Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sam Maguire Comes to Boston

With a chance to rub shoulders with Graham Canty, Daniel Goulding, Terry O’Neill, and of course, the Sam Maguire Cup, there was not a spare seat to be had in Florian Hall at the Cork Gaelic Football Club’s celebration banquet last Saturday night. Sam took center stage and was busy partaking in photographs with practically everybody who was in attendance, as were both of the star players.

Cork Captain, Graham Canty,
and All-Ireland Final Man of the Match, Daniel Goulding,
 at the Cork Boston GFC celebration banquet.
Florian Hall, Dorchester, Mass.

Terry O’Neill, one of the Cork selectors, had a chance to catch up with some friends from his years in Boston in the late 1980’s. Terry was involved with the Cork football club while he was here and generated plenty of laughs as he related several stories from those days, from run ins with Joe Lydon on the sideline of Dilboy field to foot races down the Lower Mills end of Dorchester Ave. Graham Canty also had a stint in Boston when he was just out of minor, and played for the Cork Boston club in the summer of 1999.

Graham Canty addresses the packed hall with Sam alongside.

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to chat with the two football stars. Cork came through the back door last year and had to come from behind in both the semi-final and final to win their first football All-Ireland in 20 years. I asked Daniel about that and the Ovens native explained that this year Cork were presented with different challenges compared to previous years. “For three or four years we had gone up and found it hard to close out the game,” said Daniel. “Last year we were 4 or 5 up at one stage in the final. This year we were under pressure against Limerick and Wexford in the qualifiers and that stood to us. In the semi-final and final there was no panic and the lads maintained their composure to see it through.” I also asked about the kind of pressure involved when taking frees in the biggest game of them all, and pointed out that he had pointed three ’45’s in a row in the crucial stages of the final. “It’s all about routine when free taking”, explained Daniel. “At that stage in the game you are in a groove and after the first one (’45) went over I had the confidence to put the other two over.”

Corkmen Brendan and Mike Fleming with the Sam Maguire Cup.

Now that we are 3 months removed from the joy and euphoria of Cork’s victory I asked about next year and when you start thinking about the challenge of defending the title. Graham explained that each player is doing their own training program and players and management are staying in touch. The team will be heading for a well deserved holiday in South Africa, and when they get back in January the job of defending the title will begin in earnest. Both players expressed great appreciation to the Cork football club in Boston for the exceptional hospitality shown to them, as well as the chance to spend a weekend to celebrate with the people of Cork living here in Boston. With the cup doing the rounds around the gathering places for the Irish, Daniel remarked that he didn’t realize that there was such a crowd out here and also on the great sense of community that he experienced. As for myself, I can tell you I had a great night and finally got my hands on the Sam Maguire. Next September I’ll be hoping that it will be a Dubliner’s hands raising it to the roof of the Hogan Stand – though Daniel and Graham might have other ideas about that!

By Rory O'Donnell

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NACB Convention

I just read the minutes from the North American Board convention posted on NAGAA.ORG by incoming PRO, Tim Flanagan from Buffalo.  It is with regret that I saw that Chicago based Eamonn Kelly decided not to run again as PRO this year.  Over the 10 years that I have reported on the games, in particular at the NACB finals, Eamonn has been great to work with in ensuring that I got whatever I needed.  A fellow Dubliner who attended school just down the road from myself, Eamonn has always been courteous and professional over the years.  Enjoy your retirement Eamonn, and best of luck to Tim for the coming GAA season.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cork Boston Gaelic Football Club Celebration Banquet

Graham Canty and Sam, along with
Daniel Goulding and Terry O'Neill 
will be at Florian Hall December 11.
Tickets are on sale for the Celebration Banquet which is taking place at 7.30PM Dec 11th in honour of the All Ireland Winning Cork footballers. It should be a great night and all are welcome.

Come and meet Graham Canty, Daniel Goulding & Terry O'Neill. Get a picture taken with the Sam Maguire Cup.

For tickets please ca...ll 617-763-0485 or email the club secretary -

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pick of Boston 2010

With the Boston GAA season well over by now, I wondered what a Pick of Boston football team would look like. When I started writing reports on the games in Canton almost 10 years ago, Boston All-Star football and hurling teams were a fairly easy pick as there were so many home based players. In fact, until two years ago, there was an All-Star banquet where home-based players were recognized with All Star and player of the year awards. Things have changed drastically in the time since. Clubs are working harder than ever to field top quality teams, trying coax the veterans into giving one more year, and filling out the home base with early arrivals. There have been some positive developments on the home-based front however. There are American Born players now coming through the youth systems that have been in place for more than 10 years. Brendan Kelly and Dan Kenneally, who play with Christopher’s, and Pat Murray with the Shannon Blues, make my Boston team, however, there are also American Born players coming through with other clubs who will make their mark at the highest level in the years to come. In addition, many of the junior football teams are seeing increasing numbers of kids who have learned the game here in Boston filling their ranks, and many will progress to senior level. The New England Celtics, a team composed entirely of local boys, with nary a sanction player to be found, made the semi-finals in their first foray at Junior A level. Also, right at the root, there is a growing youth league. There are now more than 6 underage football clubs in the New England area compared to one youth program 3 years ago. All that, combined with the hurling clubs in New Hampshire and Maine, means that the GAA is becoming more deeply rooted in the New England area then it ever has been.

Pat Murray 
 is one of the talented local born players
making an impact with the Boston GAA.

