Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sun Aug 18 - Junior A Football Final: Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 2-15 Aidan McAnespies 3-9

Donegal just about sneaked over the line in a tremendously exciting junior A football final to open proceedings on Sunday.  McAnespies pushed their opponents all the way and coming into the final minutes of the game the scores were even.  Donegal had the subs to win it as three points to came from players who were brought off the line as the time ticked away.

Vice Consul, Shane McCaffrey, presents Gavin Reilly
with the Pat Callaghan Cup.
It was a fierce first half, with McAnespies going on a 7 points to none scoring streak before Donegal came back.  Some great work in the McAnespies back line kept the dangermen  in the Donegal forward line quiet.  Michael Lynch had goaled to open McAnespies account after Kane Barrett had pointed for Donegal.  Points from Barrett and Darren Grant presaged the Macs scoring spree.Points from Lynch and Eoin Delmer were followed by a goal from Steve Ward who fisted in on the second attempt.  A Cian Sharkey runn resulted in a fabulous score by Lynch, and Eoin Delmer added another.  Macs in the driver’s seat.

Donegal were far from out of it and went on a run themselves.  Corey Gallagher pointed and after a Barrett free was pointed, the corner forward returned a kickout and put the ball right back into the net.  Donegal were now back in it and it was McAnespies who looked out of ideas.  Sean Winton and Barrett pointed before the break to make it a one point half time difference, McAnespies 2-5 to 1-7 for Donegal.

The second half saw each side net, and both came from short kickouts gone wrong.  Lynch netted for McAnespies after Jimmy Rigney picked up the stray kickout, while Christy McLaughlin did likewise at the other end for Donegal after the short ended up in the wrong hands.  The pace of the game slowed as the humid conditions sapped strength for already tired legs.  Donegal appeared to gain the upper hand in the middle of the field with Darren Grant and Cory Gallagher on top, and started to pull away with scored from Grant and two from Barrett.

Donegal celebrate the Pat Callaghan Cup.
McAnespies were not about to leave it at that however.  The underdogs pushed hard at the Donegal defence with Jimmy Rigney pushing every sinew in his body to turn the tide.  Michael Lynch was the finisher but not without a massive effort from the others on the team to get the ball into the corner forwards hands, or to set up the free kick.  Tied with hardly any time on the clock and it was up for grabs.  Donegal had the legs to bring on and push it home.  The winning points came from Charlie Doherty, Aaron Murphy and Darren Doherty who each entered play in the second half.  And the Pat Callaghan Cup is back with Donegal after 2 years with Cork.

Donegal:  Padraig McLaughlin, Paul McNulty, Mary Canney, Gavin Reilly, Declan McBride, Liam Sage, Cory Gallagher, Darren Grant, Colum Hayden, Ashley Carr, Sean Winston, Kane Barrett, Christy McLaughlin.

Macs:  Paddy Coakley, Mickey Boyle, Sean Clifford, Eoin Delmer, Cian Sharkey, Colm O’Malley, Steve Ward, Cronan Dempsey, Conor Bogue, Eoin Gormley, Jimmy Rigney, Mick Lynch, Paul Morris.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 17 - Junior A Hurling Final: Offaly v Fr. Tom Burke's

Offaly 1-19 Fr. Tom Burkes 2-13

It was a to and fro junior A hurling final with each side going on scoring spurts.  At the end of it all it was Offaly with the three point advantage.  The difference in the end was a second half goal from Victor Costello.  Offaly weathered a late Tom’s storm to hold on and capture their second championship in 3 years.

Oisin McCormack accepts the trophy
from Peter Murray.
Offaly got off the better start with 6 unanswered points.  Brian Murray was on song with the frees, while Jimmy Rigney and Stephen Brown also contributed to the tally.  Tom’s weren’t long about getting on even terms.  Two Conor O’Kane points were followed by a Jack Martyn goal.  The home grown player found himself through on goal and tipped the ball past Offaly goalkeeper, Gary Sherlock and into the net.  Tom’s now had the momentum and added three further points from O’Kane, one from a penalty.

