Monday, June 25, 2018

Senior Hurling - Tipperary v Offaly

Tipperary 6- 19 Offaly 0-12

Tipperary were a level or two above Offaly in a game in which the faithful county battled hard, but could not match the power of their opponents.  Joe Coleman and Jerry O’Neill in the Wexford forward line provided a mountain that Offaly could not overcome.

Russell Quirke looks for assistance.
Joe Coleman at center forward was the powerhouse for Tipperary in the first half.  The St. Martin’s man was involved with almost everything happening for Tipperary.  Whether it was the free taking, one early score came from well inside his own half of the field, or from play, the Wexfordman was hard to stop.  John Kindregan also did well at wing back for Tipp, the veteran intervened to put a stop to ball played into to Offaly forward line. Tipp netted three times in the opening half, Jerry O’Neill at corner forward was dangerous and claimed two of the goals, Russell Quirke in the opposite corner the third.  Offaly kept at it however, and converted points from Niall Mannion frees, while Jack Dunphy and Emmet Moran battled hard in the back line.  Tipp were too strong however, and at the half it was Tipp holding the aces at a score of 3-11 to 0-5.

Harry O'Connor on the ball.
Early in the second half the Tipp men bagged another goal, this one from Dylan Hyland who had entered play as a sub.  The teams traded scores, however another goal came for Tipperary as they underlined their superiority.  Each side gave the subs a run early as the outcome was beyond doubt.  Offaly brought some respectability to the scoreboard with some converted frees.  Tipperary looking like a class above in their first 2 outings, but are sure to have a tougher time of it when they meet Galway next week.

Tipp:  Evan Condon, Darragh Fanning, Sean McGarr, Paul Morris, Kieran Bennett, John Kindregan, Simon Kennedy, Cronan Dempsey, Joe O’Connor, Joe Coleman, Harry O’Connor, Jerry O’Neill, Russell Quirke.

Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Emmet Moran, Jack Dunphy, Jack Murray, Oisin McCormack, Conor Grimes, Donal O’Dwyer, Robert Croft, Brian Ramsey, Cillian Campbell, Chris McMahon, Niall Mannion, Stephen Brown.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Wolfe Tones

Connemara Gaels 2-5 Wolfe Tones 0-10

After a sleepy opening half the game woke up with a blast as the Gaels took both points with an injury time goal.  The Tones looked to have the points in the bag against a misfiring Gaels team, but 2 second half goals ended up delivering the goods for the Connemara Men.

Wolfe Tones Dean Curran shoots.
It was a low scoring first half, with the Gaels in particular missing a plethora of chances to score.  With just a solitary point to show for their efforts, the Gaels forward line must have felt sheepish heading in to the break.  The Tones fared a little better, chances were taken by Paddy Keenan, Robbie Cunningham and Dean Curran.  Both back lines were on top, Martin O’Conner did a diligent job at corner back for the Gaels, and in fairness it was the Connemara men who held somewhat of an advantage in terms of possession, but at the half it was a 0-4 to 0-1 Tones lead.

Eyes on the Loose Ball
Things picked up somewhat and it became and exciting affair.  After the teams traded points to get the second half going the Gaels hit with a goal.  Glenn Malone was on the spot to bury the loose ball, and the teams were all even.   The Tones had their chance to score when Deeney was leveled in the penalty area, however Warren Kavanagh tried to place the ball and chipped it over the bar.  The Gaels generated plenty of chances, but on each occasion took the goal option, and Tones keeper, Shane Hayes, was up to every shot.  The teams traded points before the Tones put three unanswered over the bar.  Keenan, Curran and a hard earned effort from Kavanagh had the Tones in a four point lead and the clock ticking into the final 5 minutes.  With the rain starting to fall, the Gaels kept going forward, but kept their patience and points from Colm Mannion and Sean Mulkerrins reduced the gap to 2.  Time almost up and one last chance as the Tones did not capitalize on the possession they had.  Colman Mulkerrin made a run through the middle, and fluffed his shot but Hayes could only parry the effort into the path of Ryan Galvin who made sure with his side footed finish.  It was a steal by the Gaels in the end, but not undeserved on the balance of play.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Kevin Maguire, James Healy, Connloadh Deeney, Eoin Buggie, James Dolan, Ronan Jones, Aaron Elliott, Mike O’Brien, Paddy Keenan, Jack Lynch, Dean Curran, Robbie Cunningham.

Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, David Black, Martin O’Connor, Joe O’Shea, David Lynch, Patrick O’Donnell, Matthew O’Sullivan, Colm Brennan, Coleman Mulkerrin, Kenny Gavigan, Glenn Malone, Ryan Galvin, Rory O’Connor.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football - Shannon Blues v Galway

Shannon Blues 4-19 Galway 1-20

Shannon Blues recorded a second win following a tough encounter with Galway.  The teams were neck and neck for most of the game, but in the final quarter the Blues pulled away as Galway tired.  A late Paul O’Donoghue penalty saw the St. Mary’s man net a hat trick, as goals were the downfall of Galway for a second week in a row.

