Monday, May 28, 2012

Boston GAA Schedule

The first two pieces of silverware are on offer next Sunday.  The Boston Shamrocks and Tir na nOg will contest the Orla Benson Cup final to get the day started, while Tipperary and Fr. Tom Burke’s will play for the Kieran Sheehan Cup immediately afterwards.  There are also three senior football championship games on the card, with Mayo looking to give Aidan McAnespies a surprise, Cork facing another tough test when they meet Shannon Blues, and Christopher’s crossing swords with Armagh-Notre Dame.

Saturday June 2

Worcester, Mass.
3:00 Junior C Hurling:  Worcester v Portland

Irish Cultural Center, Canton Mass.
5:30 Junior A Football:  Wolfe Tones v Donegal
5:45 Junior B Football:  New England Celtics v Galway

Sunday June 3
Irish Cultural Center, Canton Ma
Field A
11:30 Orla Benson Cup Final:  Tir na nOg v Boston Shamrocks
12:45 Sheehan Cup Final:  Tipperary v Fr. Tom Burke’s
2:30 Senior Football:  Aidan McAnespies v Mayo
3:45 Senior Football:  Cork v Shannon Blues
5:00 Senior Football:  Armagh-Notre Dame v Christopher’s

Field B
12:30 Junior B Football:  Donegal v Mayo
3:15 Junior B Football:  Armagh-Notre Dame v Hartford

Senior Football: Cork v Donegal

Donegal 1-14 Cork 1-5

Young Donegal supporters Ryan and Darragh Rush.
Cork were handed a tough assignment to get their 2012 championship season started when they drew the men from the other end of the country.  Donegal, who are looking very strong at this early stage, proved too much for Cork, and the northerners added two points to their tally in the quest for the 2012 senior football championship.  For much of the first half Donegal kept their southern counterparts scoreless, and tallied a goal and six points without getting into top gear.  Garbhan Friel netted the goal and points came from Brian White, Niall O’Connell, and Michael McGinty.  Cork battled away and generated some positive moves, the goal coming late in the first half from Peter Kirwan at corner forward.

The second was more of the same.  Rocky Ivers, Kieran Williams, and Brian Donnelly all did well in keeping the door shut on any hope Cork had of denting the Donegal lead, while Cork did manage to make the scoreline somewhat respectable.  Packie Leddy and Mike Moynihan accounted for points for the rebels.  Donegal looking good early on and with Kerry getting a draw against Galway find themselves on top of the table.

Donegal:  P. Boyle, D. Doyle, M. Canning, P. Wanish, C. Bell, K. Mulhern, B. White, B. Donnelly, N. O’Connell, M. McGinty, R. Ivers, G. Friel, C. Williams.  Cork:  J. O’Toole, C. Caffrey, E. Driscoll, M. Lee, J. Hogan, D. Mulvey, P. Leddy, M. Burke, E. O’Sullivan, M. Moynihan, J. Crowley, P. Kirwan, D. Hughes.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Mayo

Galway 0-10 Kerry 0-10

Galway and Kerry played out an entertaining draw to end the day’s action at the ICC in Canton.  For much of the game it looked as if Kerry would take both points as the Kingdom had the edge over Galway when moving the ball forward and won most of the possession.  Galway dug deep in the final minutes and two late points salvaged a draw to get them off the mark with two games played.

Galway's Tom Walsh rises highest for this ball.
Galway had the better of the early going and went into a four points to no score lead.  Peter Nolan opened the account after a lovely cross-field ball from Eoghan Kavanagh.  Jamie Keogh followed with a superbly taken score, and followed with a second to put Galway into a three-point lead and Kerry yet to score.  Kerry got their act together however.  Ian Whelan and Ian Somers began to win more midfield ball and supply the forward line.  Whelan got Kerry off the mark while Padraig Doyle added a second.  With Kerry in the ascendancy they pulled ahead, and could have had a goal at one point.  Robbie O’Hanlon was through and fired low, but the ball carried just over the bar.  Galway moved Tom Walsh from corner forward to center forward in an effort to win more ball, and Peter Nolan ended the half with a point to make it Kerry 0-7 to 0-5 for Galway.

Kerry's Donnacha Fenton shoots.

Galway started the second half well with a Jamie Kehoe pointed free.  Kehoe was pretty much it for Galway up front, though Tom Maoloney almost netted early in the second half, but his angled shot came off the crossbar.  Galway tried to turn the tide in their favour, but Kerry proved to be a stubborn opponent and refused to be overtaken.  Shane O’Neill matched Kehoe’s point, and O’Hanlon pointed twice to one point from Kehoe to keep Kerry’s noses ahead.  Galway did not do themselves any favours, and on a number of occasions what appeared to be the beginning of a promising move ended up the ball getting turned over to Kerry hands.  Galway almost had a goal chance as Tom Walsh found himself running through, but was bundled down just outside the box.  Jamie Kehoe miskicked the free and yet another chance went awry.  Galway dug deep with the time running out and leveled the scores thanks to two hard won points.  The first came from a move that began with Gerry Bannon at corner ball and was finished by Tom Walsh.  The second came from a Kehoe free after Peter Nolan was fouled and it was all square with minutes left on the clock.  Each side had their chance to win both points, but Whelan kicked wide for Kerry and for Galway Kehoe tried to pull on the ball from just out side the box but his shot went off a defender and out.  With that the final whistle sounded and the sides had to be happy with sharing the points, which was a fair result in the end.