Niall Gleeson was bearing down on the Offaly goal and was taken out of his stride with an illegal challenge.  O’Kane took the penalty and his shot one hopped before Sherlock deflected the ball over the crossbar.   Now it was Tom’s up by two points.  The game swung back in favour of the faithful county as the Offaly men wrested back the initiative.  Seven points on the trot restored the initiative.  Rigney, Ronan Coffey, Paul Clifford, Noel Graham and Murray all scored as it was one way traffic in the run up to the break.  Offaly held a 0-13 to 1-6 lead at the break.

Offaly struck with a goal of their own about 5 minutes into the second half.  Ronan Coffey finished expertly into the far corner with just the keeper to beat, and Tom’s had it all to do.  With Tom’s trying to hit Cormac Joyce-Power on the edge of the square, Tom’s dropped Jimmy Rigney back and the Kinnity man swept up the searching balls well.  Offaly built on the lead with scores from Rigney, Murray, and a wonderful point from the wing by Sallins, Co. Kildare native, Paul Clifford.

A second Junior A Championship for Offaly hurlers.
The Offaly lead held at 9 points as the clock ran down and the cup looked destined to be headed for the Offaly men.  The game was set for an exciting finish however.  Tom’s made a final push to try and turn the tables.  5 scores, one a goal, brought them within a goals of their opponents.  A goal from O’Kane came amid a flurry of 4 unanswered points and a game that looked completely lost was back in reach, still with a few minutes left.  Tom’s tried everything to pull back the goal and square up the scored, but Offaly managed to keep the threat at bay until the final whistle.

Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Andy McRedmond, Seamus Loftus,  Emmet Moran, Jack Lynch, Jimmy Rigney, Oisin McCormack (C), Killian Campbell, Paul Clifford, Stephen Brown, Noel Graham, Brian Murray, Ronan Coffey.

Tom’s: Fran Keenan, Peter Boylan, Sean O’Brien, Paddy Crichley, Jack Hannon, Seamus Higgins, Conor Eddery, Ciaran Mulhall, Jack Martyn, Cormac Joyce-Power, Conor O’Kane, Niall Gleeson, Dylan Costello.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 17 - Junior B Hurling FInal: Worcester v NH Wolves

New Hampshire Wolves 2-8 Worcester 3-10

Worcester Fenians captured the first Junior B Hurling championship in the Northeast division after a hard hitting, exciting game against old rivals, the New Hampshire Wolves.  Worcester got some great performances from several of their number, none more so than center forward, Conor Greene.  Greene accounted for all 3 goals and a number of well taken points to steer his side to the win.

Captains Seamus O'Shaughnessy and Dave Crowley accept
the Cup from Peter Murray.
Worcester got off to a great start with a goal from center forward Conor Greene.  Greene’s shot on the turn looped over Wolves keeper, Steve Desjarlais, and into the corner of the net.  Worcester followed with a point to hold a 4 point lead early on.  It was Sean Naughton who got the New Hampshire side off the mark with two points, one from a free and it was uncompromising stuff as each side threw themselves into the fray with total commitment.  The challenges were heavy with few 50/50 balls easily won.

The Wolves were in the lead after Will Mullen netted.  The corner forward’s initial shot hit the post but the rebound was put away to the cheers of the numerous supporters who traveled from Concord, NH.  Liam Kelly restored parity with a well taken point and the writing was on the wall for a close game.  In the run up to half time the Wolves established a two point cushion, outscoring their opponents 4 points to two with some well taken scores from each side.

The second half saw the boys from Massachusetts drop two goals into the net, both from Conor Greene long range frees that dropped just below the crossbar and the ball found its way through the forest of sticks and into the net. The two goals were the difference between the teams as Worcester had pointed 3 times on one for New Hampshire.  

