Sunday, September 6, 2009

NACB Senior Football Final: Christopher's v Parnells (Chi)

Christopher’s 4-15 Parnells (Chi) 0-7

Christopher’s followed their first Boston Senior Championship last week with a North American title. It was a significant moment, Christopher’s fielded a team with 5 American Born starters and ended the game with 7. In fairness the manner in which the home team ran away with the game allowed for giving everybody a run. Right from the get go it was clear that Christopher’s were the superior side by a long shot. After the first 30 minutes Christopher’s led by 9 points and it just became more one-sided in the second half.

North American Senior Football Championship winners: Dan Cabral, Dan Kenneally, Ryan Graber, Brendan Kelly, Paudie Kenneally, Jerry Kenneally, and Paul Bannon (All American Born) - along with Donie Kenneally.

Christopher’s had to literally change their shirts inside out since there was a clash of colours and the home team are the ones to oblige. Having turned their shirts inside out, Christopher’s proceeded to turn Parnell’s inside out with some dominant performances in all over the field. Dan Kenneally impressed in midfield and Parnells had no answer for the eldest of the three Kenneally brothers on the field. Sean Kelly was on form at center forward and in the corner Finbarr (Barry) O’Driscoll put in an effortless performance. Christopher’s had seven points on the board before Parnells opened their account with a point from center forward Martin Rafter. Parnells forays into opposition territory were few and far between. Martin Hogan, Brian Lonergan, and Brendan Kelly proved a tough barrier to get around for the visitors. With Christopher’s ahead by a score of nine points to two, Barry O’Driscoll netted a fine goal. Sean Kelly worked hard to win the ball back and found O’Driscoll who planted his low shot into the bottom corner. As half time approached there was a scare as Lonegan and Dan Kenneally had to leave the field for treatment due to a clash of heads.

Christopher's celebrate their first North American Senior Football Championship.

The injured players reentered the fray to begin the second half. Parnells accounted for the first point after the restart through Brendan Doherty and for the first 15 minutes matched Christopher’s. Doherty and Rafter put a couple of points together, but this may have something to do with Dan Kenneally having to receive some additional treatment to his head injury. Scuffles began to break out and after swift warnings from the referee matters settled down again. The game was over for sure 18 minutes into the second half. Jerry Kenneally goaled from close range in the 17th minute, and O’Driscoll followed with another one minute later. Paudie Kenneally found the net with Christopher’s fourth goal two minutes later, and with the final scores of the game, Rowland and Paul Bannon put the finishing touches on an amazing season for Christopher’s.

Christopher’s: R. Graber, E. Cotter, N. Ryan, B. Lonergan, R. Hogan, B. Kelly, M. O’Meara, D. Kenneally, I. Rowland, S. Kelly, J. Kenneally, F. O’Driscoll, P. Kenneally. Parnells: J. Hanratty, P. MacFionnachada, S. Boyle, J. Rafter, B. Lynch, C. Munn, D. O’Dowd, W. Sherlock, B. Doherty, M. Rafter, C. Griffin, J. Cunningham, P. Clark.

By Rory O'Donnell

NACB Senior Hurling Final: Wexford v Tipperary

Wexford 3-15 Tipperary 2-8

It was Wexford versus Tipp Mark II for the North American Senior Hurling Final, albeit with a slightly different complexion as some of Tipp’s key players had returned to Ireland during the week. Wexford gained a measure of revenge for last weeks defeat with a handsome win. The Game was neck and neck until mid-way through the second half when Wexford raised the intensity a notch or two and pulled away with some fine scores.

The sides traded points to get things underway, and with the sides tied at three points a piece Ryan O’Dwyer goaled from close range. O’Dwyer looked more comfortable on his injured knee than a week ago, and was back to his up tempo running style. After Stephen White put Wexford four points to the good with a point Tipp came back at their opponents. Daithi O’Mahoney put two frees over the bar and then Tipp won a penalty. Pat Howard made no mistake with the shot. Paul McGrath pointed before half time to put Tipp one to the good at the break, 1-6 to 1-5.

The first fifteen minutes of the half saw the sides unable to separate from each other. Mike Heffernan and McGrath points were matched by Paddy Breen and Tony Murphy for Wexford. Wexford then raised the tempo a little and the challenges began to adopt a little bit a heavier air about them. Wexford started to work the ball well into the forward line, and captain Dominic Magill started to get control of the half back line. Jim Howard was called on to make a great save in the Tipp goal, but Wexford started to pick off several unanswered points. Jamie Kehoe and John Walsh put three over the bar between them before O’Dwyer goaled for the second time. With Tipp looking like they were fading the outcome began to appear inevitable. Murphy, O’Dwyer, and Walsh pointed to put Wexford eight points ahead and White then delivered the coup de gras with a superbly taken goal. White went on a solo run and cleverly tipped the ball over the defender before whipping home a shot that Howard had no chance of stopping.

With the clock ticking down, Paul McGrath’s frustration got the better of him as he saw red for an incident while play was stopped, and a consolation goal came from Daithi O’Mahoney. A reversal in outcomes from last week, but a split of the trophies seemed an appropriate end to the year since there was very little between the sides all season.

Wexford Captain Dominic Magill accepts the North American Trophy from former GAA President, Joe McDonagh, a great advocate for the GAA abroad. The first few lines of Dominic's speech is included.

Wexford: G. Griffey, P. Nolan, E. O’Shea, B. Dalton, D. Magill, J. Walsh, S. White, D. Redmond, P. Breen, K. O’Rourke, R. O’Dwyer, P. Ryan, T. Murphy. Tipp: J. Howard, M. Heffernan, J. McGrath, N. O’Grady, D. O’Mahoney, C. Power, C. Dempsey, B. Howley, P. Howard, C. Kavanagh, D. Kealey, P. McGrath.

By Rory O'Donnell

NACB Ladies Senior Football Final: Tir na nOg v Fog City Harps (SF)

Tir na nOg 0-7 Fog City Harps (SF) 2-14

The Fog City Harps turned it on in the second half to claim the ladies senior North American Football championship. There was a point between the sides at the end of the first half, but a goal from the throw-in at the restart followed by a flurry of points put the west coast ladies in control, with the local side playing catch-up for most of the second half.

Tir na nOg's Niamh Daly tried to put the shackles on Gemma O'Sullivan.
Sinead Bunyan opened the scoring for the San Francisco side with a well taken point. Tir na nOg answered with back to back scores from Laura Breathnach and Emma Conlan. Harps answered in kind. It was to and fro as each side put together some good passing moves. Claire Hehir pointed in fine fashion for Tir na nOg and was followed by Sheila Moran as the scoring was spread out between the home forwards. Fog City were a match however, and Sinead Bunyan at full forward was proving to be particularly effective, pointing twice more before half time. After an evenly contested half, Harps led by a point.

The second half was a different story. Jillian Joyce was introduced and the Galway county footballer proved effective in spite of being somewhat hobbled by a knee injury. The west coast side netted right from the restart through Siobhan Dolan and followed with some quick fire points as Tir na nOg were caught off guard. The visitors kept the squeeze on and did not let their opponents free from the chokehold that they held on the game. Joyce, Dolan, and Gemma O’ Sullivan added points as the game got away from the home team. Tir na nOg eventually found their feet, but by the time they managed to put some scores over the bar it was too late. Emma Conlan, Claire Hehir, and Catriona Traynor pointed, but another goal came for Harps from the boot of Joyce. Disappointment for Tir na nOg, and a well deserved victory for a good San Francisco side.

Fog City: C. Fay, J. Lynch, C. Prendergast, K. Janiak, E. Griffen, T. Lynch, R. Fox, K. Gordon, C. Burke, G. O’Sullivan, S. Edgecomb, E. Cornelan, S. Dolan, S. Bunyan, U. Creegan. Tir na nOg: F. Gohery, A. Snee, M. Moloney, C. Kelly, N. O’Neill, N. Daly, L. Brick, E. Conlon, S. Moran, L. Breathnach, C. Hehir, M. Keane, C. Treanor, S. Bannon, A. Maguire.