Galway:  P. McComiskey, G. Bannon, R. Vickers, JJ O’Neill, S. Gallagher, P. Cummins, T. Walsh, E. Kavanagh, T. Maloney, P. Nolan, O. Doherty, J. Kehoe, T. Walsh.  Kerry:  S. O’Leary, M. Godley, G. O’Ciamhan, J. Dooley, K. O’Connor, R. Coyne, I. Whelan, I. Somers, P. Doyle, M. McCarthy, D. Fenton, S. O’Neill, R. O’Hanlon.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Mayo

Connemara Gaels 1-15 Mayo 1-8

The Gaels and Mayo got their senior football championship campaigns off to a start on Sunday afternoon.  It was an exciting, tight game for the most part, though in the last five minutes the Gaels put enough daylight between the teams to feel comfortable down the stretch. 

The Gaels Kieran Lowe shoots.
Mayo had the better of things in the first half.  Right from the throw-in Sean Kenny pointed and was followed by a free from wing forward, Kevin McAllister.  McAllister was a useful element in the Mayo effort and worked hard throughout the 60 minutes.  The Gaels had some early chances that were wasted due to wayward kicking, but eventually midfielder Noel Graham got the Connemara men on the scoreboard with a pointed free.  Rather than settle the Connemara side, it was Mayo who played the better football.  Three unanswered points came from Damien McNicholas, McAllister, and McNicholas again.  Meanwhile, the forays forward from the Gaels resulted in little as the Mayo back line dealt with whatever came their way.  Mayo used a short kickout strategy that was working well.  Once the Gaels copped on and began to deal with the short kickouts they got some change from Mayo.  With 10 minutes to go in the half the Gaels put a well-worked goal away, it was Graham Delaney who finished a nice move involving Brian Joyce and Coleman Mulkerrins.  Delaney followed with a point, as did Joyce, and the door creaked open for the Gaels.  Mayo hit with a goal of their own just as the momentum seemed to be going the other way.  Gerard O’Malley took advantage of the newfound freedoms of the amended square ball rule and fisted a high ball into the net from inside the small square.  The sides then traded points to make it 1-6 to 1-4 in Mayo’s favour at the break.

Sean Conneeley on the run.

The second half saw a much-improved performance from the Gaels who saw some of their key players step up and make the difference.  Graham Delaney had three well-taken points from his half forward berth inside the first 10 minutes of the restart, while Sean Conneeley and Mulkerrins also contributed.  The Gaels did most of the attacking as midfielders Noel Graham and Brian Joyce became more involved involved in the game.  A free won by Joyce and pointed by Graham put the Gaels a goal to the good.  Now it was Mayo who were having a hard time locating their men in the forward line.   Michael Coyne and Damien Doolin did a tight job in the corner back positions.  Delaney and substitute Kevin Owens added two more points.  The Gaels shored up the back line by moving Sean Conneeley back and saw out the final five minutes of the game.  It was a hard won two points for the Gaels, and Mayo will fancy their chances of taking points off teams this season.

Gaels:  J. O’Donnell, D. Doolan, M. Coyne, C. Conroy, S. Curran, K. Lowe, G. Delaney, B. Joyce, AJ Maguire, N. Graham, S. Conneeley, C. Mulkerrins, J. Casey.  Mayo:  B. Cassidy, A. Coyne, S. Clifford, P. O’Donoghue, K. Comer, M. Murphy, G. Callaghan, S. Kenny, D. McNicholas, D. Igoe, K. McAllister, G. O’Malley, C. Walsh.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sheehan Cup Hurling: Tipperary v Wexford

Wexford 0-8 Tipperary 0-9

It was a heavy hot Saturday afternoon that greeted Tipperary and defending cup champions, Wexford with the winners to face Fr Tom Burke’s in the Sheehan Cup final next Sunday.  The sides delivered an entertaining game of hurling, with Tipperary winning by the narrowest of margins.

Cronin Dempsey takes a sideline cut.
At the end of the first period the sides were tied at three points each.  Scores were at a premium as each defence had the better of things.  Wexford had Eoghan Kavanagh and Kevin Sheerin in the forward corners, but John Roche and John Kindregan had the better of their men.  Donal Redmond shone at the back for Wexford in the first half as the ball made its up and down the field, but rarely went dead, never mind for a score.  After Tipp missed their first two chances, Cronin Dempsey put the ball between the sticks.  Tom Maloney answered for Wexford. Playing in the middle of the field, Maloney was at the forefront of the Wexford effort.  Sean Moriarty, who always looked dangerous on the wing put Tipp ahead, and added another soon afterwards.  Maloney drove from midfield as the half wound down and out it over himself, and just before the whistle Dominic Magill put the score of the game over from his own 65-yard line.

Wexford's Tom Maloney on the attack.
The second half opened with two points apiece and Wexford looked like they were picking up the effort.  After Ray McKeown and Moriarty put Tipp ahead by two points, Maloney, Jason Foley, and Jamie Keogh fired three unanswered over the bar to put Wexford in the lead.  Moriarty and Mark Jordan, who had moved to the edge of the square pulled Tipp within a point.  Wexford had a golden chance to put themselves four to the good and possibly put the game away.  Good work by Eoghan Kavanagh on the edge of the square ended up with the ball going across to the unmarked Jason Foley on the edge of the small square, but Foley was unable to connect and the chance went awry.  Sean Moriarty, Jordan, Colm McCrory and Pat Moriarty, brother of the aforementioned Sean who was playing at half back, put four straight over the bar between them to give Tipp a three point lead with minutes left.  Wexford in the meantime had missed four good scoring chances. Kevin Sheerin put Wexford’s last two chances over the bar from frees.  The last one required a goal, and the shot was low but went inches over the bar to end the game.  So, next Sunday there is sure to be a new name on the cup with Tipperary and Fr. Tom Burke’s in the final.

