Eight games involving twelve of the clubs in the Boston
Northeast division will be played this coming weekend at the Irish Cultural
Center in Canton. Saturday kicks off
with what promises to be a keenly contested junior C hurling final between Barley
House Wolves and Worcester. The junior A
hurlers of Wexford and Fr. Tom’s follow, with Wexford looking to make it three
junior championships in a row. Football
caps off the day with reigning junior B champions, Donegal, defending their
title against the Shannon Blues. The
ladies juniors of Tir na nOg and Boston Shamrocks battle for the Boston
championship and the right to represent the division at the following North
American Finals at the ICC.
Sunday sees four finals on the card.
Senior Football Final – Sunday August 24 4:00pm
Wolfe Tones Gaelic Football Club will experience its first
senior football final day on what will be the biggest day for the club since
its founding. Junior and Intermediate
championships have been won and celebrated in the past, but until now the
senior crown has eluded the South Boston outfit. The Tones have done it the hard way to get
here, beating last year’s champions, Connemara Gaels, and arch rivals, Aidan
McAnespies. Last week’s comeback victory
from nine points down was so not what we are used to seeing from the Tones that
the word “destiny” might spring in the minds of many. The loss of key defender, Sean Higgins, will
hurt the Tones chances for sure and players will have to step up as Dan McCabe
did last week after coming on for the black carded Michael Argue. A pacy forward line is the hallmark of the
team, Lee Carr, Darragh McVeety and Glenn O’Connell can open up the spaces in
the opposition defence. Some experienced
heads on the field will be an asset for the Tones before and during the game to
try and keep the minds focused on the task ahead to capture a first Boston
Shannon Blues have had plenty of success in recent years and
with the North American Finals on home turf in Canton, this year represents a
great chance for their first North American Championship at senior level. The Blues have been to the national final
three times, and not come away with the title.
This team is powerful all the way from the full back line to full forward. The Blues came through in the semi-final
against an extremely good Donegal team that were favourites in the minds of
many. The side has a distinct Kerry
flavor, no less than seven Kerrymen made up the first team in the semi-final, some
of whom could be playing on a bigger stage in years to come. One player who has stood out for the Blues
this year is James Walsh, an efficient operator who rarely wastes the
football. Sean “Coco” O’Connor is
another of the Blues key men who when on the ball is a reassuring sight to
managers and supporters alike. Others to
watch for the Blues are Gareth Ryan, Sean Moriarty, and Niall Murphy.
As for calling a winner, take your pick. The experience of the Blues, many of whom on
the line and on the field have been here before, will stand to them. For their part the Tones have shown that they
can last the pace this year and have taken the key scores in the last two games,
but they cannot let the occasion get to them to be successful. Instinct tells me the Blues, but the Tones
have proven my instinct wrong in both playoff games this season.
Senior Hurling Final Sunday August 24 2:30pm
Fr. Tom Burke’s v Galway
This is one to look forward to as two great Boston rivals
meet in a bid to capture the Boston title and try to win a North American on
home turf. Not only that, this year is a
chance for whichever side comes through to deny Na Fianna of San Francisco four
national titles in a row.
Galway contest their fifth consecutive Boston final, while
for Tom’s it is the first since 2005.
Galway last won the Boston title two years ago, and will probably go
into this game as slight favourites. The
tribesmen got off to the slow start this year, but came good in the latter half
to finish second in the standings. Where
else would you start with this team but with James Skehill. A puckout that lands inside the opposing 21
and a great shot stopper are the hallmarks of the Galway goalkeeper. Greg Lally at center back is another key
player on this team, as are James Regan in the middle of the field, Rory Hickey
at center forward, and John Moylan.
Given an inch of room from the middle of the field forward Galway can
tally the scores quickly.
Tom’s have not played in anger for three weeks having
finished top of the table and earning the bye to the final. With an additional weeks of rest compared to
Galway, it could be a factor a factor early in the game. Like Galway, Tom’s have a reliable man
between the posts in Alan Keating. The
Tom’s side contains some keen competitors in Cahir Healy, Seamus Higgins, and
Shane Howley. The jewel in the team is
Laoisman, Zane Keenan. Keenan’s skill
with the dead ball, be it a free or sideline, is second to none. Cormac Joyce-Power is another key man. The Limerick native is having a great season
at center back for Tom’s. Tom’s will
have their work cut out for them on Sunday and will need all their players on
their game to beat Galway.
Ladies Senior Football Final – Sunday August 24 1:00pm
Connacht Ladies contest their third senior final in a row,
three for three since the club was founded.
Unlike the past two years, they enter the game as underdogs. After a slow start to the year, and looking
very much like a third place finish, the westerners made a late rally to earn a
playoff game against Boston Shamrocks. A
ten point win sees them to another final and who is to say that it could not be
three in a row. With Jane Ward, Catriona
Foley, and Sinead Greene manning the forward line scoring should not be an
issue. The full back line will be under
pressure from Tir na nOg and if that pressure can be weathered, the westerners
have a chance.
Tir na nOg have had a long layoff, but it is hard to see
that affecting them such has been the level of their performances this
year. This team is solid all the way
through and the results have borne that out.
One more win will mean a return to the top of the pile, and a crack at
the North American title. Last time out
the Boston side lost out to Mairead Farrell’s of Philly in San Francisco after
mounting a late comeback. Full forward
Jenny Byrne is complimented by Shaune Jackson, Caroline Nee, and Tessa Mullen
in a powerful forward line. The half back line poses a difficult barrier to
penetrate, Alison Taylor, Niamh Daly, and Louise Bergin have done well all
season. It will be a surprise if Tir na
nOg do not run the table and win out on Sunday, however, games are played for a
reason as we have seen so often in the past.
Junior A Football Final – Sunday August 21 11:30am
Cork v Donegal
Donegal are looking to add another junior A title to the one
last captured in 2012. The northerners
have a strong team to accomplish the task.
Jonathan Byrne is a reliable performer between the sticks, and the half
back line is as strong as you will see at this level in Boston. Hugh Devine will be keyed up for the game and
lead from the back. Once he gets going,
Christy McLaughlin at corner forward will have to be watched, while Pauric
McLaughlin covers a mountain of ground from wing forward. With American born youngsters Mark Dunphy and
Ciaran McDevitt in the side, Donegal will be the toughest hurdle for Cork.
This year marks progress for Cork who are in the first
junior final in a decade. The rebels
came through a strong challenge last weekend from the Connemara Gaels, and did
it without the services of three first choice players. The services of Eoin Barry, Mick Lyons, and
Colm Caffrey will be at the disposal of management for the final. Cork lost out to Donegal in the final game of
the regular season, a result that could have gone either way. Cork have shown themselves to come in and out
of games. A consistent 60 minutes will
be required to prevail on Sunday.