Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Sunday Rained out

By Rory O’Donnell

Another weekend of rain resulted in postponements of games, this time around the entire Sunday schedule.  Games will be rescheduled, times and dates will be posted on the Boston GAA web site,

Thankfully Saturday’s games went ahead.  Wolfe Tones and Donegal ended up all square at 3-6 to 1-12.  At the break Donegal were ahead by a score of 1-7 to 1-3 and looked like the better team.  The Tones banged in an early second half goal and brought in some experienced horses in Edmund Carr and Kevin Gorham.  Donegal looked to Christy McLaughlin for the scores to maintain parity, and after the Tones kicked a third goal it took an injury time equalizer from McLaughlin to rescue the point for Donegal.  Aidan McAnespies continue to do well in the junior A competition with an eight point win over Galway on Field B.

The Junior hurlers of Tipperary and Fr. Tom Burke’s met with Tom’s coming out with a 2-12 to 1-12 win.  Tipp had the better of it early on as Tom’s were slow to get out of the gates.  Once they got going however, Tom’s did well all over the field.  Terry Doran, Larry Guinan, and James Dooley did well in the back line to hold Tipp out and keep the play headed in the other direction.  Two Tom’s goals in the final 15 minutes put some distance between the teams in what was an otherwise close game.  Tipp’s John Roche and Mark Jordan tried to life the side late in game, and a goal from a Roche free brought Tipp within a score Tom’s, but time was up at that stage.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Senior Football: Shannon Blues v Kerry

Shannon Blues 2-15 Kerry 4-9

Kerry finally came away with a reward for their efforts after a tremendously exciting game of football.  Conditions were poor following a night and morning of heavy rain, however the teams coped well and there was some great football and scores, with the lead changing hands and momentum swinging from one side to the other over the course of the 60 minutes.  Kerry could have won it with some chances for an insurance score in injury time, however the Blues took advantage of the opportunity and Denis McElligott put the leveling point over the bar with the final kick of the game.

Dennis McElligott had the final say with the equalizing point on Sunday.
Kerry, as they have done in their games so far this season, took the break with a lead.  It was a five point cushion that they started the second half with.  Three goals, one each from Robbie Croft, Shane O’Callaghan, and Phil O’Sullivan, put Kerry in the driver’s seat after the Blues had rattled off two quick points to open the game.

The Blues took the opportunity of a penalty to close what was a seven point gap.  Trevor Wallace did the honors from the spot, and was soon followed by Darrage Roche with a second Blues goal.  Kerry settled after being hit with the second goal to put some points over the bar, the pick of which was a Maurice Fitzgeraldesque effort from Croft from the sideline.  O’Sullivan’s goal, Kerry’s third, restored the Kerry advantage to see them into half time on top by five points.

The Blues picked up a head of steam in the second half.  Greg Horan was the key in the middle of the field.  Kerry were unable to cope with the Austin Stacks man and the Blues enjoyed the vast majority of the possession.  The Blues forwards made hay with the bounty of possession that came their way and outscored Kerry by 10 points to one over the first 17 minutes of the second period.  Roche put a couple of beautiful efforts over the bar, Denis McElligott two from the wing, and Padraig O’Shea from wing back also got his name on the scoresheet.

The Kerry corner backs were under pressure for much of the second half.
Kerry were struggling to move the ball and resorted to the short kickouts to try and find a way past what was like a solid Blues wall.  The Kingdom eventually had some success, a Croft free and a point from play following a botched short kickout brought Kerry within two points.  A fourth goal for Kerry from O’Callaghan gave Kerry a one point advantage heading into the last 5 minutes as fortune favoured the men in green and gold once again.  The sides traded points, Dwyer leveled for the Blues before Croft got Kerry back up by one.  Again the Blues leveled and Kerry got back ahead, this time it was Sean O’Driscoll.  After Kerry failed to take advantage of two great chances for an insurance point the Blues salvaged the point with a Denis McElligott score to finish the game and on the balance of things, a fair result.  The draw with the Blues will provide Kerry with some belief heading into four critical championship games where a couple of wins will be needed, and might not do the Blues any harm either.

