Monday, June 24, 2019

Sun June 23 - Junior A Football: Aidan McAnespies v Wolfe Tones

Aidan McAnespies 1-13 Wolfe Tones 4-13

Wolfe Tones added another win to their junior A campaign following a well contested game against Aidan McAnespies.  Each team featured some veteran players, up and coming home grown players, and some recent arrivals.  Cousins Michael Kerr and Eoin Gormley themselves marking each other, while Colm O’Malley and Dylan Murtagh also featured from the 2016 U14 Feile team.  In a side note, combined with 4 players in the junior B game later that day there were 8 players from that team in action in Canton Sunday.  Jim Lynch in midfield and a hat trick of goals from Ryan Lamb at corner forward proved the difference in the end.

Michael Lynch with a shot.
The opening 30 was a fairly even contest.  Plenty of possession for each side and chances generated.  After the teams traded 2 points each the Tones hit with a goal from corner forward Ryan Lamb.  Lamb’s shot as he burst through from an angle was partially blocked but had enough on it to find the far corner of the net.

McAnespies did not seek to even things up immediately and picked off the points.  By the end of 15 minutes the teams were level again as Colm O’Malley, Michael Lynch (2) and O’Malley again pointed. to a single Ryan Lamb score for the Tones, meant the sides were at parity.  It was even stevens as side pointed three times and with half time on the radar, the teams were still level.

Jim Lynch was key for the Tones in the latter stages of the half as they restored the differential over the final 10 minutes.  The Valentia midfielder made some key interceptions to set up scores for Lamb and Dylan Murtagh before the break and it was a 1-10 to 0-9 Tones lead.

McAnespies tallied the first score of the second half with a well taken Gareth O’Neill point, however the Tones hit with 2 more goals.  Lamb hit a second after Marty Farrell found him with a pass, and the third goal came soon afterwards from Shane O’Brien after Lynch did great work to create the opening. 

Ryan Lamb was in sizzling form for the Tones Sunday.
With the teams starting to look tired, and time working against McAnespies, the gap narrowed.  Gareth McAninden and Cian Sharkley each pointed, and O’Neill netted to provide hope to the Macs.  That was soon snuffed out with a third goal from Lamb who was found with a high looping ball.  The corner forward gathered and made the space to shoot, the difference was back to 7.  Five minutes to go and  the Tones in control.  Dylan Murtagh pointed a second for himself, and it was game in the bag for the Tones with a second junior A win.

Macs:  Paddy Coakley, Gareth O’Neill, Sean Clifford, Shane McKenna, Cian Sharkley, Marty Bogue, Mickey Boyle, Michael Lynch, Colm O’Malley, James Rigney, Conor Boyle, Eoin Gormley, Gareth McAlinden.  Barry Smith.

Tones:  Pat Gallagher, Keith Gill, Patrick Collins, Richie Crunne, James Farrell, Michael Kerr, Jim Lynch, Ian Whelan, Marty Farrell, Cormac Joyce-Power, Dylan Murtagh, Ryan Lamb, Dan McCabe.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 23 - Intermediate Football: Cork v Christopher's

Cork 0- 17 Christopher’s 1-8

Cork delivered a defeat to Christopher’s in their second Intermediate championship game and never looked in danger.  Christopher’s did look at times capable of causing problems for Cork, but never realized that promise.  Cork’s forward line looked very strong, and their defence were able to deal with most of what Christopher’s threw at them for the 60 minutes.  There were no goals from Cork, and with the lead as it was, there was no real need to try such was the lead in the points column.  Each additional point was another demoralizing blow to their opponents, and a win for Cork gets them off the mark in their challenge for the newly reformed Intermediate Championship.

William Finnegan launches another shot.
Cork opened a sizeable lead in the first half with scores coming from all angles and quarters.  Driven by Mayo man, Darragh Murphy, the Cork forwards were hard to stop and played some nice football to put nine over the bar before Christopher’s got off the mark.  Corner forwards Ian Caffrey and Mark Dalton had seven between them, with the balance coming from Murphy and William Finnegan.  Despite the best efforts from Mark Coppinger and his cohorts manning the Christopher’s defences, Cork were not for stopping.

Christopher’s eventually got on the scoreboard with a point from Bryan Herlihey.  The busy corner forward tried to work off the presence of Dan Kenneally playing in the edge of the box, but Paddy Clarke did a great job keeping the ball out of the Christopher’s veteran’s hands.  Christopher’s managed some good spells of play coming into the latter stages of the half, and were rewarded with points from Ken O’Reilly and Herlihey, but at the break it was a 0-12 to 0-3 Cork advantage and a big turnaround would be required for Christopher’s to have a chance of getting something from the game.

Paudie Kenneally with a burst forward.
Christopher’s tried to change it up a bit in the second half with Herlihey playing farther out the field, but with Patrick Bohane doing Trojan work in the Cork half back line it was difficult to find the openings.  Jerry Kenneally and Mark Delaney pointed for Christopher’s, but the rebels were still hard at work in the forwards, with Dalton, Mick Malone and Murphy converting points.  Mark Delaney converted a couple of very well taken frees before Christopher’s hit with a goal from Ken O’Reilly.  Unfortunately for Christopher’s the game had gotten away by that stage, and Cork continued to chip away with some additional points to end up 6 point victors.

Cork:  Kieran McEnery, Frank Dillon, Paddy Clarke, Jack Lacey, Adam Kenny, Patrick Bohane, Emmet Smith, William Finnegan, Mick Malone, Darragh Murphy, Nick O’Mullane, Mark Dalton, Ian Caffrey.