Daragh Roche has the goal in mind. 
It was a rip roaring opening half, three goals and a plethora of points were fairly evenly divided and saw he teams take the break with a point between them, in favor of the Blues.  The Blues got off the mark with three points on the trot, another game where Galway gave themselves some catching up to do right off the mark.  Once they got going, the Tribesman started to flow.  With Declan Walsh in the half back line, and Eoin Gallagher motoring up front Galway were back in it.  Points from Gallagher, Cian McMonagle, and Gallagher again saw Galway into a two point lead.  But back came the Blues with a goal from a fantastic solo effort by Paul O’Donoghue.  The Kerryman blasted the ball into the far corner.  Daragh Roche got motoring then, the Blues found the Glenflesk man at every opportunity and he converted.  Three Roche points in a row saw the Blues ahead by 4.  Galway kept it reined in, Adam Gallagher netted following a tricky ball floated across the square, but the Blues soon cancelled it out with another Donoghue goal.  Galway finished the half strong with four on the trot, Adam Gallagher, Walsh, and McMonagle converted to make it a 1-11 to 2-9 half time score.

Brian Fanning keeping a tight rein on 
Cian McMonagle.
After Galway leveled affairs the Blues hit with a third goal.  This time O’Donoghue was the provider and Roche the finisher by palming the ball into the net.  Galway were still very much in the game and pulled back two points through Gallagher and Alan Egan.  The teams traded points before the Blues started to slowly add to their lead.  Galway started to slow down as the running earlier in the game began to take its toll, while the Blues introduced fresh legs from the line to keep the tempo up.  Roche and O’Donoghue restored the 3 point gap, after that Galway could not reduce the deficit any longer.  The Blues pulled away, putting seven over the bar to Galway’s four points in the final 15 minutes.  Galway still in search of a first win, while the Blues in good position after 3 games.

Blues:  Mike Moriarty, Brian Fanning, PJ Hand, Dennis McEligott, Michael Cottrell, Patrick Crowley, Maurice Young, Jerry Troy, Conor Fitzgerald, Brian Egan, Paul O’Donoghue, David Mannix, Daragh Roche.

Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Daire Quinn, Paddy Naughton, Tom Davey, Declan Walsh, Sean Moriarty, Alan Egan, Ray Connelly, Stewey Cullen, Eoin Gallagher, Adam Gallagher, Jaime Keigh, Cian McMonagle.
By Rory O'Donnell

Ladies Senior Football: Boston Shamrocks v Connacht Ladies

Boston Shamrocks 2-8 Connacht Ladies 1-9

The opening game of the Ladies senior football championship was a hard fought, closely contested affair.  The Shamrocks pulled out the win in the final 10 minutes of a game that was neck and neck all the way through.  If this is a harbinger of things to come it should be a keenly contested title this season.

Katie Black on the move for the Shamrocks.
There was a point between the teams at the end of a hard fought first half.  A Nicola Judge goal following a great downfield run from Kelly Jordan put the Shamrocks into an early lead.  The Shamrocks were full of running, with players from the half back line leading the charge.  Laura Kieran was first to everything in her area of the field, and Katie Black in the middle of the field won plenty of possession for the Shamrocks cause.  Connacht Ladies had Jane Ward at center forward on hand for the first 2 points as play followed up and down the field.  Ward swung over two points in her with characteristic style.   The Shamrocks held on to their edge for most of the half, but were guilty of dropping several shots into the hands of Connacht keeper, Rachel O’Driscoll and hit the post on 2 occasions.  A late goal from Ward put the westerners into a one point lead just before the break.  It was a well worked move with Jackie McDonagh providing the assist.  Connacht Ladies a point to the good, 1-4 to 1-3 at the end of a great half of football.

Shauneen McAleer looks for options. 
The second half saw the Shamrocks regain the lead.  After Ward pointed for Connacht, a goal sandwiched by 2 points put the Shamrocks 3 to the good.  It was a well worked score with Jordan applying the finishing touch from close range.  The Connacht Ladies fought back with Catherine Boyle at center back and Triona Kelly at wing back providing the platform for several attacks.  Ward pointed expertly three times on the trot to level the scores.  Any hint of room and the ball is over the bar.  With 15 minutes to go it was anybody’s game.  Niamh Harney and Chloe Baker were busy in the Shamrocks forward line.  Baker took a lovely point and was followed by a wonderful Kelly Jordan effort.  The Shamrocks proceeded to push home their advantage as others stepped up when tired legs claimed a number of their teammates.  Judge made it a three point edge with the clock ticking away.  A goal was needed for the Connacht Ladies to salvage a point, but with Cathy McEleaney fighting a hard rearguard battle, the Shamrocks kept the door closed.   First blood to the Shamrocks.

Shamrocks:  Barbara Kelly, Allie D’Amico, Cathy McEleaney, Roisin Hession, Kelly Boyce Jordan, Laura Kiernan, Katie McGovern, Katie Black, Niamh McLaughlin, Oonagh Sheilds, Nicola Judge, Niamh Harney, Chloe Baker, Louise Desmond, Ciara Murphy.

Connacht:  Rachel O’Driscoll, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Shauneen McAleer, Stephanie Finn, Triona Kelly, Catherine Boyle, Kim Cobbe, Aoife Heffernan, Aisling Kerr, Jackie McDonagh, Jane ward, Colette Folan, Joanne Conroy, Emer McHugh, Rachel Tubirdy.
By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football - Donegal v Shannon Blues

Donegal 3-14 Shannon Blues 0-6

Donegal and the Blues opened proceedings at the Irish Cultural Center on Sunday with Donegal coming out with a convincing win.  The northerners never looked in any danger, but for their part the Blues fought hard throughout what was a losing battle. 