By Rory O'Donnell

NACB Junior Hurling Final: Fr. Tom Burke's v Naomh Padraig (SF)

Fr. Tom Burke’s 0-11 Naomh Padraig (SF) 1-5

Fr. Tom’s juniors faced a tough Naomh Padraig from San Francisco in Sunday’s final. The game was always on the line as apart from the first 10 minutes, there was never much more than a score between the teams. Na Fianna trailed by four points at the break, but made a comeback in the second half and came within a point. Tom’s survived a few scares late in the game and had David Hession to thank for some solid goalkeeping in a tremendously exciting finish.

Fr. Tom's James Brett and Stephen Noonan of Naomh Padraig contest a high ball.
Chris Cullinane pointed for Tom’s to open the scoring. Naomh Padraig hit two early wides before Kevin Mooney put Tom’s two to the good. Tom’s added a third point before Naomh Padraig got on the board through Stephen Noonan. Noonan and Timmy Buckley worked very hard in the forward line for the west coast side, Noonan pointed a second and Buckley a third before half time. Tom’s kept ahead through the free-taking of Cullinane as the balance of play broke even. At the half Tom’s led by four points.

Naomh Padraig pushed Tom’s all the way in the second half. A goal after 10 minutes brought them right back into the game and Noonan followed with a point. Tom’s had to fight hard to keep themselves in front. Aidan Staunton worked hard in the half back line, and on a number of occasions David Hession made some great stops as Na Fianna threatened to add another goal to their first. Robbie Croft put Tom’s two points to the good with an unusual point that came off the top of his helmet, and Keenan put a score between the teams with another. Tom’s had to resort to some desperate defending in the final minutes and managed to hold on to win their first junior championship since 2003.

Aidan Staunton was awarded the MVP for the game, and throughout the season Mike Moore, Larry Giunan and Sean O’Brien made significant contributions.

Toms: D. Hession, M. Moore, L. Guinan, A. Staunton, S. O’Brien, J. Brett, J. Moore, S. Scullane, C. Cullinane, N. Lawrence, R. Croft, K. Mooney, D. Fox. Naomh Padraig: L. Headd, C. Collins, P. Hogan, F. Burke, S. Corban, D. Long, P. Mahon, E. O’Brien, S. Noonan, V. Flaherty, T. Buckley, B. O’Brien, D. Walsh.

By Rory O'Donnell

NACB Junior Football Final: Aiden McAnespies v Wolfe Tones (Chi)

Aiden McAnespies 4-16 Wolfe Tones (Chicago) 0-8

The junior A football championship came to Boston for the first time in eight years, Cork were the last Boston junior team to bring the trophy to Beantown in 2001. The game was close for the first 20 minutes, and once Rory Maguire goaled late in the first half, McAnespies began to pull away. McAnespies ran out easy winners as the second half was not much of a contest.

Stephen McGettigan and Jamie Kelly put McAnespies into a two point lead, which the Tones soon cancelled out as the Chicago side kept pace in the early going. Rory Mone and Anthony Corcoran pointed for the Tones. Jamie Kelly and Mone then exchanged scores, and it was tit for tat. Things got a little testy early on with a few off the ball episodes, and the referee felt the need to issue warnings to players on each side. After Peadar Nugent put a lovely point over the bar, McAnespies began to pull away. McGettigan and Kelly pointed, and Maguire netted to put the home team in command. Colm Donnelly pointed before the half time whistle to put McAnespies ahead by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break.

From a Wolfe Tones viewpoint things degenerated in the second half. McAnespies dominated the game and kept the Tones scoreless until the final five minutes. All the while the home sided piled up the scores. The Tones were unable to keep up in the middle of the field as McAnespies strolled through the Tones defence. Kelly, Nugent and Mike Allen pointed, and Donnelly goaled to put the game beyond the visiting side. The Tones put some respectability on the scoreboard with a flurry of late points, but it was all too easy for McAnespies in the end. Corkman Mike Allen collected the MVP (Man of the Match for the folks at home) as Eugene McKenna lived up to his promise made in the Sly Fox pub 5 short months ago.

Macs: N. Duffy, N. Clancy, S. Magill, G. Hennessey, K. Hudson, P. McCusker, C. Donnelly, S. Lynn, M. Allen, R. Maguire, S. McGettigan, J. Kelly, P. Nugent. Tones: M. Campbell, M. Gallagher, D. Mone, C. Delargy, S. Folan, L. Elliott, M. O’Brien, J. Kerley, R. Mone, S. Meehan, S. Keenan, A. Corcoran, P. O’Brien.
By Rory O'Donnell

NACB Senior Camogie Final: Eire Og v Shamrocks

Eire Og 4-7 Shamrocks (SF) 4-2

Eire Og regained their place as kingpins of North American Camogie with a well deserved victory over Shamrocks of San Francisco in the Final. The early morning conditions were blustery and not the most ideal, but both teams coped well with the conditions. The game was keenly contested, and after a close first half, Eire Og displayed some fine shooting and pulled away in the final 15 minutes.

DUCK! Referee and Shamrocks alike had to duck as Fiona Gohery plays the ball.
Eire Og got off to a fine start to the game. The locals established an early goal and 2 points lead before the Shamrocks opened their account through the stick of Ciara Moran. Eire Og struck right back with a goal and two points and led by 2-3 to 0-1 with 10 minutes to go in the half. Fiona Gohery converted a penalty after Riona Daly was brought down, and shortly afterwards Gohery pointed from a 65. The Shamrocks were hardly out of it however, and Sharon O’Brien was forced into making a great save. The San Francisco side kept pushing and had a goal disallowed for an infraction in the square. Eventually the visiting side were rewarded with a goal from Suzette Bradley and soon afterwards another three pointer from Moran. At the half Eire Og held a slender 2 point lead.

Shamrocks continued to fight and made the Eire Og defence work hard.
Shamrocks leveled matters two minutes into the second half. After Gohery had put Eire Og three points ahead, Rebecca Bienat netted for Shamrocks. Eire Og took advantage of the slight breeze and proceeded to put some lovely scores over the bar. Gohery pointed twice and Sarah Kelly pulled a score back for the visitors. The intensity rose as the game entered its final quarter. Every ball was eagerly contested. However after Gohery put a fantastic point over the bar from her weak side, Eire Og began to pull away. Maureen Meehan followed with a goal and holding a five point lead, Eire Og found themselves having to put some work in on the defensive end. Ann Greally moved into the back line and worked hard, as did Aodeen Snee and Sharon O’Brien was called upon to pull off some saves. When Caroline Hanley, and Riona Daly each pointed from distance and Caroline Hanley scored a late goal, it was all over. A fine overall display from the home team as the trophy remains in Boston.

Eire Og: S. O’Brien, A. Snee, N. O’Neill, C. Hanniffey, E. Dolan, M. Keane, N. Daly, M. McElroy, C. Hanley, F. Gohery, R. Daly, A. Greally, M. Meehan. Shamrocks: G. O’Sullivan, S. Bradley, D. Ryan, S. Kelly, K. Burke, C. Moran, S. Boyle, M. Keogh, R. Biernat, D. Cunningham, S. Lynch, A. Bryant, A. Morrissey.
By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday, September 5, 2009

NACB Finals - Saturday

Christopher's made the senior football final by beating Kevin Barry's of Philadelphia in the semi final. After a tight first half at the end of which Christopher's led by a score of 1-8 to 1-6, the local side pulled away in the last 15 minutes of the game with some fine fielding from Dan Kenneally and scores from Ian Rowland. Christopher's will meet Parnells from Chicago in the final.

Both Wexford and Tipp made it to Sunday's senior hurling final. Wexford had a rather easier time of it against Harry Boland's from Chicago, while Tipp edged out San Francisco's Na Fianna with a pointed free,which proved to be the last puck of the game (see report).

Aiden McAnespies juniors made it to the final, beating Charlotte James Connolly's in the semi-final. After a close first half, the local side pulled away in the second. McAnespies will have to beat a very strong looking Chicago Wolfe Tones to capture the junior football championship.

There would be no local participation in the Intermediate Football Final as the Connemara Gaels went down to a heavy defeat at the hands of Young Ireland's from Philadelphia. The Gaels fielded a severely depleted side that featured a half dozen juniors, and ended up on the wrong end of a 2-12 to 1-6 scoreline.

