Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28 - Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Shannon Blues

Shannon Blues 0-9 Aidan McAnespies 0-11

Aidan McAnespies ended the Blues unbeaten run this year in a hard hitting, stop start encounter in which McAnespies prevailed, and they had to in order to avoid relying on the Connemara Gaels beating Donegal next week.  Some great performances from Conor Daly at wing back, Luke Kelly in the half forward line, and Stephen Sherry in midfield was enough to carry the South Boston men over the line at the end of a bruising encounter.

Stephen Sherry getting some attention from Barry Hartnett.
It was all square at the end of the first half.  Neither side managed to get on top of the other, though for a time it looked as though the Blues had the measure of their opponents.  After McAnespies opened their account with a Luke Kelly point the Blues floated 3 over the bar, substitute Kieran Hurley putting one between the posts almost immediately after entering the fray.  McAnespies came into it as the game warmed up, and ended the half on a 4 points to 2 run.  Conor Daly, Kelly, Jamie Doolan and Declan Lally hit the mark.  Daly in the half back line worked hard, as did Stephen Sherry in midfield.  For the Blues Sean Moriarty and BJ Keane got on the scoresheet and it was all 5 each at the break.

Cathal McHugh with Eoin Delmar keeping an eye.
In the second half the Blues lost midfielder Barry Hartnett to injury.  However with about 10 minutes to go Declan Lally was sent to the line for striking out, and as he left the field McAnespies held a slender one point lead.  Lally appeared to get frustrated after having his leg held, but swung out and referee Colm Schwer had no choice.  Some great work by Luke Kelly, Lally, and Sherry led to points from Tobin, Francie Burke, Lally and a wonderful Jamie Doolan score.  Doolan showed exquisite skill to beat his man, pick it up and pop the ball over the bar.  Kelly pointed right from that kickout, and it was a 2 point McAnespie lead as the pendulum swung in their favor.  Following the loss in personnel McAnespies urgently got some fresh legs on the field in the form of Collie Donnelly and David McKenna.  The South Boston men worked hard to keep the lead and successfully did so.  It was edge of the seats stuff at the end though, as the Blues had a last chance at a goal to try and win it, but the McAnespie defence kept the door closed.  Having been in danger of missing out, McAnespies are all the way into a joint second place now, such is the tight nature of the competition.

Blues:  D. O'Brien, K. Hartnett, G. Ryan, S. Kelly, P. Domican, S. Brosnan, B. Hartnett, D. Treacy, S. Moriarty (0-1), R. Blaine, Conor McHugh, Cathal McHugh (0-1), BJ Keane (0-5).  Sub:  C. Hurley (0-2).  Macs:  P. Coakley, E. Rigney, E. Delmar, N. Gallen, C. McClean, C. Daly (0-1), S. Sherry, C. Shine (0-1), L. Kelly (0-3), D. Lally (0-2), C. Tobin, F. Burke (0-1), J. Doolan (0-2).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 28 - Senior Hurling: Galway v Wexford

Galway 1-18Wexford 2-12

Galway pulled joint top of the table with a well earned win over a battling Wexford.  Galway led from the beginning of the game, and from the middle of the first half pulled into a lead that they never looked like giving up.  With the scoring spread across the forward line Galway were well equipped to answer when Wexford looked like making a run at overtaking the lead.

John Moylan on the attack.
Galway held a 3 point lead at the end of the first 30 minutes of play as Wexford hung in thanks to a fine goal from David Drake.  Galway looked to be pulling away, but Drake's strike leveled the scores.  Galway had the aces in the deck starting with Waterford's Daragh Fives at center back, as well as a forward line that can rack up the scores.  The Tribesmen picked off the points, the first coming from a Fives '65.  John Moylan, who is having a fine season, David Collins, and Sean Curran were each on the mark.  Galway pulled ahead as the first half moved on through Moylan, Lupton and Collins scores.  At the break it was 0-10 to 1-4.

Tom Moloney with Pat Lupton in attendance.
Galway looked like they would make a formality out of the second half after David Collins drove home a goal mid way through and pulled 7 points ahead after Pat Lupton followed the score with a point.  Wexford rearranged their lineout, pulling Eoghan Kavanagh to center forward.  The Slaneysiders got the goal back after Brian Clince found Simon Aylward coming in on goal to give him the simplest of finishes from inside the 14.  A goal in it, but it was Galway who still looked in control of affairs.  The westerners got the next 3 points to restore the lead to 6.  Wexford continued to battle it to the end and pulled within a goal thanks to points from Aylward and 2 long range frees from O'Brien, but that was as close as it got.  Galway get the double win over Wexford, and are and are joint top with Tipperary.

Galway:  P. Connors, P. Ryan, C. Murphy, D. McCormack, D. Fives (0-4), D. O'Connor, R. Bergin, S. Curran (0-1), S. Brown, P. Ivors (0-3), J. Moylan (0-4), D. Collins (1-3), P. Lupton (0-3).  Wexford:  E. Spruhan, D. Redmond, M. McCaffery, T. Moloney, P. Nolan, M. Warnock, J. Kehoe (0-2), B. Clince (0-2), S. O'Brien (0-6), D. Drake (1-0), S. Aylward (1-2), J. Flynn-O'Connor, E Kavanagh.

By Rory O'Donnell

July 28 - Senior Football: Kerry v Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones 0-14 Kerry 1-14

Kerry pulled of a win in their final regular season game though Kingdom hearts were their mouths for the final seconds as a Tones goalbound shot beat goalkeeper, Paudi Bailey, but was saved on the line by midfielder, Stephen Cunningham.  Kerry had built an early 8 point lead and after 20 minutes looked to be well on their way, but saw the big lead shrink to one point late in the game.  A late goal from Ronan Kennedy proved to be the winner, and sitting on 7 points, Kerry are at least in with a chance of a playoff game for the quarter finals. 