Christy McLaughlin smoothly curls it over.
Donegal rattled the net 3 times inside the first 30 minutes with goals from Christy McLaughlin (2) and Aidan McLaughlin.  But for the post there would have been one or two more as on a couple of occasions a goal seemed on the cards only for the post to deny the would-be scorer.  Donegal looked dangerous going forward.  With Ciaran McDevitt, Darren Grant, and Aidan McLaughlin bursting through on several occasions, the Blues defence were up against it.  The Blues experienced a good spell in the middle of the period.  Mike Ralston at corner forward popped over a couple of well-earned frees, while Pat Murray and Michael Moylan carried the ball forward well.  Richard Howley also pointed, but for the most part it was Donegal on top and with a 3-7 to 0-4 half time lead.

Donegal continued to hold the upper hand for the second half.  Tired legs took their toll and for the Blues led to tired passes.  More Donegal scores came from McDevitt, Ronan Diver, Christy McLaughlin and Rocky Ivers as the Tir Chonaill men stretched their lead.  The Blues kept at it and were rewarded with scores from Ralston and James Feeney.  Donegal added more to their tally through Grant and McLaughlin, and in the end came out easy winners.

James Feeney has a go for the Blues.
Blues:  Conor Fitzgerald, Shane Kelly, Liam Bradley, Brian Fannon, John Craig, Pat Moriarty, Pat Murray, James Feeney, Brian Kennedy, Michael Moylan, Brian Griffin, Richard Howley, Mike Ralston.

Donegal:  Lee McCarron, Declan McBride, Paul McNulty, Darren Doherty, Neil McEneaney, Sean Winston, Darren Grant, Mark Dunphy, Ciaran McDevitt, Rocky Ivers, Aidan McLaughlin, Christy McLaughlin, Conor Brennan.
By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, June 18, 2018

Senior Football: Galway v Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones 4-15 Galway 1-19

Wolfe Tones added a win to their victory from their first season outing.  Three goals, two right at the start of the game and the third early in the second half, proved to be the platform for victory.  Galway made up most of the difference and stayed with their opponents in the first half, but after conceding the third goal ran out of steam somewhat. 

Cian McMonagle on a Galway attack.
The Tones got off the dream start, with not just one, but two early goals.  The first came from corner forward, Robbie Cunningham, who picked his spot well amid a forest of Galway defenders.  Almost immediately a second came from James Dolan after Galway turned the ball over in their own back line.  The groans in the crowd from the expectant Galway supporters were audible.  It did not take the westerners long to get themselves back into the game.  With Cian McMonagle at corner forward and picking up from where he left off last year, Galway had a valuable scoring outlet.  Adam Gallagher and Owen Gallagher in the half forward line proved a handful for the Tones defence.  Galway eventually pulled the goal back after a great move left Jamie Kehoe to deliver the finishing touch.  Kehoe was in a second time, but on this occasion thumped the ball off the crossbar.  McMonagle had his shooting boots on and several lovely points were put over by the Kildare native.  The Tones had plenty to offer themselves.  Ronan Jones was involved in almost everything, and Dean Curran up front opened the space when in possession.  Curran finished a number of moves with points.  It was a 2-9 to 1-9 in favor of the Tones at the break.

Ronan Jones
The second half saw the Tones net a third goal as the Galway defence was opened up again.  Robbie Cunningham fed the incoming Dolan, who netted expertly.  Galway kept trying to plug away at the gap, but the Tones proved just a bit too strong as the Galway effort ran out of steam.  Dolan, Jack Lynch, and Curran pointed.   Galway were unable to follow a score with a second as the Tones answered each one to maintain their advantage. A late Curran goal killed off any Galway hopes, however, with this performance Galway look like they will be in every game, as long as they don’t give themselves so much to do early in the game.

Tones:  Shane Tones, Kevin Maguire, Keith Gill, Connlaodh Deeney, Eoin Buggy, Warren Kavanagh, Ian Whelan, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, Jack Lynch, James Dolan, Dean Curran, Robbie Cunningham.

Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Daire Quinn, Ray Ryan, Tom Davey, Declan Walsh, Sean Moriarty, Paddy Naughton, Ray Connelly, Stewey Cullen, Eoin Gallagher, Adam Gallagher, Jamie Keogh, Cian McMonagle.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Galway

Galway 4-17 Fr. Tom Burke’s 3-18

In their first outing of the season Galway’s powerful looking forward line delivered the goods against Fr. Tom’s in an open, free flowing game of hurling Sunday afternoon.  Conditions were perfect for hurling, dry and fast with a slight breeze.  Aidan Helebert at center forward was essential for the tribesmen, and 2 second half goals from Waterford man, Jack Lyons ended up delivering the goods.

Enda Feeney in possession for Galway.
At the break Galway led by the slenderest of margins.  It was free flowing, open hurling with some well taken scores.  Aidan Heleburt at center forward tallied 5 of Galway’s total.  The man from Gort played a major role in the Galway effort.  There was plenty of support from other quarters.  Oisin Donnellan at wing forward contributed with a fine point from play, while Adam Kenny and Enda Feeney assisted a great goal that was doubled on by Jack Lyons to cancel out a Stiofan McMahon goal for Tom’s.  In the early going it was Ali Dooey who caught the eye for Tom’s.  Looking dangerous at corner forward, the Dunloy, Co. Antrim man flashed 3 points over the bar inside the opening 10 minutes.  Lyons netted for Galway in the early going, and the teams batted back and forth, with neither side managing to get an advantage.  Shane Howley was involved at wing forward for Tom’s and contributed to a number of scores, taking 2 for himself.  With Galway having opened a 4 point gap coming up to half time, Dooey buried a fantastic goal to bring Tom’s back into it.  Galway’s Helebert pointed twice from frees and Dean Flood once for Tom’s to make it a 2-10 to 2-11 Galway advantage at the break.