Thar an Trasnán
Boston Team of 2010

Goalkeeper: Willie O’Dowd (Wolfe Tones)

Right Corner Back: Pat McNicholas (Connemara Gaels)

Left Corner Back: Frank Meehan (Armagh-Notre Dame)

Right Half Back: Brendan Kelly (Christopher’s)

Center Half Back: Neil Donaghy (McAnespies)

Left Half Back: Sean Gallagher (Galway)

Midfielders: Michael McGinty (Donegal), Dan Kenneally (Christopher’s)

Right Half Forward: Colm McCrory (Aidan McAnespies)

Center Forward: Pat Murray (Shannon Blues)

Left Half Forward: Joey Farrell (Wolfe Tones)

Right Corner Forward: Robbie Croft (Kerry)

Left Corner Forward: Marty Farrell (Wolfe Tones)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Connemara Gaels bring back Junior B Shield

The Connemara Gaels junior B team went to Chicago for the North American County board finals, and came back with the junior B shield to add to their Boston Junior B championship.  Many players got the first plane from Logan Friday morning to be in Chicago for the first game Friday afternoon, and the Boston representatives were defeated by a score of 3-13 to 0-8 by the Chicago Patriots.  Fatigue worked against the Boston side, and the local team's superior fitness eventually wore down the Gaels.  The Chicago side went on to win the championship.

However, the Gaels still had a chance to take some silverware home in the shield competition.  The following day the Gaels beat the Pittsburgh Celtics by a score of 3-19 to 1-4 in the quarter final.  Sunday morning was the semi versus the LA Wild Geese and it was the Boston boys that came out on top of this opposite coast battle by 1-20 to 2-3.  Martin Kerr's intrepid heroes faced Charlotte in the shield Final and came out on top by a score of 1-22 to 1-4.  With silver coming in at this rate an extra shelf will have to be installed behind the bar at JJ's on Dorchester Ave.

The team that traveled to Chicago was: Brian Joyce, Coleman Conroy, Kieran Lowe (Capt.), Vinny O’Malley, Pat Mac, Mikey McDonagh, Gary O’Malley, Tommy Sally, S. Conneeley, M. Conroy, Kevin Owens, Chris Lafferty, Conor Lohan, Steve King, Martin Kerr, Pat McTavish.

The Boston Shamrocks junior ladies did not fare as well and were beaten by San Fran in the semi-final.  Like wise the junior C hurlers from Partland Maine who beat Denver in the quarter final, but were soundly defeated by eventual winners Chicago Cusacks in the semi-final.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Listen to a run down of the Boston GAA Finals with Denis O'Brien at

#136 Donegal and Tipp win Boston titles

Siansa 8 Question of the Month Winner!

There were several correct answers to the August question.  The question was: Under the current format, what county was the first to win the All-Ireland football championship without having appeared in their provincial final and what year?

Answer: Galway in 2001.  (Roscommon beat Mayo in that year's Connaught Final.) 

The winner of a $50 gift certificate is Val McGlynn, of Ardsley, New York.  Congratulations Val!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Senior Football Final: Donegal Blow by McAnespies in Powerful Display.

Aiden McAnespies 0-8 Donegal 2-10

Donegal saved their best till last. Having sputtered through much of the season, and then having to play three games in the last week of the season, one being the semi-final Thursday night, Donegal swept to the senior football title with a display of hunger and power. There were several stars for the northerners, Brian Kelly at center forward worked extremely hard for the 60 minutes –and set up Donegal’s first goal for Paddy Kelly, for whom the victory must have been particularly satisfying. Ger Reddin at center back, like Brian Kelly, also put in a worthy 60 minutes of effort and covered well for his corner backs. Once Donegal had put together a four-point salvo in the middle of the second half, there was no question over who would be walking away with the cup.

Thomas Corrigan and the McAnespies forward line
had a frustrating day against a tight Donegal defence.
The game started with the tactics fairly clear. McAnespies were out to give room to the corner forwards and hit them at every opportunity. The problem was that when the chances came neither Thomas Corrigan nor CJ McGourty had their shooting boots on. It proved to be a very frustrating afternoon for the normally deadly McAnespies corner forwards. With the McAnespies wing forwards also largely out of the game a long afternoon loomed for red and white. Ger Reddin dropped back in support of the full back line, and picked up plenty of ball breaking from the challenges between corner back and forward. After 15 minutes McAnespies held a two points to one advantage. Collie Carr opened Donegal’s account, while McGourty pointed twice for McAnespies – once from a free and then from play. Donegal took the lead for good shortly after the McGourty score with a goal that resulted from Brian Kelly not giving up on the play and winning the ball on the McAnespies 21. Kelly passed to his namesake Paddy unmarked in front of goal, and the Ballylongford man made sure. Donegal followed with a Brian Kelly pointed free and a hard won John O’Loughlin point. McAnespies hit back with a McGourty point following some good interchanges between Corrigan and Tiernan Diamond in the lead up to the score. Just before half time a second goal from Donegal had Macs reeling. Sean Burke found Brian Kelly, and big Malin man buried the ball from 14 yards. At the half the two goals was the difference between the teams.

John O'Loughlin puts Donegal eight points up
in the second half.
With virtually nothing going their way McAnespies urgently needed to make some sort of change and Luke Sweetman was introduced for Tiernan Diamond. Sweetman added some strength to McAnespies forward line, but in the end the change proved to be largely cosmetic. Dan Graham and Paddy Kelly traded points with Neil Donaghy and Sweetman to open the half. Sweetman could have had a goal but his punched effort came off the top of the crossbar and over. Then Donegal put the game away with four points on the trot to open a 10 point lead. With Neil Collins and Reddin at the back, O’Loughlin in midfield, and both Kelly’s all performing at a level that McAnespies could not cope with, points went over from a Collie Carr free, O’ Loughlin, Burke, and Brian Kelly. McGourty, who had been brought deeper pointed twice late, and Burke traded a score with Colm McCrory at the end. Donegal were jubilant at the sound of the final whistle, and having lost out to McAnespies two years ago in the final, the feeling must have been particularly sweet.