Joe Fitzpatrick launches another first half attack.
Kerry came out guns ablaze in the first half.  The boys from the kingdom popped four points over the bar before the Tones got off the mark with a Danny Egan point.  Five more followed as Kerry dominated proceedings, and it looked like there was a greater sense of urgency in the green and gold shirts.  Colin Campion, Darragh O'Brien, and Shane O'Callaghan hit the mark and Kerry's lead grew to 8 points.  The Tones eventually woke up and the Kerrymen could not maintain the fast pace for much longer.  Points from Marty Farrell, Egan, and Enda O'Brien pulled the Tones within four points.  At the break it was 0-11 to 0-7 in Kerry's favour.

The second half saw the Tones enjoy most of the play and chipped away at Kerry's lead.  All of the spark and endeavor Kerry had in the first 15 minutes had evaporated.  The Tones midfield took over, while Kerry did themselves no favours on a couple of occasions.  In one instance the Kingdom were very lucky not to concede a goal.  A turnover coming out of defence resulted in the Cormac Joyce-Power bearing down in goal, but the Limerick man's shot was inches over the crossbar.  Kerry's lead shrunk to a single point with less then 10 minutes to go.  Thomas Moolick, John Comerford, and Joyce-Power accounted for scores as the Tones looked to spoil Kerry's Sunday.  There were several misses from the Tones as Kerry rode their luck, and quite frankly looked out of gas.  

Sean Driscoll lines up a shot.
A fracas broke out and resulted in 2 red cards to key players from each side.  Moolick for the Tones and O'Brien for Kerry were shown the line for their involvement and it was now a dozen against a dozen.  Kerry managed to rise enough to avoid what would have been a devastating defeat.  The big score came from substitute Ronan Kennedy who got in behind the defence and netted to put his side 4 points to the good with full time a minute away.  There were anxious moments for Kerry in the injury time minutes as almost every kickout was won by a blue shirt.  Enda Smith had moved to the middle of the field and was under every kickout.  Jason Hickson and Sean Kelly pointed, meaning a goal would tie it for the Tones - and there very nearly was one.  With the injury time minutes ticking by and Kerry agony being extended, it was almost curtains for Kingdom before Cunningham came to the rescue.  Each side on 7 points, but likely without key players coming into their first elimination games in a couple of weeks.

Tones:  C. Hynes, P. Jennings, K. Cleere, J. Hickson (0-1), B. McShea, J. Gonoud, T. Moolick (0-1), J. Comerford (0-1), S. Kelly (0-2), D. Egan (0-2), M. Farrell (0-4), C. Carr, E. Smith (0-1).  Sub:  C. Joyce-Power (0-2).  Kerry:  P. Bailey, D. Larkin, S. Driscoll, M. Godley, B. Kelliher (0-1), E. Mullan, I. Whelan, S. Cunningham, C. Campion (0-3), C. Moriarty, J. Fitzpatrick, D. O'Brien (0-7), S. O'Callaghan (0-2).  Subs:  D. Clabby (0-1), R. Kennedy (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 28 - Senior Football: Donegal v Galway

Donegal 0-18 Galway 0-9

Donegal faced Galway in a must win game in order to retain their interest in the 2013 senior football championship.  The northerners came through in the end, but not without a fight for most of the way.  Galway kept it close until the final 15 minutes when Donegal managed to put some distance between the teams to give themselves a fighting chance for a playoff spot next weekend when a win over the Connemara Gaels will leave 4 teams on 7 points with 3 spots available.

Ryan Rafferty and Donegal pulled out the win.
At the end of the first half Donegal held a one goal lead.  Donegal had to work for everything they got as Galway were not lying down in their final game in the senior championship this year.  For Galway, target man Conor McGreanor was the main marksman, while Sean Kelly and Sean Burke each put a some nice points over the bar for Donegal.  At the break it was 0-7 to 0-4 in Donegal's favour.

Seamus Conneely and Galway battled to end the season
on a positive note, but it was not to be.
Peter Nolan got the first score of the second half as Galway got of to a lively start to the period.  Andy Kelly proved to be a real dangerman at corner forward for the tribesmen.  Kelly accounted for 2 points and won a free for a third that McGreanor converted.  Donegal had scored through Kelly to keep their noses in front, and Galway crept within 2 points of their opponents.   Donegal took over for the final 15 minutes, however.  Burke and Pat Hughes were key men in the front 5, and more of the ball broke for the yellow and green shirts as Galway's effort waned.  Points went over from substitute Gary Maguire, Burke, Ryan Rafferty, and Hughes as Donegal extended the lead to 5 points.  Galway's attacks were now more sporadic while Donegal added a couple of well worked points, notably one that was finished by wing back James Dolan.  Donegal can set the cat amongst the pigeons next week and force a 4 way playoff should they defeat the Connemara Gaels.

Donegal:  G. Shields, M. Canny, A. Williams, S. Doherty, T. Caldwell, J. Dolan, A. Connolly, C. Bell, P. Hughes, S. Burke, P. McLaughlin, R. Rafferty, S. Kelly.  Galway:  M. O'Connor, P. Cummins, N. Freeman, S. Connelly, M. McGinley, B. Lyons, A. McFadeen, M. Kenny, D. Reddin, K. Cummins, P. Nolan, C. McGreanor, A. Kelly.

By Rory O'Donnell

July 27 - Ladies Senior Football: Connacht Ladies v Boston Shamrocks

Connacht Ladies 5-11 Boston Shamrocks 3-4

The Connacht Ladies faced a stiffer test from the Shamrocks than in their previous encounter, but still pulled away with a handsome win at the end of the day.  The win keeps the current champions in top spot with 3 wins from 3 games.  The devestating forward line came into their own mid way into the first half, and extended a 3 point lead to 15 in the space of 15 minutes to put the Shamrocks in a hole they had not chance of getting out of.