Wexford:  E. Spruhan, P. Nolan, D. Redmond, B. Dalton, D. Magill, JJ O’Neill, J. Foley, T. Maloney, C. Kerins, P. Ryan, J. Kehoe, K. Sheerin, E. Kavanagh.  Tipp:  S. Delaney, J. Kingregan, J. Roche, P. Moriarty, A. McRedmond, A. Callnan, C. Dempsey, F. O’Doherty, S. Moriarty, R. McKeown, M. Jordan, J. McGrath, C. McCrory.  

By Rory O'Donnell

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Updated Schedule - May 26-27

Boston GAA Schedule

Irish Cultural Center, Canton Mass.

Saturday, May 26
3:00 Junior C Hurling:  Portland v Hartford
5:00 Sheehan Cup Hurling:  Wexford v Tipperary

Sunday May 27
Senior Football Championship
1:15 Cork v Donegal
2:30 Connemara Gaels v Mayo
3:45 Galway v Kerry

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blues, Kerry, Donegal and Wolfe Tones Take the Spoils on Opening Day

Donegal 2-17 Christopher’s 0-9

Donegal and Christophers began their championship campaigns under blues skies at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton on Sunday afternoon.  The teams also met at the opening stage this time last year and are no stranger to each other.  Donegal had the edge that day, and as it turned out, also did one year later.  Christophers started sharp with a point from local youngster, Paudie Kenneally.  Christopher’s also almost had a goal with the ball nearly trickling into the net, but the scare had the effect of waking Donegal out of their slow start.  The northern side began to dominate the game.  Christy Bell and Brian White fired the opening salvos, and were followed with points from Ciaran wiliams and veteran stalwart, Kevin Curran.  A well worked goal from Garbhan Friel followed after a great ball from Brian Donnelly.  White and Donnelly, who made is debut for Donegal, pointed again and shortly afterwards, White scored Donegal’s second goal.  Things were not going well for Christopher’s.  The 2009 champions battled back however, and scores came from Dan Kenneally and Eoin Gorham.  Christopher’s were unlucky not to have a goal as Paudie Ken rally's chance just went wide of the post.  Donegal were in a comfortable half time position, leading by 2-10 to 0-3 for Christopher’s.

Christopher’s opened the second period brightly with a nice scores from Paddy Mainiry and mid fielder Shane Flannagan.  However, once White settled the Donegal nerves with a point from a free that could easily have been a goal, the northern gale began to blow.  Hugh. Devine and Niall McConnell came in for Paul Mc Nulty and Kevin Curran, and scored came from Ciaran Williams and Michael Mc Ginty.  Christophers fought back hard with some great scores from the impressive Eoin Gorham and Shane Flanagan, but the Donegal team under new manager Barney Laverty finished strongly to get their quest for 2012 silverware off to the best possible start.

Kerry 3-6 Aidan McAnespies 1-10

The reigning Boston champions met Kerry to open their title defence and were defeated in a tight, intense game.  McAnespies got off to a flying start with 2 points in the opening 5 minutes, one coming from Colm McCrory.  Kerry opened their account with a fisted goal from Ian Whelan, who met a cross square ball from Robert O Hanlon.  The goal put some fire into the Kerry furnace and the men from the kingdom got on top, and had the aid of a firm breeze.  Padraig doyle pointed for Kerry after 10 minutes, and just after the mid way point of the opening period, Ian Whelan again pointed.  Kerry had a couple opportunities from frees but failed to convert.  McAnespies suffered a long dry spell, but after 24 minutes pointed.  Rather than settle and impress themselves in the game, McAnespies got hit with a one-two punch just before half time.  Two goals in the last 5 minutes rocked the champions.  The first came from Paddy Tanny and the second from Donncha Fenton.  After McCrory pointed for McAnespies it was Kerry who held the lead at the break, 3-2 to 0-5.

Kerry continued to enjoy the advantage in the second half.  A point from Tanny after 8 minutes was followed by another after 14.  McAnespies then went to work realizing that there was a game to win and it was Kerry who experienced the barren period.  For a time it looked as if the experience of the champions would carry them through.  Gareth O’Neill pointed after 19 minutes and converted a free shortly afterwards, while Fergal Doherty urged his cohorts to lift their game..  With less than 10 minutes to go McAnespies won a well earned penalty.  Colm McCrory being the player fouled and also got up to fire the shot home. 

Kerry though, showed some character and fought back, scoring points in the 25th and 30th minutes.  Mike McCarthy pointed a free and Whelan accounted for the other score.  McAnespies were forced to go for goal and almost generated chances on a couple of occasions, but each time the final pass went astray.  With time up McAnespies won a 45 which they dropped into the square, Kerry broke the ball out, and with it Joe Moriarty called time.  First blood to Kerry in what was perhaps a surprise result.

Kerry:  Shane O’ Leary, Mike Godley, James Dooley, Rob Coyne, Kieran O’Connor, Maurice fallon, Ian Somers, Ian Whelan, Padraig Doyle, Paddy Tanny, Donncha Fenton, Rob O Hanlon, Mike McCarthy.