Christopher’s:  Conor Allen, Martin Coppinger, Gerry Bannon, Gareth Barr, Shane Power, Aengus Carmody, James Horgan, Patrick Kenneally, Kenneth O’Reilly, Mark Delaney, Jerry Kenneally, Dan Kenneally, Bryan Herlihey.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 23 - Senior Hurling: Galway v Fr. Tom Burke's

Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-12 Galway 2-16

Galway pulled off a magnificent victory to earn 2 points in the senior hurling championship on Sunday.  After a closely contested first half, it was Galway who pulled away in the second, while holding Tom’s to just 3 second half points.  Niall Walsh entered the fray in the second period and made an immediate impact, the man from Windgap in Kilkenny accounted for 2 points and a late goal to put daylight between the teams.

Danny Burke makes a foray forward.
Tom’s held the edge at the end of the first half, a one goal lead with the teams even in the points column.  The goal came from corner forward Ali Dooey.  The Dunloy man finished from close range after his partner in the other corner, Jack Coyne, fed him the ball.  The goal came early for Tom’s who started to fire over the points.  John Buckley and Dooey again tallied scores and Tom’s seemed to have the momentum decisively in their favor.

Galway started picking away at the lead.  Adam Kenny and Brian Kennedy picked off a couple of points, and in the lead in to the break, Danny Burke rallied the troops with a fine effort.  Galway pulled level on points with the half time score 1-9 to 0-9 in Tom’s favor.

The second half saw the tribesmen take a hold of the game and take the lead about 10 minutes into the period.  After Dooey extended Tom’s lead Galway came back firing on all cylinders.  A forward line where scores can come off any stick is a key to success, and Galway saw several scores coming from different players.  Walsh contributed after coming on, and Mikey Mahoney, Tom Moloney, Burke and Lorcan McLaughlin each pointed.  The Galway goal was the go ahead score and was a little fortunate, but not undeserved.  McLaughlin launched a high ball that dropped just under the crossbar and into the net to give Galway a one point lead.

Would ya just pull on the feckin thing!
Tom’s leveled through Dara McGrath, but it was Galway with the wind in their sails having come back from behind.  The points began to come easier, Burke, McLaughlin and  Sean Morissey floated over some well taken scores as Tom’s tried to regain some composure, but the second goal came from the Kilkenny man, Walsh, and it was all over.  Tom’s managed a late couple of points, but in a little bit of a surprise result, it was Galway with the win over the old western rivals.  Plenty of hurling to come over the summer though.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Damien O’Loughlin, Ian O’Shea, Vincent Doyle, Eamon Egan, Matt Kenny, Brian Flynn, Sean Downey, John Buckely, Cian Salmon, Jason Costello, Jack Coyne, Ali Dooey.

Galway:  John Coleman, Tom Davey, David Looney, Mark Bermingham, Brian Kennedy, Ronan Burke, Danny Burke, Tom Moloney, Mikey Mahoney, Sean Morissey, Lorcan McLaughlin, Thomas Douglas, Adam Kenny.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 23 - Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 4-11 Wolfe Tones 3-11

The Connemara Gaels secured their second win of the championship on the back of 4 goals, the last of which came from former Dublin U-21 Cian Murphy with less than 10 minutes left, and they needed it.  Sitting on a handy lead that hovered between 7 and 8 points for most of the second period, the Gaels played the possession game.  It almost came back to bite them as the Tones netted 2 late goals from Ronan Jones and Chris Sallier to put just the one in it and keep the Gaels bench and supporters on edge for the final few minutes.

David Larkin has to resort to extreme measures to stop
 Thomas Beckett.
It was an entertaining opening 30 minutes.  The Gaels had the big strike early with a Pauric McAnenly goal from the spot.  Keelan Sexton was pulled down as he carried the ball into the Tones penalty box and the kick was low to the keeper’s left.  The Tones had the advantage in the points column, 3 to 2.  The Tones third score came after some great running and a finish by Chris Sallier.  The Tones, however, kept up the pace and two more points followed from Sallier, one a free, and a third from Paul Clifford, again with the Tones running at the Gaels defence.

Then came a turn of events as the Gaels had a 2 on one, with Kevin O’Halloran and Sexton bearing down on goal, but slightly overdoing it, and the chance went amiss.  Right away, the Tones came down the field and netted through Benny Carroll and were up by three points.  The Gaels then went on a scoring rampage to end the half.  It was started by a superb Ryan Caffrey point.  Sexton, McAnenly and O’Halloran each contributed on the scoreboard, with Sexton accounting for 2 goals.  Each came from the Clare man’s strength running on the ball and powerful finish.  The Tones could not respond in kind, and at the break it was a 3-8 to 1-8 Gaels advantage.

The scoring rate slowed down for both sides in the second half, each side traded 2 points apiece and with 15 minutes left the Gaels 2 goals lead was still intact.  The Tones scores came from Jones and Sallier, while for the Gaels it was Sexton with a free and Nathan O’Neill following a good O’Halloran run.  The Tipperary man was a key player in the Gaels front 5 and strong in possession. 

Number 8 Stand off between Ryan Caffrey 
and Ronan Jones.
The Gaels held on to the ball and time ticked away on the Tones, however the end would not be as relaxing as the westerners would have liked.  After Paschal Connell reduced the gap to 5 points, Murphy made the burst through the middle and the Dubliner’s goal appeared to be the icing on the cake.  The Tones were not as accepting of their fate as the Gaels may have hoped.  A goal came from Ronan Jones, and as the Gaels continued to pass the ball around the half back line the directness of the Tones led to another goal after possession had changed.  This time it was Sallier with the finish, and there was just the goal in it.  By that stage the game was in injury time and the Gaels held on to the ball for the final few minutes to see out the clock - much to the relief of their management and supporters. 