Worcester win the first Junior B Cup in the Northeast Division.
With the game going back and forth the Wolves needed a goal to get back into it, and at one stage a Sam Durfee shot hit the crossbar.  Worcester defended well with the Wolves pushing, Timmy Jackson cleared well on a couple of occasions and Dave Crowley in the middle of the field kept the ball moving.  The Wolves had their chances, but with Sean O’Shaughnessy standing tall in defence the Wolves were going to have a tall order to breach the ramparts.  Worcester held firm and kept the door closed for the remainder of the game to end up 5 point winners and will represent the division in Leesburg, Virginia next weekend at the USGAA Finals.

Wolves:  Steve Desjarlais, Alec Foley, Dan Hanna, Torrie Lemmon, Ryan Nickerson, Justin Stasz, Sam Durfee, Jay Abramowicz, Tanner Starmer, Sean Naughton, Mark Misiarski, Jason Burpee, Chris Rougeaut.

Worcester:  Dan Smith, Luke Lagorce, Timmy Jackson, Dan Williams, Sean O’Shaughnessy, Seamus O’Shaughnessy, Dave Crowley, Nate Crowley, Tom Lind, Conor Greene, Zack Jacobs, Liam Kelly, PJ Heffernan.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sat Aug 17 - Intermediate Football Final: Cork v Shannon Blues

Shannon Blues 1-15 Cork 2-17

It took extra time to separate the Blues and Cork in what was the first Intermediate Final played in Boston in 13 seasons.  The Blues had a 2 point lead late in the game and Cork leveled with 2 late frees to force the extra period.  Cork outscored the Blues, 7 points to 5, in the extra 20 minutes to claim their third trophy in as many years having won the junior A championship the last two years. 

Cork Captain, Adam Kenny accepts the Donie Kenneally Cup 
from Kathleen Kenneally.
It was neck and neck between the teams for most of the first half.  After the sides traded points to get things going, the Blues went on a four points to no score flurry.  Playing some lovely passing football the Blues looked like they might start to pull away.  The period was almost capped with what would have been a brilliant goal, however, Ger Comer’s shot went just the far side of the posts.

Cork were back in it after a well taken goal from Nick O’Mullane.  The Cork corner forward gathered the ball expertly and finished with a left footed shot that took the keeper off guard.  O’Mullane followed with a stylish point and just like that the teams were all square.  The Blues’ Paddy O’Connor pointed and was followed by Conor Mullen as the passing and movement found the routes through the Cork rearguard.  O’Mullane pointed to make it a 1-4 to 0-8 half time score in favour of the Blues.

Cork soon had regained the lead, a goal right off the throw in had the rebels ahead.  It was a classic move with the ball into O’Mullane quickly dished to the inrushing Tiernan Rushe who finished well.  The Blues answered with a Ger Comer point, however Cork went on a three point tear, 2 of the points very well taken efforts from Jack Lacey and Jack Barrett.  Barrett was all over the place in the Cork forward line making the play, and when the man from Leixlip had the ball in his hand things happened for Cork.  Captain, Adam Kenny calling the shots at center back and snuffed out a number of forays forward from the Blues..

The Blues had a good spell, one in which they might have regretted a couple of missed chances.  Kieran McEnry made a couple of fine saves, first from Conor Mullen and second from Paddy O’Connor.  The Blues also missed a couple of chances of points as the ball drifted wide from scoring positions until Darren Wallace pointed.  The missed opportunities proved to be warning signs for Cork.

Dancin' in the Dark:  Cork won it in extra time on Saturday evening as the light faded.
A goal did come eventually from O’Connor who went low and into the corner from the 14 yard line and the Blues led by one with 8 minutes left.  Maurice Young followed with a point and the Blues were in the driver’s seat with the finish line in view.  The teams traded points before Cork came back and won two 14 yard frees that were converted by O’Mullane to put the game into extra time.