Macs: S. Connolly, B. O’Reilly, T. McClelland, M. Bogue, D. Wylie, C. O’Sullivan, N. Donaghy (0-1), B. McGarr, C. McCrory (0-1), T. Diamond, D. Tobin, T. Corrigan, CJ McGourty (0-5). Sub: L. Sweetman (0-1). Donegal: M. Boyle, T. McGuire, N. Collins, D. Graham (0-1), G. Reddin, K. Lillis, M. McGinty, J. O’Loughlin (0-2), B. Lafferty, B. Kelly (1-2), C. Carr (0-2), P. Kelly (1-1), S. Burke (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling Final: Tipp Outclass Galway

Galway 2-8 Tipperary 3-15

For the neutral observers it was a disappointing final. Outclassed was the word on everybody’s lips after the game as Tipperary were in total control and never looked in danger of letting Galway back into the game once they had put some distance between themselves and the tribesmen. The anticipated battle between Kilkenny men Willie O’Dwyer and Kieran Joyce never really materialized as O’Dwyer had a frustrating outing and never really was a factor in the game. At the half the Tipp lead was 8 points and would have been more than the final margin of 10 but for two late Galway goals that dressed up the scoreboard somewhat.

Tipp's Michael Gleeson gets around
Stephen Dineen's challenge.
After fifteen minutes the sides were level with four points each, but several wides for Tipp and a close call in front of the Galway goal gave notice of what was to come for the rest of the game. Eric Ward was called on to come off his line to save from Shane Bourke who was clean through with the goal in sight. Martin Boran earned a yellow card for a challenge on Paddy Nolan as Nolan was coming out with the ball. The Galway corner back was one of the bright spots of the day for Galway. Michael Gleeson, who was on form for Tipp, put the defending champions into a one point lead and Boran converted a free before Tipp’s first goal came. Colin Fennelly made the most of his chance and Tipp led by five. It was lead of six a minute later as Bourke pointed and in the space of 5 minutes a tied game had swayed decidedly in Tipp’s favour. With Joyce dominating the Tipp half back line Galway struggled to make any impression on the deficit and constantly returned the ball to Tipp when in possession. In the five minutes leading up to half time, Boran, Joyce, and Derek McNicholas all pointed to a lone Galway point from a Willie Hyland free. With Tipp eight points to the good and Galway looking to be struggling the outcome looked inevitable.

Enda Concannon tries to get something going for Galway.
A goal and two points to start the second half put an end to any hopes that Galway had of realistically making a stab at a comeback. Derek McNicholas pointed and like in the first half, some wayward shots early in the half from Tipp were easily afforded. Goal number two came from McNicholas as he caught cleanly on the edge of the small square and batted the ball into the floor of the net. Galway were denied a goal after Thomas Lowry saved well from a Shane Murphy first time pull at the other end. An off the ball incident ended in Stephen Curley getting a yellow card for intervening on behalf of Greg Lally who was jabbed by the butt of a Tipp hurley, and was doubled over on the ground. Galway did find the net twice before the end, however, it was way too late for Galway when two goals went in. After SHane Burke had goaled for Tipp to extend an already enormous lead to fourteen points, Stephen Dineen got on the end of a ball dropped in by Hyland and netted for Galway. Shane Maher put a 21 yard free high into the roof of the Tipp net a minute later, but by that stage Tipp already had their name on the cup. An impressive repeat for Tipperary having gone unbeaten for the season. A bridge too far for Galway who in making the final have put their name back on the map of hurling in Boston.

Galway: E. Ward, P. Nolan, S. Curley, A. Callinan, B. Regan, E. Whooley, G. Lally, S. Dineen (1-0), S. Maher (1-0), W. O’Dwyer, W. Hyland (0-7), S. Murphy, E. Concannon (0-1). Tipp: T. Lowry, J. Kindregan, J. O’Keefe, E. Gleeson, K. Joyce (0-1), S. Hickey, C. Dempsey, M. Gleeson (0-2), D. McNicholas (1-3), M. Boran (0-8), P. McGrath, S. Bourke (1-1), C. Fennelly (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

Orla Benson Cup Final: Tir na nOg no Match for Shamrocks

Boston Shamrocks 5-13 Tir na nOg 1-4

The Boston ladies teams play each year for the Orla Benson Cup. The cup is named in memory of a young girl from county Kerry who, like so many thousands of students before and since, had spent the summer in Boston.  Orla was murdered in a playground in Allston having spent the night out with friends just before she was due to return to Ireland. This year is the 15th anniversary of her death.

The Boston Shamrocks did not give Tir na nOg
much space on Sunday.
The game itself did not come close to living up to the excitement generated by ladies finals of years past. After a one sided first 20 minutes the Shamrocks had established a 7 point lead. Tir na nOg got on the scoreboard with a Sinead Bannon free followed by a point from Emer Power. Tir na nOg could not cope with Shamrocks center forward Catriona Treanor who registered some beautifully taken points. The Shamrocks combined well on several occasions, Cathy McEleaney finished one good move, Shannon Guarge another, and Nicola Hust popped a free over the bar. Tir na nOg had a couple of wides and struck the post high on one occasion, and had these chances been taken the half-time deficit would have been much closer than the 0-7 to 0-2 in the Shamrocks favour.

After Guare and Treasa Doherty extended the Shamrocks lead, Michelle Walsh goaled for Tir na nOg. Walsh won the break from a hop ball on the 21 and fired home to reduce the deficit to four points and there was hope for the Brighton side. Unfortunately for them, the remainder of the game featured 5 Shamrocks goals as the Shamrocks shelled their opponents into submission. Ciara Murphy, Guare, Hurst, and two from Doherty near the end of the game made sure Tir na nOg would not be harboring any comeback notions. Bannon and Michelle Walsh did manage late consolation scores for the Brighton side. Shamrocks captain, Stacy O’Dowd, graciously accepted the cup and put things in perspective by reminding everybody present of the purpose of playing for the trophy, and called for a moment of silence to be observed in memory of Orla Benson.

Shamrocks: N. Hayward, N. Nugent, J. O’Connell, S. O’Dowd, A. McDonnell, N. Hurst, T. Doherty, E. Burns, C. McEleaney, T. Doherty, C. Treanor, S. Guare, G. Bailey, B. Kelly, C. Murphy. Tir na nOg: C. Kelly, E. Kelly, L. Brick, L. Gilmore, J. Davoren, T. Moran, B. Matti, A. Creegan, N. Daly, N. O’Neill, C. Hanley, S. Moran, E. Power, M. Walsh, S. Bannon.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football Final: High Drama as McCrudden Rescues Macs

Aiden McAnespies 1-12 Donegal 1-11

There was more than a twist in the tail of this junior football final. McAnespies held sway for most of the game only for Donegal to make a late comeback and almost snatch victory with a Paul Boyce goal as time was running out. McAnespies remained focused for the last few minutes and Dermot McCrudden leveled the scores, and then put the winning point over the bar with virtually no time left on the clock to claim the first of the trophies on offer Sunday.