Gaels:  Sean Fox, David Larkin, Niall Collins, Kieran Killeen, Colm Shaughnessy, Cian Murphy, Nathan Donnelly, Ryan Caffrey, Sean Connelley, Kevin O’Halloran, Nathan O’Neil, Keelan Sexton, Pauric McAnenly.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Diarmaid Bennett, Darren Lawler, Sean Egan, Jack Lynch, Paul Clifford, Ronan Jones, Paschal Connell, Daragh Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, Benny Carroll, Thomas Beckett, Chris Sallier.
By Rory O'Donnell

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sat June 22 - Junior C Hurling: NH Wolves v Worcester

It was a road trip I’ve been meaning to make the last few seasons, and eventually today I made it.  Up to New Hampshire to see the New Hampshire Wolves take on the Worcester Fenians in an acute hurling rivalry that is growing here in the Northeast Division.   Google maps told me 1 hour and 35 minutes, so I gave myself 2.  Traffic in and out of Boston being what it is, a stop for gas and Dunkin Donuts, along with roadworks and rubberneckers for an fender bender on the other side of 93, meant that I arrived at Amoskeag Field in Bow New Hampshire with about 10 minutes left in the first half.  The field is tucked away right off Interstate 93, a direct run North of Boston.

There was a nice crowd of supporters for each side.  The game was fairly evenly contested, each team had their fair share of wides but at the end of the first 30 minutes the visitors from Massachusetts fired 3 points over the bar.  Tom Lind, who was a force at center forward for Worcester, Liam Kelly at corner forward and wing back Tim Jackson.  P.J. Heffernan, who was locked in a tussle with Wolves corner back, Alec Foley, had netted earlier.  At the half time break it was a 1-5 to 0-3 lead for Worcester.

The second half saw the visitors strike with another goal, this one from Zach Jacobs.  It was a blow for the Wolves who would have hoped for the early scores after the restart, especially after Sean Naughton had pointed well from distance to get things going again.  Lind, who was causing a lot of problems for the Wolves, followed with a point and Worcester held a decided advantage with scores proving hard to come by.

There was a glimmer of hope for the Granite State side after 3 unanswered scores pulled them within a goal and plenty of time left.  Naughton netted expertly after Will Mullen had pointed, and the Wolves midfielder added another point.  The Wolves created some great chances, with some missing the mark and others saved well by Dan Smith between the posts.  With the game now finely balanced it was Worcester who finished with the decisive scores.  Wolves keeper, Steve Dejalais had been called upon to save a couple of dangerous chances, but eventually one went in from Lind.  It was from Heffernan with the final point and a final score of the game with Worcester drawing first blood in 2019 with a  3-7 to 1-7 win.

The game was well refereed by Paul Cannon, a former United States Marine from Craughwell Co. Galway, who now resides in Boston.

After the game the teams retired to the Wolves Sponsor, Lithermans Limited, a nearby nano-brewery, who even created a specialized brew with the Wolves crest on the can.


Worcester: Dan Smith, Dan Williams, Luke LaGosce, Jamison Croteau, Sean O’Shaughnessy, Tim Jackson, Jon Dorr, Dave Crowley, Zach Jacobs, Tom Lind, Seamus O’Shaughnessy, Liam Kelly, PJ Heffernan.  Jack Weissman.

Wolves: Steve Desjarlais, Alec Foley, Juston Stasz, Torrie Lemmon, Ryan Nickerson, Mike Spacone, Jay Abramowicz, Sam Durfee, Mark Misiourski, Sean Naughton, Tanner Starmer, Scott Lentz, Dan Hanna.  Dean Williams, Will Mullen, Cory Anderson, Jamie Timlin, Dave Cook, Phil Falco, Chris Fiori.
By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sun June 16 - Senior Hurling: Galway v Tipperary

Galway 3-17 Tipperary 4-22

It was an entertaining affair between old rivals Galway and Tipperary, even with conditions less than ideal.  Referee James Rigney had his work cut out from the start as there were 2 scuffles to sort out before a ball was hardly struck in earnest.  Some warnings and yellow cards restored the focus to the game itself, and in the end the Tipperary machine rolled on with some brilliantly taken scores late in the game, many that looked effortless.  The forward line containing Corkman, James Sweeney, Clareman Patrick Fitzgerald, and Dubliner Colin Currie proved to be a lot to handle for the tribesmen who battled on for the 60 minutes.

There were some nasty tangles early on between 
Galway and Tipp.
The game got off to a fiery start with play having to be stopped and warnings as well as yellow cards issued before the game was 2 minutes old.  Play settled down eventually and both teams played some excellent hurling in the damp conditions.  Galway needed a first half goal from corner forward Thomas Douglas to keep in touch as Tipp set about testing Eanna Murphy between the Galway posts early.  Murphy was up to most shots, but there were a few that he could not get the stick to.  Donal Burke was first to net for Tipp following a pass from James Sweeney, and the wing forward found the net again 10 minutes later for Tipp after finding the room to shoot. 