Frank McCormack with a hold of John Buckley's shirt.
The second half saw Galway edge into a lead, and Tom’s spent the 30 minutes trying to eat into it.  After Flood and Stiofan McMahon had put Tom’s into a one point lead, three on the trot from Galway pulled back the initiative.  Lyons, Kenny and Helebert each pointed and Galway would never trail in the game again.  The pace slowed a little from the first half, and defences tightened up a little – scores were less free flowing as in the preceding period.  The sides were level again mid-way through the half and we were into the final quarter where it was anybody’s game.  With 10 minutes to go Galway netted through Jack Lyons, and shortly after another goal came from the same corner as the Ballyduff man took advantage of the space.  The lights dimmed for Tom’s as the Galway lead grew as time was ticking away.  A Howley goal came too late for Tom’s as it was the final puck of the game.  A win for Galway to get off the mark.   

Galway:  John Coleman, Trevor Lee, John Moylan, James Kinsella, Shane O’Gorman, Brendan Furling, Ryan Garry, Frank McCormack, Adam Kenny, Aidan Heleburt, Oisin Donnellan, Enda Feeney, Jack Lyons.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Danny Burke, Dwane Palmer, Craig Taylor, Vincent Doyle, Dylan Costello, Aaron Moore, Seamus Higgins, Shane Howley, Dean Flood, John Buckley, Stiofan McMahon, Ali Dooey.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Aidan McAnespies 2-10 Donegal 1-16

A good crowd was at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton to witness Donegal and McAnespies play a blistering game of championship football, one in which Donegal came through in the crucial last 10 minutes.  The sides were all square coming into the final stretch, and two great scores gave Donegal an edge that they carried to the final whistle.  Oisin O’Neill was key in the Donegal forward line, not only for his accuracy from frees but availability and support play when Donegal were on the attack.  McAnespies had several chances to get something out of the game in the final minutes, but could not capitalize.  Donegal very much back in the senior championship picture.

Jake Foster setting up a McAnespies attack.
The first half was played at a blistering pace with Donegal enjoying the balance of play.  McAnespies created plenty of chances with their running from the back, and with the forwards all keyed in, openings were plentiful.  The finished article was not always the desired outcome, however there were some lovely finishes from Jake Foster, Che O’Donnell, and Nathan O’Brien.  A goal came from Phil McCusker after Eamon Fyfe made the assist.  Donegal had plenty of answers themselves.  The Donegal defence turned over plenty of ball, and Oisin O’Neill at corner forward was on song.  The South Armagh native popped 3 over the bar, and about mid-way through the half rattled the net with a great solo effort.  McAnespies answered right away with a Fyfe goal to restore their one point lead as the game flowed in both directions.  Donegal kept clipping the points over, Michael Carroll, O’Neill and Ciaran McFaul all hit the target, while Anto Kidney put two long range efforts over from dead balls to make it all square at the half, 1-9 for Donegal to 2-6 for McAnespies.

Robbie Croft and Sean Donnelly tangle.
It was nip and tuck throughout the second half.  Donegal inched into the lead with Conor Small, Sean Donnelly, and O’Neill points.  The northerners looked fluid going forward and the McAnespies back line had to work hard to keep the threat at bay.  With the game entering the final 10 McAnespies had leveled the scores.  Fyfe pointed, and was followed by Declan Hughes as the hard work was rewarded.  A lovely left footed effort from the Ballymena man made it all square and now every ball was of utmost importance.  Donegal put back to back points two over the bar, a great Ciaran McFaul effort from distance followed by a well taken O’Neill free.  With the clock running down McAnespies had 4 chances at points, but each time the ball drifted wide of the mark.  O’Neill made it a three point gap with virtually the final kick of the game, and it is a much needed win for Donegal to settle the boat heading into the teeth of what looks like will be an exciting championship.

Macs:  Declan Kidney, Caolan Harvey, Eoin Delmer, Lorcan Mallon, Robert Pigott, Jake Foster, Albert Martin, Declan Hughes, Robert Croft, Che O’Donnell, Nathan O’Brien, Eamon Fyfe, Philip McCusker.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Neil McEnaeney, Niall Keenan, Sean Doherty, Dylan Wall, Liam Silke, Michael Carroll, Brian Donnelly, Eoin McHugh, Ciaran McFaul, Sean Donnelly, Lee Carr, Oisin O’Neill.
By Rory O'Donnell

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Seán Óg’s - Boston Northeast division's Newest Club.

This Saturday, June 16th, will see the newest GAA club in the Northeast Division take to the field at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton as the - Seán Óg’s line out for their first ever game in the Men’s Junior B Football Competition against Hartford. Comprised entirely of American-born players in the Boston-area who have come through the underage ranks, the team will serve as a pipeline development squad to prepare young players for continuing their playing days with one of the nine Men’s Football Clubs in the area.