Clodagh McGovern battling for the ball with Hazel Poff.
Two goals in the first 5 minutes got the Connacht Ladies off to a great start.  Center forward, Amy Ring, and corner forward Jane Ward were the finishers.  The Shamrocks hit back with 2 goals of their own.  Clodagh McGovern netted both as the Shamrocks were determined not to let this game get away from them.  Ward and Ciara Donnelly in the other corner added 3 points between them and with the Shamrocks having some success going forward it looked as though we had a game on our hands.  Connacht Ladies pulled away however.  A goal from Jackie McDonagh was followed by points from Donnelly, Ring, and Donnelly again as the Connacht forward line kicked up a gear.  The Shamrocks did not make it easy on themselves and conceded two goals late in the half, Donnelly and Ward the scorers, to leave themselves 15 points adrift at the break.

Eyes on the Ball:  Ann Marie Murphy
In the second half the Shamrocks gave their opponents something to think about in the second half as they outscored their opponents by 2 points.  In order to turn the result of the game there was not much hope, however, with Tír na nÓg standing between them and a third crack at the top dogs in a final, the second half performance provided last year's beaten finalists with something to give themselves encouragement. 

Connacht Ladies:  C. Heraty, S. McAleer, E. Beirne, A. Kerr, A. Murphy, J. O'Connell, M. Breen, H. Poff, A. McGlone, A. Gormley, A. Ring, S. Brady, C. Donnelly, J. McDonagh, J. Ward.  Shamrocks:  K. Rohan, B. Lockwood, L. Larkin, E. McGovern, A. McDonnell, R. McHugh, F. Considine, S. Carroll, S. Woods, E. King, S. McGovern, K. Scanlon, L. O'Brien, K. Mullan, C. McGovern.

By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday July 27 - Junior A hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Wexford

Wexford 1-15 Fr. Tom Burke's 2-10

Wexford joined Tipperary at the top of the junior hurling table with a win over defending Boston and NACB champions, Fr. Tom Burke's on Saturday afternoon.  The game was anybody's entering the last 10 minutes, and it was Wexford who did enough to cross the line ahead of Tom's by a nose.  Inistoige was to the fore as native son Ritchie Ryan accounted for the bulk of Wexford's scores.  Though Ryan was the free taker, there were 3 or 4 lovely points from a play from the corner forward, and a goal early in the second half.

Wexford Junior Hurlers came through at the end to beat Fr. Tom Burke's.
The game started with Wexford going into a four points to no score lead.  Tom;s hardly had an attempt at goal in the first 10 minutes, and though there were a few balls dropped into the square, a Wexford player was there to make the clearance.  In addition when the chances did come, Tom's squandered them, two missed frees and a chance or two where a goal attempt was cleared instead of taking the point meant that the Wexford lead remained intact.  Ryan accounted for 6 of Wexford's first half tally, while additional points from Eoghan Flaherty and Dominic Magill meant that there was a four point difference at the break.

Tom's Juniors still looking for the first win of the season.
The game looked like it would get away from Tom's in the second half after Ryan netted.  His marker, Paul Heneghan, did a fine job at corner back but Ryan just needed an inch of room to make his openings and was often found isolated with plenty of room to maneuver.  Tom's had a great chance at goal just beforehand when Fran Keenan was found with room on the 21, but Craig Neville made a superb save to deflect the ball over the bar for a point.  Keenan finally got his opening, not once but twice mid way through the half.  The second goal squirmed under the stick of Neville, and with that Tom's were just a point behind.  Keenan leveled the scores with a point and with less than 10 minutes to go it was all square.  Wexford, who had that little bit more quickness around the middle of the field, got the edge on their opponents with the next three points, 2 Ryan frees and a point from play.  Tom's tried to peg them back, but with time running out needed a third goal and never got a clear chance.  Tom's still looking for a win, and Wexford with 2 wins from 2 games.

Wexford:  C. Neville, P. Nolan, P. Copper, D. Brennan, D. Magill (0-1), T. Edward, J. Foley, S. Connelly (0-1), C. Kerins, E. Flaherty (0-1), J. Cullen, T. Dunne (0-1), R. Ryan (1-12).  Tom's:  E. Cummins, T. Doran, P. Heneghan, K. Mooney, C. Horan (0-2), J. Dooley, S. Wogan G. Kelly, C. Lee, C. Donoghue, P. McCoy (0-1), M. Markhan, F. Keenan (2-7).

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Senior Football Picture Clears, Senior Hurling Wide open

This coming weekend sees a trio of massive senior football games on the schedule at the Irish Cultural Center, with the result of each having a bearing on the final shakeout.  With just 2 weeks of the regular season to go it is a tight race not to be the one left out in a fortnight's time. 
Donegal, sitting on 3 points, can stay in the race by beating Galway who are already out of the running.  Kerry have a huge game ahead as they need to beat the Wolfe Tones in the final game in order to keep their hat in the ring, and what about the Aidan McAnespies versus Shannon Blues tie to end the day?  Sitting on 6 points, McAnespies need to beat the Blues in order to be sure of a berth in the playoffs and the game promises to be a humdinger.  The Blues are also not guaranteed a semi-final spot and need the win to be sure of one, and with no love lost between these clubs the game is sure to be a classic. 

I'm not one to make predictions, but with Galway out, and Donegal improving with every game, one would expect the northerners to come through and remain alive for the final week when they meet the Connemara Gaels.  Kerry have blown hot and cold, last week they went cold in the second half and will need to put in a good performance in order to take the points off a Tones team that without putting in any spectacular performances, has itself quietly sitting in second place.  The Blues and the Macs will be a do or die affair, and for my money these teams are playing the best football right now.  The Blues are solid all the way through the team and play a tough, no nonsense style of football while McAnespies have strengthened the lineup with the addition of Declan Lally and Cathal Shine.   