Sweeney was a tough challenge for the Galway defence as whenever the ball was in the hands of the tall Dubliner things looked dangerous.  Galway had kept themselves well in contention, some lovely points from Tom Moloney and Danny Burke along with the free taking of Lorcan McLaughlin kept the point column ticking over.  The westerners were hit with a tough break late in the half after Tipp corner forward, Patrick Fitzgerald, doubled on a high ball into the box just before the break, and ball took a one hopper into the net.  At the break it was a 4 point Tipp lead, 3-7 to 1-9.

The sides went back and forth in the second half, but Galway were unable to narrow the gap.  With Cronan Dempsey now finding the range the Tipp veteran pointed twice from distance.  Currie was on top of the frees and added a couple of nice scores from play, while for Galway the scores did not come as easy.  Danny Burke put a monster point over the bar from center back to make it a 5 point game, but the chances of a Galway rally narrowed after Patrick Fitzgerald netted for Tipp.

James Sweeney proved a handful for Galway to deal with.
Galway again fell foul of a goal out of nothing, another high ball fell into the full forward line and corner forward, Fitzgerald, managed to ensure that the ball was directed into the back of the net.  The goal put seven points in it.  Galway stuck with it and netted though substitute Niall Walsh.  The the Tipp forward line kicked into overdrive and fired over 8 points in the run in.  A spectacular Danny Burke goal for Galway would have little effect on the outcome, and for Tipp it is 2 for 2 after their first round of games.  For Galway it will be looking at tightening up at the back to keep out the goals.

Tipp:  Dara Perry, Mark O’Keefe, John Hamilton, Paul Morris, Paul Leopold, Kyle Firman, Simon Kennedy, Cronan Dempsey, Donal Burke, James Sweeney, Conor Martin, Patrick Fitzgerald, Colin Currie.

Galway:  Eanna Murphy, Tom Davey, David Loweny, Mark Bermingham, Caoimhean Bergin, Brian Kennedy, Danny Burke, Tom Moloney, Mikey Maloney, Lorcan McLaughlin, Michael Moylan, Thomas Douglas, Adam Kenny.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 16 - Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Aidan McAnespies 2-16 Donegal 2-10

McAnespies went 2 for 12 with a tough battle against a dogged Donegal side who they just could not shake for most of the game.  Even after Donegal lost key player Gary Walsh to a hamstring injury they kept the Macs line on edge with some spirited play.  McAnespies proved too strong in the end, and some late scores from Anthony Cournane and Evan Cronin sealed the win.

Just like last week, Donegal went behind early in the game.  A goal and two points were on the board for McAnespies before Donegal scored.  The goal came within a minute, Barry Kerr found himself on the edge of the box with the keeper to beat, and the center back made sure with his shot.  Tony Brosnan and Robbie Smyth followed with points and it was Macs 5 to the good.

Anthony Cournane netted late in the game
to end Donegal's hopes.
Like last week, Donegal got off the mark with a pointed free from Gary Walsh.  However, this is where the similarities stopped with last Sunday.  McAnespies kept the pressure on Donegal with sweeping runs from the half back line.  Mickey Boyle and Barry Kerr were not shy about getting forward.  A Tony Brosnan point came from a Boyle run, and Barry Kerr put a monster point over late in the half.

Donegal kept in touch thanks to a couple of good saves from Hugh Boyle and the free taking of Walsh.  Donegal had a bit of bad luck as, after Walsh pulled a free kick wide, it looked as though he also pulled a hamstring and had to leave play.  McAnespies kept the pressure on, another point from O’Connell was the result of a direct running move, and was followed by another from Dr. Crokes man, Brosnan, and one from Evan Cronin before half time.  At the break it was a commanding 1-10 to 0-7 lead for the McAnespies.

A goal in the middle of the second half fired things up just when it began to look as though the teams might be happy to play it out.   The teams had traded 2 points apiece up to that point, and with 6 points in it and their main man on the line one might have understood had Donegal accepted their fate.  Not so however.  A free from Clinton hit high off the post and Nicky Kelly, who had come on for the injured Walsh, fisted the ball into the net. 

Macs did not get rattled though.  Tony Brosnan put more than the score in it with a wonderful point with 10 minutes to go.  Donegal tried to keep up their efforts going forward, but the Kerryman pointed a free that he won himself soon afterwards as McAnespies played him in isolation on the 14.  Peter O’Connell stepped up with some well won ball and McAnespies also covered the gaps in the back line, and now Donegal’s attacks petered out before any chances opened up.  A goal from Anthony Cournane put the nail in the Donegal coffin as a great Niall Toner run created the opening.  Kelly netted a second late on, but the Macs had done enough to reach safety.  A good win for McAnespies in the face of a Donegal team who are putting in some spirited performances.

Macs:  Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsell, Ronan Murphy, Mickey Boyle, Barry Kerr, Oisin McConvey, Declan Hughes, Shane O’Brien, Peter O’Connell, Evan Cronin, Anthony Cournane, Robbie Smyth, Tony Brosnan.
Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Aidan O’Suillivan, Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, John Bingham, Neil McEneaney, Jack O’Brien, Cian Clinton, Ciaran McDevitt, Gary Walsh, Sean Doherty, Ashley Carr, Terence Doherty.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 16 - Senior Football: Galway v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 2-11 Galway 0-6

A first win for the Gaels in their second outing of the season, and for Galway still looking for a result in the early season.  It was not a day for fancy stuff given the conditions, and for 25 minutes the punters were limited to seeing 4 scores.  The Gaels won the game at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second with a flurry of scores in each period. 