Shannon Blues 2-14 Galway 0-7

With key forwards Danny Reddin and Gearoid O’Connor out with early season injuries Galway faced a tough task on Sunday and went down to an excellent Shannon Blues side.  Eoghan Kavanagh was the man of the match for Galway, while for the Blues Brian Curran and Shane Kelly led the charge. 

Armagh-Notre Dame conceded to Wolfe Tones

Orla Benson Cup

Connacht Ladies 1-1 Tir na nOg 3-10

Tir na nOg got a win over Connacht Ladies to earn a place in the Orla Benson Cup final against old enemies, Boston Shamrocks.  The Connacht Ladies played some great football in the first half and kept with their more established opponents, at the break it was a close 1-0 to 1-3 for Tir na nOg.  In the second half the Brighton side took over as superior fitness told.  Aisling Kerr and Carolyn Egan fought hard for Connacht Ladies, and for Tir na nOg Sinead Bannon and Carolyn Egan played well.

Thanks to John Cunningham, Dan O'Connor, Sharon O'Brien, and Ciara Burns for contributing to this report, and to Majella McFadden for the photos.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Boston Senior Football Championship Kicks Off

The Boston Senior Football Championship begins next Sunday, May 20, at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Mass with four games on the schedule.  Based on what has gone in the cup competitions it promises to be an action packed summer.  There are eleven teams searching for one of six playoff spots, and last year there were 9 clubs in with a shout until the final weeks of the season.  Aidan McAnespies get their title defence off to a start and early season front-runners Wolfe Tones and Donegal are also in action 

Wolfe Tones, seen here following their 7-a-side win in
New York, meet Armagh-Notre Dame on Sunday.
The first game of the day sees 2010 champions and 2012 Pat O’Brien Cup finalist, Donegal, meet 2009 champions Christopher’s.  Though it is early days, Donegal have established themselves as an early front-runner and put in some fine performances so far.  The side features top quality footballers such as Brian White, Christy Bell, Garbhan Friel and Thomas Donaghue.  I would also not be surprised to see a contribution from old hands, Kevin Curran and Michael McGinty.  Christopher’s will have their work cut out to take something from the game.  Dan Kenneally, Pat Delaney, Noel Ryan and company could be in for a rough 60 minutes, and I’d be surprised to see Donegal walk away with anything less than two points.

Aidan McAnespies meet Kerry in the first game of their defence of the championship.  Kerry could present a tough task for the lads from South Boston.  The Kingdom side features quality players such as Kieran O’Connor, Donnacha Fenton and Ian Somers and will fight hard to put one over on the reigning champions.  For their part, McAnespies will have Niall Gallen, Marty Bogue, Gareth O’Neill, Colm McCrory, and Colly Donnelly in what should be a balanced side.  Macs to win, but not without a fight.

Armagh-Notre Dame get Wolfe Tones out of the way in their first game.  The Tones look very strong, even at this stage.  There seems hardly a weakness in the side, and with players up front of the caliber of Marty Farrell, Dan McCabe, and Barry Grogan the men in the back line for the Orchard County will have a tough task on their hands.  Armagh-Notre Dame will have to dig deep to make a game of it, and will look to Frank Meehan and Dominic Magill to produce some of the old magic.  Tones to win with a bit to spare.

The final game of the day features Shannon Blues and Galway.  The Blues have come in to this season fielding the strongest home-based side in many a year, and a win will be the hope.  With the likes of Conor Mullen at the back, Pat Murray in the middle, and Sean Moriarty up front, the Blues have talent spread throughout the field.  Galway will also fancy their chances of getting their season off to a good start, especially with Leon Kelly anchoring the midfield, and players of the caliber of Danny Reddin and Gearoid O’Connor up front, Galway present a tricky hurdle for the Blues.

Not in action on Sunday are Cork, Mayo, and Connemara Gaels who will have to wait a week to get their respective seasons off to a start.

Schedule, Sunday May 20
1:15  Christopher’s v Donegal
2:30  Aidan McAnespies v Kerry
3:44  Wolfe Tones v Armagh-Notre Dame
5:00 Shannon Blues v Galway

Orla Benson Cup
1:45 Tir na nOg V Connacht Ladies

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Orla Benson Cup: Tir na nOg v Boston Shamrocks

Boston Shamrocks 2-9 Tir na nOg 1-7

The Shamrocks and Tir na nOg played a closely contested second round game of the Orla Benson Cup on Sunday.  In the end it was the Shamrocks who made it two out of two with a flurry of scores in the last few minutes of the game.

Boston Shamrocks made it two wins to start 2012.
Tir na nOg had the advantage at the end of the first half and led by a score of 0-5 to 0-3.  The Shamrocks made a change at half time and switched Colleen Cody from midfield into the forward line, and the move paid dividends.  Cody netted a goal and four points in the second period.  Leanne Quinn put in a great performance in the middle of the field, and in her third ever game of gaelic football Sheila Carroll had a fantastic game.  The Shamrocks defence held well thanks to performances from veteran players,Charlotte McGinty, Cathy McEleaney, and Britney Lockwood.  Tir na nOg were in it to the very end and got some great performances from Caroline Nee, Lisa Brick, and Caroline Hanley.

