|Paul O'Donoghue was one of the stars in Canton in 2011.|
The senior football championship took on a new format with the top 6 making the senior championship playoffs. That meant that late in the season 9 of the 11 teams had a chance of making the playoffs. It was clear that all 11 clubs involved had put in a lot of time and effort into fielding top quality teams. The games were highly competitive and of the level of play was impressive. The 6 teams that made it in the end were Aidan McAnespies, Connemara Gaels, Christopher’s, Wolfe Tones, Donegal, and Galway. Galway made their first senior championship semi-final in over 20 years and were unlucky to go down to the Connemara Gaels in the semi-final. It was Aidan McAnespies however, put their stamp on the season. The senior footballers went unbeaten all year. Having claimed the Pat O’Brien Cup in May, McAnespies assembled a squad of players that would go 12-0 for the Boston and NACB senior championships. The team looked unstoppable at times and played a brand of football that made very good teams look very ordinary. The only time the South Boston side looked vulnerable was in the second half of the semi-final against Christopher’s. The game looked over bar the shouting at the break as McAnespies held a seeming unassailable lead. However, Christopher’s stormed back and but for a couple of key saves by goalkeeper, Ciaran Kendrick, McAnespies could have found themselves on the outside looking in.
The final pitted McAnespies against the Connemara Gaels who were celebrating 50 years and hoping to mark the occasion with a senior championship. The Gaels had put in some inconsistent performances but there was no denying the strength of a side that contained several players of intercounty pedigree. Offaly man Brian Connor starred for the Gaels in the middle of the field all season, while Pat McNicholas and Barry Murphy were 2 of the players that formed a talented back line. McAnespies, however, held the edge throughout the game, and with the Gaels looking like making a second half charge; 2 goals sealed their fate. They came fittingly from corner forwards, and St Mary’s Caherciveen men, Paul O’Donoghue and Sean Cournane. A few of the players who characterized the unselfish nature of the team were Niall Gallen, Sean Hughes, Plunkett Kane, Gareth O’Neill, Mark Little, and Philip Toner. The Boston representatives worked hard to win the North American Championship in very difficult conditions in San Francisco and showed a lot of patience and character to hold off a stiff challenge from Parnell’s of Chicago in the final.
Wolfe Tones broke the Donegal-McAnespies hold over the junior A football championship with an impressive win over Donegal in the final. The side contained many veterans of previous campaigns, Kevin Gorham, Joey Farrell, Alo and Marty McGeough, and Mick Sammon led the way for the Blue side of South Boston. The junior B championship also went to McAnespies who defeated Galway in the final. Captained by Eoin McCusker, the side also featured such stalwarts as Eugene McKenna, Ollie Guirke, Peadar Nugent, Nigel Regan, and Stephen McGettigan.
|Cillian Murphy and Eoghan Naughton each starred |
for their clubs at senior and junior level respectively.
|Junior C Portland Hurling Club made the trip to |
San Fran for the NACB Finals.
The Ladies of Tir na nOg and the Boston Shamrocks battled it out for the rights to represent Boston at the NACB finals in San Francisco. Tir na nOg swept all competitions, winning the Ladies Senior and Junior championships, and also taking the Orla Benson Cup. Unfortunately for Tir na nOg the trip to San Francisco did not result in a fourth trophy for the club. Mairead Farrell’s from Philadelphia had the Boston ladies fighting an uphill battle for most of the game, and a late three goal salvo was not enough to turn things around in favour of Tir na nOg. In Sinead Bannon and Caroline Nee the club have some home grown talent, while Lisa Brick, Natalia Hyland and Mairead Luttrell amongst others, starred for the Brighton based team. The ladies had to show some innovation given the current situation in Boston and during the year held a very successful 7-a-side blitz featuring players from teams in Philadelphia and New York. A new ladies football team is in the works, the Connaught Rangers, which is hopefully a sign that things are back on the upswing for Ladies football in Boston.
|Hurling was to the fore at the CYC |
and the youngsters displayed a high skill level.
The Connemara Gaels celebrated 50 years with a banquet in Florian Hall. Joe McDonagh and Declan Meehan were guests of honour. Michael O’Muircheartaigh was guest of Honour at the Irish Pastoral Center’s annual banquet. There were 6 trophies on display at the Wexford HC and Tir na nOg banquet. The Ladies Junior, Senior, and Orla Benson Cup and the Boston and North American junior hurling trophies as well as the Kieran Sheehan Cup. Sam Maguire also spent a couple of days in Boston as several of the Dublin football team brought the storied trophy to the masses.
2012 will present the challenges, many of which can be anticipated and others not. Hopefully the hard work at underage level will continue and the local teams will continue to grow. At adult level the quality of competition in both hurling and football will be hard to repeat, but clubs are already preparing for what will should be be another successful year.
By Rory O'Donnell