Cork pushed it home in the added 20 minutes.  With the rebels turning the Blues and keeping their opponents hemmed inside their own half for long stretches, points went over from O’Mullane, A Barrett free, Jack Lacey and another free from O’Mullane.  The Blues managed two points in the first 10 minutes, but were held scoreless in the final 10 minutes as players had to either hobble off the field, or get on field treatment as muscles cramped up. Barret, Frank Dillon and Darragh Murphy capped off the win as the darkness fell and the mosquitos came out.  It was a great win for Cork and a great advertisement for Intermediate football in its first year back to Boston.
Blues:  Mike Moriarty, Eamonn Kilgallon, Derek O’Brien, Darren O’Donovan, Tom Hannon, Conor Mullen, Pat Murray, Maurice Young, Joe McHugh, Paddy O’Connor, Conor Fitzgerald, Darren Wallace, Ger Comer.

Cork:  Kieran McEnry, Mike Carolan, Frank Dillon, Jack Lacey, Adam Kenny, Emmet Smith, Jack Lynch, Mark Dalton, Jack Barret, Darragh Murphy, Tiernan Rushe, Conor Greene, Nick O’Mullane.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 18 - Senior Hurling Final: Galway v Fr. Tom Burke's

Fr. Tom Burke’s 2-18 Galway 0-21

Fr. Tom’s left it late to capture the senior hurling trophy, and that after seeing 3 star players return to Ireland before the final.  Galway looked to be very much the side in control of affairs for most of the game, and while not scoring at will, were able to maintain more or less a 4 point advantage until late in the game.  John Moylan was on form for the westerners, and while taking the frees was also responsible for some great scores, and with Lorcan McLaughlin playing well at center forward Galway seemed destined to take the cup.  Tom’s stuck with it, however, and introduced Cormac Joyce-Power in the second half and the Limerick man set up what was the winning goal for Ali Dooey and Tom’s late in the game. 

Tom's Captain, John Buckley, accepts the Eddie Flaherty Cup
from Nora Flaherty.
It was an evenly contested opening 30 minutes with Galway holding a slight advantage on the scoreboard at the break.  There was little given and each side worked hard for their scores.  Galway had John Moylan on the frees and the Beagh man was on the mark.  Galway were sharp in the back line, Tom Davey was doing a diligent job at corner back and made some good clearances.  Ronan Burke and Lorcan McLaughlin were also on the mark for Galway who looked very much in control.

Tom’s got some fine scores from Aaron Moore and John Buckely early on, but were guilty of misfiring with some good chances missed.  Ali Dooey hit some frees over late in the second half as Tom’s capitalized on some indiscipline in the Galway defence.  At the break it was a 0-8 to 0-6 in favour of Galway.

Galway continued to hold the edge in the second half.  Ronan Burke at wing back was under everything and McLaughlin at center forward tallied a couple of beautiful points.  The lead opened to five as Corcoran Bergin, Moylan and Andrew Casey each found the mark.  Tom’s worked themselves back into it with Dooey proving to be the main outlet for the long ball into the forwards, and Cormac Joyce-Power who played on the edge of the square a target man, though the Galway defence largely had him bottled up.  Dooey pointed 3 and Matt Kenny, who made run from wing back one, to pull Tom’s within 2.

Fr. Tom's waiting to receive their 2019 winners medals.
Entering the final quarter it was Galway who started to pull away again as the game ebbed and flowed.  McLaughlin pointed off a Darragh Lawler sideline and Moylan hit 3 frees to a single score form Darragh McGrath the lone Tom’s score.  Tom’s got the break they needed when Peter Boylan who had entered as a sub got on to a loose ball and his shot took a deflection and wrong footed Galway keeper John Coleman. Galway, however, continued to chip away with the points.  Moyland answered with a fantastic effort over from distance, and Danny Burke another to put Galway four to the good once more.  But that was not all she wrote.