Armagh-Notre Dame were pipped by a very good Sons of Boru team from San Francisco by a score of 3-7 to 3-8. The San Francisco side looked like they were cruising, with less than 10 minutes to go led by eight points. Darren Gilsenan and Domininc Magill pointed for the local side, while Darren Maguire popped up to score a goal. There was now three points in it and the Brighton lads were pushing hard for the equlaizing score. The westerners then scored what proved to be the winning point as Armagh-Notre Dame netted on the final whistle.

Michael Devanney contests a high ball for the Gaels.

Brian Boylan and Armagh-Notre Dame just missed on a place in the Intermediate football final by the narrowest of margins.

Senior Hurling Semi-Final: Tipperary (Boston) v Na Fianna (San Fran)

Tipperary 1-16 Na Fianna (San Fran) 3-9

Tipperary and Na Fianna played a tremendously exciting semi-final, and Tipp gained revenge for last year when they fell at the semi-final stage to the San Franciscoans. The last puck of the game from corner back, Daithi O’Mahoney decided it. Tipp won a free on their own 65 and the Islegate clubman put it over to put Tipp into an all Boston final against Wexford.

Na Fianna's John Fox runs at the Tipp defence.
Na Fianna got off to a flying start with two early goals. Eamonn Brennan put both away as the corner forward waltzed through the Tipp defence to finish from close range. Pat Howard and Paul McGrath had each pointed for Tipp between the goals, but Na Fianna looked the stronger side the early going. Wallace, John Fox, and Aidan O’Sullivan each pointed and Na Fianna led seven points. Tipp worked their way back into the game. Cronan Dempsey and Noel O’Grady lifted things around the middle, and the free taking of Pat Howard and O’Mahoney made the west coasters pay for defensive indiscipline. O’Grady and John McGrath scored a couple of nice points from play, and with Tipp trailing by three points, Tipp won a free about 30 yards from goal. Paul McGrath took a short one to O’Mahoney,and O’Mahoney’s shot found it’s way into the net to level the scores heading into half time.

Tipp's Paul McGrath rounds his marker to score a lovely second half point.
Tipp played some nice hurling in the opening stages of the half. Two Pat Howard frees put them in the lead for the first time in the game, but center back John Fox goaled for Na Fianna. Howard brought the sides level again with a free, and Na Fianna won a penalty which was blocked on the line. Mike Lawlor mopped up with a point and the westerners led again. Pat Howard and Conor Kavanagh brought Tipp back ahead with two points, and yet again the lead changed hands as Na Fianna pressed for the victory. Lawlor pointed twice as at times the Tipp defence was opened up, but Na Fianna failed to deliver the fatal blow. Jim Howard made showed a steady nerve on several occasions and Tipp somehow remained in contention heading into the last few minutes. Again it was fouls that proved to be the undoing of Na Fianna. Pat Howard drew Tipp level with a free and Tipp then spurned a few good chances to go ahead. Then came the deciding score from O’Mahoney and Tipp meet Wexford for the North American.

Tipp: J. Howard, M. Heffernan, D. O’Mahoney, C. Power, N. O’Grady, B. Howley, C. Dempsey, B. Lonergan, P. Howard, D. Kealy, C. Kavanagh, J. McGrath, P. McGrath. Na Fianna: M. Bargary, B. O’Hehir, M. Sheedy, G. Wheelock, J. Fox, T. Carroll, Wallace, D. Young, A. O’Sullivan, S. Byrne, M. Lawlor, B. Walsh, E. Brennan.

Boston runners up, Wexford, faced Harry Bolands of Chicago in the first semi-final and came out winners by a score of 5-10 to 1-10. The game was level early in the second half. Wexford led by three points at half time, and after Boland’s leveled the scores with a goal, Wexford pulled away. Kieran O’Rourke from the back line lifted Wexford’s performance with some forays into the Boland’s back line. After Tony Murphy put Wexford a point to the good the floodgates opened and Wexford netted three times and pointed once to run out comfortable winners in the end.

By Rory O'Donnell

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blues Junior B's out, Eire Og Advance to Camogie final

The news from Canton on the local front is that the Shannon Blues bowed out to Detroit in the junior B football by a score of 2-11 to 0-14. The Blues did not get off to the best start with only 10 players to start the game.

The Eire Og Camogie players got a well earned win over St. Mary's Chicago. The win puts Eire Og into the final, while St. Mary's have to play San Francisco on Saturday to see who will meet the local side for the championship on Sunday. St. Mary's were leading at half time by a score of 1-6 to 2-1, and were looking good heading into the break, but Eire Og battled hard in the second half to go ahead through a Maureen Meehan goal followed by a Caroline Hanley point. Riona Daly scored a second goal, and Eire Og added another point. From Sharon O'Brien in goal, who made several invaluable saves, through Fiona Gohery, to Meehan at full forward, the entire Eire Og team put in a great effort to hold St. Mary's scoreless in the second half and go on to win. The final score was 4-3 to 1-6.

I also managed to catch a glimpse of a Junior C hurling game on the main field between Michael Cusacks from Chicago and a team from San Francisco. I was a little surprised to be informed that all of the players were American. The standard was better than one would have expected at Junior C level, regardless of where the players were from and the game was keenly contested. Late in the game the referee even had to deal with a bit of a free for all, not to be condoned, but perhaps an indication that the Americans are not taking up the game for some kind of cultural experience, they want to actually beat each other. A look at the schedule for that competition is revealing in itself, teams are coming from outside the traditional Irish strongholds. Portland Maine, Akron Ohio, Allentown Pennsylvania, Concord New Hampshire, Milwaukee Wisconson, and Denver Colorado to mention some. It seems that contrary to popular opinion, it is hurling that grabs the attention with the Americans, not the football.

Now, some may feel that in order to hone your skills at the highest possible level, you have to be admitted to some kind of hurling version of Hogwarts that, it is said, is located in the bowls of Kilkenny Castle and only accessible though a secret passage revealed to a select few of the best young Kilkenny hurlers. Also, that in there, Brian Cody plays the role of head sorceror and teaches these young apprentices how to put as fine a point on their hurling skills that the Muggles who live outside Kilkenny can never aquire. From what I saw Friday evening, the skills can be learned by anybody - granted they need to start at a young enough age - but the coaching in hurling is going on with youngsters from North East to South West. Maybe Kilkenny would be a bit much to take on at this point, but who knows, in a few years...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Boston Champions 2009

Senior Football: Christopher's
Intermediate Football: Armagh-Notre Dame
Junior A Football: Aiden McAnespies
Junior B Football: Shannon Blues

Senior Hurling: Tipperary
Junior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's

Ladies Senior Football: Tir na nOg
Ladies Junior Football: Tir na nOg

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Senior Football Final

Christopher’s 0-14 Shannon Blues 0-8

Christopher’s claimed their first senior football championship on Sunday. The game was no classic, but having started off on shaky ground, Christopher’s put in a powerful second half performance, in particular, Will Kennedy in the middle of the field, who proved to be the driving force behind Christopher’s victory.

Will Kennedy outjumps Stephen Gilmartin and Philip Lydon.

The Blues had the better of things in the first half. Christopher’s seemed to be second to every 50/50 ball, and when in possession made some poor decisions or simply poor passes. The Blues on the other hand had their game plan working well. O’Callaghan was given the early ball, and though the Kerryman did not score himself, the space was opened for Alan O’Donoghue and Colm McGee. O’Donoghue got the scoring off to a start and Ian Rowland answered for Christopher’s. The Blues then shot into a five points to one lead. Stephen Gilmartin pointed twice from frees and McGee twice from play. With 5 minutes remaining in the half Christopher’s finally found their feet and after kicking two wides tallied three badly needed points before half time. Eric Hegarty pointed twice and Rowland put a free over the bar. Gilmartin put a free over for the Blues and it was a two point game at the break.

Once the second half began Christopher’s launched themselves at the Blues. Kennedy dominated in midfield and in addition to being a physical force, displayed some fine shooting skills. Rowland got Christopher’s within a point with a free, and Barry O’Driscoll leveled the scores four minutes into the new half. Kennedy launched a curler that tailed between the posts at the last minute to put Christopher’s into the lead for the first time, a lead they would hold on to. Rowland made it two points in Christopher’s favour, and the Blues seemed to be still in half time break mode. Lee McQuade got the Shannonsiders off the ground, but Christopher’s maintained their onslaught. Rowland and Kennedy put back to back scores together to put Christopher’s a goal ahead.