As for senior hurling, with last weekend's wins for Wexford and Tom's, the competition has been blown wide open.  With the end of the first half of the championship, it looked like Galway and Tipp were destined for the final.  Sunday sees the Brighton teams do battle.  Galway will not want to suffer 2 defeats in a row, and Wexford would love nothing more than to overtake their local rivals in the standings.  Who knows what Sunday will hold, but there is plenty to look forward to! 

Kerry have a huge game Sunday versus the Wolfe Tones.

Sunday July 28

1:15 Senior Football:  Galway v Donegal

2:30 Kerry v Wolfe Tones

3:45 Galway v Wexford

5:00 Shannon Blues v Aidan McAnespies 

Full schedule available at 

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 21 - Senior Hurling: Galway v Fr. Tom Burke's

Galway 1-12 Fr. Tom Burke's 1-13

Fr. Tom Burke's won their first game of the 2013 championship with an exciting win over Galway.  The game went right down to the wire and was won with practically the last puck of the game.  Tom's determination was evident, not least in the play of corner backs Gordon Joyce and Ronan Burke who were alert to the danger and made many important interceptions.  It was a point in injury time from David O'Mahoney that won the game in the end, but Offaly native Stephen Quirke who lined out at corner forward also played a big part in the victory.

Galway's Bobby Bergin tries to find room.
Tom's had a slight edge at the end of the first period.  Quirke accounted for 4 points from frees and Barry Harding a powerful fifth point from play.  Tom's hurled with determination and in a game that they really had to win, looked focused on the task at hand.  Galway for their part maintained pace with their opponents.  John Moylan was on form at corner forward and scored a couple of neat points.  Neither side really came to grips with the game, though for Tom's, Quirke at corner forward added an outlet for them in the forward line.

David O'Mahoney fired the winning score for Tom's.
Tom's fought hard in the back line to deny Galway room to swing, and for the most part were successful.  Galway did miss some chances from within range of the goal early in the half.  However, a goal came for the tribesmen after a cross field ball from Bobby Bergin was batted the ball into the net from the edge of the small square by Moylan to put Galway into the lead.  A point followed and the story for Tom's looked like it would play out as it has for the first 3 times this season.  Mark Deegan rallied with a point however, before Quirk restored the lead as Tom's were not about to die.  The Offaly man from the St. Rynagh's club drilled the ball home from 21 yards and Tom's led by two again.  Deegan followed with a fine score as Tom's kept up the effort to secure a vital win.  Galway had matters level with 3 minutes to go however.  David Collins, Bobby Bergin, and Moylan pointed before substitute Pat Lupton leveled things.  Tom's had the final say as a heretofore quiet David O'Mahoney took his chance in the final minute to pop the ball over the bar and seal the win for Tom's.  Tom's on two points, and much needed after Wexford delivered the first defeat of the season to Tipperary the day before.

Galway:  P. Connors, P. Ryan, C. Lordan, E. Casey, P. Gahan, C. McGovern, B. Bergin (0-1), D. O'Connor, D. McCormack (0-1), D. Collins (0-1), P. Ivors, S. Curran (0-1), J. Moylan (1-7).  Sub: P. Lupton (0-1).  Tom's:  E. Fleming, G. Joyce, R. Burke, D. Lafferty, S. Coughlin, B. Harding (0-1), S. Higgins, M. Deegan (0-2), S. Howley (0-2), J. Carroll, D. O'Mahoney (0-1), A. McEnerney, S. Quirke (1-6).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 21 - Senior Football: Christopher's v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 1-14 Christopher's 4-5

It was a game that will leave the Gaels scratching their heads wondering where it went wrong.  A spectacular first half performance was followed by a flat second, and Christopher's netted 4 times, twice in each half, to earn a valuable point.  Chris Brady had a hat trick of goals, and a fourth from Shane Power propelled a Christopher's comeback.

Damien Comer tries to shake Chris Lordan.
The Gaels were in flying form in the first half.  The forward line were clicking on all cylinders.  There were goal chances at either end in a fast start to the game, but once the Gaels settled the westerners played some effortlessly smooth flowing football.  Ian Burke, Kevin McGrath, Cathal Mulryan, and Noel Graham all contributed to the scoreline.  McGrath scored an opportunist goal just after Christopher's had netted through Chris Brady.  With a finish that Luis Suarez, or any premier league striker for that matter, would have been proud of, McGrath turned on a rebound with his left foot and hit the roof of the net. The Gaels then turned it on and popped 5 points in a row over the bar as Christopher's searched for a spark to get them going.  Late in the half Christopher's were awarded a penalty and Brady netted only their second score of the half.  Christopher's were still very much in it however, and at the break the Gaels led 1-9 to 2 goals.

High Ball for Ian Burke and David Culhane 
Christopher's closed the gap with a much improved second half performance.  After 20 minutes the Gaels lead had shrunk to 2 points.  Dan Kenneally and Jason Lonergan had entered the fray and the Gaels enjoyed far less possession in the middle of the field.  Lonergan, Brady, and Michael Quinlivan put four unanswered over the bar, and eventually Graham pointed a close range free for the Gaels to make it a one goal game with 10 minutes to go.  The kickouts continued to be gobbled up by Kenneally, and soon the game was level.  Substitute, Kevin McAllister, fired home a goal from close range.  Mulryan put the Gaels ahead once more with a fine point, but Christopher's struck with a fourth goal, and Brady's hat trick.  A high ball into the box broke for Brady who wrong footed the keeper to slide the ball home.  Having had the game under control in the first half, defeat stared the Gaels in the face.  However, points from Mulryan and Burke leveled the scores to set up a tense final 5 minutes.  Each side had chances to covert the winning score, but neither side could get themselves over the finish line.  The draw keeps both teams in it, but the Gaels will look at it as a point lost rather than won, Christopher's will see it the other way around.