Shamrocks:  N. Heyward, B. Lockwood, S. O’Dowd, C. McGinty, A. McDonnell, C. McEleaney, S. O’Carroll, C. Cody, G. Bailey, S. McGovern, R. Finnegan, T. Doherty, C. O’Connell.  Tir na nOg:  N. McItagh, A. O’Neill, E. Donovan, N. O’Neill, L. Brick, B. Matttie, N. Daly, C. Hanley, E. Kelly, C. Nee, L. Kehoe, S. Bannon,F. Gohery.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sheehan Cup: Tipperary v Fr. Tom Burke's

Tipperary 1-5 Fr. Tom Burke’s 0-8

The hottest day of the young season saw Tipperary and Fr. Tom Burke’s do battle in the second game of the Sheehan Cup.  Similar to last week, Tom’s got off to the better start, but Tipp pulled themselves back into the game and salvaged a draw.  Tipp may be disappointed not to have recorded a victory, especially since they had played most of the second half with a two man advantage.  Tom’s lost Paul McGrath and Ciaran Moore to sendings off.  The first for an off the ball shoulder in the back and the second for a pull across the ankles.

Cormac Joyce-Power clears for Tom's.

Tom’s had the better of things in the first half, though by no means were lording it over their opponents.  James Dooley was involved early, the man from Athenry opened the scoring and then set up the second for Cathal Egan.  Seamie Higgins followed with a free.   Tom’s were playing well from the back line and looked to be a class above Tipp early on.  After Ciaran Moore made it four points to the good for Tom’s Tipp woke up a little and started to get into the game.  After 17 minutes John Roche put a free over the bar to record the first score of the game for the Premier men.  Just before the break Tipp added another to make it a 0-4 to 0-2 game at the break.

Tipp wing back Aidan Callnan
fires the ball down the line.
The wheels fell off the wagon somewhat for Tom’s in the second half.  After the westerners added two points to their tally, Sean Moriarty showed his skills with the stick and the Kerryman put a lovely point over the bar for Tipp following a run down the wing.  Then disaster struck.  Paul McGrath was shown a red card for his off the ball indiscretion, and right after play restarted, Ciaran Moore was also sent to the line after a dangerous pull.  Tipp now had the opening to snatch a win.  John Roche and Egan traded scores as Tom’s played with three forwards, and the backs stuck to their task well.  Tipp eventually created the opening however, Moriarty and Colm McCrory got the ball across to Roche who turned and put the ball into the roof of the net.  Tipp were now a point to the good, but Tom’s leveled affairs with an Egan point.  With the final whistle, Tom’s find themselves sitting on two draws, while the winner of next game between Tipp and Wexford, if there is a winner, will be top of the Sheehan Cup table with two games played for each team.

Tipp:  S. Delaney, J. Kindregan, D. O’Brien, A. McRedmond, M. Jordan, A. Callnan, C. Dempsey, N. O’Grady, J. Roche, C. Wallace, S. Moriarty, J. McGrath, B. O’Regan.  Tom’s:  D. Fox, S. O’Brien, J. Doran, P. Heneghan, C. Joyce-Power, D. Moore, P. McGrath, J. Dooley, L. Gunian, S. Higgins, S. Howley, C. Moore, C. Egan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Wolfe Tones v Galway

Wolfe Tones 4-14 Galway 1-6

The second semi-final of the O’Brien Cup was a bit of a one-sided affair.  Wolfe Tones made little fuss of brushing the Galway challenge aside, and after 20 minutes of play it was pretty much over as a contest.  Galway could not cope with the Tones midfield, and the Tones forward line opened up Galway’s defences time and again.  Galway made more of a game of it in the second half, but by that stage there was too much between the teams to make a difference to the final outcome.

Tom Walsh jumps highest for this kickout.
The Tones got out of the gates strong.  Marty Farrell pointed seconds after the throw-in, and after an unlucky deflection off Galway corner back, Robert Vickers, Dan McCabe put the ball into the open net.  The Tones built on their advantage, and it was a considerable one on the balance of play as most of the ball movement was in the direction of the Galway goal.  Barry Grogan, Farrell, and Collie Carr recorded points.  One score in particular was a beauty from Farrell on the wing, and the Tones quick ball movement to get the ball out to him was something that the best of defences would fins hard to stop..  Galway lifted the siege with a goal from Leon Kelly.  Tom Moloney was the provider.  It was a temporary reprieve, however, as the Tones moved the ball out of defence and picked out the forwards.  Two more goals came before half time for the Tones.  McCabe netted a second and Carr the third as the Tones opened up the maroon defence.  Galway managed a couple of points from Jamie Kehoe and Ollie Doherty but when the half time whistle sounded, it was a massive advantage for the Tones who led by 12 points.

The Tones Barry Grogan was a thorn in
the side of the Galway defenders.

The second half was more of the same as the Tones kept on top.  Cormac Joyce-Power entered the game in the middle of the field as did Keith Gill, and Grogan went back to work in the corner.  Galway clawed back a few points, JJ Doyle and Leon Kelly moved the points column a couple of notches but the Tones are proving themselves to be the side to beat in the early season going, and even the introduction of subs showed that there is depth to the squad.  Another goal and a flurry of points finished up the game with the Tones looking forward to getting their 2012 season off to a good start.  It will be an interesting final between the Tones and Donegal, and based on what I have seen I might tip my hat to the Tones to add to their seven a side victory in New York.

Tones:  R. McKeown, A. Curry, D. Lowry, M. O’Brien, G. Brilly, D. McGuire, C. McCarthy, J. Farrell, M. Farrell, C. Carr, B. Cunningham, D. McCabe, B. Grogan.  Galway:  P. McComiskey, G. Bannon, R. Vickers, JJ O’Neill, JJ Doyle, S. Gallagher, E. Kavanagh, L. Kelly, P. Nolan, T. Walsh, O. Doherty, D. Reddin, J. Kehoe.