David O'Callaghan tries to escape the attention of Eoin Cotter and Brian Lonergan.

Christopher’s looked a little in trouble as within two minutes two of the half back line had to leave the field with injuries. Colm McGee stemmed the tide, but the Blues had no answer as Christopher’s were flying – the lengthy stoppages did not affect their concentration and focus. O’Driscoll, Kennedy, and Sean Kelly pointed three times in a row. The Blues tried to rally and generated several chances to rein in Christopher’s, but each effort went badly wide. Ian Rowland put the last score of the day over the bar for Christopher’s, and with minutes left it was get numbers behind the ball to prevent a goal. The Blues nearly netted, but Mark O’Sullivan blocked the shot. Joy for Christopher’s at the final whistle after a thoroughly deserved win.

Christopher’s: P. Kenneally, N. Ryan, E. Cotter, B. Lonergan, R. Hogan, S. McNally, D. Kenneally, W. Kennedy (0-3), I. Rowland (0-6), S. Kelly (0-1), J. Kenneally, B. O’Driscoll (0-2), E. Hegarty (0-2). Blues: D. Hawes, S. Kelly, T. Wallace, S. Sinnott, P. O’Brien, B. Maloney, P. Lydon, S. Gilmartin (0-3), L. McQuade (0-1), S. O’Mahoney, C. McGee (0-3), A. O’Donoghue (0-1), D. O’Callaghan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling Final

Wexford 1-9 Tipperary 0-14

Tipperary finally overturned Wexford’s dominance of the Boston hurling scene over the last three years with a fine overall display of hurling in a game that held a controversial ending. With Tipperary ahead by two points and no time left on the clock, Wexford dropped a 65 into the square and in the schmozzle that ensued, it seemed at first as if Wexford had scored the winning goal. After consulting with the umpires, the referee restarted play with a throw-in on the 21 yard line and seconds later blew the final whistle to the delight of the Tipperary players and supporters.

Tipp's Eoin Ryan fights off the challenge of Sean Herlihey.
Tipperary were slightly ahead at the end of the first half thanks to some well taken scores. After Wexford had the better of the early exchanges, Stephen White got started with three points from frees, to one score from James McCarthy for Tipp. Tipp settled into the game and proceeded to pick off the scores. Tipp were in the ascendancy for most of the remainder of the half as Wexford found it hard to release themselves from the shackles of their opposite numbers. Tipp’s back line did a great job marshalling the Wexford threat, and previously unheralded forwards stepped up and produced. Conor Kavanagh sprang to life at wing forward and accounted for two great scores for Tipp. James McCarthy and Paul McGrath also accounted for five points between them. Ger Griffey was solid between the posts for Wexford as he found himself under plenty of pressure balls dropping under the crossbar, and Griffey made some great stops throughout the game to keep his side fromfalling too far out of touch. Stephen White accounted for Wexford’s only point from play in the first half, and Tony Murphy two from frees. Tipp led by two points at the break, eight points to six.

Owen O'Shea and Dominic McGill make sure James McCarthy given no quarter.
Tipp stretched their lead early in the second half with two James McCarthy points and a third from Conor Kavanagh. Wexford saw fit to throw caution to the wind and introduced the injured Ryan O’Dwyer into the fray. O’Dwyer made a difference, even in his less then one hundred percent state of being. O’ Dwyer set up White for Wexford’s first point of the second half, and Sean Herlihey added another, but Tipp quickly canceled out the scores with two points from McCarthy. Wexford’s corner backs’ Owen O’Shea and Kieran O’Rourke did well in helping keep Tipp for netting what would be a decisive goal. With 10 minutes to go Wexford got what they needed from substitute Dylan Kehoe. Tony Murphy found some rare space inside the Tipp 14 yard line, and room to shoot, and James Howard saved well but Kehoe was alert to the rebound and the goal brought Wexford back to within 2 points and plenty of time left. Kehoe followed up with a point and almost leveled the scores but the shot flew sailed just wide.

James McCarthy gave Tipp a cushion with a point in the 28th minute, but Wexford pressed for the winning goal as time was almost up. Jim Howard again saved well from White, and Wexford won a 65. Another 65 followed as Howard made a second good save but Tipp could not clear the ball decisively. The third 65 dropped into a crowd of players and Wexford began to celebrate a goal. After consultation with the umpires, the referee restarted play on the 21 and within seconds sounded the final whistle. A curious end to the game, but few will argue that over the 60 minutes Tipp were deserving winners.

Wexford: G. Griffey, O. O’Shea, K. Rourke, B. Dalton, J. Walsh, D. McGill, S. White (0-5), D. Redmond, P. Breen, S. Rackard, S. Herlihey (0-1), J. Kehoe, T. Murphy (0-2). Sub: D. Kehoe (1-1). Tipp: J. Howard, M. Heffernan, D. O’Mahoney, E. Ryan, D. Young, B. Howley, C. Dempsey, C. McGrath, B. Lonergan, P. Howard (0-1), C. Kavanagh (0-3), J. McCarthy (0-8), P. McGrath (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Artane Band in Canton

Sorry there is no sound, I used my digital camera and did not realize that the sound was switched off. Maybe next week I'll try and get a clip again at the North American Finals with sound switched on. You can use your imagination, I think they were playing the Bold Fenian Men.

I threw in a few photos below. The band were great, they came out a played between all four games on the main field, and at half time of each game.

Ladies Senior Football Final

Roscommon 1-3 Tir na nOg 3-16

Tir na nOg retained the Ladies Senior Football title with little difficulty as they overpowered a Roscommon side that battled hard but were not a match for their opponents. Tir na nOg faced little opposition all year, and as overwhelming favourites delivered the goods in emphatic fashion. In fairness to Roscommon, there was doubt as to whether the club would field a team at the start of the year, so it was a victory of sorts to be there for the final game of the season.

Roscommon parade behind the Artane Band before the game.

Roscommon opened the scoring with a Fiona Rochford free, but Tir na nOg responded with a goal and promptly went into overdrive. The Brighton side’s interpassing and running off the ball was impressive. Midfielder Claire O’Loughlin proved to be a valuable link to the forward line. The full forward line had all scored in the first 15minutes, and with Roscommon struggling to move the ball into opposition territory the writing was on the wall early on. Arlene Maguire goaled after 6 minutes, and Amanda Brosnan added a point after a lovely move. After Emma Conlon pointed from midfield, goal number two came from Calire Hehir after a breakaway move. The scores continued to flow and on the stroke of half time the third major was put away by Maguire. Niamh Daly,Aisling O’Gorman, and Niamh O’Neill played well on the half back line for the Brighton ladies. At the half the Tir na nOg lead was inassailable.

Aisling O'Gorman comes out of defence with the ball for Tir na nOg.

With Roscommon trailing heavily at the break the second half was a formality of playing out the time. A consolation goal from Rochford came in the second half, and Aoife Waters, Liz McVeigh and Nicola Sweeney battled to the end for Roscommon, while Tir na nOg advance to the North American Finals in search of their first County Championship.

Roscommon: B. Kelly, A. McLoughlin, J. O’Connell, D. Murphy, A. Kerr, A. Waters, L. McVeigh, B. Hannon, E. McGirr, D. Fitzsimons, F. Rochford, N. Sweeney, R. Finnegan, M. Toner, L. Ott. Tir na nOg: F. Gohery, L. Gilmore, M. Moloney, A. Kelly, N. O’Neill, A. O’Gorman, N. Daly, E. Conlon, C. O;Loughlin, E. Conlon, C. O’Loughlin, L. Breathnach, C. Hehir, M. Keane, C. Treanor, A. Brosnan, A. McGuire.

By Rory O'Donell

Junior A Football Final

Junior Football Final

Donegal 1-7 McAnespies 2-7

Shane Lynn tries to stop Donegal's Thomas Caldwell.
McAnespies regained the Junior A football championship title in a scrappy affair that could have gone either way. After a tight first half, a goal each from Shane Lynn and Colin Clarke mid-way though the second provided McAnespies with a lead that Donegal could not overturn. Donegal seemed to be playing the slightly better football, but once McAnespies took the lead, the northerners found their groove and made sure there would be no comeback for Donegal.