Niall Gallen challenges Donegal's Darren Green
Donegal got off the mark first with two early points but McAnespies eventually settled and proceeded to put their stamp on the game. Mark Brady’s running and Dermot McCrudden ‘s finishing, combined with some well taken frees from McAnespies veteran Nigel Regan had McAnespies very much on top. With Donegal chasing the game McCrudden and Regan combined for three points from frees before Mark Brady finished a sweeping move to give McAnespies a 1-3 to 0-3 advantage. The threat from the Donegal forward line was largely neutralized. Gary Clarke and Niall Gallen were doing well in the corner back positions and Tom O’Hagen at center back had things well in control. Donegal pointed twice late in the half through Darren Green and Pauric McLaughlin as McAnespies started breaking down in the final third of the field. At the half it was McAnespies by three points, 1-6 to 0-6.

Donegal's Rob Porter comes
away with the ball.
Donegal came to grips with the game in the second half, though the northerners still were playing from behind. After McAnespies had opened up a five point lead through Drumm and McCrudden scores, Donegal strung together four unanswered points. Three Paul Boyce frees and fine point from substitute Felix Grenaghan brought them within a point. There were bookings issued as the tension mounted towards the grand finale. Paddy McLaughlin and Nigel Regan each received yellows for an off the ball episode. However, McAnespies looked to be regaining control of the game in the latter stages. Paddy McCusker pointed after being singled out by Mark Brady and Regan finished a point that resulted from some good supporting play. More bookings came, this time for Benny McGettigan and Pauric McLaughlin. With McAnespies leading by two points Donegal hit with a great goal from Paul Boyce. Paddy McLaughlin hit Boyce with a pass and the Donegal center forward pumped the ball into the far corner from 14 yards. Would Donegal snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? The answer was a resounding no as there was enough time left for McCrudden to point to bring the sides level. Eugene McKenna dropped a free into the Donegal penalty area and McCrudden popped the breaking ball over. A minute later Mark Brady found McCrudden with a pass, the composed wing forward’s shot sailed over the bar and with that, McAnespies won their second junior championship in a row impressive fashion.

Macs: P. Stones, N. Gallen, G. Clarke, S. Magill, T. O’Hagen, F. McPhillips, M. Drumm (0-1), P. McCusker (0-1), S. McGettigan, M. Brady (1-0), D. McCrudden (0-5), R. Murphy, N. Regan (0-5). Donegal: C. Mcloughlin, K. Coyle, H. Devine, P. McNulty, R. Porter, Paddy. McLoughlin, P. O’Connor, E. Doonan, K. McGee, P. Boyce (1-7), Pauric. McLoughlin (0-1), E. McCarney, D. Green (0-2). Sub: F. Greneghan (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Finals Scores

Senior Football Final:  Aidan McAnespies 0-8 Donegal 2-10
Senior Hurling Final:  Galway 2-8 Tipperary 3-15
Orla Benson Cup Final:  Boston Shamrocks 5-13 Tir na nOg 1-4
Junior A Football Final:  Aidan McAnespies 1-12 Donegal 1-11

Reports coming soon.......

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Intermediate Football Final: Blues too Good for Kerry

Shannon Blues 2-10 Kerry 1-8

Last year’s senior football finalists took the intermediate football championship with a comfortable win over Kerry. The Blues at times this year looked like contenders for the senior trophy, but having not made the playoffs, proved to be well capable of taking the intermediate. Kerry played from behind for almost all of the game. Two first half goals put the Blues in a commanding position and the Blues shut up shop in the second period to run out five point winners.

Alan Holland lines up a shot.
With the sides level at a point each the first Blues goal came after five minutes of play. An Alan Holland free dropped short and Pat Murray set up Paul O’Connor who finished from close range. Kerry hit back with two points. Robbie Croft was out in front of his man and was hit with good passes both times and pointed on the turn. After Holland replied with a point for the Blues, the second goal came. This time Ken Killeen was the provider and Alan Garry the finisher. In spite of the two body blows, Kerry hung in and kept the points ticking over. Croft pointed twice from frees and once from play, while Holland and O’Connor kept the Blues lead from slipping with a point apiece. At the half the Blues held a 2-4 to 0-6 lead and the game was still within Kerry’s grasp.

Kerry's Kieran O'Connor and the Blue's
Michael O'Brien contest a kickout.
After the sides traded points to open the second period, the Blues began to pull away. Kerry struggled to penetrate the Blues rearguard. Pat Murray and Michael O’Brien worked hard in midfield for the Blues, and four unanswered points from Paul O’Connor widened the gap between the sides. The Blues now held a commanding eight point lead with the final whistle approaching. To compound Kerry’s misery, Frankie O’Sullivan was given his marching orders and the Kingdom had to finish the game short of personnel. A consolation goal was scored by Joe McGillicuddy, it was a goal worthy of more than just a consolation as McGillicuddy struck the ball low and hard into the bottom corner with the outside of the left foot from 21 yards out. There was a flurry of action in the Blues defence as Kerry went in search of a second goal, but the Blues cleared. Celebrations for the Blues as they took something from the season, Kerry will look back at conceding the two first half goals and wonder what might have been.

Kerry: B. Kelly, S. Hogan, A. Fenton, M. Godley, S. O’Leary, F. O’Sullivan, K. O’Connor, J. McGillicuddy (1-0), G. Molloy (0-1), T. Dennehy, C. O’Sullivan (0-1), R. Croft (0-6), M. Fallon. Blues: D. Hawes, S. Kelly, B. Russell, C. Fitzgerald, D. McElligott, S. Sinnott, M. O’Brien, P. Murray, M. McDonagh, K. Killeen, A. Holland (0-3), A. Garry (1-1), P. O’Connor (1-6).