Nathan Donnelly with Billy Mannion in pursuit.
The damp, drizzly conditions made for less than ideal conditions as the opening 30 minutes would not be described as free flowing football.   Up till 5 minutes before the break the score stood at two points to three in the Gaels favor, reflective of the slow pace of the game.  Galway were held to a solitary Adam Gallagher point from a free, while the Gaels did slightly better with points from Sean Conneeley, Kevin O’Halloran and Nathan Donnelly, Donnelly’s score the pick of the bunch.

After Danny Burke made it a one point game with a well taken point, the Gaels ended the half with a flourish.  Ryan Caffrey burst down the middle and a couple of exchanges between Caffrey and O’Halloran, all that was left for Pauric McAnenly to do was put the ball into the empty net.  Keelan Sexton followed with a point and McAnenly another just before the break to make it a 0-2 to 1-5 Gaels advantage at half time.

Sean Conneeley on the ball.
The start of the second half saw the Gaels strike again.  This time the goal came from Sexton who won the ball on the edge of the square and jinked his way past the keeper and banged it into the roof of the net.  McAnenly and O’Halloran had pointed to a single point from Leo Donnellan for Galway.  The Tribesmen had their backs up against it now, trailing by 10 points with 25 minutes to go.

Galway battled away but were up against a resolute Gaels defence on a day where scores were at a premium.  A goal would be essential for any comeback hope, but it did not look a possibility on the balance of play.  Frustration kicked in as James Foley was issued a black card for a hand trip, and after 2 more Gaels points the Connemara men brought in the troops off the line.  Billy Mannion did find a way past the defenders but Sean Cox was up to the task of stopping it.  The teams played out time and the Gaels off the mark in 2019.

Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Mark Mannion, Evan Wynne, Gerard Donoghue, Derry Burke, James Foley, Eoghan Kavanagh, Billy Mannion, Stuart Cullen, Adam Gallagher, Leo Donnellan, Sean Hyland, Kevin Cummins.

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Niall Collins, David Larkin, Damien Doolan, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Ciaran Killeen, Ryan Caffrey, Nathan Donnelly, Sean Conneeley, Kevin O’Halloran, Cian Murphy, Keelan Sexton, Pauric McAneley.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 16 - Ladies Senior Football: Boston Shamrocks v Connacht Ladies

Boston Shamrocks 4-6 Connacht Ladies 5-15

The best of five Ladies senior football championship opened with a win for the Connacht Ladies.  Following a closely contested opening 45 minutes, the eventual winners pulled away, banging in 3 goals in almost as many minutes as the Shamrocks ran out of gas in the latter stages.  Connacht played with Aisling Kerr as a sweeper and got some great performances from Melissa McCann at corner forward, Aoife Heffernan in the middle of the field, and Sinead McGovern at wing back.

Aoife Heffernan with S. J. McDonald in Pursuit.
It was a closely contested opening 30 minutes with the Connacht Ladies fielding a much stronger team than in their Orla Benson Cup Final 2 weeks ago.  Connacht Ladies got off the mark with points from Sinead McGovern, one of 3 McGovern’s who lined out for the westerners and twin sister of wing forward Dearbhla, and one from Corkonian Aoife Heffernan.  It was Sara Jane McDonald who got the Shamrocks off the mark with a goal, a looping shot from about 25 yards that found the back corner of the net, and it was game on.

The teams traded points before McDonald struck again with a major, and the Shamrocks held the lead about half way through the opening stanza. Connacht Ladies held an advantage in play and it was largely a rearguard action for the Shamrocks for the final 10 minutes of the half.  Although there were some chances that went awry, there were several points picked off to retake the lead before the break.  Jane Ward popped over some free kicks, while Emma McGovern (no relation to the other two) and Heffernan also tallied scores to put the Connacht Ladies ahead by 2 at the half, 0-10 to 2-2.

Ciara Mallon tangles with Melissa McCann
The second half saw the teams go back and forth with each team putting some nice passing moves together.  Connacht extended their lead to 6 points early on.  After Ward and McCann each pointed to a single point from McDonald for the Shamrocks, a Sinead McGovern run down the middle ended with a goal as the half back from Cavan finished well.  Shamrocks responded in kind, after a great running move the ball ended in the hands of corner forward Ciara Murphy, and her shot came off the crossbar to Katie Stapleton who put the ball over the line. 

The final quarter saw Connacht Ladies take a grip of the game and a quick 3 goals ended the affair as a contest.  The first came from McCann who fielded brilliantly under pressure on the edge of the square and buried her shot.  Shauna Hynes soon followed with another, and after Emma McGovern netted the third it was more or less game over. 

Connacht:  Jackie McDonagh, Catherine Cullen, Shauneen McAleer, Stephanie Gunn, Catherine Boyle, Katie Reidy, Sinead McGovern, Shauna Hynes, Aoife Heffernan, Dearbhla McGovern, Emma McGovern, Colette Folan, Aisling Kerr, Jane Ward, Melissa McCann.

Shamrocks:  Stacey Fuller, Katie O’Sullivan, Ciara Mallon, Oonagh Shields, Erin Coady, Cailin Slattery, Anna Bolger, Laura Kiernan, Katie O’Donnell, Doireann Peeto, Katie Stapleton Sara Jane McDOnald, Ciara Murphy, Shannon Kelly, Valerie Courtney.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sun June 9 - Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Donegal

Wolfe Tones 1-6 Donegal 0-12

Donegal took a surprise victory in their first outing of the senior football championship with a well-earned win against last year’s finalist opponents.  The Tones fielded a strong looking side, one that looked capable of winning both points with a bit to spare.  Things seemed to play to form early on as the Tones scored 1-4 in the opening 15 minutes, and a rout appeared a possibility.  However, only 2 more points were scored by the Tones for the remainder of the game as Donegal got a foothold.  The dismissal of Jerry Troy with about 20 minutes to go saw Donegal with the extra man to see out the game.  Laoisman, Gary Walsh at center forward was an inspiration for Donegal, kicking some vital frees when the northerners needed scores.