Donegal held a slight advantage at the end of a scrappy first half. The previous day’s rain had made the surface a little greasy, but the field looked in good condition considering. The sides traded scores to open the half, and the game began to take shape. Defences were on top as efforts from both sides at creating something fell short, and when shooting opportunities presented themselves, the shot was usually wayward. Jonathan Byrne and David Bell each pointed well to put Donegal two points to the good. McAnespies got back into the game and added to their tally through Kieran Leonard. David Bell canceled out the score , and each player did likewise before the end of the half. Donegal led by two points, 0-5 to 0-3 at the half.

Kieran Leonard bursts through as Paul Boyce moves to intercept.
The second half started as the first did, the sides traded scores. Paul Boyce made the most of a goalmouth scramble to force the ball over the bar, and Leonard answered for McAnespies with a well worked point from the kickout. Both sides continued to give the ball away and were error prone when in possession. McAnespies hit Donegal with a double blow mid way through the half as the northerners finally found their stride. The first goal came from Shane Lynn. Lynn got on the end of rebound off the post and finished from close range. Eugene McKenna added a point and McAnespies began to look like they had found their groove. The second goal was a well worked score, Peadar Nugent and McKenna found each other and then Nugent passed to the incoming Colin Clarke whose finish was perfectly placed into the bottom right hand corner. McAnespies now led by five points. Donegal hit back shortly afterwards with a fine goal of their own. Paul Boyce finished high to the near corner, and with less then 10 minutes to go it was game on again. Paddy McCusker and Thomas Caldwell traded points and heading into the final sequence McAnespies held a dangerous two point lead. Donegal pressed forward in search of the score that would save the game for them, but McAnespies defenders shut the door. Eugene McKenna, who came back after a broken jaw earlier in the year, put a sideline over the bar for the final score of the game, and McAnespies regain the junior football title.

Donegal: C. Murphy, P. McNulty, R. Porter, F. Grenaghan, E. Doonan, C. McGee, J. Byrne (0-1), T. Caldwell (0-1), J. Deery, E. McCarney, P. Boyce (1-1), D. Bell (0-4), C. Rush. Macs: N. Duffy, N. Clancy, C. Traynor, G. Hennessey, P. McCusker (0-1), C. O’Hanlon, S. Lynn (1-0), C. Clarke (1-0), P. Nugent, M. Allen, S. McGettigan, K. Leonard (0-4), E. McCusker. E. McKenna (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boston Finals Schedule and Previews - Changed Due to Weather

Saturday August 29

2:30 Junior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Tipperary
4:00 Junior B Football: Galway v Shannon Blues
5:30 Intermediate Football: Connemara Gaels v Armagh-Notre Dame

Field B - 2:30 Ladies Junior Football: Tir na nOg v Boston Shamrocks

The Saturday finals were rescheduled due to Hurricane Danny and a day of heavy rain forecast. With 4 finals on Sunday, and the North Americans due the following weekend, the Junior Hurling and Junior B football games were played Friday night, August 28. The Ladies junior Final will be played at 11:30 Sunday and the Intermediate Football at 1:00 on Field B.

Fr. Tom's are Junior Hurling champions and Shannon Blues are Junior B Football champions for 2009.

Sunday August 30

12:00 Junior A Football: Aiden McAnespies v Donegal
1:30 Ladies Senior Football: Roscommon v Tir na nOg
3:00 Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Wexford
4:30 Senior Football: Christopher's v Shannon Blues

Entertainment between all the games will be provided by the Artane Band who are touring from Ireland. This should be a treat. Anybody who has attended a big game at Croke Park will attest that the band are an integral part of the unique atmosphere.

Senior Football: Christopher's v Shannon Blues

An exciting game is in store as two teams who put it all on the line meet in the senior football final. Christopher's, a club formed in 1988 in memory of Kildare native, Christopher Sweeney, who died in a car accident in West Roxbury, are in their first ever senior football final. Shannon Blues last made the final the year that Canton opened for business, 1999, and represented Boston in the North American Finals that year.

Defence - Even. Each side has a solid back line, though the Blues have been risking it a little by playing the injured Declan Hawes in goal. It has not hurt them so far, but lacking an agile goalkeeper is putting a lot of faith in the men playing in front of him. Each team plays it tight at the back, and in both semi-finals room was at a premium for their opponents as the backs defended in numbers.

Midfield - Edge Blues. Stephen Gilmartin gives the Blues and edge in the middle of the field. Gilmartin can score, as he showed in the semi-final, and covers plenty of ground in support of the forwards and back line. Christopher's have two good fielders in Dan Kenneally and Will Kennedy, but in the overall ebb and flow of the game I think that Gilmartin and Philip Lydon have a slight advantage.

Forwards - Edge Christopher's: Christopher's Sean Kelly is the key to the forward line, and he is not short on colleagues who can put the ball over the bar. Barry O'Driscoll, Eric Hegarty, and Ian Rowland can each score from any angle and have to be marked tight opening the space for Kelly, while Gerry Kenneally proves to be a valuable link to the back line. The Blues forward line contains dangermen David O'Callaghan and Colm McGee, while Stephen O'Mahoney and Alan O'Donoghue have shown flashes of what they can do, they will need to bring their A game Sunday if the Blues front men are to match their counterparts.

Bench - Even: Each side has experienced players to bring in. The Blues can call on the wily Ken Kileen to settle matters down around the middle of the field, while Christopher's have Mark O'Sullivan to put on the edge of the square. O' Sullivan is brought in to score goals, and the former Cork county player has done just that when introduced.

My Prediction: Christopher's to edge it.

Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Wexford

Wexford are going for four in a row of senior hurling championships while Tipp are trying to bridge that gap, their last senior honours being the 2005 North American Championship. The teams took a game off each other this year and Wexford do not hold the aura of invincibility of previous teams.

Defence - Edge Tipp: The Tipp back line is anchored by center back David Young. The Toomevara clubman is a towering presence and can dominate that area of the field. Flanked by Eoin Ryan and Brian Howley, the performance Tipp half back line could prove critical in the final outcome. Lavey native and longtime Wexford clubman, Dominic McGill, has been a major contributor to the cause of the Brighton club since it's formation. McGill is a key player on the 40 for Wexford, and along with John Walsh and Brian Dalton will have their work cut out on Sunday.

Midfield - Edge Wexford: Corkman Stephen White gives the edge to Wexford in the midfield battle. A prolific scorer, White can score from the dead ball or play, and has the ability to carry the ball and open up the opposing defence. Tipp will need to figure out a way to nullify the influence of White.

Forwards - Edge Tipp: Ryan O'Dwyer was absent from the Wexford lineup in the semi-final due to injury, and if unfit to play in the final will be a big loss to Wexford. Tipp will still have to contain with Tony Murphy and Sean Herlihy, amongst others, who will need to step up. James McCarthy is a huge asset in Tipp's forward line, and along with Shane Menton and Pat Howard can clock up the scores very quickly.

Bench - Edge Tipp: Tipp seem to have a little more depth on the line if the game needs the introduction of fresh legs or experience.

My Prediction: Tipp by no more than a score.

Intermediate Football Semi-final: Connemara Gaels v Kerry

Connemara Gaels 6-6 Kerry 3-6

The Connemara Gaels extended their season with an emphatic win over Kerry in the intermediate semi-final. The Gaels were helped by the sending off of Phillip Corrigan mid way through the second half. At that stage the westerners led by two goals, and in the latter stages of the game netted a glut of goals to ensure a place in the intermediate final, when they will face a resurgent Armagh-Notre Dame.

Colin Harkin looks like he got the better of Phillip Corrigan....