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior Hurling Final: Croft to the Rescue for Tom's - Again.

Tipperary 1-11 Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-14

Fr. Tom Burke’s junior hurlers prevailed over Tipperary in an exciting encounter that went down to the wire. For the second week in a row, a last minute goal put Tom’s in the lead with time ticking off the clock, and for the second week in a row it was substitute Robbie Croft who got the credit for the game winning score. The sides were level at half time, and it looked like a Kevin O’Donnell goal with less then 10 minutes to go would be the deciding score, but it was Tom’s with the final say in the end.

Mike Markham finds his way out of defence blocked.
The teams were level on nine points each at the end of the first 30 minutes. Tipp had the better of the early exchanges but Tom’s came into the game as the half wore on. Corner forward, Mark Alward was the primary marksman for Tipp. Alward accounted for seven of Tipperary’s first half points, both from frees and from play. Tom’s had a hard time containing the Tipp dangerman. Tom’s lost David Hession to injury early in the game, a tough loss given Hession’s role in taking long frees. Hession had accounted for Tom’s first two points from frees The westerners coped however, and John Cuddy ably took over the role of free taker. Along with Cuddy, Aidan Staunton and Mark Waldren chipped in to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Tom’s.

Seamie Leahy on a run for Tipp.
Tom’s suffered another blow early in the second half as Staunton had to leave the field of play having shipped an injury. Tom’s responded to the loss with James Dooley on the wing exhorting his teammates to look for something better from themselves,and Tom’s fought hard. Cuddy was on target with three early frees, two from long range, while Alward put two dead ball chances over for Tipp. Tipp then found their way through the Tom’s defences and Darragh Kealy hit the crossbar with a bullet, then Seamie Leahy had a goal chance that Dermot Fox saved. Leahy will probably feel that he should have done better. Kevin O’Donnell did not make any mistake with the third goal chance to fall to Tipp. A long Alward free dropped into the Tom’s penalty area and O’Donnell shunted the ball home from close range. The goal put Tipp a point to the good and day looked as if it may well be theirs. With anxiety building as the game approached the final whistle, Tom’s made the breakthrough. Croft, who had toiled hard since coming on at corner forward, looked like he tipped a long Cuddy free past Tipp keeper Mark Daly. Tom’s up by two points. Larry Guinan and Eugene Cummins held the fort at the back for Tom’s as they made some great fetches as Tipp roared back up the field in search of a score before it was too late. Cuddy made it a three point advantage for Tom’s with a free. Tipp had a late chance to level affairs with a 14 yard free. James Howard took it but a wall of Tom’s men held firm and cleared the danger. Great joy for Tom’s with the sound of the final whistle, and an exciting end to a fine game of hurling.

Tipp: M. Daly, S. Sinnott, T. Fitzgerald, S. Ryan, M. Jordan, R. O’Brien, J. Duane, S. Leahy (0-1), K.O’Donnell (1-1), J. Fealy, D. Kealy, J. McGrath, M. Alward (0-9). Tom’s: D. Fox, M. Moore, L. Guinan, P. Staunton, E. Cummins, M. Markham, K. Mooney, D. Hession (0-2), J. Dooley, M. Waldren (0-2), J. Cuddy (0-8), A. Staunton (0-1), R. Griffin. Subs: M. Callaghan (0-1), R. Croft (1-0).
By Rory O'Donnell

Junior B Football Final: Gaels Overcome Misfiring Galway

Connemara Gaels 3-8 Galway 0-8

Brian Joyce gets a closeup of Donal Redmond's
hand as the contest heats up.
The Connemara Gaels claimed the Junior B Football Championship for the first time since 2002 in a tough battle against a game Galway side. Three goals was the difference on the scoreboard, but truth be told, there was much less than that between the teams on the balance of play. Galway could easily have been the team with the medals had they taken their chances, but it was the men from farthest west that made better use of the opportunities that came their way.

The first half was not one for the purists. It was the first time that the teams had actually played on the main field and it was evident that the larger space took some getting used to. The Gaels got their act together first and by the time the half was over held a six point lead. There were missed chances on both sides, but with the experienced Kieran Cox leading the forward line and Kevin Owens in the corner, the Gaels settled and began to take theirs. After Paul McGovern blazed a goal chance high and over the bar for Galway’s first score, three points came from the Gaels courtesy of Aaron Jenkins, and frees from Cox, and Owens. Owens then scored from play, the best move of the half so far. Jamie Keogh then punished the Gaels by pointing a free resulting from Bosco O’Halloran fouling the ball coming out of his box. After Owens made it five points to two for the Gaels, an injury time penalty was awarded after Cox was pulled down in the box. Owens blasted the kick to the keeper’s left and the Gaels went in leading by 1-5 to 0-2.

Vinny O'Malley comes out with the ball.
The Gaels got a rousing point from Cox to start the second half, however it was Galway who made the big push to come back from seven points down. David Lyng and Padhraic Grace proved to be strong forces in midfield for Galway and for much of the half the Gaels struggled to launch any sort of threatening attack. Galway however struck three terrible wides from close range, and a Peter Ryan shot at goal was well saved by O’Halloran. Galway then made the pressure count. Grace, Donal Redmond, and Keogh pointed to make it a one-score game, and the Gaels were living very dangerously. Cox put a desperately needed Gaels point over the bar with 13 minutes remaining. With four points in it the pace of the game picked up considerably with the ball moving quicker up and down the field. Owens pointed with the left foot with seven minutes to go, and with minutes left, disaster struck for Galway. A short kickout was mis-hit right into the hands of Aaron Jenkins who had just missed a chance at a goal, but the midfielder did not miss the second time around and with the Gaels leading by eight points it was time to bring in the subs. Kieran Cox put the Gaels third goal away after being hit with a pass from Jenkins - and that was all she wrote. Keogh put two late points over the bar for Galway, but there were too many points separating the sides and not enough time left for Galway to have much hope. Galway will well look back on the game as one that they kicked away, while for the Gaels there was much satisfaction as a cup made it’s way back to J.J.’s on Dorchester Ave for the evenings celebrations.