Kerry:  S. Enright, J. Barry, D. Larkin, R. O’Driscoll, L. Healy, J. O’Shea, D. Foley, E. Mullan, P. O’Sullivan, S. O’Driscoll, J. O’Keefe, R. Croft, S. O’Callaghan.  Blues:  D. O’Brien, T. Wallace, C. Jordan, P. O’Shea, L. O’Connell, D. Clifford, W. Guthrie, G. Horan, D. McElligott, K. Hurley, D. Wallace, D. Roche, B. O’Dwyer.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Tipperary

Fr. Tom Burke’s 0-14 Tipperary 1-13

Tipperary stole the points at the very end of this closely contested senior hurling match with a point in injury time from none other than Colm Galvin.  Tom’s had overturned a half time deficit and turned it into a lead in the final minutes only to see Tipp, who had been largely out of the game in the run up to the final whistle, steal the show with late points from Andy McRedmond and Galvin.

Cronin Dempsey keeps things going Tipp's way.
A late flurry of scores for Tom’s meant that they would enter the second half just a goal in arrears after Tipperary had seven point lead.  Colm Galvin was on the mark from the dead ball, and a goal from Michael Ryan at corner forward had Tipp in the driver’s seat after 15 minutes.  Ryan’s initial shot was well saved by Alan Keating, however, Ryan persistence saw the ball over the line.  Tom’s struggled to find the target, the absence of David O’Mahoney to a hamstring injury no doubt did not help.  Paul Winters took the free taking duties and as the half wore on started to find his range putting three on the trot over.  Rob O’Sullivan and Ryan also got on the scoreboard for each side, and at the half it was a 1-7 to 0-7 Tipperary advantage.

Waiting for the break - very little separated Tipp and Tom's on Sunday.
Tom’s had drawn level with the second half 15 minutes old.  Determined play from corner backs Sean Og Lyons and Conor Burgin canceled out an attacking  option for Tipp, while Winters continued to hit the mark from the frees.  After the sides traded 3 points a piece, Galvin missed his first free of the day which looked like it was a bad omen.  Tom’s tallied three unanswered points afterwards to level the scores.  Tom’s were on top in their own back line as Tipp sent searching balls into the full forward line that were returned with interest or allowed to hop over the endline with nobody to in a blue and gold shirt to pick it up as it looked like the door was shut for Tipp.

With the game in the balance Tipp made a change, introducing Andy McRedmond into the full forward line for Oisin Hickey in the hopes of getting some change in that department.  Tom’s had Ronan O’Driscoll and Kevin Rice off the bench and on the field.  Rice won a free on the 21 that Winters duly converted to provide Tom’s with the lead, however, after missing two more frees Galvin leveled the scores with a fantastic effort from the 50 yards out on the wing.  Soon afterwards McRedmond found himself in acres of space to put the leading point over the bar with 3 minutes left on the clock.  Galving added an insurance in injury time and the early spoils go to the Premier county.

Tom’s:  A. Keating, S. Og Lyons, C. Burgin, S. Dolan, K. Kennedy, S. McLeonard, L. O’Neill, D. Costello, P. Winters, C. Joyce-Power, R. O’Sullivan, K. Dunne, S. Howley.  Tipp:  C. Hennessy, S. McGarr, D. Moloney, J. Rigney, W. Egan, T. Rigney, B. O’Leary, C. Dempsey, C. Galvin, R. Sludds, M. O’Leary, M. Ryan, O. Hickey.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones 1-11 Aidan McAnespies 4-11

A minutes silence was observed before the throw-in in memory of the victims of the Berkeley tragedy. 

By the end of the opening period McAnespies had built up a healthy eleven point lead thanks to three goals and some solid defending.  Wolfe Tones struggled throughout, and the goals had an obvious dispiriting effect on the side.  Having had a chance to regroup at the break the Tones put in a far better performance in the second half, and had McAnespies supporters shifting uncomfortably in their seats for a bit.  However, with the large lead and the ability to spring a score when the Tones crept too close, McAnespies came out with a third win from three games.

McAnespies' Danny Tallon and Tones' Pauric Faulkner tangle.
A blistering first half performance saw McAnespies into an 11 point lead at the break.  Michael Day was the leader in the middle of the field this week, and up front Chris Healy was in good form netting a fine goal on the stroke of half time having just missed an easier opportunity a minute beforehand.  The defence too was on top, working hard to close the spaces and force the Tones into overplaying the ball. 