By Rory O'Donnell 

Pat O'Brien Cup Semi-Final: Connemara Gaels v Donegal

Connemara Gaels 1-10 Donegal 1-14

The Gaels and Donegal played an entertaining 60 minutes of football on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon.  The Gaels had the initiative for the first 30 minutes, but ran out of juice for the second as Donegal gradually chipped away at the lead, and by the time all was said and done, had plenty to spare.  Donegal will now meet the high flying Wolfe Tones in the final of the competition.

Brian White and Graham Delaney are two of the
players leaping for this ball.
The Gaels got off to a great start as the underdog.   By the time the first 30 minutes were played the Gaels found themselves in a seven point lead.  Playing it tight in defence, and with some well taken points from David McDonagh, Coleman Mulkerrins, Noel Graham, and a great effort from Coleman Conroy from wing back, an unlikely result looked on the cards.  The Gaels carried the game to Donegal who may have been a little complacent coming into the challenge.  The possibility of an upset became even more apparent when AJ Magee finished a move with a goal, the running being done by center forward Graham to set up his wing man.  At the break it was 1-7 to 0-3 for the Gaels.

Donegal's Rocky Ivers looks for support as Brian Joyce
moves in to challenge.
The second half began with four unanswered points from Donegal who must have realized that they were in a game when they found themselves looking up a fairly steep hill.  Michael McGinty came in at corner forward for the northerners and Donegals attack took on a whole new set of teeth.  Combines with the leadership of Brian White in midfield, Donegal launched a comeback.  Thomas Donaghue put the first point over the bar, and was followed by White, Garbhan Friel, and White again.  In the meantime, Donegal lost the services of Eddie Kelly to a leg injury, but it did not make a difference to their ascendancy.  The Gaels dug deep to get themselves back into the game and started running out of defence in an effort to turn things around.  A David  McDonagh pointed free resulted, but McGinty answered as the Gaels looked like they had tired and running on close to empty.  The late first half goal was keeping the Gaels on top, but Donegal eventually got on level terms with a goal from Rocky Ivers.  McGinty did the hard work and put the ball across to the unmarked Ivers who sidefooted into the net.  The writing was on the wall for the Gaels now.  Noel Graham conjured up a point from a well taken’50,but Donegal answered with four on the trot from Kevin Curran (2), Mulhern, and a fine score from White.  White was all over the field at this stage, cutting out the danger in defence and helping out the forward line.  The Gaels had a last gasp chance at getting a result.  The westerners launched a late foray and Brian Joyce was tripped by Donegal keeper, Peter Boyle.  Boyle was equal to the kick, however, and got down well to save David McDonagh’s kick.  Donegal advance to the final, though they got a tougher game than possibly expected.

Gaels:  J. O’Donnell, D. Doolan, M. Coyne, C. Conroy, B. Joyce, K. Owens, G. Delaney, T. Griffin, AJ Magee, N. Graham, C. Mulkerrins, D. McDonagh, S. Conneeley.  Donegal:  P. Boyle, M. Canney, K. McColgan, K. Mulhern, C. Bell, D. Rooney, E. Kelly, B. White, T. Donoghue, R. Ivers, K. Curran, G. Friel, J. Byrne.

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Irish Boxer Making Professional Debut May 19; Battle at the Bay a Massive Success

Donegal native, Micheal "OWENS"  McLaughlin, will make his American professional debut at the Dorchester Armory on May 19.  McLaughlin has had 100 fights over his amateur career and has won a numerous titles at both county, provincial, and national level.  In 2005 McLaughlin fought against a Boston select while being a part of an Irish golden gloves team.  He won on that night and his opponent from that night Simeon Dunwell  will also be fighting on this same show in Dorchester on May 19.  McLaughlin's professional record is one win and one draw.  He is a very exciting prospect and is expected to do well in America. 

Donegal man Michael McLaughlin makes his American
Pro Debut on May 19 at the Dorchester Armory.

The Battle at the Bay Fundraising night back in March was a huge success both on the night, with more than 2,000 in attendance, and also after the accounting was done.  There was $52,500 raised for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  The organizers would like to thank everybody involved in making the event such a huge success.  In fact, there will be another white collar boxing night for next year.  If you fancy youself in the ring please get in touch with the organizers.  Thanks again from Mark Porter, Eamonn Kelly, Paddy McDevitt, Kevin Doherty, Peter O'Malley, Mark Vaz.  

The fundraising check presentation at the Marina Bay Sportsplex. 
There will be another Battle at the Bay next year,
such was the success of the event.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gaels and Galway into Cup semis, Connacht Ladies Debut.

Connacht Ladies made their debut in the Orla Benson Cup on Sunday in Canton,
 but lost out to the Boston Shamrocks.
The Boston Shamrocks picked up a win over the new Connacht Ladies side on Sunday.
Armagh-Notre Dame 0-1 Galway 3-9

Galway had an easy win to advance to the semi-final stage of the Pat O’Brien Cup. Armagh-ND had earned a second game in the competition thanks to last week’s win over Christopher’s. With the addition of Leon Kelly to partner Ollie Doherty in the middle of the field, Galway were always in control. Jamie Kehoe bagged a first half goal, and in the second it was Gearoid O’Connor and Kehoe again who rattled the back of the net. Armagh-Notre Dame for their part battled hard but did not have the power to match their opponents. Galway will have their work cut out for them when they face a very strong looking Wolfe Tones in the semi-final.

