Irish Cultural Center – Canton, Ma.
It was back at it for the first games of the Pat O’Brien Cup on a dry Saturday afternoon that held a chilly breeze. In Group A, the Connemara Gaels defeated the Shannon Blues by double scores, while in Group B, Wolfe Tones kept their noses in front for the last 10 minutes to win by three points against Donegal.
|Maurice Young (Blues) tackles Kevin Connolly (Gaels).|
Gaels rattled off 5 points before the Blues, who will be entering a revamped Intermediate championship this year, got on the board. Kevin Connolly, originally from the St. James club in Galway opened the scoring before Sean Conneeley put a couple of well taken free kicks over the bar. Ryan Caffrey added another as the Gaels held the Blues in their own half for much of the opening period. The Blues did manage a goal chance that Eoin Connolly saved well with his legs, David DeGea style. Eventually Maurice Young got the Blues off the mark, but Paddy McGee responded with a nice score to make it a 0-7 to a point Gaels lead at the break.
The second half saw the Gaels bang in two goals, one from each corner forward, to put the outcome beyond doubt. The first came from McGee who floated the ball over the keeper into the net, and the second not long before the final whistle from AJ Maguire who finished a great move. Conneeley pointed again with the left foot, while Young pointed a couple more for the Blues who made a better fist of affairs in the second half. A goal came after the Gaels defence was opened up, and it could have been a nervy end for the Connemara men had Connolly not saved again from close range. In the end if was a 2-10 to 1-5 Gaels win.
|Jack Lynch all over Yank Boyle.|
Wolfe Tones looked well worth their victory over a battling Donegal side who lost Hugh Boyle to a pulled hamstring in the first half. Boyle was a busy man at corner forward for Donegal but pulled up lame near the end of the first half. No doubt, the Donegal men will be hoping for a return to fitness for their ace keeper before the championship begins. Wolfe Tones had Ronan Jones and Paschal Connell working away in the middle of the field, and with Thomas Beckett up front held a 0-6 to 0-2 lead at the break. Jones and Connell were also on the scoreboard, while Boyle accounted for Donegal’s points before his forced exit.
The second half saw the Tones add points through Beckett, Dan Kenneally and Jones and things seemed comfortable for the men in blue. Donegal mounted a late surge, Nicky Kelly pointed twice as Donegal started to reduce the lead. Jack O’Brien led the rally from the back line, but points from Jones ensured that there would be more than a score between the teams as time ran down. Christy McLaughlin and Kelly pointed late, but time ran out on the northerners. Wolfe Tones 0-9 Donegal 0-6.
The day was capped off with the challenge between Aidan McAnespies and Canadian visitors from Toronto. Macs ended up on the winning end of the game.By Rory O'Donnell