Day opened the scoring with a point, and the Headford man was in for a goal 15 minutes later.  McAnespies first goal had an air of good fortune about it.  Healy’s free from the 21 hit the post and Danny Tallon was first on it to fire home from close range.  The Tones labored to make any inroads, there were two fine scores from Neil Flynn and Dan McCabe, however, when faced with a McAnespies attack the Tones had the look of a side that was resigned to its fate.

Wolfe Tones Mike O'Brien and keeper Pauric Miskell couldn't prevent the out of picture
Michael Day from fisting home McAnespies' second goal.
The Tones found belief in the second half and played with much more urgency and purpose. Marty Farrell provided the finishing touch after the Tones capitalized on a turnover in McAnespies own half.  Four points on the trot followed and the Tones play had some spark to it throughout the field.  Ciaran Hurley and Farrell converted and although a comeback was still a long shot, the turn in fortunes had some observers concerned.  Chris Healy eventually broke the duck and pointed, the Kildare man found some room after an early ball into his corner to make it a clean 2 goal lead with 15 minutes left.

The sides traded scores to enter the final stretch and a goal was badly needed if the Tones were going to set up an exciting finale.  In spite of some slick passing moves out of defence, the Tones could not find a route to goal as McAnespies back line played it tight.  Healy pointed with 5 minutes to go to make it a three score game, and the points now looked safe for McAnespies.  An injury time goal embellished the result, and McAnespies must be feeling good with a 3 for 3 start to the championship.

Tones:  P. Miskell, P. Faulkner, E. Powderly, M. O’Brien, G. Brilly, D. McGuire, A. Molloy, T. O’Connor, M. Farrell, D. McCabe, G. Troy, C. Hurley, N. Flynn.  Macs:  M. McMahon, M. Bogue, E. Kerins, R. Kennedy, B. Greenan, F. McGeough, J. Brickland, M. Day, G. O’Neill, C. Donnelly, R. Dougan, C. Healy, D. Tallon.

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, June 15, 2015

Donegal 1-11 Christopher’s 1-11

Donegal and Christopher’s played out an unusual 60 minutes of football.  For long stretches it looked as though Christopher’s had the upper hand in the game, however, they will have been happy to exit the gate with their first point of the season in the pocket thanks to a Cathal Vaughan injury time equalizer.

Donegal's Emlyn Mulligan fends off the challenge of Liam Kitterick.
Christopher’s may have been a little disappointed to have gone into the break with just a four point lead.  Having enjoyed most of the possession Christopher’s struggled to break down the Donegal back line, and probably did themselves no favours with stray passes and a handful of missed chances. Donegal hung in with some well taken scores from Emlyn Mulligan who lined out at corner forward and took advantage of the chances that came his way via the free or from play to keep the sides on level pegging coming up to half time.  

Eventually Christopher’s broke through with a goal from Mark Delaney with about 5 minutes to go in the half, Delaney’s finish a trademark blast into the roof of the net.  The goal provided a three point cushion and Christopher’s added another point before the whistle. 

Christopher's center back Sean White gets away from Brian Kelly in this encounter.
The second half saw Donegal enjoy a slight advantage in possession as Christopher’s tired with the half wearing on.  Nicky Kelly at corner forward was a major threat in the second stanza and tallied three points, one chance could have ended up in the back of the net but flew over the crossbar, while Kelly also had 2 chances at a major saved as Donegal carved open the Christopher’s defence on two occasions.  

Coming into the final minutes Christopher’s still held a 2 point edge.  Tom Fahy, Eoghan Keogh, Ryan Harkin, and Vaughan with a fine solo effort, had pointed to keep them ahead.  The goal was on the cards however.  Vaughan lost the ball just inside the Donegal half and the turnover finally ended in the hands of Rory Dunleavy who did the honors and it looked like the northerners had made the breakthrough for the spoils.  Not ill the fat lady sings as they say, Vaughan came to the rescue with a point to salvage a point with no time left for the kickout. 

Donegal:  J. Byrne, M. Canny, S. Doherty, T. McCleneghan, D. Green, G. Gallagher, M. Smyth, M. Dunphy, R. Dunleavy, B. Kelly, E. McFadden, N. Kelly, E. Mulligan.  Christopher’s:  E. Keogh, K. Fulignati, L. Kitterick, E. O’Neill, S. White, P. Kenneally, R. Harkin, C. Murphy, M. Delaney, J. Horgan, T. Fahy, E. Keogh, C. Vaughan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Aidan McAnespies

Connemara Gaels 3-9 Aidan McAnespies 3-13

Aidan McAnespies made it two out of two with an impressive second half performance to turn a deficit into a lead that they took with them all the way to the final whistle.  The Gaels had a slight edge at the break, but whatever happened at half time, McAnespies took the field after the restart with bold intent.  A quick 1-3 to no reply from to start the second half shocked the Gaels and the Connemara men never could recover their first half form. 

