed their opponents, who this scribe favoured, and in the end ran out easy winners. Donegal saw the return of Dualtach Molloy from injury, and Ciaran Bonner made a short reappearance, but had to leave the field due to a recurrence of his injury. From the middle of the first half Donegal took control of the game and the Tones could not find their way back into it and surely will be thinking that they could have left more on the field by the time it was all over. Donegal played the ball nicely when in possession and were in front at the back when the Tones tried to engineer any kind of attack.

Donegal efficiently worked themselves into an eight point lead over the first 30 minutes. The northerners were first to the ball in the back line and the forwards were one step ahead of their markers. Donegal played the ball well into the forward line and enjoyed plenty of possession from the midfield exchanges. The Wolfe Tones showed well in the first quarter of the game, Jamie Murphy and Sean McVeigh pointed, each a fine score – but that was as good as it would get for the Tones. Donegal proceeded to take over for the remainder of the half. The Tir Chonaill men scored nine points to a single point for the Tones in final 20 minutes of the period. Dualtach Molloy was a sure thing with free kicks and put four in a row over the bar. The Tones could not find room when in possession and when Donegal had the ball, the South Boston side were searching for answers on how to stop their opponents. Donegal spread the wealth around; Eamon Murphy, Gareth Concar, and Ronan McNeilis also found the mark for Donegal before the half time whistle.

Joey Farrell tries to find an opening for the Tones as their attack sputtered in the first half.
The second half was a replay of the first, only worse from a Wolfe Tones perspective. Mick Sammon, who entered the fray as a sub, saw red as his challenge on Ciaran Bonner, who also came in for Donegal, was deemed worthy of a sending off. Dara Joyce put two early points over for the Tones, each a rousing score, but any encouragement that they may have generated were lost on the Tones. Donegal continued to pick off the points, and a goal with about 15 left from Concar well and truly killed the game. Donegal advance to final with an impressive performance and a margin of victory that nobody could have expected.

Tones: W. O’Dowd, N. McKenna, D. Scullane, E. Hickson, T. Meagan, K. Gorham, J. Farrell, Sean McVeigh (0-1), Jamie Murphy (0-1), Dara Joyce (0-3), C. Farrell, Marty Farrell (0-1), S. Kelly. Donegal: N. O’Connell, P. Witherow, T. Maguire, N. Hegarty, K. Cunningham, E. Wade, Ronan McNeilis (0-2), D. McNulty, Dualtach Molloy (0-5), Eamon Murphy (0-2), Kevin Curran (0-1), Gareth Concar (1-1), D. Murphy. Sub: Ciaran Bonner (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, August 18, 2008

Senior Hurling Semi-Final: Galway v Wexford

Wexford 0-20 Galway 1-12 (After Extra Time)

Galway and Wexford played a tremendously exciting hurling semi-final. Galway would have been slight favourites going on recent form, but it was Wexford who produced the better hurling and few would argue that they did not deserve to advance to the final. Wexford looked to have the game in the bag coming to the end of normal time, only for Galway to strike at the death with a goal and a point to force extra time. Wexford did not let it slip during extra time. The Slaneysiders kept to the formula that had put them in a winning position during the game and re-established a lead, and this time held on to it until the final whistle.

Mark Walsh looks to shoot for Wexford.

The first half was evenly contested for the most part, each side enjoyed good periods of hurling. Towards the end Wexford began to pull away only to be hauled back in by a Galway goal late in the half. Galway could have gone in at half time ahead. Galway won a penalty after James Kinsella was fouled in the box, but taking a position on the goal line, Dominic McGill saved the shot just before the half time whistle blew. Fintan O’Leary had opened the scoring for Galway with a point, and Shane Hennessey equalized for Wexford. O’Leary again put Galway one to the good, and Mark Walsh answered twice for Wexford. Wexford looked to be gaining an upper hand when Galway struck with a goal from Paul Barron following a good move. Wexford put four points over to one for Galway to finish the half on top, and led by eight points to a goal and four.