Tones keeper Shane Hayes tackled.
The first 30 minutes was a “half of two halves”.  The opening 15 minutes saw the Tones rattle off 1-4 to no score from Donegal.  A whitewash looked on the cards as the Tones sliced open the Donegal defence time and again.  The running of Thomas Beckett and Paschal Connell opened up the spaces for the Tones forwards.  Chris Sallier converted two frees, and Jerry Troy a point from play before a defence splitting combination involving Beckett and Connell led to a goal from the boot of the Kildare man.  Connell added another and it was very much one way traffic at that point.

Donegal came into it to their credit.  A couple of very well taken frees from Gary Walsh got the northerners on the board and Donegal settled into the game and began to find their combinations.  Walsh added two more, Ashely Carr another and Cian Clinton one more to pull within a point of the Tones.   Affairs got a little scrappy with some scuffles breaking out and referee Kieran Cox had to pull the yellow card on a couple of occasions.  At the break it was 1-4 to 0-+6 in favour of the Tones.

The second half saw the Tones lost Jerry Troy to an off the ball incident about 10 minutes in, and the Tones never were able to pull themselves back into the game.  After Sallier scored an excellent point to double the lead to two points, Donegal went on to control the remainder of the game.  The northerners played the possession game to control the clock, and picked off the points as the opportunities presented themselves.  Sean Donnelly pointed and was followed by two from Walsh frees – and the sending off came. 

John O'Brien and Paschal Connell getting 
to know each other.
With the tide in Donegal’s favour the Tones tried to switch things up with several substitutions, to no avail.  Donegal finished out the game with 3 Walsh frees on the trot as the Tones defence gave in to fouling as the frustration built up.  There was a somewhat controversial end to the game as Donegal led by three points, and the Tones needed a goal.  A last minute free was dropped into the crowded box and ball ended up in the back of the net, to the Tones delight.  It was Donegal however, who were cheering at the end as after consultation with the umpires, the score was waved off and the Donegal 3 point lead stood.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Diarmuid Bennett, Darren Lawler, Sean Egan, Jack Lynch, Paul Clifford, Paschal Connell, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, Jerry Troy, Thomas Beckett, Ryan O’Neill, Chris Sallier.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Aidan O’Sullivan Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, Jack O’Brien, Neil McEneaney, John Bingham, Cian Clinton, Ciaran McDevitt, Gary Walsh, Sean Doherty, Ashley Carr, Terence Doherty.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 9 - Senior Hurling: Fr. Tom Burke's v Tipperary

Fr. Tom Burke’s 2-13 Tipperary 2-15

Tipperary just about held on to claim a win in the first senior hurling outing of the season.  It was a close faught encounter, with Tom’s looking strong in the half back line and with both corner forwards of Galway inter-county vintage.  Tipperary tallied two goals in the first half, and along with the accuracy of Dublin starlet, Colin Currie, it was enough to carry them through in the end.

Tom's Eamonn Egan clears.

It was a close fought opening 30 minutes.  Tom’s got the early advantage with a Jack Coyne goal from close range following some good work and great ball in by John Buckley from midfield.   Tom’s were hurling well in the early going and not allowing Tipperary to gain a foothold in the game.  Matt Kenny at wing back and Eamon Egan at center back did well to keep the play headed in the direction of the Tipp goal. 

Tipperary got themselves into the game in the second quarter with the back line absorbing pressure and turning it into attack.  Conor Martin managed to scramble the ball over the line, and points from Currie and Martin followed as Tipp’s corner forwards showed their pedigree, Martin having hurled with Kilkenny.  For Tom’s, Cian Salmon converted twice from corner forward to nudge his side ahead.  Tipperary, however, struck with a second goal before the break to open a gap between the teams.  It was the Kilkenny man, Martin who hit from inside the 21 yard line.  Tipp finished the half with another point to make it a 2-7 to 1-5 half time lead.

James Sweeney with ball in hand for Tipp.
The second half saw Tom’s come right back into the game.  The westerners opened the scoring with a goal and four points, to a point for Tipp, to level the scores.  With their own high caliber full forward line Tom’s looked dangerous at times.  Jack Coyne netted and points from Jason Costello, Coyne, Conor Martin and Paul O’Connor had the teams on level terms.  As in the first half Tipperary took hold eventually and put their stamp on the remainder of the half. 

Currie hit 6 points down the stretch, from frees and from play, as Tom’s struggled to find a way to overtake their opponents.  Vincent Doyle, Coyne and Sean Downey hit scores for Tom’s but there was no way to stem the Tipperary tide.  With time running out a goal was required, however, the Tipperary defence were not for giving anything away and it is the North American senior champions with a win to get 2019 off to a start.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Ian O’Shea, Damien O’Loughlin, Vincent Doyle, Eamon Egan, Matt Kenny, Paul O’Connor, Brian Flynn, John Buckely, Sean Downey, Jason Costello, Jack Coyne, Cian Salmon.