As Tom’s persisted with their attacking plan, Dooey pointed to put a goal in it with 4 minutes left to play.  Joyce-Power put one over from a tough angle on the wing, and another Dooey point had Tom’s just the one behind.  The goal came after Joyce-Power trekked out to the corner to pick up a ball played low in that direction and played a perfect pass to Dooey who got ahead of his man and was running through on goal.  The Dunloy man fetched perfectly and blasted home to send Tom’s supporters, who had watched their team play from behind most of the game, into raptures with time almost up.  Joyce-Power added a point and now it had to be a goal for Galway.  Tom’s packed the defence and did everything they could to prevent a Galway goal that would have tied the game.  Tom’s held on to win their first senior hurling championship since winning two years ago in a best of seven series against Galway.

Galway:  John Coleman, Mark Bermingham, Tom Davey, Corcoran Bergin, Brian Kennedy, Ronan Burke, Danny Burke, Darragh Lawler, Andrew Casey, Lorcan McLaughlin, Niall Walsh, John Moylan, Adam Kenny.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Ian O’Shea, Damien O’Loughlin, Matt Kenny, Eamon Egan, Brian Flynn, Aaron Moore, Rory Purcell, John Buckley, Darragh McGrath, Sean Downey, Vincent Doyle, Ali Dooey.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 18 - Senior Football Final: Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 3-15 Aidan McAnespies 2-17

What a game of football it was for the final game of the season at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton Mass.  There have been some brilliant finals over the years on the main field, and this will be up there the best of them.  Two fantastic teams, some superb scores, and a finish that nobody could have expected.  It ended up as stunned disbelief for Aidan McAnespies and their supporters and sheer jubilation for Donegal.  When Barry John Keane’s shot flew inside the post in injury time, there was a damburst of emotions on the Donegal side of the field and total disbelief on the side of the Macs.  McAnespies looked like they had done the job after opening a 7 point lead in what had been a neck and neck tie, and with only 4 minutes to go it looked as good as over.  In an amazing turn of events Donegal netted three times, 2 from Keane and one a Gary Walsh penalty, to literally swipe the championship away from their opponents in the last seconds of the game. 

Declan Hughes and Jason Noctor with match
referee John Hickey.
Donegal looked to have control for most of the first half with the midfield and forward line motoring.  Mark Bradley and Barry John were on form, with Keane kicking a couple of great scores.  Gary Walsh was on song with the frees as the McAnespies defence were forced into fouling on a couple of occasions.  Donegal were humming along.  McAnespies tried to get their forwards going, and on a couple of occasions Steven O’Hanlon got free and put one great point over the bar.  Robbie Smyth accounted for three, and Tony Brosnan one lovely effort. 

With Donegal ahead by a point, McAnespies won a penalty after Niall Toner entered the game following an injury to Oisin McConvey.  Toner was pulled down in the area and Smyth’s penalty beat Hugh Boyle low to his left.  Donegal responded well, however, finishing the half scoring three points to one.  Keane again, Walsh, and Ciaran Murtagh all hit the mark as Donegal maintained their stride.  At the half time whistle it was a 0-10 to 1-6 Donegal lead with McAnespies still looking to click into gear.

The teams opened the second half with a point each from free kicks before each side pointed from play, one score as good as the other.  Smyth finished a great move at one end for McAnepies before Ciaran Murthagh answered with a fantastic point.  It was end to end stuff and neither side could pull away from the other.  As the half wore it McAnespies started to get control of the game and ran at their opponents at every opportunity.  Three points on the trot opened a gap, with O’Hanlon’s running and agility causing major problems for the Donegal defenders.  Tony Brosnan was kept quiet enough, but he also managed to find some openings and pointed twice and the lead widened to 4.

Even when Walsh put two points over for Donegal, McAnespies returned the favor through Brosnan and Niall Toner, who was doing some trojan work carrying the ball to the heart of the Donegal defence time and again. Then came a goal for McAnespies with 6 minutes to go.  It was finished by Daniel Guinness but started by Pierce Laverty, who made a 30 yard run and after a couple of exchanges inside the box, Guinness palmed the ball home.  O’Hanlon added a point to make it 7 between the teams and McAnespies looked like they just needed to play out time.