Gaels: B. O’Halloran, C. Conroy, K. Lowe, B. Joyce, O. O’Malley, V. O’Malley, G. O’Malley, A. Jenkins (1-1), M. McDonagh, K. Cox (1-3), S. Murray, K. Owens (1-4), J. Geoghan. Galway: MJ Hynes, G. Bannon, I. Gleeson, B. Bligh, P. Ryan, A. Murphy, D. Lyng, P. Grace (0-1), P. Bligh, J. Keogh (0-4), D. Redmond (0-1), S. Bannon, P. McGovern (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finals Schedule and Update

In Thursday night's semi-finals, Donegal defeated Wolfe Tones in senior football and Shannon Blues defeated Christopher's to make the intermediate football final.


Satuday August 28
2:30 Junior B Football:  Galway v Connemara Gaels
4:00 Junior Hurling:  Fr. Tom Burke's v Tipperary
5:30 Intermediate Football:  Shannon Blues v Kerry

Sunday August 29
12:00 Junior A Football:  Aidan McAnespies v Donegal
1:30 Orla Benson Cup Final:  Boston Shamrocks v Tir na nOg
3:00 Senior Hurling:  Galway v Tipperary
4:30 Senior Football: Donegal v Aidan McAnespies

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend roundup

A busy weekend in Canton with finals and semi-final places to be decided.  In senior football, Aiden McAnespies defeated Armagh-Notre Dame by 10 points to advance to the senior football final, while Donegal beat Christopher's in a playoff to reach the other semi-final against Wolfe Tones to be played Tuesday evening.  Senior final is Aiden McAnespies v Wolfe Tones or Donegal.

Saturday's Intermediate football semi-final saw Kerry easily beat Galway, and on Sunday Shannon Blues beat the Connemara Gaels to advance to a semi-final against Christopher's (losers of their senior football playoff).  That game will also be played Tuesday evening.  Intermediate final is Kerry v Shannon Blues or Christopher's.

Now the picture gets a little clearer.  In junior A football, Donegal beat Shannon Blues and McAnespies beat the New England Celtics to set up a Donegal v McAnespies junior A football final.  In junior B football, Galway(beat Mayo) and the Connemara Gaels (beat Donegal) will meet in the final.

Tipperary are in the senior and junior hurling finals and will play Galway and Fr. Tom Burke's respectively.

(There was a correction made to the original report regarding the junior B football final, Galway beat Mayo by a point in last weekend's semi-final.)

Sun August 22 - Senior Football Playoff: Christopher's v Donegal

Christopher’s 1-6 Donegal 0-14

Christopher’s hopes of repeating as senior football champions ended on a soggy Sunday evening in Canton. Without two of their key men, Sean O’Hare and Cathal McNally, Christopher’s made a gallant effort to turn Donegal, but scoring proved to be a big problem for the current champions. Donegal themselves were without Conor Rafferty who had injured himself in training, but were up to the task of getting through this tough and unexpected playoff round, and into the semi-final against the Wolfe Tones on Tuesday night.

Donegal's Paddy Kelly pursued by Chris Alyward.
The first half was tightly contested for the first 15 minutes. Christopher’s players seemed to adapt well to their new roles in a rearranged lineup. Alan Maloney and Eoin McCarthy found spaces in Donegal’s back line, and the Christopher’s defenders did well forcing Donegal to cough up the ball on several occasions. Christopher’s led by four points to two at one point. Maloney, McCarthy, and Eoghan Buckley pointed for Christopher’s in the opening quarter. Donegal took over in the big way for the remainder of the half. John O’Loughlin led the way. The Laoisman took over in the middle of the field and there seemed little that Christopher’s could do to stem the tide. O’Loughlin himself burst through the Christopher’s defence to point and reduce the deficit to a point, then points followed from Kieran Lillis, Brian Kelly, Michael McGinty, Collie Carr, Paddy Kelly, and Carr again. That makes six different Donegal scorers in a 10 minute spell that more or less put paid to Christopher’s chances. With O’Loughlin in charge in the middle, Donegal won the breaks and worked the ball well. Michael McGinty covered the back line well and Christopher’s were unable to breach a Donegal defence that had shut the gates. As if to underline his role in all this, O’Loughlin was last to score before the half time whistle and Donegal led 0-10 to 0-4.

Christopher’s made some changes to start the second half. On came Patrick Delaney and Mark O’Sullivan. Christopher’s did manage to slow down the Donegal attack as Barry McNally moved back to his familiar center back position, but the scoring problems persisted. A Sean Kelly goal provided brief hope for the champions. Christopher’s still trailed by four points, but with 18 minutes to go they had hope. But that door was well and truly shut. Donegal’s defence hassled and harried, and blocked well when Christopher’s forwards eventually found shooting space. Brian Kelly and Michael McGinty restored Donegal’s six point advantage and with 10 minutes to go the writing was on the wall. Eoghan Buckley scored a consolation point in injury time. Donegal will need to regroup quickly for their next assignment, while Christopher’s still have football to play themselves. They will face the Shannon Blues in an intermediate semi-final, also on Tuesday night.

Christopher’s: P. Kenneally, C. McDonald, C. Alyward, B. Kelly, C. Brosnan, R. Good, B. McNally, D. Kenneally, A. Maloney (0-2), S. Kelly (1-0), J. Moylan, E. Buckley (0-3), E. McCarthy (0-1). Donegal: M. Boyle, T. Maguire, N. Collins, D. Graham, G. Reddin, K. Lillis (0-1), M. McGinty (0-3), J. O’Loughlin (0-2), B. Lafferty (0-2), B. Kelly (0-2), C. Carr (0-2), S. Burke, P. Kelly (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Sun August 22 - Senior Hurling Semi-Final: Galway v Wexford

Galway 4-19 Wexford 1-10

Galway progressed to the senior hurling final as they defeated last years finalists, Wexford, in a surprisingly one sided game. Galway adapted to the wet, heavy conditions and with their forward line on song, the tribesmen established a nine point half time lead. Wexford’s performance in the second half was much improved, however, scoring was something that Wexford were having trouble with. The difference between the sides was so great that there was little to excite the neutrals in the crowd in the second half. Wexford did not have the services of Ryan O’Dwyer or Stephen White to avail of, both players a big loss against a Galway side that came out swinging.