Armagh-ND: O. Murphy, S. Murney, S. McKenna, F. Meehan, A. Donovan, N. Lowry, Galway: P. McComiskey, G. Bannon, R. Vickars, JJ O’Neill,JJ Doyle, S. Gallagher, O. Doherty, L. Kelly, G. O’Connor, P. Nolan, T. Walsh, D. Reddin, J. Kehoe.

Connemara Gaels 2-7 Shannon Blues 0-12

Connemara Gaels had the slenderest of wins over the Shannon Blues on Saturday afternoon. In an entertaining, open game of football, the Gaels looked well in control at the end of the first half. The Gaels enjoyed a 1-5 to 0-5 advantage and early in the second stretched that lead to six points. Goals from Rosmuc native Sean Conneely and David McDonagh from Leitir Mor put the Gaels in the drivers seat. The Blues made a late run to try and bridge the gap and got within a point, but it was the Gaels who hung on to win a semi-final place against Donegal next week.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sheehan Cup First Round: Wexford v Fr. Tom Burke's

Wexford 2-10 Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-13

Wexford and Fr. Tom’s opened the Kieran Sheehan Cup competition with an entertaining game of hurling on Sunday afternoon. At the end of the first half it looked as if Tom’s had affairs in hand, but Wexford came back in the second to split the difference and earn a point.

Fr Tom's Cathal Egan is pursued by Dominic Magill.
Tom’s had the better of it in the first half as Wexford looked a little sluggish. Shane Howley opened the scoring for Tom’s, and Wexford popped over three points before Tom’s gained control of affairs. It began with a goal from Cathal Egan. Seamus Higgins shot was saved well by Ed Spruhan, and JJ O’Neill looked to clear the rebound but Higgins got his stick to the loose ball and it hot the roof of the net. The points began to flow for Tom’s from that point on. Cormac Joyce Power held the line at center back, and scores came from Howley and Egan. With Wexford on the ropes, Colm Kerins landed a goal that came from sheer determination, followed by a point and Wexford were back in it. At the break it was 1-9 to 1-5 in favour of Tom’s.

Wexford's Gags O'Connor is highest for this ball.
The second half saw Wexford continue to whittle down the deficit. The Slaneysiders were much more in the game, and center forward Kevin Sheerin played a big part in the comeback. Wexford were winning much more ball in critical areas and stunted the Tom’s attack. A goal from a penalty brought Wexford almost on level terms. Sheerin stepped up to take it and landed the ball into the back of the net. Back to back frees from Tom Moloney ended up putting Wexford into the lead, and Shane Howley answered with one for Tom’s to level matters before the final whistle sounded. Tom’s might be a little disappointed not to have taken both points, but on the overall balance of play a draw was a fair result.

Wexford:  E. Spruhan, P. Nolan, D. Redmond, B. Dalton, D. Magill, JJ O’Neill, T. Moloney, J. Kehoe, C. Kerins, K. Sheerin, G. O’Connor, P. Ryan, A. Cass.  Tom’s: D. Fox, S. O’Brien, J. Doran, P. Heneghan, CJ Power, D. Moore, P. McGrath, K. Moore, S. Howley, S. Higgins, D. Hession, C. Egan, T. Doran.

By Rory O'Donnell

Pat O'Brien Cup Q/F: Wolfe Tones v Cork

Cork 0-2 Wolfe Tones 1-9

Wolfe Tones made it to the semi-final of the Pat O’Brien Cup with a relatively easy win over a game Cork side. The Tones established a lead quickly and Cork battled hard but did not look like eating into the deficit. The game ended on a bad note with a knee injury to Wolfe Tones midfielder, Brian Jones. Jones landed awkwardly and looked like he had suffered a dislocated kneecap.

Darren Lowry comes out of defence for the Tones.
 The tone for the game was set from the get go with the heavily favoured Wolfe Tones popping over three points before the first few minutes were out. Dan McCabe, Barry Grogan, and Mike O’Brien being the protagonists. There was a real danger of a rout, but Cork managed to haul themselves into the game. Getting the ball into the hands of Mike Moynihan was the prime objective. Moynihan answered with a point, but the Tones enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and were in control throughout. Barry Grogan at corner forward looked unstoppable, while the midfield duo of Charles McCarthy and Jones spoiled the Tones forward line with the supply of ball. Cork’s Aidan Murphy notched a second point for the rebels as the Corkmen generated some positive momentum. At the half the score reflected the difference between the teams, with the Tones ahead by 0-8 to 0-2.

Early in the second half the Tones hit with a major, Collie Carr buried his shot from close range. He may have learned from a similar chance that fell to Grogan a few minutes earlier and ended up going over the bar. Grogan may have rued his relaxed approach as from a similar position his shot went high. With the Tones well in control the game took an unfortunate turn with the injury to Jones on his first outing. An end was put to affairs and the Tones look forward to a stiff test when they meet Galway next week.

Cork: L. Barden, E. Barry, M. Carolan, C. Gillis, D. Hughes, E. O’Sullivan, J. Horgan, J. Crowley, A. Murphy, M. Moynihan, J. Regan, D. Quinn, F. Glynn. Tones: R. McKeown, A. Curry, D. Lowrey, M. O’Brien, G. Brilly, D. McGuire, C. McCarthy, B. Jones, S. Kelly, C. Carr, M. Farrell, B. Grogan, D. McCabe.