Johnny Brickland spearheaded McAnespies second half efforts.
It was a blistering first half with some fine scores, narrow misses and great football from both teams.  The Gaels took the break a goal to the good having pushed hard for the second quarter. McAnespies will rue some goal chances that did not come through.  Collie Donnelly was in for a goal chance early, however, although the shot beat the keeper, Damien Doolan tipped it over for a point.  Later in the half Fergal McGeough had the goal at his mercy, but the wing forward caught the ball wrong with his placed effort and wide it went. 

The Gaels had their goal chances, and took two of them.  Fintan Cooney netted both, first putting Martin Farragher’s feed low past Paddy Coakley.  Later in the half the man from An Spideal finished a move that started with a Coleman Mulkerrins’ interception in his own half with a punch into the net.  Chris Healy accounted for McAnespies’ goal, Danny Tallon provided the assist.  Each side moved the ball well and at speed as the pace of the game never let up.  Tony Brosnan, Jack Kielt (who entered the game for the injured Luke Purcell), Farragher and Ryan Caffrey accounted for the Gaels points, while it was Healy, Donnelly, and McGeough converting for McAnespies. 

The critical first few minutes of the second half went to McAnespies.  A three point deficit was turned into a lead within 5 minutes as three points on the trot was followed by a goal.  A heightened sense of urgency was evident from McAnespies and Johnny Brickland signaled the intent with a point from the throw in.  Healy and Gareth O’Neill followed with points to level the scores before Healy netted following a good move. 

The Gaels were at sixes and sevens at that stage and had Eoin Connolly to thank for preventing the gap from growing wider with some solid goalkeeping.  Brickland was in excellent form in the middle of the field for McAnespies, winning midfield ball and covering acres of ground, and was ably supported by his teammates.  The Gaels still generated a handful of chances that went awry before Farragher leveled the scores with a third Gaels goal.  However, quick as a flash, McAnespies canceled it out through the boot of Donnelly. 

The last five minutes were marked by scuffles as tempers flared.  As time ran out the teams traded points, with McAnespies managing to add an insurance through Healy. The Gaels looking to get the first win of the year and McAnespies 2 for 2 in the early going.

Gaels:  Macs:  P. Coakley, Marty Bogue, Mickey Bogue, B. Cawley, R. Kennedy, B. Greenan, M. Day, J. Brickland, G. O’Neil, C. Donnelly, F. McGeough, D. Tallon, C. Healy.  Gaels:  E. Connolly, D. Black, L. Purcell, D. Doolan, R. Caffrey, C. Mulkerrins, S. O’Connor, K. Murphy, S. Conneeley, N. Graham, F. Cooney, M. Farragher, T. Brosnan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Galway v Wexford

Wexford 0-13 Galway 7-15

Galway proved to be too much for Wexford to handle on Sunday afternoon at the ICC.  With about 20 minutes of the game gone it seemed evident that the westerners had the edge on their fellow Brighton opponents, and John Moylan who was back in a Galway jersey for the first time this season was in blistering form.

Wexford could not get off the ground against a rampant Galway on Sunday.
The first half opened with each side swapping 2 points apiece.  Shane Egan and Jamie Desmond for Wexford and John Mylan with both of Galway’s.  Moylan netted following a Barry Whelan pass, and from that point on it was pretty much all Galway.  From the full back line to the full forward line Galway were on top, and Moylan made hay from his corner forward position helping himself to three goals and two more points before the break.  Orin Keevers at center back controlled affairs and combined well with his wing backs, while up front Cormac Wafer, Jack McDowell and Robert O’Hanrahan did well.

John Moylan was in great form on Sunday.
Wexford kept plugging away at the coal face, but it was never looking like they had a road back into the game.  James Desmond and Jason Foley pointed, but at the break there was a considerable mountain for the Slaneysiders to climb. 

The second half played out with Galway looking safe and Wexford happy enough to wait for better things in their next outing.  Robert O’Hanrahan added a sixth goal to the Galway tally and substitues Chris Keegan and Darragh Murray also got in on the act to add to an already ballooning differential.