Gaels:  E. Conneeley, L. Cullen, C. Cullen, S. Conneeley (0-1), C. O'Donnell, E. Gorman, R. Hyde, D. Comer (0-1), D. Hogan (0-2), N. Graham (0-3), C. Mulryan (0-3), K. McGrath (1-1), I. Burke (0-3).  Christopher's:  P. Kenneally, C. Lordan, C. Davies, D. Culhane, M. Delaney, E. O'Neill, P. Lucey, D. O'Sullivan, G. O'Leary, P. Quirke, J. Kenneally, M. Quinlivan (0-1), C. Brady (3-3).  Sub:  J. Lonergan (0-1), K. McAllister (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 21 - Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Kerry

Kerry 0-9 Aidan McAnespies 1-16

It was a much anticipated encounter between Kerry who put in some excellent performances so far this year, and Aidan McAnespies, a perennial challenger.  McAnespies added Cathal Shine to the middle of the field, and the Roscommon man added some serious beef to the middle of the field.  After a close first half, McAnespies pulled away in the second to win with ease in the end.

Jamie Doolan tries to avoid being the meat in the sandwich.
McAnespies led by a point at the end of the first half.  After Kerry had waited for their opponents to take the field, the game started right away as the Kingdom had already lined out.  Kerry had some early chances at goal, one that hit the post from Darragh O'Brien, but McAnespies weathered the early storm and eventually took control of the game.  Kerry's cause was not helped by a hamstring injury to David Clifford, and the capable wing back had to leave the field of play.  There followed 4 unanswered points as McAnespies dominated the middle of the field with Shine and Stephen Sherry.  Jamie Doolan was on form in the corner and accounted for 3 of the 7 first half points for his side.  Luke Kelly, Cian Tobin, and Conor Daly accounted for the balance between them.  Kerry drew close towards the end of the half with a handful of Darragh O'Brien points, and one fine score from substitute  Colin Campion .  At the break McAnespies led by a score of 0-7 to 0-6.

Niall Sheehy and Stephen Sherry
 jump for the kickout.
Macs took a firm grip of the game early in the second half.  Stephen Sherry came into his own in the middle of the field, and traffic was mostly in the direction of the Kerry goal.  A mixture of power and guile led to an opening 15 minutes where McAnespies tallied a goal and 7 points to Kerry's 2 points.  The goal came from a pass by Burke to substitute Darryl Brolly, and Brolly propelled his side into a 7 point lead.  Kerry made wholesale substitutions but pulling the game back was beyond their capabilities at that point.  Collie Donnelly made his comeback from an injury sustained early in the year and chipped in with a point.  McAnespies looking like they will have to be taken very seriously for the rest of this season.

Kerry:  P. Bailey, S. Driscoll, D. Larkin, E. Mullan, S. Cunningham, D. Clifford, I. Whelan, A. Hickey, D. Clabby, S. O'Callaghan, J. Fitzpatrick, N. Sheehy (0-1), D. O'Brien.  Sub: C. Campion (0-1).  Macs:  P. Coakley, E. Delmar, E. Rigney, C. Daly (0-1), C. McClean, N. Gallen, C. Shine, S. Sherry, L. Kelly (0-3), D. Lally (0-1), C. Tobin (0-1), J. Doolan (0-3), F. Burke (0-1).  Subs:  D. Brolly (1-1), C. O'Neill (0-1), C. Donnelly (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 21 - Senior Football: Galway v Wolfe Tones

Galway 0-12 Wolfe Tones 1-9

It was a tremendously exciting game that went down to the wire between Galway, who may have had an outside chance of making the playoffs should they win, and Wolfe Tones.  Conor McGreanor was the main man for Galway up front and it looked like he had won the game for Galway, but a late free taken by Donie Smith for the Tones leveled the game with time almost up.

Thomas Moolick gives chase to Eoghan Kavanagh
The Tones got off to a four points to no score start and with circumstances decidedly in their favour, one wondered if we would see a one sided game.  Galway got themselves into the game with 2 excellent points from Conor McGreanor who lined out at corner forward.  The game settled into an even contest with Tom Walsh proving to be a big presence in the middle of the field for Galway, and Danny Reddin and Anton McFadden playing very well in the half back line.  David Drake, Barry Coffey, and Kevin Cummins accounted for scores for Galway, while Danny Egan, Smith, and Sean Kelly hit the mark for the Tones.  At the break Galway had pulled themselves within a point.

Galway's Danny Reddin on the ball.
The pace of the game slowed down a little in the second half.  Galway turned the deficit into a lead with 3 points on the trot from Kildare man, Coffey.  Two were from frees and the third came from a chance at goal that was saved twice.  McGreanor made a great run at goal and tried to slip his shot low past Cathal Hynes, but Hynes got down well to parry the shot.  The big corner forward almost put the rebound away, but Sean Higgins was there to clear the ball.  Coffey tidied up with the point and the Tones had a let off.  The Tones were looking at an unanticipated defeat at this stage as Galway were in the ascendancy.  Smith at corner forward changed all that with a point that was followed by a goal.  Thomas Moolick played a cross field ball that Smith got on the end of and danced past several defenders before finishing with his left foot from inside 14 yards.  The Tones now ahead by 2 points with 10 minutes to go.  Galway had several chances to level the scores, and eventually they did with a booming 50 from McGreanor, and a free from Coffey following a foul on the big man in the corner.  At first it looked like it would be Galway's day after McGreanor pointed with time almost up, but a late late free was converted by Smith for the Tones to earn a point.  End of the road for Galway, while the Tones are well on track for the quarter finals.