Tipp:  Dara Perry, Mark O’Keefe, Sean McGarr, Paul Morris, Paul Leopold, John Hamilton, Kyle Firman, Cronan Dempsey, Patrick Fitzgerald, Donal Burke, James Sweeney,  Conor Martin, Colin Currie.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 9 - Intermediate Football: Shannon Blues v Cork

Shannon Blues 1-10  Cork 0-9

The first intermediate championship match in over 10 years saw Shannon Blues earn a good win against a Cork team that blew hot and cold.  The Blues held a commanding half time lead only to see it shrink to a two points with 15 minutes to go.  Cork could not sustain the momentum and the Blues finished well to run out 4 point winners.

Darren Wallace on the ball for the Blues.
Shannon Blues got off to a better start with a tally of a goal and four before Cork got one over the bar.  The rebels had a handful of wides, and Conor Greene pointed with 20 minutes gone.  It was mostly Blues to that point, Maurice Young opened the account with a point from play followed by one from a free.  After Ger Comer pointed the goal came from a good run through by center forward, Darren Wallace, who played a give and go with Mike Moylan before palming the ball into the empty net.

Cork came into it a bit more on the balance of play and were rewarded with a well taken point from wing forward, Nick Mullane.  Cork found it hard to get through the Blues rearguard in spite of enjoying more possession.  At the break the Blues held a 1-6 to 0-2 lead.

The second half saw Cork open very brightly.  Ian Caffrey was introduced to the fray and the young Kildare man made an impact right from the restart with 2 points.  Caffrey was followed by Greene and William Finnegan and there was just a goal in it with less than 10 minutes of the second half passed.  It could have been level had it not been for a good save from Mike Moriarty from Nick Mullane.

Pat Murray and Stephen Lambert under the high ball.
Cork managed to reduce the lead to 2 points after Finnegan pointed another free and Denis Harrington almost netted but his fisted effort came off the post and dribbled across the face of the goalmouth.  The Blues took it as a wake-up call and started to work the ball again.  Playing into the end away from the clubhouse, the Blues tallied 3 points to one for Cork to put four points between the teams.  Conor Fitzgerald pointed after 15 minutes, and was followed by Joe McHugh and Maurice Young.

Cork’s shooting started to let them down.  In spite of making some good scoring chances, a couple of wides and shots falling short meant that the rebels could not rein in their opponents.  Tom Hannon made it a 5 point Blues lead coming up to full time and more or less secured the points. 

Cork:  Kieran McEnry, Mike Carolan, Paddy Clarke, Conor Moynihan, Stephen Lambert, Patrick Bohane, William Finnegan, Adam Kenny, Mick Malone, Conor Greene, Nick Mullane, Dennis Harrington, Mark Dalton.

Blues:  Michael Moriarty, Shane Kelly, Derek O’Brien, Darren O’Donovan, Tom Hannon, Conor Mullen, Pat Murray, Maurice Young, Conor Fitzgerald, Darren Wallace, Joe McHhgh, Michael Moylan, Ger Comer.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 9 - Junior A Football: Aidan McAnespies v Connemara Gaels

Gaels 3-9 McAnespies 4-15

The first junior A outing of the season saw Aidan McAnespies comprehensively defeat the Connemara Gaels.  Niall Toner in the half forward line looked impressive, and there were great performances from local youngsters, Eoin Gormley and Colm O’Malley for the winning side.  A late surge by the Gaels put some respectability on the scoreboard, and there could have been a bigger difference between the teams were it not for a couple of point blank saves by Eoin Connolly in goals for the Gaels.

Steven Murray on the ball for the Gaels.
McAnespies opened the lead early.  Leading by 2 points to one a well worked goal came from the boot of Colm O’Malley.   Jimmy Rigney played the ball into space where the hard working Toner gathered and found Gormley, who in turn passed to O’Malley and the youth system graduate finished well to put McAnespies in the driver’s seat.  Toner and Conor Bogue added two more points and the Gaels faced a hill to climb already, and had to call on Connolly to make some point blank saves to avoid it becoming steeper yet.

The Gaels put back to back scores together and looked like they might be able to put some sustained pressure on their opponents, however McAnespies finished the half with 5 points on the trot.  Bogue, O’Malley and Toner were among the scorers.

McAnespies opened the second half with a goal and three points to really put an end to the game as a contest.  The goal came from midfielder, Cian Sharkey.  The Gaels managed a couple of points, Tom McDonagh entered the fray and popped over a couple of well taken scores.  After McAnespies added a third goal, the Gaels had a mini revival, but the result was pretty much decided at that point.

Niall Toner shoots for McAnespies
Pauric McDonagh netted for the Gaels, and Paddy McGee pointed before AJ McGuire added a second goal for the Gaels.  The last 10 minutes saw the Gaels restore some respectability to the scoreline, with a Craig Oliver goal for McAnespies to make sure a comeback did not happen.  A good win for McAnespies to open their junior campaign.

Gaels: Eoin Connolly, Chris Lafferty, Mike Coyne, Kevin Walsh, AJ McGuire, Colman Conroy, Colin Hehir, Dean Cahill, Tom Conroy, Paddy McGee, Padraig McDonagh, Steven Murray, Kevin Owens.

Macs:  Paddy Coakley, Sean Clifford, Cathal McAnespie, Marty Bogue, Jimmy Rigney, Shane McKenna, Cian Sharkey, Eoin Ward, Eoin Gormley, Niall Toner, Conor Bogue, Colm O’Malley, Craig Oliver.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sun Jun 2 - Senior Football: Galway v Wolfe Tones

Galway 0-11 Wolfe Tones 1-11

It was a dogged affair between Galway and the Tones.  An early second half goal from Ryan O’Neill proved to be the difference between the team in the end as the Tones held on to maintain the gap between the teams and secure 2 championship points.