A handy win for Galway to get the championship off to a start, while for Wexford back to the planning sessions and hoping for better in their next outing in 2 weeks against Fr. Tom Burke’s.

Wexford:  E. Kavanagh, D. Quigley, B. McCarthy, J. Keyes, J. Foley, J. Desmond, C. Robinson, C. Burke, S. Egan, J. Kehoe, N. Kennedy, T. Maloney, J. O’Driscoll.  Galway:  K. Hemmensley, P. Dwyer, M. Lennon, S. O’Neill, O. Keevers, JJ Doyle, S. Roche, O. Casey, J. McDowell, R. O’Hanrahan, C. Wafer, B. Whelan, J. Moylan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football: Wolfe Tones v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 1-14 Wolfe Tones 1-13

The Connemara Gaels pulled of the narrowest of victories against the Wolfe Tones in a very well played, exciting junior football match on Sunday afternoon.  The Tones will consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with at least a draw, but a couple of goal line stops and some tight defending helped the Gaels to a victory in their first junior football outing of the season.

The Gaels and Tones tangled in a classic junior football encounter on Sunday. 
It was all square after 30 minutes.  Conor Murphy had an early say with 2 points early on for the Tones while for the Gaels it was Mattie Byrne and Noel Duggan opening their account.  The Tones pulled away and began to put some distance between the teams with scores from John Carroll, Sean Kelly, and Murphy and looked to be gaining control over affairs.  The Gaels struck with a goal from Byrne to level the scores and break the Tones momentum.  The teams swapped points to end the opening half, Cormac Joyce-Power with two lovely efforts that sailed between the posts.

Brendan Walsh on the ball for the Gaels.
The Gaels took the game to the Tones shortly after the restart and tallied some good scores from Seha Coney and Brendan Walsh.  The westerners though had Stephen Murray and Darren Leech to thank for a goal line stop each as thee Tones had chances to add a goal to their tally.  Meanwhile at the other end the Gaels made hay in large part through the boot of Coney.  Coney’s free taking was accurate, and with the Gaels moving the ball well out of the back line there were plenty of chances from the dead ball as they forced several fouls. 

The Gaels built a five point lead, however, the Tones got their goal opportunity with a penalty for a foot block in the large rectangle.  Joyce-Power kicked high and into the roof of the net to reduce the gap to two points, and followed with another.  Unfortunately for the Tones, time ran out before there was a chance to level affairs. 

Gaels:  S. Murray, D. Leech, C. McCabe, C. Conroy, E. Lanigan, K. Walsh, K. Rice, T. McDonagh, AJ Maguire, M. Byrne, N. Duggan, B. Walsh, K. McCarthy.  Tones: P.Miskell, D. Braniff, G. Leonard, P. Collins, P. Faulkner, C. Murphy, N. Crow, C. Joyce-Power, K. Regan, G. Walsh, S. Kelly.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior C Hurling: Portland v Worcester

Portland 5-8 Worcester 3-8

Portland made a major statement with the defeat of the North American Junior C Champions at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton.  A blistering first half performance saw Portland open a substantial lead to have their opponents chasing the game.  Worcester made somewhat of a comeback in the second half and threatened to make a run on a couple of occasions, but some good defending and timely scores kept Portland ahead till the final whistle.

Portland Held the Cards Sunday afternoon at the ICC.
At the break it was a double digit lead for the men from Maine.  Portland had hammered in four goals, three from Bryon Williams and one from Alan McGrath.  While Worcester kept pace in the points column they would have a lot of work to do to make ground up on the goals side as the Mass. Pike men found it hard to breach the Portland back line where it hurt most.

The central Mass men did get a lift with a goal from Derek Byrne and followed with a Tom Lind point to get the second half going.  At this point they had their tail between their legs and a run at that Portland lead looked possible, however, and handful of good scoring chances drifted wide of the posts and that difference remained eight points.

Worcester's Tom Lind clears as Dan Flanagan moves in.
Portland recovered from the brief shock and re asserted themselves on the game with scores from Alan McGrath and Matt Anderson.  After a brief stoppage due to an injury to Worcester goalkeeper, Mike Dufault, the ball was in the back of the Portland net a second time with a Seamus O’Shaughnessy long range effort and there was life in Worcester again.