By Rory O'Donnell

Pat O'Brien Cup Q/F - Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 1-10 Aidan McAnespies 0-6

Donegal and Mc Anespies renewed acquaintances in the quarter final of the Pat O’Brien Cup on a Sunday afternoon that was perfect for football. Each side fielded a strong team, though Donegal were that bit stronger and had the game under control for most of the hour. There were a few players returning from seasons past. Brian White and Christy Bell, both players of past campaigns for Donegal, and Collie Donnelly for McAnespies, made a return to the Canton turf. The Donegal side featured a smattering for former U-21 players, Kieran Mulhern, Garbhan Friel and Niall McConnell will surely provide a platform for a promising championship campaign.

Brian White is Sandwiched between
 Collie Donnelly and Gareth O'Neill.
Donegal got the best possible start with a Niall McConnell goal following a high ball to the edge of the square. It was won by McConnell who found the room to shoot and with only Ryan McCrystal to beat, finished easily in the end. White followed with a point as Donegal applied the pressure early. McAnespies lifted their game, in large part thanks to the efforts of Gareth O’Neill in midfield. O’Neill’s determined run out of defence led to the first score from Stephan Gallen. Colm McCrory and O’Neill himself followed with a score each to bring McAnespies within a point. However, with Friel motoring at center forward, Donegal regained control and points followed from Ciaran Williams and McConnell to leave Donegal a goal to the good at the break.

McAnespies Cronan Dempsey and Donegal's Eoin Kelly
 get to know each other.
Donegal put their stamp on the game just after the restart. Four unanswered points from Eddie Kelly, Rocky Ivers, White and Bell put some distance between the teams. Even after a response through McCrory and Collie Donnelly Donegal did not look in any danger of giving up their lead and each side gave the subs a run for the final 10 minutes. With the win Donegal can feel quite confident going into the semi-final of the Cup next week. At this early stage of the season there is a significant depth in the squad with a strong group of players at its core.

Donegal: P. Boyle, M. Canny, D. Doherty, K. Mulhern, K. McColgan, P. McNulty, E. Kelly, B. White, R. Ivers, G. Friel, C. Bell, N. MCConnell, C. Williams.Macs: R. McCrystal, N. Gallen, M. Bogue, J. Roache, C. Dempsey, B. Smyth, S. Lynn, G. O’Neill, S. Gallen, C. Donnelly, P. McCusker, O. MCCusker, C. McCrory.

By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Boston v New York - Danny O’Connor Headlines Fight Night at the House of Blues

May 24 at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street will be a special night for local boxer Danny O’Connor and The Dropkick Murphy’s charity, The Claddagh Fund. For over a century Boston’s baseball players have done battle against their New York counterparts on the Fenway Park diamond across the road, and the rivalry against the city 3 hours down I-95 will taken to the ring. A professional fight night featuring boxers from Boston versus New York will be headlined by Framingham native, Danny O’Connor and Daniel Sostre. The proceeds will go to benefit The Claddagh Fund.

The New England region has a long and proud tradition of producing world champion boxers. Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler are among some of the names that come to mind. The Irish, as one would come to expect, have played a significant role since John L. Sullivan won the hearts of Bostonians and the nation in the late 1800s. Born in Boston’s South End to Irish immigrants, Sullivan was the first sports celebrity in the United States, and held the distinction of being the last bare knuckle champion and the first gloved title-holder. In recent years, Sean Mannion, Kevin McBride, and celebrated on the big screen, “Irish” Mickey Ward, have carried on the thread of Irish and Irish American boxers in the region.

Danny O'Connor will be fighting at the
House of Blues May 24.
Danny O’Connor aims to restore the proud boxing tradition in the northeast corner of the country. Danny hails from Framingham, Mass. and is a light welterweight. He is a 2 time national amateur champ and has a 16-1 professional record with 3 KOs. The 26-year old operates on a hard work and perseverance philosophy. The solitary loss speaks more to Danny’s guts and competitiveness than anything else. Unfortunately, at the time of the fight, nobody recognized the severity of Danny’s condition before the fight. Despite coughing up blood in the locker room, Danny fulfilled his bout and ended up losing on points. It was later determined that Danny had severe anemia and bleeding ulcers. Danny, 26, is in training in Houston under the tutelage of Ronnie Shields. Back to full health, has his eyes set on a world title shot. Shields has trained the likes of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Pernell Whitaker. Danny literally wears his Irish heritage on his shorts and is very much proud of where his Donegal roots. He is a dedicated father and family man.

Danny recently got the backing of the Dropkick Murphy’s through volunteering with their charity, The Claddagh Fund. The Claddagh Fund supports many local charities including the Franciscan Children’s Hospital and the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club. Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphy’s explained how it came to pass. “Danny and I had just become friends,” explained Ken. “He was doing some work for our charity foundation and I quickly realized he was a good kid, a hard worker, a little baby boy to take care of.” Ken thought that he was in a position to use his connections to help Danny on the road to his goal. Ken explained, “I thought maybe I could be of some help to this kid by marketing him to the Dropkick Murphy’s fans and by using some of my local connections to get him some TV and press coverage, but the more I did the more I realized how much more there was to do. It's fun to learn a new business and learn the ropes of something so different but in some other ways so similar to what I do for my real job.”

The night will also feature live music by The Old Brigade and special guests. It promises to be a great night of boxing and music at the House of Blues. Support Danny in his quest to bring a world title to Boston and The Claddagh Fund. Tickets are available by going to or check out Danny’s Facebook page.

By Rory O'Donnell