Galway's Aidan Callnan clears his lines against Wexford.
Galway held a decided advantage at the end of the first half. The forward line fired on all cylinders. The two Willies, O’Dwyer and Hyland, accounted for eight of Galway’s eleven first half points. With the free taking duties, Hyland had eight to his credit, and O’Dwyer two at the end of the first 30. Wexford struggled to adapt to the conditions, while Galway dug in and did a good job keeping Wexford’s forward line from doing much damage. In the half back line Aidan Callnan and Eoin Whooley worked hard on the wings and Brian Regan held center back well. An early goal for Galway helped settle the westerners. Hyland played a long ball in and Enda Concannon got a touch to direct the ball past Edmund Sprune in the Wexford goal. Wexford hit back shortly afterwards. Peter Ryan netted in similar fashion for Wexford. JJ Kenny’s shot from a tight angle was batted down by Eric Ward and Ryan was waiting to tap the ball into the net from close range. Wexford, however, struggled to come to grips with the game and Galway looked purposeful in controlling affairs. After opening a four point lead, Galway hit with a second goal, again from Concannon. Dominic Magill and JJ Kenny put back to back points over for Wexford, but Galway strung four scores together in the run in to half time. At the half it was Galway well ahead, 2-11 to 1-5.

Galway continued their blitz in the second half. After Hyland extended the lead with a point, Willie O’Dwyer ran through the Wexford defence and belted home Galway’s third goal from 21 yards. Still 25 minutes to go and the game was pretty much up for Wexford. Galway’s lead was extended to 13 points mid-way through the half, and while Wexford’s performance was a notch or two higher than it had been in the first half, putting points on the scoreboard proved to be a tough endeavor. Wexford were forced to go looking for goals early. A Joe Maher 21 yard free was drilled at a wall of maroon shirts and bounced off it. Soon afterwards substitute James Foley found himself clean through, but his low shot was acrobatically saved by Eric Ward. Galway saw out the game with a trolley of points from Concannon and Hyland. Concannon completed his hat trick of goals in injury time. Galway may not have expected to have it so easy against Wexford. Tipp next Sunday will be an entirely different matter.

Galway: E. Ward, P. Nolan, S. Curley, A. Callnan, B. Regan, Whooley, G. Lally (0-1), S. Dineen, S. Maher (0-1), W. O’Dwyer (1-2), W. Hyland (0-11), S. Murphy (0-1), E. Concannon (2-4). Wexford: E. Sprune, B. Dalton, B. Healy, S. Prendergast, D. McGill (0-2), D. Redmond, D. Lyng, J. Kehoe (0-1), G. O’Connor (0-3), J.J. Kenny (0-1), T. Maloney, J. Maher (0-1), P. Ryan (1-0). Sub: J. Foley (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Sat August 21 - Junior Football semi-final: Shannon Blues v Donegal

Shannon Blues 0-8 Donegal 1-10

Donegal overcame the challenge of Shannon Blues in the first of the Junior A football semi-finals on Saturday. The northerners got some great performances from Paddy McLoughlin at wing back, Christy McLoughlin at center forward, and Eamonn McCarney at corner forward to keep an edge on their opponents through the second half. The Blues gave it a go and could have leveled affairs late in the game, having won a penalty, but the shot went wide and Donegal went on to march into next Sunday’s final.

Paddy McLoughlin bursting forward for Donegal.
The opening stages of the first half were dominated by the Blues. With the defence on top of Donegal, the Blues enjoyed most of the possession. Brendan Driscoll at center back directed play out of defence, and with Pat Murray motoring in midfield, Ulick Leonard, Nick Murray, and wing back Conor Fitzgerald pointed. Eamonn McCarney had opened the scoring with a point for Donegal, and trailing by three points to one, the Donegal men found their stride mid-way into the second period. Paddy McLaughlin, and his namesake Christy, each pointed to level matters, and Christy then almost goaled. Having made his own opening, McLaughlin tried to place the shot to the far post and the ball came back off the foot of the post. Soon afterwards, Donegal had their goal. Jonathan Byrne was found with a ball over the top and the Malin man beautifully placed his shot into the far corner. The sides traded points to bring us to half time with the Blues leading by a goal, 1-4 to 0-4.

The Blues tried everything to swing affairs to their advantage in a scrappy second half that had several stoppages. Wing back, Conor Fitzgerald, put in a fine performance in the second period, while Nick Murray and Mark Green made every effort to claw back the deficit. With Paddy McLaughlin making darting forward runs, Donegal stretched their lead to five points after the restart. Donegal had an early goal chance, but Kieran McGee’s close range shot was saved by Gary Henry. Paddy McLaughlin pointed and was followed by Christy with another. With 20 minutes to go the Blues launched a comeback effort. Nick Murray pointed, and Mark Green added another. Christy McLaughlin and Green then traded points and the difference between the sides stood at a goal. The Blues had a chance to level the game after Alan Garry, who had come on as a substitute was dragged down in the square. Mark Green faced the imposing figure of Colin Murphy in goal for Donegal, and Green tried to place the shot high to Murphy’s left, but missed the mark. Following the let off, Donegal pressed home the advantage. Emmet Doonan extended the lead to four, and Christy McLaughlin made it six with a points from frees, one followed the sending off of Brendan Driscoll for Shannon Blues. A good win for the Donegal, and the northerners await the winners of Sunday’s semi-final between New England Celtics and Aiden McAnespies in the final.