Galway:  M. O'Connor, J. Flynn-O'Connor, N. Freeman, A. McFadden, M. McGinley, D. Reddin, E. Kavanagh, T. Walsh, K. Cummins (0-1), B. Coffey (0-6), M. Kenny, C. McGreanor (0-4), D. Drake (0-1).  Tones:  C. Hynes, K. Cleere, S. Higgins, J. Hickson, J. Comerford, J. Gonoud, T. Moolick (0-1), C. McCarthy, M. Farrell, D. Egan (0-2), M. Kelly, S. Kelly (0-2), D. Smith (1-4).

By Rory O'Donnell

July 21 - Junior A1 Football: Mayo v Aidan McAnespies

Aidan McAnespies 1-14 Mayo 2-11

Aidan McAnespies and Mayo played a great game of football on a day that would not be described as cool, but certainly cooler than the one before.  Mayo looked like taking the full spoils from the game right up until the final moments when Mayoman, Shane Lynn, earned a point for McAnespies with a goal.  McAnespies wasted several chances to secure a win late in the game with a handful of shots at goal fizzing the wrong side of the far post.  Having trailed early in the game, Mayo played some good football and took full advantage of a first half penalty to pull themselves level just before half time.  The westerners will be disappointed not to have secured both points having led by four points late in the game.

A string of points from McAnespies got the game off to a great start for them, but Mayo got into it with center forward Sean Baylon leading the charge with the front 5.  Aiden Lynskey got Mayo off the mark with a point, and Baylon added two more to draw the westerners level.  McAnespies enjoyed slightly more of the play, and Barry Smith line pointed 3 times in a row to pull McAnespies clear.  Baylon had some chances from free kicks that drifted wide, but a penalty for a block with the foot by Ryan McCrystal resulted in a goal for Mayo.  Sean Geeney put the kick away.  Neil Donaghy drew McAnspies level with a well taken score, and late in the half McCrystal saved well from Dan Igoe to prevent another Mayo goal.  At the break it was all square at 1-5 to 0-8.

Mayo played the better football for most of the second half.  Pat O'Malley and Sean Clifford did well in the back line, while up front it was Baylon who was on the mark with his dead ball kicking.  An early goal after a pass from Igoe put Baylon through propelled Mayo into a four point lead.  Craig Oliver and Nigel Regan each had goal shots that went across the face and wide, and the gap remained at 3 points as the sides traded scores.  With time running out it was desperation stakes for McAnespies who made a big push to get something from the game.  Points from Regan and Donaghy reduced the gap to 2 points, before Baylon brought it back to a goal with a fine score.  It looked like curtains for McAnespies after Donaghy was shown a red card, but the northerners pressed on for the goal and eventually it came from the boot of Lynn to level the game at the death.  A hard earned point for McAnespies and maybe a little bit of regret for Mayo not coming away with both points having led for the entire second half.

Macs:  R. McCrystal, A. Fearson, E. Hamill, J. Flattery, R. Brady, N. Donaghy, J. McGourty, S. Lynn, G. McAlinden, C. Oliver, B. Smith, N. Regan.  Mayo:  D. McElligott, K. Barry, S. Clifford, K. Walsh, B. Eliffe, P. O'Malley, P. Shannon, K. Comer, A. Lynskey, S. Baylon, S. Geeney, D. Igoe, A. Coyne.

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday July 14 - Ladies Senior Football: Connacht Ladies v Tir na nOg

Connacht Ladies 4-15 Tír na nÓg 0-6

Connacht Ladies proved to be too strong for Tír na nÓg in their first ladies senior football championship clash.  Connacht were on a different level to their Brighton based opponents and after one half was played it was pretty much over. 

Amy Ring points for Connacht Ladies
In the first minute after Ciara Donnelly popped over a point with the first attack of the game for Connacht Ladies, and from then on it was pretty much a game of target practice.  Lisa Brick made some excellent saves from close range shots, one came from Elish Gormley who last saw action on the field in Canton when she starred for Roscommon in their first championship victory in 2001.  The champions netted 4 times in the first half, 2 coming from full forward, Jackie McDonagh.  Points flew over the bar at will.  Five of the 6 forwards got on the scoresheet from play as the spoils were shared.  The Brighton side battled to get something going in the other direction, but the Connacht back line were there to cut out the danger before it happened.

In the second half Tír na nÓg pointed twice through Caroline Nee to open their account and it as a much more encouraging performance from them.  Sinead Bannon, Caroline Hanley, and Maggie Sayers did well for the Brighton girls.  Connacht continued to have the better of the game overall, however.  Aisling Kerr, a niece of Elish Gormley, entered the fray and the westerners cruised to the win.  A comfortable 2 points for Connacht Ladies to remain on track to defend their senior championship title.

Connacht:  C. Heraty, S. McAleer, E. Beirne, K. Rice, H. Poff, J. O'Connell, M. Breen, A. McGlone, S. Brady, A. Fox, A. Ring, E. Gormley, C. Donnelly, J. McDonagh, J. Ward.  Tír na nÓg:  L. Brick, N. O'Neill, A. O'Leary, M. Shea, M. Sayers, K. Coombes, M. Murphy, K. Brogan, J. Brady, S. Bannon, J. Moran, C. Hanley, E. Kasey, C. Nee, K. Crozier.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 14 - Senior Hurling - Fr. Tom Burke's v Wexford

Wexford 3-13 Fr. Tom Burke's 1-13

Wexford came out on top of a very entertaining senior hurling match.  Both teams needed to win to set up in third place going into the second round of games next week.  Tom's started well, but 2 late first half goals and a strong finish to the game from Wexford saw them take a 6 point win.