Portland dampened any hope of a second half comeback with a fourth goal from Williams.  As Worcester pressed for a couple of goals Joel Wezowicz and JJ Twohig provided good protection for the keeper, and cleared from inside their own penalty area on several occasions.  With the win Portland are in a good place to be there when August rolls around.

Portland:  JJ Twohig, J. Wezowicz, M. Delahunty, E. Burns, T. Schneider, D. Adams, C. Boyle, L. Maher, D. Flanagan, B. Williams, A. McGrath, S. Matthews, M. Anderson.  Worcester:  M. Dufault, M. Dufresne, S. O’Mahoney, D. Smith, Sean O’Shaughnessy, J. McCaty, Seamus O’Shaughnessy, P. Mannion, M. O’Connor, T. Lind, J. Dorr, J. Goery, D. Byrne.

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, June 8, 2015

Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Kerry

Kerry 4-8 Wolfe Tones 2-15

Kerry and Wolfe Tones played a tremendusly exciting senior football match, a game in which the Tones will be relieved to have come away from with both points.  The Tones seemed to have had the game fairly safe on a few occasions, but Kerry hit with goals to keep themselves in with a shout and the Tones supports anxious, to the very end.  For the second week in a row, however, the Kingdom walked off the field wondering what might have been, while the Tones had two points in their pocket.

Marty Farrell in action for Wolfe Tones
Wolfe Tones motored well in the first half.  From Mike “Frodo” O’Brien in the half back line, though midfielders Jerry Troy and Danny O’Callaghan, and a well tuned forward line, the Tones looked in synch for much of the first 30 minutes.  Two goals were tallied, Neill Flynn at wing forward netted the first and Dan McCabe the second following an exquisite pass from fellow Down native Marty Farrell.  Gary Brilly worked hard in the full forward line, and supply was in abundance as Kerry were on the back foot for long spells. 

Kerry kept themselves in the game with a John O’Keefe goal, the wing forward is proving to be a valuable asset for the Kerry men this year.  Robbie Croft and David Larkin kept their side in touch with points, however, Kerry needed to make the most of every possession to do so as it was their opponents who held the upper hand in that department.   McCabe, Flynn, Barry McShea, and Danny O’Callaghan each found the space between the posts for the Tones who led by a score of 2-5 to 1-4 at the break. 

Darren Foley and Jerry Troy battle for this ball.
About half way through the second period the teams were level.  The Tones looked to be getting a firmer grip on affairs as Kerry started to look tired.  The Tones chipped away at the points through O’Callaghan, Hurley, McCabe, and Flynn but their Achilles heel was in their penchant for opening the door to Kerry’s forwards for goals.  Phil O’Sullivan stole in for a goal after the Tones coughed up the ball coming out of defence, and O’Keefe had the teams on level terms after forcing the ball over the line from inside the small square. 

There were close calls at either end, Cathal Moriarty pulled a ball off the line at one end, and Kerry keeper Stephen Enright was called on to get low to save from O’Brien at the other as the game hung in the balance.  Kerry attacked in waves for a brief period, throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents in a huge effort to turn the tables, however, the green and gold had nothing to show for it by the time the Tones gathered themselves.  

The Tones punished Kerry with three quick points in as many minutes, almost drawing a contrast between the fortunes of each side, to restore the gap.   The insurance point came from Ciaran Hurley to put four between the teams.  It was just as well from a Tones viewpoint as Croft fisted a high ball into the net with 2 minutes left as Kerry still refused to accept defeat.  Kerry, however, could not find that extra bit to pull themselves ahead and the game ended with a relieved Wolfe Tones taking both championship points back to South Boston.

Kerry: S. Enright, J. O’Keefe, J. Barry, J. O’Shea, S. Driscoll, D. Larkin, D. Foley, L. Healy, J. Long, R. Driscoll, J. O’Keefe, P. O’Sullivan, R. Croft.  Tones:  D. McDonnell, E. Powderly, B. McShea, M. O’Brien, S. George, C. Moriarty, D. O’Callaghan, J. Troy, M. Farrell, D. McCabe, N. Flynn, G. Brilly, C. Hurley.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Galway v Shannon Blues

Shannon Blues 3-16 Galway 0-11

The gap between the teams on the scoreboard was considerable, however, the biggest difference was not in the balance of play as much as the ability to penetrate.  Shannon Blues possess a potent pair of corner forwards and coupled with a belief in their abilities from the rest of the team will be hard to beat this season.  Galway took the game to the Blues from the throw in, but were left looking at a two goal deficit at the break, and the game continued to slip farther away as the game moved on.