Galway kept themselves in the game over the first 30 minutes.  Sean Hyland and Adam Gallagher each pointed to get the Westerners off the mark.  The Tones were not long getting themselves up to speed and into the game.  Thomas Beckett pointed and was followed immediately by Ronan Jones from the ensuing kickout to level affairs.  Billy Mannion put a brilliant score over the bar for Galway, and James Foley added to it to restore Galway’s 2 point advantage, but the Tones soon got a grip of the game and finished the half strongly.

Galway's Billy Mannion leaps highest
The last 5 points of the half were each scored by a player in a Blue shirt and on a couple of occasions the Galway rearguard were called on to make last ditch stops to prevent a goal.  The pace of the game slowed, and when in possession Galway were measured, but in spite of some close misses did not add to their lead.  Ryan O’Neill, Jerry Troy, Pascal Connell and Beckett each pointed to make it a 0-7 to 0-4 Tones half time lead.

An early goal in the second half provided the Tones with an advantage that Galway could not eat into.    In spite of leveling matters in the point’s column, the three pointer stood between the sides and endured for the remainder of the game.  Billy Mannion and Foley had cut the lead in half before the Tones struck with the major.  It was an immediate response to the Galway brace, with Tones corner forward Ryan O’Neill cutting in from an angle and hitting the roof of the net.

Galway kept plugging away.  Some good work from Cummins and a Foley free kick had the gap reduced to 2 points again, but again O’Neill and Troy restored the difference with points of their own as Galway’s efforts were almost immediately canceled out.  

Tones Ryan O'Neill about to shoot.
A scuffle broke out in the Tones goalmouth after an apparent off the ball episode with warning issued to Paudie Kenneally and Kevin Cummins with 10 minutes to go.  The Tones started to play keep-ball to kill off the clock and for Galway a goal would be required with time ticking away.  Galway continued to work had to get the ball into a scoring position, but the Tones were up to the task of closing down the space to prevent a shooting opportunity.  A last minute free that was dropped into the Tones square was adequately cleared. 

Galway:  Stephen Potter, Mark Mannion, Gerard Donoghue, Tom Davey, Danny Burke, James Foley, Eoghan Kavanagh, Billy Mannion, Stuart Cullen, Adam Gallagher, Leo Donnellan, Sean Hyland, Kevin Cummins.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Paudie Kenneally, Darren Lawler, Enda Cahill, Jack lynch, Paul Clifford, Paschal Connell, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, Jerry Troy, Thomas Beckett, Ryan O’Neill, Brendan Carroll.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun June 2 - Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Aidan McAnespies

Connemara Gaels 2-10 Aidan McAnespies 2-14

The senior football championship got off to a blistering start with the opening game contested between the Gaels and McAnespies.  The game had lots of talking points, some great football, 4 goals, a schmozzle, and a sending off.   The Gaels opened strongly, but McAnespies played a steady game and patiently took advantage of the extra man to come out 4 point winners in the end. 

Ryan Caffrey headed off on his way to goal.
The Gaels had the better of the early exchanges and had plenty of opportunities to have gone into the break with more than their one goal half time lead.  There were a handful of goal opportunities that went amiss, or a taking point may have been the better option at such an early in the game.

McAnespies had opened the scoring with back to back points from Peter O’Connell, one a free.  But within minutes the sides were level.  Keelan Sexton at corner forward was a danger man for the Gaels and the man from Clare pointed the first 3 for his side.  The Gaels had Nathan Donnelly and Paul Donaghy winning a lot of midfield ball, and while putting the pressure on, a goal came from Donaghy following a well worked move.   McAnespies looked to Peter O’Connell for their scoring outlet.  The St. Michael’s clubman from county Meath also accounted for 3 of the Macs first 4 scores.

Things got heated and a fracas broke out in the middle of the field about 20 minutes into the game.  The end result was a player from each side yellow carded, Kieran Killeen and Tony Brosnan, and Nathan O’Neill from the Gaels set off with a red.  Tony Brosnan, who has lined out in the Green and White of the Gaels in previous summers, netted for the Macs soon afterwards.  The Gaels, however, managed to keep up the pressure and restore their lead with another goal, this time a Sexton pass across the goalmouth was deflected into the net.  At the break it was a 2-5 to 1-5 lead for the Connemara men.

Conor Maunsel bursts out of defence.
The second half saw McAnespies make their advantage count.  A string of 8 scores to 2 over the 15 minutes following the break saw the northerners into a 3 point lead.  O’Connell’s shooting from wing forward was magnificent, and McAnespies ran at the Gaels defence at every opportunity.  Anthony Cournane and Tony Brosnan opened the gaps and made the most of their chances.  The Gaels now labored to get any traction going forward, but kept in touch thanks to Sexton points.  The Macs had a killer blow left and it came from Kerryman, Anthony Cournane who finished a move also involving Evan Cronin.  With time almost up that was it as a contest.  A good win to open the championship for McAnespies while the Gaels will be looking to adjust for the next game against Galway in two weeks’ time.

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Niall Collins, Cian Murphy, Kieran Killeen, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Nathan O’Neill, Ryan Caffrey, Nathan Donnelly, Sean Connelly, Paul Donaghy, Pauric McAhenly, Keelan Sexton, Kevin O’Halloran.

Macs:  Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsel, Ronan Murphy, Mickey Boyle, Oisin McConvey, Liam Laverty, Declan Hughes, Sean Walsh, Evan Cronin, Robbie Smyth, Peter O’Connell, Anthony Cournane, Tony Brosnan.
By Rory O'Donnell