The team has been named in memory of six-year old Sean Farrell, who passed away tragically on July 12th, 2005 while on vacation with his family in Ireland. Sean was the youngest in a family with close connections to the GAA here in the Northeast Division, with his father, John, serving as the current Chairman of the Northeast Board. He had begun to play Gaelic football with the Irish Sports Youth League and undoubtedly would have come through the underage program alongside many of the young men who will now play in his memory.

For Sean’s family, his father, John, his mother, Bridget, and sisters, Aishling and Catherine, the team serves as a celebration of Sean’s life. The aptly named Seán Óg’s brings together a group of young Irish-Americans who represent the future of the GAA in the Northeast Division, and across the US as a whole.

“We are grateful to see the GAA here in Boston take initiative with a club that not only prepares young players to continue on in Men’s GAA, but also keeps Sean’s memory alive in the process. We wish the Seán Óg’s all the best for success this season and in years to come.”

                        -The Farrell Family

Bridget Farrell presents Seán Óg’s jersey to
Ciaran McDevitt and Jonathan O'Doherty.
The Seán Óg’s will face some tough competition in their first year, with Men’s Junior B Football providing the Northeast division’s largest competition this season. The boys are looking forward to getting valuable experience and developing as players and a team through competitive games.

The Northeast Divisional Minor Board is at its largest ever - with more players, clubs, and games than ever before. 2018 will see a third consecutive U14 Boys Football team traveling from the division to compete in the Feile Peile na nOg. With the formation of the Seán Óg’s, there is now a clear channel for American-born players coming through the youth system and progressing on to the adult ranks.

“This is a great opportunity for our young players and we are very excited,” said Northeast Divisional Youth Officer, Martin Kerr, who will be co-managing the Seán Óg’s alongside Seamus O’Doherty. “We’ll do our best this year and hopefully lay the groundwork for this team well into the future. Our hope is that every young lad coming through the underage ranks here in Boston will have a chance to play in Sean Farrell’s memory with the Seán Óg’s.”

Submitted by Aisling Kerr, GDA

Monday, June 11, 2018

Senior Football: Shannon Blues v Donegal

Shannon Blues 1-15 Donegal 0-16

Shannon Blues pulled out a win in a tremendous display against Donegal.  For much of the game it looked as though the northerners held the cards and the advantage, and with Crossmaglen’s Oisin O’Neill in the side, as well as a half back line anchored by Corofin duo Liam Silke and Dylan Wall Donegal looked to have an edge over their opponents.  A goal in the second half proved to be the difference in the end as the Blues held on in injury time to win both points, and see Donegal looking at two losses to start the season.

Michael Carroll challenged by Mike Cottrill of the Blues.
It was a fast paced opening the game with each side giving as good as they got in the early going.  The Blues opened the scoring with a Darragh Roche point – the Glenflesk native was buzzing for the Blues early.  Donegal settled into the game and the scores started to flow.  O’Neill, at center forward, Michael Carroll and Sean Donnelly started to combine well for the northerners, and Donegal moved the ball at pace from the back.  The forwards all contributed to the scoreboard as the men from Tir Chonaill were rolling.  The Blues came back into the game towards the end of the half.  David Mannix converted a handful of frees, and Paul O’Donoghue scored a beauty from play and followed with a fine dead ball effort from distance.  The St. Mary’s Caherciveen man was last seen at corner forward in the red and white of Aidan McAnespies in 2011, but this year lined out in midfield for the Blues.  At the half it was a one point Donegal advantage as the Blues narrowed a 4 point deficit in the last few minutes.

Paul O'Donoghue in motion for the Blues.
The second half saw Donegal add to their lead with points from Brian Donnelly and O’Neill, but it was a Blues goal in the final quarter that decided it in the end.  The Blues were relying on the trusty boot of David Mannix from frees to keep in touch, but as the Blues forced Donegal into fouling in their own back line they took a two point lead.  The came the goal.  A sweeping move down the right wing was started by Denis McElligott in the half back line.  McElligott played a couple of one-two’s and finished the ball into the net to give his side a five point advantage, but there was plenty of time to play.  With the clock ticking Donegal increased their level of urgency and pulled themselves back within a goal.  O’Neill was the man on target.  The Blues were defending now and playing on the counter attack. Another goal chance presented itself for the Blues and this time Hugh Boyle made a great save from Darren Wallace.  Donegal still had a chance, and pointed from a high ball into the box, but needed a goal with the game into injury time.  The Blues wall held out though, and earn their first win of the season.   

Blues:  Mike Moriarty, Brian Fanning, Derek O’Brien, Pat Crowley, Mike Cottrill, Denis McElligott, Maurice Young, Paul O’Donoghue, Dara Roche, Darren Wallace, PJ Hand, Mike O’Neill, David Mannix.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Neil McEneaney, Niall Keenan, Liam Silke, Jason Noctor, Dylan Wall, Brian Donnelly, Kieran McDevitt, Michael Carroll, Oisin O’Neill, Conor Small, Lee Carr, Sean Donnelly.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Offaly

Fr. Tom Burke’s 4-21 Offaly 4-9

It was another one-sided affair in the senior hurling encounter between Offaly and Fr. Tom Burke’s.  Tom’s were too strong in all facets of the game, and the scoring prowess of Naomh Barrog man, Dean Flood, Stiofan McMahon, and Jason Costello was something that Offaly could not match.  Flood proved to be a key factor in Tom’s efforts as they cruised to the win.

From the North side of Dublin to Canton, Dean Flood
put in a good first performance with Tom's. 
The opening exchanges saw Donal O’Dwyer and Jack Dunphy point for Offaly, with Flood and Costello getting on the board for Tom’s.  Shane Howley gave Tom’s a slight edge just before the game was blown open in the middle third.  Tom’s went on a 2-5 to 0-1 scoring advantage.  After a goal from McMahon, points came from Costello, Flood, Conor Freeman, and McMahon.  A Costello goal book-ended the phase and with the best part of 10 minutes to go in the opening half, Tom’s sat on a nine point lead.  Sharper to the ball in defence and up-front, Tom’s had a decided advantage.  Offaly managed to drop it in to the Tom’s box on a number of occasions having moved Thomas Jackman to a more firward position, however, could not capitalize.  The teams traded points heading in to the break to make it a 2-12 to 0-6 Tom’s lead at the short whistle.

Donal O'Dwyer on the ball for Offaly.
Offaly had a glimmer of hope shortly after the restart after Jack Dunphy ushered the ball into the back of the net, but Tom’s erased the score in short order with points from Freeman, Craig Taylor and a third goal, this one coming from Flood.   Tom’s continued to dial up the points, however, Offaly battled away and were rewarded with a second goal, this one from Thomas Jackman.  Before the end of it all the Faithful county boys had added two more in the final minutes to put an air of respectability on the scoreboard.  Tom’s looking bright, Offaly with a bit of work to do.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Dean Earls, Dylan Costello, Craig Taylor, Vincent Doyle, Danny Burke, Aaron Moore, Seamus Higgins, Jason Costello, Dean Flood, Shane Howley, Stiofan McMahon, Conor Freeman.

Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Oisin McCormack, Seamus Loftus, Emmett Moran, Jimmy Rigney, Jack Murray, Donal O’Dwyer, Tomas Quirk, Jack Dunphy, Tomas Jackman, Killian Campbell, Cian Clifford, Conor Grimes.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Aidan McAnespies

Aidan McAnespies 1-12 Connemara Gaels 0-15

The Gaels and McAnespies played out a very exciting game, at the end of which a draw was a fair result.  McAnespies will be the happier team with the outcome given that they played almost all 60 minutes a man down thanks to an early red card to Eric Finn for a high challenge on Ryan Caffrey.  Coming into the final 10 minutes the Gaels looked to have the momentum and would make the extra man pay off, however, a late push from the Macs, combined with a fine late save from Anthony Kidney, saw the points split evenly between the teams.

Ballymena to the fore - Eamon Fyffe was on
for in his McAnespies debut.
The first half ended with the Gaels holding a 2 point lead.  McAnespies lost Eric Finn to a red card within the first 5 minutes of the game for a high challenge on Ryan Caffrey, one in which Caffrey lost a tooth which was later retrieved from the field.   The Gaels played some nice football with the extra man and there were some well worked scores.  Tyler Flaherty at corner forward proved to be a productive outlet for the Gaels.  The man from the Aran Islands pointed 4 times in the opening half, while his fellow Islander, Colm Brennan picked up from where he left off last week with a solid display in the middle.  It was Kerryman, Matt Sullivan, who found the mark from midfield for the Gaels with 2, while Coleman Mulkerrins also got in on the act with 3 from play.  McAnespies made the most of their possession to stay well in the game, despite having to make up for the loss in personnel.  Corner forward Eamonn Fyffe was busy and when in possession usually took not just one, but two Gaels defenders out of the game.  A Fyffe goal kept McAnespies in the game, and the Ballymena man chipped in with 3 additional points.  Anthony Kidney pointed two from frees, and Nathan O’Brien added another before the break, it was a 0-11 to 1-6 Gaels lead when the whistle sounded with McAnespies making the extra effort to stay in the game.

Rory O'Connor entered and took over the frees for the Gaels.
The second half saw McAnespies draw level as a combination of effort and smartness on the line and on the field saw McAnespies playing their cards well.  McAnespies were patient on the ball and did not waste precious possession, while Kidney came out of his goal to create an outfield player when the situation suited.  A Croft free was followed by a well worked Che O’Donnell point from play, and a Kidney free leveled the scores.  With Kidney roaming far out his goal at times to try and aid the efforts going forward, and the subs came in off the line early to try and keep things fresh on the field.  The Gaels, however, started to make their numerical advantage pay off.  Fyffe was double marked to neutralize the danger and going forward the Gaels started to support the man in possession to better effect.  Two Rory O’Conner frees were followed by a Pat O’Donnell point, and things looked to be headed in favour of the westerners.  McAnespies had a late rally in them however.  Jimmy Rigney pointed after entering from the line, and was the score followed by another O’Donnell point, and a Jake Foster free (another who joined play in the second half) made it all square.  The last chances to win the game fell to the Gaels.  On the attack with a three on one advantage, Colm Brennan’s shot was well saved by Kidney, and the rebound was sent wide of the posts – a point would have been all that was required to claim both points.  No last minute win for the Gaels this week, and a point that McAnespies will be well satisfied with given the circumstances.

Macs:  Anthony Kidney, Eoin Delmer, Caolan Harvey, Lorcan Mallon, Robert Piggott, Paul Clifford, Robbie Croft, Declan Hughes, Nathan O’Brien, Che O’Donnell, Eric Finn, Philip McCusker, Eamon Fyfe.

Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, Joe O’Shea, David Black, Kieran Killeen, Ryan Caffrey, Christy Cunningham, Matt Sullivan, Colm Brennan, Pat O’Donnell, Kenny Gavigan, Dave Lynch, Tyler Flaherty, Coleman Mulkerrin.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Wexford

Tipperary 6-23 Wexford -1-4

The senior hurling championship got off to a start with a fairly one sided game between Wexford and Tipperary.  Wexford, who fielded more or less a home based team, did well to hold off Tipp in the first quarter, but a couple of Tipp goals mid-way through the opening half and the sending off of Tom Davey, led to the floodgates opening and a Tipp wave engulfing the Wexford boys.  Tipperary’s forward line looks to be a formidable force this season.  With Joe Coleman at center forward and Russell Quirke and Dean Coleman at corner forwards, Tipp looked like a well-oiled machine at times.  The St. Martin’s clubman led the forward line well.   In the middle of the field Tipp stalwart Cronan Dempsey, looks as fit as he has in recent years, and this early indication point to Tipp being there come August.

Tipperary hurlers looking strong on their first outing.
Wexford had Paddy Naughton doing well at corner forward and ticking over some early frees, while for Tipp all 5 forwards had scored in the first 15 minutes.  The aforementioned three, along with wing forwards Stephen Lambert and Jerry O’Neill, had found the mark in the early going.  Wexford back line were under a lot of pressure and worked hard, but once the goals came the ice would be broken.  A goal came from a well worked interaction between Quirke and Coleman and that was followed by an unfortunate one from a Wexford standpoint.  A high ball that looked to be harmlessly dropping on the edge of the large box was tipped into the goal by Quirke.  Wexford answered with a goal from Jon Joe O’Neill following some hard work by Paddy Naughton, but that was the highlight of the game from a Wexford perspective.  It did not help that Tom Davey got sent off following a challenge on Coleman late in the half, and now a man down the situation looked bad from a Wexford standpoint.

Wexford hurlers will be hoping for better against Galway in 2 weeks time.
The second half saw a continuation of the first.  Goals were banged in by Quirke and Coleman as the teams played out time.   A few minor scuffles broke out with yellows issues to each side.  Tipperary looking strong in the early going.

Tipp:  Evan Condon, Daragh Fanning, Sean McGarr, Paul Morris, Kieran Bennett, John Kindregan, Joe O’Connor, Cronan Dempsey, Jerry O’Neill, Joe Coleman, Stephen Lambert, Dean Coleman, Russell Quirke.

Wexford:  Eoghan Kavanagh, Tom Davey, Mark Bermingham, Liam Og Magill, Denis Breenan, Tom Maloney, JJ O’Neill, Greg Lundy, Lyndon Kiley, Jason Foley, Jamie Kehoe, Peter Codd, Paddy Naughton.
By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football: Cork v Christopher's

Cork 2-19 Christopher’s 0-7

Cork had it easy against Christopher’s in the opening match of the junior A football championship.  The game was as good as over at half time with Cork holding a 15 point lead.  Christopher’s made a mini comeback after half time and rattled over a brace of points, and also missed a couple of chances to make a dent in the gap.  Cork, however, regained the momentum to see out the game.

Michael Moynihan points for Cork.
The first half saw the Cork half forward line get out of the traps quickly.  Emmet Smyth, Ian O’Callaghan, and Adam Ryan all got on the scoreboard and had the Christopher’s defenders at sixes and sevens.  Dorchester and youth league product, Emmet Smyth netted following a great pass from Ryan, and Ryan also had found the net to put Cork in the driver’s seat.  O’Callaghan pointed and the St. Finbarr’s clubman proved to a force in the Cork vanguard.  For Christopher’s Conal Dooley and Paul Kerrigan found the mark as they struggled to remain in the game.

The second half saw
Conal Dooley in possession for Christopher's
Christopher’s get off to a good start following the throw-in.  Two points from Kerrigan and Dooley seemed to set the stage for a possible run.  For the first 10 minutes it looked as though Christopher’s might make the game interesting, however, a number of chances at points, and one for a goal, were frittered away.  Christopher’s ran out of the proverbial steam and tired legs began to show.  Cork took control again and eventually restored their advantage with points from Mike Molynihan (sub), Ryan, and O’Callaghan to see out the result.  A good start for Cork as they seek to defend the title won last year.  For Christopher’s it is back to the training ground to figure out how to tally a first win following the step down to junior.

Cork:  Mark Farrelly, Mike Carolan, Darren O’Donovan, Conor Jenkins, Stephen Lambert, Brendan Turley, Cormac Clarke, Jack Lynch, Adam Kenny, Ian O’Callaghan, Emmett Smyth, Colm Caffrey, Adam Ryan.

Christopher’s:  Conor Allen, Mark Russell, Murt Hunt, Cian Ryan, Chris Moynihan, John Cronin, Dan Kenneally, Jerry Kenneally, Paudie Kenneally, Conal Dooley, James Horgan, Ronan Gerrity, Paul Kerrigan.
By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, June 4, 2018

Senior Football Championship - Shannon Blues v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 2-12 Shannon Blues 2-10
A dramatic finish marked the tie between the Gaels and Blues, which for the most part had the air of a routine Blues win.  The Blues started with American born midfield pairing of Pat Murray and Maurice Young, and built a 5 point lead and were looking fairly comfortable holding on until the final 5 minutes when the Gaels pulled within a point and took advantage of a last minute penalty to grab the spoils.  The Gaels also had Eoin Connolly to thank for some point blank saves that prevented the game from getting beyond the Connemara men and will be working on their shooting for their next outing.
Referee David Hickey with captains Colman Mulkerrin
and Denis McElligott
After a first half that saw 3 goals the Blues held a decided advantage.  At the beginning of the half a Pat Crowley goal finished a sweeping move, the Blarney followed the first shot from Brian Egan to put the rebound into the net.   Brian Egan added a point himself shortly afterwards.  The man from Tourlestrane looked dangerous at corner forward and added 3 more well taken points before the break, as well as slotting home a penalty after being dragged down in the box.  The Blues were rampant and the Penalty gave them a 7 point cushion, but the Gaels pulled themselves back into the game.  Matt Sullivan, who featured last season for the Gaels, started to win ball in the middle of the field and runners and options began to appear for the Gaels.  Tyler Flaherty pulled back a goal, putting a nice finish to a well worked  move.  The Blues, however, finished the half strong.  Three quick points erased the Gaels goal, and at the break it was a five point Blues lead.
Colm Mannion hangs on to the ball under the challenge
of Pat Murray.
The Gaels had the upper hand in the exchanges following the restart, but could not convert possession into points, hitting several wides.  The Blues added to their lead with another from Egan, and the teams traded scores with the Gaels unable to make a dent in the Blues lead and the result looked like it was headed in the Blues favour. With the game entering the final quarter three points unanswered brought the Gaels within a score.  A lovely effort from Kenny Gavigan was followed by a free from Colman Mulkerrin and a Cullen McDonagh score.  The Gaels had the momentum, but the shooting woes reappeared and chances were missed.  It was looking like a game that the Gaels would say they kicked away, however there was a twist in the tale.  Points from David Black, who made a foray forward from corner back, and Joe O’Shea pulled the Gaels within one, and the grandstand finish came when former Galway Under-21, Colm Mannion, intercepted a pass and hurtled toward goal to be pulled down from behind by Egan.  Mulkerrin put the spot kick away and it was cheers from the Gaels side of the field as the final whistle blew as there would be time for no more.  
Blues:  Dara O’Brien, Shane Kelly, Derek O’Brien, Brian Fanning, Dennis McElligott, Mike Cottrill, Pat Murray, Maurice Young, Conor Fitzgerald, Darren Wallace, Pat Crowley, Michael O’Neill, Brian Egan.
Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, Michael Coyne, David Black, Christy Cunningham, Ryan Caffrey, Joe O’Shea, Matt Sullivan, Colm Mannion, Kieran Killeen, Colman Mulkerrin, Kenny Gavigan, Tyler Flaherty, Ryan Galvin.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football Championship - Wolfe Tones v Donegal

Wolfe Tones 1-10 Donegal 0-11

Wolfe Tones tallied a win to get their season off to a good start.  The game was close until substitute Sean Kelly netted shortly after entering play.  Trailing by five points coming into the final 5 minutes, Donegal almost pulled off a late comeback with a flurry of scores, but the goal that would be needed to win the game evaded them to the relief of an anxious Tones support.

Donegal's Darren Grant looks for help.
A strong first half performance from the Tones saw them into a 2 point lead at the break.  The Tones lined out with Paudie Kenneally at center back and Jack Lynch at center forward, both graduates of the underage ranks.  Dean Curran set the tone with a well taken point with the opening Tones attack, and every time the Derryman was in possession things looked promising.  There were a couple of fluffed chances, but Curran did manage 2 more as the ball went in to his corner early.  Ronan Jones also put in a good 30 minutes, and with the Tones moving the ball well the light blues tallied 7 points.  Donegal had Corofin man, Liam Silke at center back, and in the forward line Gwedoore man Michael Carroll looked strong leading the line. Lee Carr got Donegal off the mark and points were added by Carroll and Christy McLaughlin.  0-7 to 0-5 at the half in favour of the Tones.

Neil McEneaney tries to block Dean Curran's shot.
The pace of the game slowed a little in the second half, with the Tones nursing their slender lead.  Donegal pointed through Lee Carr following a good forward run by Silke, and Carroll pointed from a free, while for the Tones it was Eoin Buggie who kept the Tones noses ahead with a score.  The deadlock was broken by a goal scored by substitute Sean Kelly.  The Tones veteran netted into the far corner from a tight angle, and Jones added two, one from a free.  The score was to prove decisive.  The Tones then played keep ball, using up time and killing the game, but lost Conlaodh Deeney to an Injury.  It was not over though as Donegal made a late surge, three points in a row from Brian Donnelly, Ciaran McDevitt and Gavin Reilly drew them within a score. Deeney’s absence in the back line was felt.  There were some nervous moments on the Tones line in the final minutes as twice high balls into  the box were punched goalwards, and Shane Hayes was called on to be alert as both were on target but neither had the power to beat Hayes.  A win for the Tones to get off the mark.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Aaron Moore, Keith Gill, Conlaodh Deeney, Paudie Kenneally, Eoin Buggle, Ian Whelan, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, jack Lynch, Patrick Collins, Dean Curran, Thomas Beckett.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Jason Noctor, Neil McEneaney, Gavin Reilly, Liam Silke, Darren Doherty, Brian Donnelly, Darren Grant, Sean Donnelly, Michael Carroll, Ciaran McDevitt, Christy McLaughlin, Lee Carr.
By Rory O'Donnell