Darren Wallace on the run to set up Barry Dwyer's goal.
Galway will have considered themselves to be very unlucky to be trailing at half time, never mind by six points.  Galway outplayed the Blues for most of the 30 minutes and had six points to show for their efforts.  Craig Kennedy was lively in the forward line, and around the middle of the field Craig Burns and Lorcan Laheen worked hard.  The tribesmen also missed a penalty, something they did not have the luxury of doing given the clinical nature of their opposing forwards in front of goal.  A foot block was penalized by Jason Long, and Kevin Cummins shot was saved by Dara O’Brien between the posts for the Blues.

The Blues relied largely on their dynamic corner forward pairing, and each accounted for a goal.  First was Dara Roche who slotted nicely into the near corner with the keeper to beat, and Barry Dwyer for on the end of a Darren Wallace ball across the box to put the second away.  The two accounted for most of the Blues points, the exception being Greg Horan with a surging effort from midfield.  At the half the Blues held a 2-6 to 0-6 lead.

Barry Dwyer finds himself in a tight spot.
The second half saw the Blues net a third goal after just over 10 minutes, and while Galway continued to battle, the chances of making up the difference were remote.  This time it was David Clifford running from the half back line to get on the end of Denis McElligott’s pass and palm the ball into the net.  In spite of some superbly pointed efforts from Kevin Cummins and Danny Reddin, Galway could not find their way past the Blues last line of defence to try and get a shot at the keeper.  Goals were needed, but the Blues defence let nothing threaten the goal of Dara O’Brien.

Roche continued to do his thing at the other end for the Blues, picking off points almost at will.  Galway did manage to pick off the points, however, the Blues were able to answer in kind almost immediately.  The Blues looking clinical with two wins out of two, Galway will be back at it in two weeks when Donegal will be the opponent.

Blues:  D. O’Brien, S. Kelly, T. Wallace, D. Clifford, C. Jordan, C. Mullen, W. Guthrie, G. Horan, D. Wallace, P. Murray, D. McElligott, D. Roche, B. Dwyer.  Galway:  J. Kelly, P. Cummins, M. Collins, F. Reilly, L. Laheen, O. Keever, S. Marchell, C. Burns, D. Reddin, K. Cummins, S. Regan, C. Kennedy, O. Reilly.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football: Donegal v Aidan McAnespies; Cork v Shannon Blues

Aidan McAnespies 2-11 Donegal 2-7

The junior football championship got underway with Aidan McAnespies and Donegal taking the field on a light breezy Sunday afternoon.  It was a highly entertaining game between two strong teams that ebbed and flowed with each side enjoying spells on top.  Donegal briefly looked like they might turn the tables in the second half, but McAnespies almost immediately restored their edge and pushed on to the final whistle. 

Donegal's Christy Bell is stopped by Brian O'Shaughnessy.

It was a tightly contested first half between the Boston rivals, and once the first 30 minutes were over McAnespies held the slightest of leads.  The sides traded points and it was all square at three each about 20 minutes in.  Donegal veteran, Kevin Curran, and Christy McLaughlin found the mark for Donegal, while for McAnespies it was Brian Greenan, Paul Daly, and Enda Hamill with the finishing touches.  

McAnespies took control of the game eventually with sweeping moves out of defence, and just before the half time break it was Greenan who provided the finish to put his side four points to the good.  Donegal managed to pull the goal back through Tony McClenaghan before the break with a downfield foray and at the half it was a 1-4 to 1-3 McAnespies lead.

The second half saw Donegal take a brief lead after McLaughlin finished a move that began with a long, mazy run from the lively Rory Dunleavy.  The goal provided Donegal with a burst of energy and Ryan McCrystal was forced into making a fantastic DeGea like save from a close range from a Mark Dunphy shot soon afterwards as Donegal applied the pressure.  McAnespies, however, got back into pole position within minutes.  Grennan’s direct run opened the space for Diarmaid Spratt to finish from close range and it stood at 2-4 to 2-6 on the scoreboard. 