The Gaels got off to a flying start with two goals in the space of a minute. Mark Dougan was fouled in the box and converted the penalty himself. Dougan scored the second as the kickout was sent straight back in, and Gaels found themselves in an early six point lead. Kerry settled down and made inroads as the half wore on. Kerry notched up a goal and five points without reply from the Gaels until late in the half. Robbie Croft and Rory O’Neill were the marksmen for Kerry. After Croft converted three points and O’Neill one to bring Kerry within two, O’Neill made a mazy run through the defence and planted the ball into the roof of the net. O’Neill followed with a point and Kerry led by two. Not that Kerry dominated the play by any means, the Gaels were through on goal three times and each time came away scoreless, kicking two wides and a save from Brian Kelly kept the Connemara men at bay. Taking the points would have been the better option in hindsight. Michael Magill and Dougan each pointed before the half time whistle to level matters.

...while Thomas Dennehy looks like he did against Aiden Flanagan.

The second half remained tight for the first 10 minutes, however, Kerry played the latter part of the half with a man down. Phillip Corrigan was shown a red card for striking off the ball. The Gaels isloated Dougan on the 14 and the ball played in paid dividends as Kerry were forced to try and hold the Antrim man, but with wide open space around him Dougan made the most of his opportunities. It was Kerry who had the early advantage, a John Cuddy goal put the kingdom two points to the good, but 12 minutes in Dougan got the Gaels back into the lead. The corner forward stole behind his marker and blasted home. Dougan followed the goal with a fine point 2 minutes later, and from the kickout Michael Magill put away the Gaels fourth goal to put the Gaels six points ahead. A penalty converted by Robbie Croft gave Kerry brief hope, but Magill and Dougan made sure of the result with a goal each in the final 5 minutes. An intriguing final awaits next Saturday.

Gaels: P. O’Malley, K. Owens, C. Flanagan, C. Arkinson, P. McNicholas, C. Harkin, A. Flanagan, T. McDonagh, J. Moore, J. O’Brien (0-1), M. Magill (2-1), M. Dougan (4-4). Kerry: B. Kelly, C. Moore, A. Fenton, M. Godley, F. O’Sullivan, D. Bowe, T. Dennehy, P. Corrigan, R. Croft (1-3), J. Molloy, S. Kiley (0-1), R. O’Neill (1-2), J. Cuddy (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

The Connemara Gaels would like to extend their condolences to Kieran Cox, and his family, who lost his sister Cathy in a car accident recently.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Junior Football Semi-Final: Aiden McAnespies v Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones 0-11 McAnespies 1-14

Aiden McAnespies pulled away from the Wolfe Tones in the second half to secure a berth against rivals Donegal in the junior football final next week. The sides were all square at half time, but an early second half goal put McAnespies into the drivers seat, and a good all around display saw off their fellow South Bostonians.

The teams went in at the break all square at four points each. Nigel Regan, Kieran Leonard and Mike Allen pointed for McAnespies, while the Tones matched their opponents for the first 30 minutes. Mike Allen netted an early goal and also knocked the Tones out of their stride. Allen slotted home from close range with a well taken finish.

Brendan Murray tangles with Colin Clarke as Alo McGeough looks on.
Peadar Nugent added two points to the lead within the same minute, and less than 5 minutes into the second half the Tones found themselves 5 points in arrears. Marty McGeough and Mick Sammon each pointed from frees for the Wolfe Tones, but these were quickly erased by scores from Stephen McGettigan and Nugent. With 10 minutes remaining the Tones needed a goal, but Niall Duffy saved well and some valiant defending from Daithi O’Mahoney kept the Tones from coming back. Nigel Regan pointed twice and Leonard once as the Tones crept farther forward and left gaps at the back. Mick Sammon and McGeough picked off a point each from frees with 5minutes remaining, but with five points between the teams a goal was required. Allen made sure that even that would not be enough with two well taken points in the last minute as the Wolfe Tones find themselves playing second fiddle to their local rivals once again.

Mike O'Brien can only look on as Mike Allen fires over a point for McAnespies.
Tones: W. O’Dowd, B. Fagan, A. Skeehan, M. O’Brien, K. Gorham, J. Foley, B. Murray, A. McGeough, M. McGeough, M. Sammon, D. Munnelly, S. O’Brien, S. Kelly. Macs: N. Duffy, D. O’Mahoney, N. Clancy, P. McCusker, C. Dempsey, D. Young, S. Lynn, C. Clarke, M. Allen, S. McGettigan, P. Nugent, K. Leonard, N. Regan.
By Rory O'Donnell

Ladies Senior Football Semi Final: Shamrocks v Roscommon

Boston Shamrocks 0-4 Roscommon 2-8

Roscommon put together a fine display of football in the second half to knock the Shamrocks out of the Ladies senior football championship. Roscommon have earned the reward of facing a Tir na nOg team that have looked strong all summer, but will go into the game not having played in several weeks. The Shamrocks were unable to get motoring in the forward line, while Roscommon had Fiona Rochford to thank for putting them in the drivers seat in the first half, and in the second the rest of the forwards stepped up to make a contribution.

Roscommon's Aoife Waters and Ciara Murphy contest posession.

Playing at center forward, Fiona Rochford proved to be invaluable for Roscommon, netting two goals in the first half. The first came in the opening sequence of play, Rochford beat the keeper from close range as Roscommon opened up the Shamrocks defence. The Shamrocks answered with three points as they settled into the game. Shauna O’Connor put the opening point over the bar, and Emma Harris pointed twice from frees. Roscommon dominated the latter stages of the half and outscored their opponents by a goal and two points. Rochford again was the key to Roscommon’s success. After Maeve Toner put Roscommon a point to the good, Rochford goaled a second time. Emma Harris pulled a point back for the Shamrocks, but two points from Rochford before half time put Roscommon into a 2-3 to 0-4 lead. Rochford could have had a hat trick as on two occasions she came close to netting a third. Nicole Hayward tipped one shot onto the crossbar and the second whistled past the outside of the post.

Maeve Toner tries to put a stop to Ann Marie McDonnell.
In the opening stages of the second half each side vied for the advantage. The backs were in the ascendancy as the ball traveled up and down the field, but did not make it between the posts at either end for 21 minutes. Fifteen year old Aisling Kerr and Aoife Waters did well in the Roscommon half back line while Cara McCollough held the line well for the Shamrocks. It was Roscommon who got it together for the final 10 minutes. Maeve Toner pointed in the 21st minute for Roscommon, and the score of the game came 4 minutes later. Aoife McLoughlin won the ball in the corner back position for Roscommon and after seven or eight handpasses, corner forward, Aisling Regan, fired the ball over the bar. Roscommon now led by seven points. Barbara Hannon, Regan and Toner each pointed before all was said and done. Nicole Hayward saved a penalty in the dying minutes, but by that stage the result was not in doubt. Roscommon, whose participation at the beginning of the year was in doubt, now find themselves in another final, and a formidable foe awaits in Tir na nOg.

Shamrocks: N. Hayward, B. Richards, S. Fuller, M. Morris, C. McEleaney, C. McCollough, L. Corrigan, M. Allen, A. McDonnell, S. O’Connor (0-1), C. Murphy, T. Doherty, E. Harris (0-3), R. Lowrey, B. Costello. Roscommon: B. Kelly, A. McLoughlin, J. O’Connell, D. Murphy, A. Kerr, A. Waters, L. McVeigh, B. Hannon (0-1), E. McGirr, R. Finnegan, F. Rochford (2-2), N. Sweeney, L. Ott, M. Toner (0-3), A. Regan (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling Semi-Final: Galway v Wexford

Wexford 2-19 Galway 2-7

Wexford earned the chance to defend the Boston championship that they hold with a blistering display of scoring in the second half. Stephen White helped himself to a tally of eight points in the second period, both from frees and play. Coming off Tuesday night’s last minute playoff win over Fr. Tom’s, Galway had gotten off to a great start and at one stage led by six points. Wexford drew their opponents to within one point by half time, and took off in the second half as the defence shut down Galway’s forward line, and White and Tony Murphy leading the way on the scoresheet.