Tom's hurled well but Wexford got the vital scores.
Wexford were the side holding the lead at the end of the first 30 minutes.  Tom's may have felt a little aggrieved as having played the better hurling, they conceded 2 goals late in the half.  Tom's were leading by a score of 0-8 to 0-4 with the back line clearing most of what Wexford sent their way and points coming from David O'Mahoney, Joe Carroll, Mark Deegan, and Shane Howley.  Wexford hit a one two blow that undid all of Tom's hard work.  The first goal came from a 21 yard free that Tony Murphy buried, the second from John Flynn-O'Connor after Eoghan Kavanagh's run opened things up.  Going into the break Wexford held the lead, 2-5 to 0-9.

Wexford's Tom Moloney and Tom's Shane Howley
Tom's came out in the second half with full intention of setting the record straight from their viewpoint.  O'Mahoney accounted for 5 points, 4 from frees.  One score was a goal from a 21 yard free after Joe Carroll was brought down from behind.  Tom's ahead by a goal and now Wexford lifted their game.  Tony Murphy was found twice with a short ball over the top.  The first time his shot was fluffed and Eoin Fleming saved easily.  The second time, a minute later, a similar chance came his way and Murphy buried the shot in the far corner.  Simon Aylward was sent to the line following a second yellow card, but Wexford followed with 3 points, two from Brian Cline and a third from Kavanagh, to one for Tom's and held a goal lead coming into the final quarter of the game.  After O'Mahoney pulled Tom's within 2 points Wexford turned the screws to finish the game strong in spite of playing a man down.  Cline pointed twice from frees and Kavanagh put a lovely score on the run over the bar to put Wexford ahead by four.  As the clock ran down Wexford finished well, and underlined the victory with a great point from Tom Moloney.

Tom's:  E. Fleming, G. Joyce, R. Burke, T. Bowe, S. Coughlan, B. Harding, M. Deegan (0-4), D. Lafferty, S. Howley (0-1), J. Carroll (0-2), M. Dervan, D. O'Mahoney (1-5), A. McEnerney.  Wexford:  E. Spruhan, D. Redmond, M. McCaffery, M. Wornock, P. Nolan, T. Maloney (0-1), J. Kehoe, S. Aylward, B. Cline (0-4), D. Drake (0-2), E. Kavanagh (0-3), T. Murphy (2-1), J. Flynn-O'Connor (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell 

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 14 - Senior Football: Kerry v Christopher's

Kerry 3-18 Christopher's 2-13

Kerry came out on top in a game where the pressure was on them to deliver badly needed a win.  Kerry who could be accused of underperforming in recent games delivered in style and showed that they will be a dangerous team to meet in the remainder of the championship.  Leading by a goal at the break, Kerry weathered an early second half storm from Christopher's to run out 9 point winners.

Midfielder Aaron Hickey on a first half the attack for Kerry.
At the end of a fast paced, well contested, first half it was Kerry ahead by the single goal.  The Kingdom set out their stall early with a goal from center forward Shane O'Callaghan inside the first 5 minutes.  The inrushing O'Callaghan was found bearing down on goal and the Austin Stacks man buried the ball into the far corner.  The goal was preceded by well taken points from Niall Sheehy, Darragh O'Brien, and Aaron Hickey as Kerry moved the ball well and at speed.  Within 10 minutes Christopher's had cancelled Kerry's fast start and the game was level.  Starting in midfield, David Culhane had pointed and a goal came for Christopher's.  Jason Lonergan's effort at a point shot came high off the post, and Gary O'Leary was there to win the rebound and was pulled back in the area.  Chris Brady put the ball away low to the keeper's left, and two points later, one from Padraig Lucey and another from Brady, the game was tied.  Kerry to their credit kept up the tempo and did not let the setback change their mindset.  The Kingdom men's persistence was rewarded with 2 goals.  One was a spectacular shot off the underside of the crossbar from O'Brien following a well worked move, and the second was from a penalty after O'Callaghan was held in the area while contesting a high ball.  O'Brien finished the shot and the pressure was on Christopher's.  Christopher's ended the half with points from Michael Quinlivan and Shane Power frees and at the break it was 3-6 to 1-9 in favour of the green and gold.

Niall Sheehy tries to stop Chris Davies from
coming out with the ball.
Christopher's reduced the deficit to a point early in the second half going on a 4 points to 2 run after the restart, then Kerry missed 2 golden chances to pull ahead further.  First David Clifford had his shot saved by Paudie Kenneally, and a minute later O'Brien hit the inside of the post with his placed shot as Christopher's goal lived a charmed life.  Kerry eventually broke down their opponents and went on a scoring spree that out them eight points to the good.  The back line had their act together and broke up several Christopher's attacks, building well for their own assaults on the Christopher's goal.  There were well taken points from Joe Fitzpatrick, Aaron Hickey, O'Brien, and O'Callaghan.  As the Kerry lead stretched with the clock ticking away Christopher's were thrown a lifeline.  A penalty was awarded by referee Jimmy Trimble for holding in the penalty box.  Brady put the shot away, but Kerry underlined their dominance by answering with a Sheehy point.  It was a morale boosting win for Kerry heading into the final 2 games of the championsip, but consistency is an issue that needs to be addressed if the Kerry men are to make a fist of it for the playoff stages.

Kerry:  P. Bailey, S. Driscoll, D. Larkin, E, Mullan, S. Cunningham, D. Clifford, A. Hickey, I. Whelan, D. Clabby, S. O'Callaghan, J. Fitzpatrick, D. O'Brien, N. Sheehy.  Christopher's:  P. Kenneally, C. Lordan, C. Davies, C. Murphy, E. O'Neill, G. O'Leary, D. Culhane, P. Lucey, J. Lonergan, M. Quinlivan, S. Power, C. Brady, M. Mennis.