Play moved up and down the field at speed, with Donegal looking to pull themselves back into it and McAnespies looking for the decisive score.  Points were swapped, McLaughlin and McCleneghan scoring for Donegal, while Hamill and Cox found the mark for McAnespies.  McCrystal proved invaluable, pulling off another fine save down the stretch to deny what would have been an equalizing goal as McAnespies had added a point to the lead 

Spratt had the final say with an insurance point in injury time to secure the two points and get McAnespies off to a great start against one of the stronger junior sides in recent years.
Macs:  R. McCrystal, B. Smyth, M. McMahon, M. Bogue, D. McGarr, J. Flynn, M. Day, B. O’Shoughnessy, D. Spratt, P. Daly, E. Hamill, B. Greenan, S. O’Kane.   Donegal:  J. Byrne, M. Canny, D. Doherty, D. Green, E. Doonan, K. McColgan, T. McCleneghan, C. Bell, K. McDevitt, E. McCarney, K. Curran, C. McLaughlin, R. Dunleavy.

Shannon Blues 2-7 Cork 4-11

Declan Harrington shoots for Cork.
Following on the heels of Donegal and McAnespies were Cork and the Blues.  The Blues got off to a blistering 1-3 to 0-1 start, the goal coming from James Feeney.  Cork then worked themselves into the game and by the time the clock hit 30 minutes were ahead by 10 points, 3-7 to 1-6.  Seventeen year old local boy, Declan Harrington, netted one of the Cork goals, and it was heartening to see both teams fielding a plethora of home grown talent.

The Blues made a brief comeback and narrowed the gap with a goal and two points to get off the mark following the restart, however, Cork regained the initiative and pulled away.  Colm Caffrey netted the rebels fourth goal with about 10 minutes to go to provide reassurance to the Cork supporters in attendance.  A solid first step start for Cork in their push for the Junior A title.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sheehan Cup Final: Fr. Tom Burke's v Tipperary

Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-12 Tipperary 2-11

It was probably a harder earned win than expected, but Tipperary came through against a battling Fr. Tom’s to add the Sheehan Cup to their 2015 trophy haul.   From the start it was clear that Tom’s were not about to let the favoured Tipperary side have it all their own way.  Tipp had to work for their scores, while Tom’s took advantage of their chances to push their opponents all the way.  Tipperary had that extra bit of class to get the scores when they were needed to come out on top by two points.

Sean McGarr presented with the Sheehan Cup
by John Cunningham.
Tom’s dug in and fought hard over the first 30 minutes and were very much in the hunt at the end of the first half.  The senior championship holders kept pace with their opponents on the scoreboard through the free taking of David O’Mahoney, and held Tipp’s tally down with committed hurling, challenging for each and every loose ball.  Tipp’s fouling in the half back line provided David O’Mahoney with plenty of opportunities that were well within range and the Laois man capitalized.  

Tom’s held a slight edge coming into half time, but Tipp finally broke through the Tom’s rearguard and won a penalty just before the break.  The shot was put away by Colm Galvin, the first taken at the ICC under the new rules, where just the goalkeeper is on the line.  Tipp had pointed through Galvin, Joe Healy, and Oisin Hickey in the first period.  At the break it was Tipp 1-5 Tom’s 0-6.

The second half continued to be as tight as the first.  After Tipp added two points to their lead, Tom’s edged in front themselves  by following points from O’Mahoney and Howley with a goal.  Kevin Rice found a route through the Tipp defence and the Antrim man offloaded to O’Mahoney whose finish was executed with the expertise of a seasoned operator.  Tom’s hopes were short lived as Tipp answered in kind through who else but Galvin.  A path to goal opened up for the Clare starlet and with the well taken finish Tipp’s lead was restored. 

Sheehan Cup Winners 2015 - Tipperary
The teams traded points in the final quarter, and while the game was still within reach for Tom’s the westerners would have to work hard to turn their opponents.  Keeping their noses in front with points from Galvin and Oisin Hickey, Tipp held off Tom’s efforts at late game heroics to hold on to the two point victory.

Tom’s: K. Flynn, S. Lyons, J. Dooley, D. Costello, S. Dolan, D. Burke, S. Higgins, R. Driscoll, K. Rice, G. Kelly, S. Howley, D. O’Mahoney, K. Dunne.  Tipp:  S. Delaney, S. McGarr, D. Moloney, M. Gauthier, J. Rigney, W. Egan, J. Heavey, C. Dempsey, C. Galvin, P. Moriarty, R. Sludds, K. Lee, O. Hickey.

By Rory O'Donnell