The winning Donegal team celebrate with Canton PD officer, Helena Rafferty.
Well, it did not exactly end the way anybody in the crowd, no matter what persuasion, could have expected.  Walsh had hit the foot off the post in the midst of the McAnespies scoring run, and , rather than a harbinger of a bad luck for Donegal, in hindsight it was a warning for McAnespies as Donegal soon netted.  Walsh set up a pass across the face of the McAnespies goal for a leaping Keane to force into the open net.  Within a minute, Donegal had a penalty this time after Walsh was pulled down in the area.  The Laoisman put the ball into the opposite corner and now there was just a point in it, and 30 minutes played.  Macs rallied and a point from Niall Toner looked like it could be enough even after conceding the two late goals.  But, like a boxer who is shaken but still standing after a hard one-two, a third punch put McAnespies on the canvas.  
Donegal had possession and McAnespies funneled back, goal prevention was the name of the game.  The Tir Chonaill men did not panic and held on until the right opening presented itself, and present itself it did.  The right man had the ball too, and from the 14 yard line Keane flashed a shot just inside the post after the gap opened up and left Robbie Croft rooted to the spot in the McAnespies goal.  Donegal up by one and the cheers that carried across the field were in stark contrast to the silence in the main stand.  There had been a few minutes injury time played and there would not be a chance to force extra time.  It was a victory that represented 3 championships for Donegal in 2019 along with the Junior B and Junior A cups.  As captain Jason Noctor said in accepting the cup, it has been a goal of the club for a number of years now, and this year it was finally achieved.  As for all the commentary back in Ireland about the game of gaelic football dying death with defensive tactics and all of that, you'd wonder what they were talking about.  Joe Brolly should take a trip for one of these games, his confidence in the game would surely be completely and totally restored.  Unreal stuff. 

Macs: Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsell, Ronan Murphy, Oisin McConvey, Pierce Laverty, Daniel Guinness, Declan Hughes, Barry Kerr, Anthony Cournane, Tony Brosnan, Evan Cronin, Steven O’Hanlon. 

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Jason Noctor, Aidan O’Sullivan, Aaron Deeney, Jack O’Brien, John Bingham, Ray Connellan, Shane Carthy, Sean Donnelly, Mark Bradley, Ciaran Murtagh, Gary Walsh, Barry John Keane.
By Rory O'Donnell

Friday, August 16, 2019

Boston Norteast GAA Finals - Schedule and Senior Previews

Sunday August 18 - 5:00 PM

This year sees Donegal return to the senior football final, albeit without Diarmuid Connolly, who will be togging out for The Dubs in the All Ireland Final in a couple of weeks.  Connolly’s St. Vincent’s teammate, New York born Shane Carthy, will be lining out in the middle of the field and hoping for a second successive Boston senior championship medal.  Alongside him will most likely be the athletic Westmeath and former Aussie Rules player, Ray Connellan.

Up front Donegal have a powerful one – two strike force in Gary Walsh and Barry John Keane.  In last week’s semi-final the place kicking of Walsh was impeccable, the Laois man hardly missed a kick from any distance or angle.  Keane, the Kerry footballer, is liable to pop up and put the ball over the bar from anywhere and I would not relish the thought of having to mark either as a McAnespies defender.

In defence, Hugh “Yank” Boyle is minding nets, and the home based Donegal keeper is second to none when it comes to stopping those point blank chances.  Continuing on from where he left off last year, Boyle has been a major factor in Donegal’s success.  The back line is solid, with Jason Noctor and there is nothing like a Donegal team when it comes to locking down things at the back.

