Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Na Fianna San Fran defeat Galway in Senior Hurling Final.

Final: Galway 1-6 Na Fianna San Francisco 3-14

Galway arrived in San Francisco with a team that was severely depleted from the one that lifted the Boston championship the week before. The Galway boys made the most of it and defeated Vancouver in the semi-final on Saturday by a score of 0-17 to 0-13. Conditions on Treasure Island were difficult given the stiff cross-field breeze. Galway led at the break by four points, 0-9 to 0-5, though it seemed the breeze favoured them in the first half. Vancouver worked their way back into the game and got within one point late in the game, but Galway stuck to the task and three points late in the game saved their bacon. It looked as if Vancouver had the momentum, but Keith Killilea put a point over on 24 minutes, and Paul Guinan pointed two late frees to give Galway the four point cushion. Vancouver had chances to win the game but on one or two occasions when it seemed as if a goal was on, could not produce the goods. Galway went on to face Na Fianna who looked very good in their semi-final defeat of their local San Francisco rivals Naomh Padraig.

The Galway Hurlers made the final but did not have enough for Na Fianna.
Galway were up against it in the final. Na Fianna were fit and sharp and Galway did not get much change from the opposing back line. By the time the first half was 20 minutes old Galway were behind by eight points and it did not get much better. Kieran Grehan pointed five times, four from frees, while wing forward Shane Maher netted two goals, the second coming with five minutes left in the half. For their part Galway got a sterling performance from Killian Murphy at corner back and Sylvie Lennane in the half back line. Galway pointed twice from Paul Guinan frees and really should have had more to show for their efforts on the scoreboard. There were several missed scoring chances that would have put some respectability on the scoreboard. At the break Na Fianna led by a score of 2-8 to 0-2. The trophy looked destined for San Francisco.

And so it was. Galway lifted their effort somewhat in the second half, but were still not a match for the local outfit. Shortly after the restart Maher had his hat trick and further points came from Grehan and Jody Brennan. Galway managed scores from Fintan O’Leary, Killilea and Guinan. It became a matter of waiting for the final whistle as the outcome was in no doubt. Paul Guinan netted from a 21 yard free to make things look respectable but Galway just did not have the horses, while for Na Fianna it must have seemed too easy. It must be noted that Turloughmore native and Galway HC veteran, Josie Fahy, togged and made an appearance in the final minutes of the game. The last time the finals were held in the Bay Area a decade ago Galway also faced Na Fianna in the senior hurling final. Back then it was Galway who had the facile win with a team that contained names such as Budddy Curley, David Franks, Jeffrey Lynskey, and Martin Cullinane. It seems however as if the Galway Hurling Club is back on the rise after 10 years in the doldrums.

Galway: D. Kilmartin, A. Murphy, K. Murphy, D. McMahon, S. Lennane, L. Byrne, D. Murray, G. McNamara, P. Guinan, F. O’Leary, J. Byrne, K. Killilea, J. Kinsella, S. Corbett, J. Fahy. Na Fianna: M. Bagery, L. Gormley, A. Cuddihy, J. Walsh, G. Wheelock, A. Cunnane, J. Hayes, S. Burrows, J. Molloy, S. Maher, K. Grehan, J. Brennan, M. Doyle.

By Rory O'Donnell

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