Shane Hennessy put in a fine performance for Wexford as they overcame Galway in Sunday's hurling semi-final.

Galway quickly turned it around with three points on the trot, but in the process were guilty of several bad wides which proved to be costly when all was said and done. Wexford, however, started playing the way they finished the first half. The half back line of Joe Clarke, Paddy Breen, and Dominic McGill put their stamp on the game, and Austin Murphy in the middle of the field helped Wexford impose themselves on the game. Wexford put six points over the bar without reply as Galway struggled to keep pace. Shane Hennessy, Austin Murphy, and Christy O’Connor led the rally and Galway’s goose looked to be well and truly cooked. Galway made one last gasp effort and having won a 21-yard - free, reduced the deficit to a point with a goal. Fintan O’Leary put a point over the bar to level the scores and force extra time. A reprieve for Galway to be sure.

Galway could have got off to a great start to the extra period having won a second penalty. Wexford goalkeeper, Edmund Sprune, was the penalty killer this time, pulling off a great save from Eoin Foley’s shot – the Galway number four will surely like to have had one of those penalties back. Galway took first blood in extra time with a Fintan O’Leary point, but Wexford hit back with four; two Shane Hennessy frees and one each from play from Austin Murphy and Peter Ryan to lead by three at the turnaround. Wexford added a score from Hennessy and the game began to slip away from Galway. James Kinsella was sent off for a second infraction, and the ensuing Hennessy free put Wexford five points to the good. Galway went in search for a goal again, but this time it did not materialize as Wexford ensured there would not be a repeat finish in extra time. Wexford now go on to meet Tipp in the final in search of three Boston championships in a row.

Galway: D. Starr, R. Goode, D. Brennan, Eoin Foley (1-0), K. Murphy, Liam Kinsella (0-1), James Kinsella (0-1), P. Carey, S. Dineen, J. Byrne, D Fitzgerald, Fintan O’Leary (0-7), Paul Barron (1-0). Wexford: E. Sprune, D. Brennan, P. Holden, D. Redmond, D. McGill, J. Clarke, R. Kehoe, Austin Murphy (0-4), Mark Walsh (0-3), Peter Ryan (0-1), Shane Hennessy (0-9), Nick Quinlan (0-1), Christy O’Connor (0-3).

By Rory O'Donnell

Ladies Senior Football Semi-Final: Boston Shamrocks v Roscommon

Roscommon 3-11 Shamrocks 2-13

Roscommon barely made it in the end, and have their goalkeeper, Niamh Kavanagh, to thank for a superb penalty save in the dying seconds to deny the Shamrocks what would have been another famous comeback to add to their list of comebacks down the years. For most of the game it looked like Roscommon would win comfortably, but the Shamrocks staged a second half comeback with two goals in as many minutes and five points in a row to push Roscommon to the very end. The comeback fell one point short of forcing extra time and Roscommon, who won their first game of the season, make it to the final against Tir na nOg.

Roscommon clear as the Shamrocks stage a late rally.

Roscommon got off to a great start to the game. Two goals in the first quarter put Roscommon in the drivers seat. While the Shamrocks were trying to find their footing Roscommon put on a fine display of football. Fiona Claffey and Caroline Benson each goaled in the opening period, while Maggie Fox and Karen Maloney pointed. Chances for the Shamrocks were few and far between. Aisling Jennings’ free taking got the Shamrocks on the scoreboard. By half time Roscommon led by 10 points, 2-8 to 0-4 and raised some eyebrows with their performance.

Roscommon opened the second half in full flow, and played some excellent football. Some great passing moves resulted in fine scores, a point from Karen Maloney was followed by a superb goal. Maloney fired the ball into the roof of the net after she was found running through. The result seemed inevitable. The Shamrocks began fighting back with about 20 minutes left in the game. The back line lifted their game and fought with determination for every ball; some great championship football. A goal came from Sinead Walsh, who netted following a great double save from Roscommon keeper, Niamh Kavanagh. Almost immediately afterwards Jennings added a second goal and Roscommon’s led was cut to six points. The Shamrocks now had belief, and began sending ball after ball in the direction of Roscommon’s goal. Leah Purcell pointed and four frees in a row from Jennings cut Roscommon’s lead to a point with five minutes left.

Sharon McGovern tried to rally her side to hold off the Shamrocks and won some great ball in the Roscommon forward line. Roscommon had a chance to extend their lead back to four points with the clock winding down after Erin McGirr was tripped in the box. McGirr’s shot hit the post and the rebound was sent wide. The excitement was building as the game reached it’s climax. Maloney added a point to Roscommon’s tally, the lead was now two points and in the last second the Shamrocks won a penalty, and a chance to win the game. Kavanagh made a fantastic save, diving to her left to put a well placed shot by Tara Kealy out for a ’45. Sinead Walsh got the Shamrocks back within a point, but her score proved to be the last kick of the game.

The Shamrocks almost made it back, but not quite.

As in many times past the ladies provided a great game of football, and it is Roscommon who will face Brighton’s Tir na nOg in the final next Sunday.

Roscommon: N. Kavanagh, L. Burns, J. O’Connell, P. Bourke, K. McManus, J. Rogers, J. Mulligan, E. McGirr, I. McNulty, Karen Maloney (1-5), Caroline Benson (1-1), S. McGovern (0-1), Maggie Fox (0-2), Fiona Claffey (1-2), L. Harte. Shamrocks: M. Harrisson, S. Killeen, J. Rock, S. Boylan, M. Cullen, S. McHugh, J. Branighan, M. Moolick, C. McEleaney, A. Doherty, Leah Purcell (0-1), J. Donnelly, T. Kealey, Aisling Jennings (1-11), Sinead Walsh (1-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Inter Semi-Final: Kerry v Armagh-Notre Dame

Armagh-Notre Dame 2-6 Kerry 1-12

The Prize for Armagh-Notre Dame would be a date with Brighton rivals Galway in an all Brighton intermediate final. For much of the game it looked as if it might come to pass, but with the sides level going into the final quarter of the game Kerry got the crucial score to break the deadlock, a David Waters goal with 10 minutes to go proved to be the difference between the teams in the end.

Armagh-Notre Dame got off to a great start. The Brighton side had two goals in the back of the net within the first 10 minutes. Brian Downes scored the first, rounding his man and finishing into the virtually empty net. The second was a excellently well placed shot from Frank Meehan with the outside of his right boot into the far corner. With the second goal Armagh-ND were five points ahead. Bernard O’Connor and Mark O’Sullivan each pointed for Kerry, while Brendan Quinn scored a minor for the northerners. At that early stage Kerry looked like they were in danger of suffering a heavy loss, but the Kingdom got their act together to pull within a point by half time.

It was back lines on top for much of the half as neither forward line managed to finish off attacking moves, whether it was coughing up the ball or shooting wide, the scoreboard did not change for a long period. Kerry, however, finished the half with four points on the trot, Martin Sweeney put two nice points over the bar from wing forward, while Bernard O’Connor and Richard O’Sullivan also pointed for Kerry. O’Sullivan directed affairs from the middle of the field for Kerry, and was probably the best player on display for the first 30. At the half it was 2-1 to 0-6 in favour of the northern side.

The second half was even stevens until Kerry goaled with 10 minutes to go. The sides traded points for the first 20 minutes. O’Connor, Mark O’Sullivan, and Mark Evans pointed for Kerry, while McStravog, Paudie Mulpeters, and Brendan Quinn did the same for the Brighton side. Kerry then put some daylight between the teams with a David Waters goal, Waters had been relatively quiet up to that point, but came up trumps when Kerry needed it most. Kerry added another point through Danny Fox to extend the lead to three, but McStravog and Dominic McGill got Armagh-Notre Dame back within two points and extra time looked on the cards, but not as far as Kerry were concerned. Danny Fox put Kerry two to the good, finishing off a great move, and Mike Godley made it three between the sides with the last kick of the game. It will be a Galway Kerry final next weekend.

Armagh-ND: C. Brady, L. Morrow, M. Digney, J. Taggart, A. Downes, Frank Meehan (1-0), B. Molloy, Paudie Mulpeters (0-1), S. O’Donnell, Martin McStravog (0-3), A. Blake, Brendan Quinn (0-2), Brian Downes (1-0). Kerry: D. Diggins, D. Forde, S. Moriarty, Mike Godley (0-1), J. Moroney, P. Devane, Richard O’Sullivan (0-1), G. Barry, G. Molloy, Bernard O’Connor (0-3), Martin Sweeney (0-2), David Waters (1-0), Mark O’Sullivan (0-2). Subs: Mark Evans (0-1), Danny Fox (0-2)

By Rory O'Donnell

Inter semi final: Connemara Gaels v Galway

Connemara Gaels 0-7 Galway 0-14

James Carlin was kept on a short leash all day.
The weather co-operated and Saturday afternoon was ideal for football with a light breeze and warm temperatures. The field was a little greasy following the mid-week rains, and on occasion the players lost their footing. After a fairly evenly contested first half, Galway came to grips with the game and put in a great second half performance, playing some good team football, to leave the Gaels looking for answers. The Gaels got off to the better start and led by four points at one stage, but Galway came to grips towards the end of the half, and went on to score the last six points of the game to underline their superiority on the day.

The first half was a scrappy enough affair. The Gaels enjoyed some good spells of football, but having won frees in very good positions, missed at least four great chances, two early in the half and two late in the half. In between the Gaels back line worked very hard to deny the Galway forwards the room to score. Pat McNicholas in particular stood out, and Brendan McLaughlin and Coleman Conroy also did well. At one point the Gaels led by five points to one. James Carlin put two over the bar from play and two from frees, while Frank Niblock added another. Carlin and his marker, Shane Melia, were enjoying a good tussle, and it seemed that Carlin held a slight advantage in battles won. Galway got into the game mid-way though the half, but missed several chances before finding their shooting boots. Three points on the trot before half time reduced the deficit to a single point. Graham Molloy, Tom Walsh, and Matthew McKenna each pointed to reduce the Gaels advantage to a solitary point by half time.
Frank Niblock tries a shot while Joe Clarke moves in to block.
The second half was a turn around for Galway. The tribesmen lifted their game while the Gaels forward line sputtered. Galway outscored the Gaels by six points to two in the first 20 minutes of the half. Galway worked hard throughout the field to get ahead and stay there. The Gaels introduced a couple of subs into the forward line, but Galway’s back line still kept one step ahead of their opponents. The Gaels over relied on Carlin and Niblick and there seemed to be a sense of urgency lacking, while the Galway worked the ball well right through the field with several players touching it before the final shot. Eoghan McCormack put four over the bar for Galway, while Graham Molloy, Peter Nolan, and Donal Redmond also got in on the act. The Gaels could have kept the game closer, but trailing by three with 10 minutes to go felt the need to shoot for goal when points might have been the better option to rein in their opponents. Galway continued to motor, and made the last stages of the game a formality.

Galway deservedly advance to the intermediate final where they will meet a strong Kerry side.
Gaels: J. Flaherty, B. McLaughlin, P. McNicholas, C. Conroy, M. Geoghan, D. Burns, R. Hughes, G. O’Malley, K. Cox, V. O’Malley, Frank Niblock (0-2) , T. McDonagh, James Carlin (0-4). Sub Joey Geoghan (0-1). Galway: P. Ryan, M. Rafter, S. Melia, JJ O’Neill, J. Clarke, S. Gallagher, B. Mullen, Graham Molloy (0-3), Peter Nolan (0-2), Tommy Walsh (0-1), Matthew McKenna (0-1), Donal Redmond (0-2), Eoghan McCormack (0-4). Sub: Richie Kehoe (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Semi-Finals Results Sunday Aug 17