By Rory O'Donnell

July 14 - Senior Football: Donegal v Shannon Blues

Donegal 0-9 Shannon Blues 0-18

Shannon Blues underlined their championship credentials with a victory over a game Donegal side that ran out of steam and ideas in the final 15 minutes.  In spite of the scoreline it still very much a game with 10 minutes to go, but the Shannon Blues turned the screw and put 6 points on the trot over the bar in the final quarter to put themselves top of the table with 9 points from 5 games.

Antrim man Sean Burke helped Donegal stay in the game
in the first half, but the Tir Chonaill men
ran out of steam in the second.
It was a closely contested opening period.  There were some fine saves, the first came from Donegal keeper Sean Connolly who saved well from Darragh Treacy, and shortly afterwards Darragh O'Brien between the posts for the Blues did well to keep a close range shot from Sean Burke out.  The Blues opened a 3 point lead through Barry John Keane and Darragh Treacy scores after 5 minutes, and signs looked ominous for the northerners.  Donegal settled however, and were soon back on level terms.  Center forward Sean Burke was key to their success.  The St. Galls man accounted for two of Donegal's 7 first half points, both fine efforts and for a period Donegal enjoyed the bigger share of possession.  Shane Brennan, Gary Maguire, and Aaron Connolly also contributed to the scoreboard tally.  While the breaks may have been slightly in Donegal's favour, the Blues always looked dangerous going forward.  Any time the Blues broke upfield a score was on the cards.  Led by Darragh Treacy at center forward the forward line was efficient and running smoothly.  Conor McHugh, Keane, and Sean Moriarty pointed.  At the break it was a one point Blues lead.

Cathal McHugh was part of a formidable Shannon Blues
forward line that tallied 18 points.
In the second period the Blues opened a gap of 4 points as, with their challenge flagging, Donegal introduced a plethora of subs to bring some fresh legs into the fray.  A couple of points from Pat Hughes and Maguire stemmed the tide somewhat and with 15 minutes left there was 2 points in it.  But the forays forward began to fall on fallow ground for Donegal.  The Blues started to win most of the ball around the middle of the field and close down the spaces in which the Donegal forwards needed to operate.  Keane, Kieran Hurley who entered as a sub, and Treacy put the game beyond the reach of Donegal in the final 15 minutes with some well taken points as the Blues finished the game by far the stronger of the 2 teams.  Shannon Blues alone at the top with 2 games to go before the playoff stages.

Donegal:  S. Connolly, M. Canning, S. Tim, M. Cannon, T. Caldwell, J. Dolan, A. Connolly (0-1), T. Gallagher, P. Hughes (0-1), S. Burke (0-2), G. Maguire (0-4), R. Rafferty, S. Brennan (0-1).  Blues:  D. O'Brien, K. Hartnett, G. Ryan, P. Domican, S. Brosnan, S. Moriarty (0-1), S. Kiely, B. Hartnett, A. Duffy (0-2), D. Treacy (0-2), C. McHugh (0-1), BJ Keane (0-9), C. McHugh.  Subs:  K. Hurley (0-1), R. Blaine (0-1), M. Butler (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 7 - Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Galway

Galway 1-14 Tipperary 2-16

Tipperary and Galway battled it out for top spot in a game that swung to and fro.  Tipp weathered a first half Galway storm to find their way back into the game and pull away as the second half neared its end.  Eanna Murray's second half goal tipped the scales towards Tipp and the Premier men held on for the win as thunder storms approached. 

Kieran Morris on the attack for Tipp.
The first half was a well contested affair marked by some well taken points, two goals, and a schmozzle.  Galway looked to be pulling away with a string of points from John Moylan, Dan McCormack, and Sean Curran in the early going.  Ten minutes into the game there were awful scenes as a melee broke out.  Referee Paddy Ivors gave the players time to cool down and issued 3 yellow cards, the players concerned would be forgiven for considering themselves very fortunate to be allowed remain on the field.  Stephen Brown and Philip Ivors for Galway and Morris Power for Tipp were cautioned.  Ivors then netted for Galway and the tribesmen looked like they were in full control, Tipp were very much playing second fiddle.  Tipp inched back into it however.  Lifted by the efforts of Kieran Morris, the man from Maycarley also put a handful of frees over the bar, the gap on the scoreboard narrowed to the point where the teams were level near the end of the half.  The goal was recovered thanks to an attempted short puckout gone wrong.  The ball ended in the hands of Denis Maher inside the 14 yard line and the wing forward placed the ball past Martin O'Connor.  By the time the short whistle sounded it was Tipp with a one point edge, 1-8 to 1-7.

Contesting a puckout.
Tipp took the initiative early in the half with an unlikely goal from Eanna Murray.  Galway had drawn level after Curran and Moylan pointed and Morris had put one over for Tipp.  After the goal Galway were playing from behind and chasing the game.  Peadar Boran extended the Tipp lead by another point, and Galway tried to rally the troops.  Moylan almost netted, but James Logue pulled off a fine save from the low shot.  Each time Galway got within 2 points, Tipp seemed to be able to put a point or two over the bar to keep the distance between the sides.  With the game still in the balance Tipp put three unanswered points over the bar from substitute David Butler who entered the game mid way through the half.  Tipperary on full points after 3 games with Galway a close second, and  Wexford and Fr. Tom's to decide who will claim the third spot at the half way mark next Sunday.

Galway:  P. Connors, P. Ryan, C. Lordan, E. Casey, P. Gahan, C. McGovern, R. Bergin (0-2), D. Collins, S. Brown, D. McCormack (0-2), P. Ivors (1-0), S. Curran (0-3), J. Moylan (0-6).  Sub:  P. Lupton (0-1).  Tipp:  J. Logue, M. Power, S. Stanton, A. McGrath, R. O'Donnell, G Brennan, S. O'Connor, C. Dempsey (0-1), P. Boran (0-1), D. Maher (1-2), E. Murray (1-2), C. Flynn, C. Morris (0-7).  Sub:  D. Butler (0-3).

By Rory O'Donnell