Greg Lyons is pursued by Stephen White as he bears down on goal.
Imor Creaven opened Galway’s account with a goal in the third minute. White and John Moylan traded points, and Wexford put two points together from Sean Herlihey and White. John Byrne netted a second goal for Galway with Moylan the provider. With the Galway midfielders, Sean Kelly and Greg Lyons, doing well, the tribesmen stretched the lead to six points. Richie O’Connell got on the scoresheet, and Creaven and Moylan added a point each. Wexford, however, showed that were just getting warmed up having had a long layoff since their previous game. Sean Herlihey made a run from wing forward and fired the ball into the back of the net to cut Galway’s lead in half. Brian Dalton and White then each pointed to reduce the Galway lead to a point heading into the second half.
John Byrne moves in to challenge Brian Dalton.
Wexford opened the second half with six points to none for Galway. White accounted for 5 of them, making Galway pay for indiscretions no matter how far away from goal. Tony Murphy accounted for the sixth. Galway’s first scoring chance came in the 10th minute in the form of a 21 yard free that Moylan chose to hit low for goal, and the shot was saved. John Byrne pointed in the 11th minute, a badly needed score for Galway, and Moylan brought Galway within four points soon afterwards. With Galway struggling to get themselves back into contention Wexford eased away, scoring a goal and six points in the final 15 minutes, to a single point for Galway. The Wexford defence held dangerman Moylan, while White motored in the middle of the field and Tony Murphy caused havoc when the ball came within his reach. Murphy accounted for the goal, selling a lovely dummy to shoot into the empty net. Wexford and Tipperary again in next week’s final, and with the sides taking one game each during the season it is all to play for.

Wexford: P. Breen, O. O’Shea, K. O’Rourke, D. McGill, J. Walsh, B. Dalton (0-1), S. White (0-12), D. Redmond, T. Bonner, J. Kehoe (0-1), S. Herlihey (1-2), T. Murphy (1-1), T. Maloney. Sub: P. Ryan (0-1) Galway: P. O’Connell, A. Hogan, J. Kinsella, E. Daniels, T. Linnane, P. Buckredge, S. Kelly, G. Lyons, D. O’Dwyer, I. Creaven (1-1), J. Byrne (1-1), R. O’Connell (0-1), J. Moylan (0-4).

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football Semi-Final: Shannon Blues v Donegal

Donegal 0-12 Shannon Blues 0-14

The second senior football semi-final produced a game that could not have been tighter, and could have gone to either team in fairness. The game ebbed and flowed, and was level at half time. Heading into the final minutes the sides were still tied and Donegal kicked three scoreable wides, when Shannon Blues midfielder, Stephen Gilmartin, sent two shots sailing over the bar in the last two minutes of play to send the Blues into their first senior final in 10 years.

Christy Bell searches for a colleague to play the ball in to.
The Blues got off to a lightening start. David O’Callaghan was making the most of the extra space afforded to corner forwards on the big field with the Blues targeting his corner with early balls. O’Callaghan put two points over the bar, and drew the foul for a third. Donegal saw fit to switch Cahir Healy to quieten the Tralee marksman. O’Callaghan was a little quieter, but still managed another point before half time, and his fourth in the second half – two points is not a bad return from probably the best corner back in Boston this year. Stephen Gilmartin put two frees over the bar and the Blues led by four points before Donegal got off the ground. Once Paddy Kelly opened the northerners account in the ninth minute, Donegal began to click and enjoy a spell on top. Kelly worked hard in the corner and was the prime target up front for Donegal, winning a lot of possession. Fellow Kerry native, Eddie Mangan, playing at wing forward converted twice, one free,to bring Donegal within two points. O’Callaghan and Philip Lydon pointed for the Blues and Christy Bell and Paul Roper for Donegal as there was nothing between the teams on the balance of play at this point. With the first half winding down and the Blues leading by two, Mangan pointed from a free and then from play to make it 0-7 to 0-7 at the break.

Kevin Curran gets to this break between Donal McNulty and Philip Lydon.
Donegal came out fired up in the second half. From the throw in center back Shay Hannon caught the Blues rearguard off balance and came unopposed down the middle to fire Donegal into the lead. Christy Bell added a point, and substitute Cormac Mullins found himself through on two occasions and blazed wide. Donegal appeared to have the edge in terms of possession. The Blues mustered a point from Alan O’Donoghue, but Kelly restored the 2 point advantage for Donegal with seven minutes of the second half played. Gilmartin put a free over the bar, and Kevin Curran again kept Donegal two ahead with a nice curling effort. After O’Callaghan matched Curran’s score for style with 15 minutes to go the Blues began to push a little harder and win more of the midfield breaks. Lee McQuade did not make the scoresheet but proved to be an important cog in the forward line, while Gilmartin and Lydon began to get the advantage over their opposite numbers in the middle of the park. Ken Kileen was introduced to bring some experience onto the field down the stretch. After the Blues kicked two bad wides Kileen drew the sides level with 10 minutes left. After another bad Blues wide, Gilmartin put the Blues ahead with 8 minutes to go, but Mullins brought the sides level again. With time running out Donegal made a final push and generated some chances that sailed wide – extra time looked a clear possibility. However, Gilmartin found himself with room 30 yards out, took a look and his shot went high and true and the Blues led by a point. On the 30th minute Gilmartin found himself in a similar position and scored an almost identical point to the celebrations of a long hungry Shannon Blues team and their supporters. With Christopher’s in the final a new name will be one the cup next Sunday. Will it be the Blues bridging a 10 year gap or Christopher’s winning their first senior football championship? We’ll find out in a weeks time.

Donegal: F. Murphy, C. Healy, S. Lee, M. McGovern, S. Hannon (0-1), R. McLaughlin, D. McNulty, M. McGinty, C. Bell (0-2), K. Curran (0-1), E. Mangan (0-4), P. Roper (0-1), P. Kelly (0-2). Sub: C. Mullins (0-1). Blues: D. Hawes, S. Kelly, T. Wallace, B. Maloney, P. O’Brien, S. Sinnott, S. Gilmartin (0-6), P. Lydon (0-1), L. McQuade, S. Moloney, C. McGee, A. O’Donoghue (0-1), D. O’Callaghan (0-5). Sub: K. Kileen (0-1)
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Senior Football Semi Final: Aiden McAnespies v Christopher's

Aiden McAnespies 1-10 Christopher’s 3-10

Aiden McAnespies reign at the top of Boston and North American football was brought to an end at the hands of Christopher’s. Christopher’s, a side with three American born players in the starting lineup, found themselves in the unfamiliar position of the senior football semi-final and put on a blistering display of early passing and shooting in the first half. Two crucial goals in the second half from substitute Mark O’Sullivan secured the win as McAnespies were making a brave push to come back from behind down a man.

Rory Maguire shoots, and Ryan Graber made the save.
Christopher’s were sitting pretty at the end of the first half thanks to some well taken scores by the forwards, and a back line that covered well for each other. Sean Kelly curled a lovely point over the bar in the first minute, a sign of things to come from Christopher’s. McAnespies settled into the game and Colm McCrory finished a well worked move to point, and Colm Donnelly did likewise soon afterwards. In the early going McAnespies were one step ahead. Once Christopher’s got into the swing of things the forwards put some nice moves together and took some lovely points. Ian Rowland leveled things with a pointed free after Barry O’Driscoll was fouled, and O’Driscoll himself followed with a fine score. Christopher’s threatened the McAnespies goal on a couple of occasions, Sean Kelly’s shot was well saved by David Wright, and shortly afterwards it was Kelly again who was blocked by the diving Fergal McPhillips as he shot low from close range. Kelly was a powerful force and McAnespies had little answer for the strident running of the Crossmolina man. Rowland put two more frees over the bar as Christopher’s enjoyed the advantage in the balance of play. McCrory and Donnelly answered for McAnespies with a point each, but the Tyrone side lost Neil Donaghy to a red card for striking his marker as the kickout was being taken. A goal came from Barry O’Driscoll as he finished off a good move low into the far corner as Christopher’s motored. Hegarty and Rowland put two fantastic points over from play, and Collie Moore and Donnelly pulled a couple of points back for McAnespies. Donnelly and Sean Kelly traded points to leave Christopher’s five points to the good at half time.

