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...