Senior Hurling: Wexford 0-20 Galway 1-12

Senior Football:

Wolfe Tones 0-5 Donegal 1-16

McAnespies 2-10 Shannon Blues 1-10

Ladies Senior Football: Boston Shamrocks 2-12 Roscommon 3-10

Junior A Semi-Final: Donegal 1-9 Cork 1-5

Junior B Football Semi-Final: McAnespies 3-16 Mayo 2-12

Ladies Junior Semi-Final: Boston Shamrocks 3-8 Roscommon 3-4

Reports to follow......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Semi-Finals Results Saturday Aug 16


Intermediate Football:
Galway 0-14 Connemara Gaels 0-7
Kerry 1-12 Armagh-Notre Dame 2-6
Final Next Sunday Galway v Kerry

Junior A Football: McAnespies 1-16 Kerry 0-2

Junior B Football: Shannon Blues 1-12 New England Celtics 1-15

Junior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's 1-13 Wexford 2-16

Reports to follow....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Playoffs and Final Tables

With the win over Galway last Sunday, the Shannon Blues have earned the right to play McAnespies in the semi-final of the senior football championship next Sunday at 5:30. Donegal and the Wolfe Tones will meet earlier in the day at 2:30. Earlier in the season McAnespies were the hot favourites and looked unbeatable, however, a couple of losses in personnel for the Macs has opened the door for the other teams. The Wolfe Tones have a well rested squad of players and look like a solid outfit, while the Blues have been playing well at the right time of the year. Like McAnespies, Donegal have also suffered a loss in personnel, but Donegal have a good midfield and several nifty forwards that can cause headaches for any back line. While McAnespies are undefeated and going for their fourth Boston championship in a row, it is still not a done deal. No clear favourites this Sunday, but all year it has been looking like the Macs and Tones in an all Southie (Both teams are based in South Boston) final and I'd say both games Sunday will be theirs to lose.

In many ways Tipp are a surprise package to be at the top of the table, in particular since it seemed that it would be Galway or Wexford earlier in the year. Wexford go into the playoffs looking to defend a championship, but have not been playing well of late and will meet a very good Galway team. It would seem that unless Wexford can raise their game that it will be Galway and Tipp in the final Sunday week. Wexford and Galway will meet next Sunday at 4:00.

Tir na nOg make the final by virtue of some very good football, the ladies from Brighton have looked strong all year. Next Sunday the Shamrocks and Roscommon will meet in the semi final at 1:00. Roscommon have not looked sharp in recent outings. Sunday's semi-final should be interesting, the Shamrocks will be favoured to win but in recent years Roscommon have been known to turn it on at crunch time.

The full playoff schedule for next weekend is:

Semi Finals Schedule
Saturday August 16
Field A
2:30: Junior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke’s v Galway/Wexford
4:00: Intermediate Football: Connemara Gaels v Galway
5:30: Intermediate Football: Kerry v Armagh-Notre Dame

Field B
3:00: Junior A Football: McAnespies v Kerry
4:30: Junior B Football: New England Celtics v Shannon Blues

Sunday August 17
Field A
11:30: Junior A Football: Donegal v Cork
1:00: Ladies Senior Football: Roscommon v Shamrocks
2:30: Senior Football: Donegal v Wolfe Tones
4:00: Senior Hurling: Wexford v Galway
5:30: Senior Football: McAnespies v Shannon Blues

Field B
1:30: Junior B Football: McAnespies v Mayo
3:00: Ladies Junior Football: Roscommon v Shamrocks

Weather forecast update:

Changed from earlier in the week to mixed sun and showers Saturday, with the possibility of scattered thunderstorms - so bring an umbrella.
(Press box passes available for a nominal fee on a first come first served basis).

Sunday is for sunny all day - so bring the kids.