Neil McAdam and Will Kennedy contest a kickout.
McAnespies came out strong in the second half, clearly with the attitude that it was all or nothing. The northerners tallied the first four points. Neil McAdam put two dead balls over the bar and was followed by a Collie Moore point. Moore stole forward from his corner back berth where he was putting in a Trojan effort in trying to keep Barry O’Driscoll shackled. Colm McCrory put a fourth unanswered point over the bar to bring McAnespies within a point with 17 minutes of the half expired. Christopher’s looked like they had lost their way, and that the introduction of Mark O’Sullivan at corner forward at the break had disrupted the forward line. O’Sullivan however proved invaluable when he finally got involved in the play. McAnespies failed to properly clear a ball as tired legs eventually took their toll, and O’Driscoll found an unmarked O’Sullivan standing on the edge of the square. O’ Sullivan coolly worked the space open and side footed the ball home. Ian Rowland followed with a point from a 45, but McAnespies still had life. Colm Donnelly netted to keep hope alive for the South Boston lads but O’Driscoll and O’Sullivan combined again to score a second goal – O’Sullivan again unmarked in front of goal as the spaces opened up in the McAnespies back line. O’Driscoll pointed to cap a fine overall display from Christopher’s.

Macs: D. Wright, C. Moore (0-2), K. Hudson, A. Nestor, M. McGovern, F. McPhillips, N. Donaghy, N. McAdam (0-2), C. Donnelly (1-3), R. Maguire, J. Kelly, C. McCrory (0-3), D. McCrudden. Christopher’s: R. Graber, N. Ryan, E. Cotter, B. Lonergan, P. Hogan, S. McNally, D. Kenneally, W. Kennedy, I. Rowland (0-5), S. Kelly (0-2), G. Kenneally, B. O’Driscoll (1-2), E. Hegarty (0-1). Sub: M. O’Sullivan (2-0)

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday Semi-Finals

Junior A Football: McAnespies 1-14 Wolfe Tones 0-11 (Final is McAnespies v Donegal)
Ladies Senior Football: Roscommon 2-8 Boston Shamrocks 0-4 (Final is Roscommon v Tir na nOg)
Junior B Football: Galway 0-5 Mayo 0-4 (Final is Shannon Blues v Galway)
Men's Senior Football: Christopher's 3-10 Aiden McAnespies 1-10
Senior Hurling: Wexford 2-19 Galway 2-7 (Final is Wexford v Tipperary)
Senior Football: Shannon Blues 0-14 Donegal 0-12 (Final is Christopher's v Shannon Blues)

Reports to follow....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Semi-FInals

Junior Hurling: Wexford 3-7 Fr Tom's 3-13.
Intermediate Football: Connemara Gaels 6-6 Kerry 3-6. Armagh-Notre Dame defeated Wolfe Tones.
Junior B Football: Shannon Blues defeated Aiden McAnespies.
Junior A Football: Donegal defeated Cork.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Playoff update

Connemara Gaels 5-9 Galway 3-14

With Galway out of it either way, since Armagh-Notre Dame defeated Mayo the night before, the outcome of this game would just determine the semi-final matches for the intermediate playoffs. Galway had nothing to play for, but put on a commendable display even though the tempo of the game was not exactly of the high octane type. After 30 minutes of play the teams were level at 2-7 each. Mark Dougan and Michael Magill netted for the Gaels, while Donal Redmond and Peter Nolan accounted for Galway’s goals.

Mark Dougan hit home with a second half penalty.

The Gaels opened up a 7 point lead in the opening stages of the second half. John O’Brien and Dougan each pointed. Dougan then won a penalty which he slotted home himself, and Colin Harkin then added a fourth goal for the Gaels, finishing a move that began with a save from Pat O’Malley. Galway fought their way back however. The tribesmen lifted their game in all areas of the field. An easy win for the Gaels would not be allowed. Kieran Lillis goaled and a minute later was through the middle of the Gaels defence again,only to be denied by a great Pat O’Malley save. O’Malley tipped the ball over for a point. Greg Rogan made it a two point game with a well taken free. Mark Dougan established some room again for the Gaels after palming home a ball played across the face of goal. Galway still kept coming at the Gaels. Three points on the trot from Pauric Howard, Nolan, and Rogan pulled Galway to within 2 points again, with 5 minutes to go. Rogan pointed again with time running out, and Galway had one last chance to equalize that sailed wide of the post.

Gaels: P. O’Malley C. Conroy, C. Flanagan, C. Arkinson, A. Flanagan, K. Owens, C. Harkin, M. Magill, S. Murray, M. Dougan, T. McDonagh, J. O’Brien, B. Joyce. Galway: B. Calvey, A. Glynn, S. Melia, J. Kehoe, R. O’Dwyer, JJ O’Neill, T. Walsh, K. Lillis, P. Cummins, P. Nolan, G. Rogan, D. Redmond, S. Gallagher.

Donegal did not have much to do to win their final game of the regular season as Cork fielded a token side to fulfill the fixture. With McAnespies winning over Kerry, Donegal and Christopher's finished on 14 points and McAnespies and Shannon Blues finished with 12 points each. The pairings for the senior semi-finals are Christopher's and McAnespies at 2:30 and Donegal v Shannon Blues at 5:00 - both next Sunday.

Intermediate football semi finals are Kerry v Connemara Gaels and Wolfe Tones v Armagh-Notre Dame.

Tuesday night the Galway hurlers and Fr. Tom's meet again, with the winners to face Wexford in Sunday's semi-final.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Galway v Fr. Tom Burke's - Aug 16

Fr. Tom Burke’s 2-13 Galway 1-10

Fr. Tom’s forced a playoff against the same opposition next Tuesday night by beating Galway. After a first half where the sides largely matched each other on the balance of play, Tom’s powered into a 10 point lead with 15 minutes to go. Galway had no answer as John Moylan and Declan O’Dwyer were well shackled by the Tom's back line, and the game finished with Tom’s deserving winners.

Ger Henley battles for posession for Tom's.

Tom’s led by three points at the end of the first period. Galway will rue three great goal chances that fell to John Moylan. Moylan fired the first across the face of goal and wide as he was clean through after 10 minutes, and soon after drilled a penalty that he won himself a foot or two over the crossbar. Later in the half Aaron Bendon pulled off a fine save to deny Moylan for a third time, and Galway had to settle for a ’65, which ended up wide. Tom’s had the edge on their opponents otherwise. Maurice Callinan (2) and John Cuddy put Tom’s into a three point lead before Galway scored their opener. After 11 minutes Declan O’Dwyer got the tribesmen off the mark with a point from play. Tom’s were on top in the back line, as Galway’s scoring options appeared to be more limited. The sides swapped points for the rest of the half. John Byrne and Sean Kelly found the mark for Galway, while for Tom’s Trevor Kelly, Fran Keenan, and Cahir Healy pointed. At the half it was 0-5 t0 0-8 in Tom’s favour.

Greg Daniels tries to pull Galway back into the game.

Tom’s pulled away mid-way through the second half. Galway had got within 2 points, Jomar Creavin and Moylan (2) pointed three times between them, and Shane Howley and Callinan pointed for Tom’s. A close finish looked on the cards with 15 minutes left, but looks can be deceiving. Within a minute of each other Trevor Kelly and Howley had the ball in the net for Tom’s. Kelly won the ball on the 21 and turned his man to hit a one-hopper past the keeper. Less then a minute later Howley was first to a rebound off the crossbar from an Eanna Murphy shot. Cahir Healy and substitute Ger Henley each pointed to propel Tom’s into a 10 point lead. Tom’s continued to largely control proceedings Galway got the points back through Peter Buckredge and Tadhg Linnane, and a consolation goal from Moylan came at the death, but did not have the firepower to overturn the Tom’s lead. A playoff looms next Tuesday night, and on the basis of previous meetings between these teams one would have to favour Tom’s to be the ones togged out next Sunday.

Tom’s: A. Bendon, P. Callinan, S. Staunton, J. Dowling, D. Dooley, D. Moore, F. Keenan (0-1), C. Healy (0-2), M. Callinan (0-3), T. Kelly (1-3), S. Howley (1-1), J. Cuddy (0-2), E. Murphy. Sub: G. Henley (0-1). Galway: N. Roberts, A. Hogan, T. Linnane (0-1), J. Kinsella, P. Buckredge (0-1), G. Lyons, E. Daniels, S. Kelly (0-1), P. O’Connell, J. Creavin (0-1), D. O’Dwyer (0-1), J. Moylan (1-4), J. Byrne (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell