Friday, September 7, 2018

Philadelphia 2018 - North American Finals

The Greater Chester Valley Sports Complex was the venue for the 2018 USGAA Finals, hosted by the Philadelphia GAA.  Located about 30 miles west of downtown Philadelphia, the venue was second to none with playing surfaces that were in immaculate condition.  There were 5 fields in operation for 3 full days to host 110 teams competing in 19 different competitions.  Despite a wet and rainy Friday all games were played according to schedule on the first 2 days, setting the stage for some great finals on Sunday.

Cian Clifford Shoots
5 teams traveled to represent the Northeast division.  There were 3 finalists and one winner.  Galway lost out in the junior B football semi-final to a Dallas Fionn MacCumhaills team that was very good.  The Eventual winners of the competition were Donegal St. Patrick’s from Philadelphia who overcame a 6 point deficit in their semi-final to defeat Pittsburgh Celtics, and went on the win the cup.  Connacht Ladies also lost out in the semi-finals to a superb Chicago St. Bridget’s team that went on to win the championship in what may have been the best final of the weekend, beating the defending champion Charlotte James Connolly’s by a single point.

Cork made the final of the junior A football competition with a great one point win against Vancouver in the quarter final on Friday, and Saturday the rebels repeated the feat by defeating Charlotte James Connolly by the same margin.  The final was a different story however.  Setanta San Diego provided the opposition and from the beginning had Cork on the ropes and ran out convincing winners. 

It was a Testy Affair Between the Wolves and Milwaukee.
For the New Hampshire Wolves in the junior B hurling championship it was a high of coming back from 5 points down to defeat Milwaukee in a fiery semi-final on Saturday but the disappointment of defeat on Sunday.  The New Hampshire boys came up against a host team in Allentown and were very unlucky not claim the cup, losing out by 2 points with a final score of 1-8 to 2-7.

Tipperary won the senior hurling championship in fine style with a hard earned win against a good Vancouver team in the final.  The semi-final saw the Boston team pitted against San Francisco champions, Na Fianna.  The story on the street was that this game would effectively be the final.  Tipperary had to come back from being down late in the game to pull out a 1-17 to 1-19 win.  In the final it was far from a foregone conclusion.  Vancouver, who had former Wexford Boston players Tony Murphy and Yom in the side, pushed the Tipp lads all the way.  Cronan Dempsey was to the fore in a great performance in the final, and with Vancouver edging to within 2 points late in the game, Tipp stepped up with Dempsey clipping over a lovely point and Joe Coleman added a booming shot over the bar.  In the end Tipperary pulled away to win it by a 3-21 to 1-19 score.  In his speech after the game Dempsey mentioned that it was 14 years since Tipperary had won the North American senior hurling championship.  That year the finals were also held in Philadelphia, and it was Dempsey’s first season with Tipp where he was named the player of the tournament.

Tipperary Captain Cronan Dempsey with his second 
North American Senior Hurling Championship.
In other news, Darren O’Donovan won a set of Masita gear for his club after winning the Guinness Crossbar Challenge in hurling. 

The senior camogie winners were Cu Chulainn from San Francisco who won with a last puck of the game 60 yard free to prevent Liberty Gaels from taking 4 in a row.  Men’s senior football was Donegal St. Patrick’s who had an easy win in the final against Young Irelander’s/St. Brendan’s from San Francisco, while the Ladies senior football final went to the wire in the game of the weekend where St. Bridget’s from Chicago defeated Charlotte James Connolly’s in a tremendous game.

The Mid-Atlantic division are hosting the 2019 finals. 
By Rory O'Donnell