Thursday, May 22, 2014

Senior Football Championships Open This Weekend

By Rory O'Donnell

The 2014 Boston Championships begin this coming weekend.  All 8 senior football clubs will be in action, with the first game on Saturday afternoon, followed by 3 games on Sunday.  In addition, there will be a recognition ceremony for the Barley House Wolves hurling club for their contribution to the spread of hurling beyond the Greater Boston area, and the service of club members to the country.  With the main field in pristine condition, and clubs chomping at the bit for early (and very valuable) championship points, the stage is set for a weekend to look forward to.

Christopher's Paudie Kenneally will be one of many
graduates of the undertage programs in action
this coming weekend.
Of course, these clubs have already seen plenty of action in the Pat O'Brien Cup.  The finalists were decided last weekend and it is fair to say that the two strongest sides at this point in the season will be the ones contesting the trophy.  A resurgent Kerry, who are already the talk of the town, will be playing Galway in the opening game in Saturday afternoon.  Galway will be up against it as Kerry look like they have covered all positions with strong players covering the field.  The Kingdom also have the advantage of having played a game on the new sod of the main field, Galway will be experiencing that for the first time on Saturday.  There were no playoffs for the club last year, although there was no game where the side was not in with a chance to win.  Flying the lone Brighton flag in senior football, Galway might be a few players short of turning Kerry on Saturday. 

First up on Sunday are the 2013 Champion Connemara Gaels and Shannon Blues.  Both teams were beaten semi-finalists last Sunday, and each side has a good representation of American born players.  There will be plenty of banter in the Murray household leading up to this one as brothers, Pat, (Blues) and Stephen, (Gaels) will be looking to establish bragging rights, until the playoff stages at least.  The Gaels also team also featured Brian Joyce and AJ Maguire, and the Blues Conor Fitzgerald, makes for a healthy representation of graduates from the underage program.  Each side will see this as a great opportunity for 2 points.  Although the game will be played at a morning hour, expect this to be a keenly contested encounter that will waken the senses.

Also in action are Donegal and Christopher's.  Like Kerry, Donegal have the bases covered in all areas of the field, and like their opponents, feature some locally grown talent in Mark Dunphy and Kieran McDevitt.  Christopher's Kenneally trio of Dan, Jerry, and Paudie, have anchored the team for many years now.  Also coming into the team will be Mark and Pat Delaney, pending the status of injuries.  Although they did not progress in the Cup, Christopher's are likely to give Donegal a contest.  For their part, Donegal are battle hardened after their extra time encounter with the Gaels last week, and that should stand to them.  I'd expect Donegal to squeak it.

The final game of the day matches the old rivals, Wolfe Tones and Aidan McAnespies.  Wolfe Tones will be looking to hold the South Boston/North Dorchester bragging rights after this game.  While McAnespies did not have all the cards in the deck for the cup, it is hard to see them matching the Tones in depth.  The Tones might argue that depth is not a word to be used at this early stage in the season, however, even though not all players may be available Sunday, the Tones should have an edge.  Although McAnespies will not go down without a fight, it would take a massive effort to claim the 2 points.

Finally, with the board honoring the Barley House Wolves, and the Irish Consul General,  Breandán O'Caollaí, Town of Canton Police Chief, Kenneth Berkowitz, and Fire Chief, Charles Doody,  a great weekend lies in store for the Boston Northeast GAA.

Schedule of Games
Saturday May 24
2:00 Kerry v Galway
Sunday May 25
10:30 Connemara Gaels v Shannon Blues
11:45 Donegal v Christopher's
1:30 Honoring the Barley House Wolves
2:00 Wolfe Tones v Aidan McAnespies
Field C

12:00 Orla Benson Cup:  Connacht Ladies v Tír na nÓg

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