Blues: G. Henry, P. Moriarty, G. Jones, C. Fitzgerald (0-1), B. Driscoll, M. Keegan, P. Murray, N. Murray (0-3), D. Simms, M. Green (0-2), S. Griffin, U. Leonard (0-2), B. Dowdell. Donegal: C. Murphy, H. Devine, K. Coyle, P. McNulty, R. Porter, P. McLaughlin (0-2), E. Doonan (0-1), P. O’Connor, K. McGee, C. McLaughlin (0-5), B. Friel, J. Byrne (1-0), E. McCarney (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday Aug 21 - Junior Hurling Sem-Final: Fr. Tom Burke's v Wexford

Fr. Tom Burke’s 2-8 Wexford 0-12

Tom’s trailed for almost all of this junior hurling semi-final, and the first lead that they held was in injury time. Trailing by four points early in the second half, Tom’s dug deep and set themselves up for a dramatic injury time winning goal, scored by Robbie Croft, who had entered as a substitute.

Two Tom's men under the puckout.
Wexford held the advantage in the early exchanges. Dave Power’s free-taking was good and Wexford took advantage of frees blown their way. Power opened the scoring with a free, and that was followed by two James Foley strikes from play. Tom’s leveled the scores with a goal from Robert Griffin. A long ball from Aidan Staunton hit Griffin on the edge of the square and Griffin finished well. However, with Wexford’s defence clearing their lines well and the midfield moving the ball well, the Brighton side soon restored their lead. Niall Maloney and Dave Power put three points over the bar between them. Eugene Cummins put Tom’s lone point of the first half over the bar with a fine effort, and at the break it was Wexford by two point, 0-6 to 1-1.

Tom’s enjoyed the advantage of a slight breeze in the second half, but it was Wexford who struck first to start the second period. Colm Kearns put a nice strike over the bar right out of the gates and Dave Power made it a four point Wexford lead soon afterwards. The sides traded scores, David Hession put a 65 over the bar for Tom’s and Colm Kearns answered for Wexford. Tom’s raised their efforts and with 20 minutes to go sensed that a win was there for the taking. Gary Hannifey and Robbie Croft had entered the fray for Tom’s. Hannifey got very involved at wing forward, while Croft’s major contribution would come at the very end. A point from Mark Waldren and another long free from Hession cut Wexford’s lead in half, and Robert Griffin reduced it to one. Tom’s drew level after Dave Power had restored Wexford’s lead to two, Hession and Hannifey the responsible parties. After Dave Power put Wexford one to the good, and yellow cards were issued to Mark Gordon and Mark Waldren, it looked as if Tom’s would come up short. Tom’s had one last chance. Dermot Fox came out from goal and dropped a long bomb into the Wexford square. Croft grabbed the breaking ball and amid a crowd of defenders, booted the ball into the back of the net. Tom’s hung on for the last couple of injury time minutes and advance into the junior hurling final where they face Tipperary.

John Joe O'Neill clears for Wexford.

Tom’s: D. Fox, L. Guinan, M. Markham, M. Gordon, E. Cummins (0-1), A. Staunton, P. Staunton, K. Mooney, D. Scullane, D. Hession (0-4), J. Dooley, R. Griffin (1-1), M. Waldren (0-1). Subs: G. Hannifey (0-1), R. Croft (1-0). Wexford: E. Spruhan, JJ O’Neill, P. Nolan, T. Murphy, J. Hanley, S. Gallagher, C. O’Caireallain, P. Grace, N. Maloney (0-1), C. Kearns (0-2), C. McArdle, J. Foley (0-2), D. Power (0-7).

By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Objections Objections - Semi-Final Update

Alright then, the senior and intermediate football semi-finals schedule has been thrown off due to an objection from Armagh-Notre Dame against Shannon Blues resulting in the points for that game (which the Blues won) going to Armagh-Notre Dame.  See below for the updated table that results:
So, as you can see, the top three teams are Tones, Macs, and Armagh-ND.  The 2:30 senior football game tomorrow is a semi-final between McAnespies and Armagh-ND.  At 5:00 there will be a playoff between Donegal and Christopher's for fourth place.  The winner of that game will play Wolfe Tones in the semi-final provisonally scheduled for Tuesday 8/24 at 5:45.

Also, since Shannon Blues and Connemara Gaels are now tied for the last intermediate playoff place, they will play in a playoff at 1:15 Sunday.  Winners play the losers of the Christopher's v Donegal playoff in the intermediate semi-final also on Tuesday 8/24 at 4:30.

Crazy stuff.  Just as well I did not go writing previews. 

The full schedule for the weekend is below:

Saturday August 21, 2010
Field A
2:30 Jr Hurling - Fr Tom Burkes v Wexford
3:45 Jr A Football - Donegal v Shannon Blues
5:15 Intermediate Football - Kerry v Galway
Field B
4:15 Jr B Football - Galway v Mayo

Sunday August 22, 2010
Field A
12:00 Jr A Football - Aidan McAnespies v Celtics
1:15 Intermediate Football Playoff - Connemara Gaels -v- Shannon Blues
2:30 Sr Football semi-final - Aidan McAnespies v Armagh Notre Dame
3:45 Sr Hurling - Wexford v Galway
5:00 Sr Football Playoff - Christophers v Donegal
Field B
3:15 Jr B Football - Connemara Gaels v Donegal

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recap of last weekend's action and a look forward to the semi-finals with Denis O'Brien

#125 Down to semis in Boston

Final Tables and Semi-Finals Schedule

Semi-Finals Schedule

Saturday August 21
2:30 Junior Hurling:  Fr. Tom Burke's v Wexford
3:45 Junior A Football:  Donegal v Shannon Blues
5:00 Intermediate Football: Kerry v Shannon Blues
Field B
4:45 Junior B Football:  Galway v Mayo

Sunday August 22
12:00 Junior A Football:  Aidan McAnespies v Celtics
1:15 Intermediate Football:  Armagh-Notre Dame v Galway
2:30 Senior Football:  Aidan McAnespies v Christophers
3:45 Senior Hurling:  Wexford v Galway
5:00 Senior Football:  Wolfe Tones v Donegal
Field B
3:15 Junior B Football: Connemara Gaels v Donegal