McAnespies are back in the final after a one-year hiatus and have not lost a game this season.  The team is built on a combination of power and finesse, and has ground down opponents into submission.  The centerpiece of the forward line is Tony Brosnan.  The Dr. Crokes, Killarney, man is a finesse player who can set up his colleagues with well-placed passes, or take his own score when the situation calls for it.  Also in the forward line is Steven O’Hanlon who got his Monaghan call up this year.  The Carrickmacross native adds some speed to the forwards, while also in the forward line is Evan Cronin who has been as consistent a performer for McAnespies as any this year.

Captain, Declan Hughes is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the field, along with Barry Kerr.  However, it is the half back line that is the key to McAnespies success so far this year.  Daniel Guinness, Pierce Laverty and Oisin McConvey have driven the team forward throughout the season.  The 3 Down men will have a huge role to play in the outcome of this game.  McAnespies will face their biggest test of the year on Sunday, however, one would have to make them slight favourites to continue their winning ways.  One interesting footnote, Sean Cournane, whose brother Anthony starts in the half forwards, is on the panel.  Cournane was corner forward on the 2011 North American winning team that went unbeaten all season.  Will the Caherciveen man be a talisman 8 years later?  Sunday will tell all.  An exciting game to look forward to.

3:00 Senior Hurling Final

Fr. Tom Burke’s v Galway

Fr. Tom’s are the clear favourites in this battle of the westerners. The game will almost be like a Galway club final such are the links between each club and the county of the Tribesmen.  Tom’s topped the senior hurling table and after a slow start to the season, impressed from then on. 

The jewel in the crown is Galway intercounty star, Conor Whelan.  Whelan is a hard working corner forward, who digs in and persists until possession is won and a positive outcome achieved.  In a previous encounter, Galway had their game plan to snuff out the Kinvara dangerman, and were largely successful but in injury time it was Whelan who netted the winning goal for Tom’s.

Alongside is Jack Coyne, another player with top flight intercounty credentials.  Coyne suffered an injury earlier in the season, and may not be 100% but is still likely to be a player that Galway need to plan for in the final.  Tom’s are strong throughout the field.  From Ian O’Shea at corner back to Ali Dooey at corner forward, there is hardly a weakness in the side.  Flying the flag for the USMC (United States Marine Corp.) is Paul Cannon.  The Craughwell Co. Galway native served in the Marines before coming to Boston and joining Tom’s, and is a major addition to the home based ranks of the club.

Tom’s defeated their finalist opponents fairly handily in their last outing, however, it was a game that had nothing riding on it as both teams were already in the final, and playing cards close to the chest no doubt.  Galway gave Tom’s a good run in their last meaningful meeting and were very unlucky not to come away with the win.

A well-coached team, Galway players will be fully aware of their respective jobs and what is required if they are to defeat Tom’s.  The defence will need to work hard for the fill hour to limit Tom’s scoring opportunities.  Last time out the defence, led by Brian Kennedy and Aidan O’Sullivan, did extremely well in executing their task, until the very end of the game when Whelan popped up for that goal.

There is plenty of grit in the team, none more so that with Danny Burke.  The Headford man will need to keep his head though, and focus on the task at hand.  Niall Walsh in the forward line is a goal getter, the Kilkenny native knows where the posts are.  Lorcan McLaughlin is well capable of taking the scores and along will captain, and Carlow man, Adam Kenny will need to take advantage of the opportunities to keep Galway in the hunt.  An entertaining game with some top class hurling is in store.
By Rory O'Donnell

Full Finals Schedule

Sat Aug 17
Field A
2:45 Junior B Hurling:  Worcester v New Hampshire Wolves
4:15 Junior A Hurling:  Offaly v Fr. Tom Burke’s
5:30 Intermediate Football:  Shannon Blues v Cork
Field B
3:00 Junior B Football: Shannon Blues v Donegal

Sun Aug 18
Field A
1:30 Junior A Football:  Donegal v Aidan McAnespies
3:00 Senior Hurling: Galway v Fr. Tom Burkes
4:30 Youth Board Recognition and Parade
5:00 Senior Football: Donegal v Aidan McAnespies
Field B
1:45 Ladies Junior Football: Boston Shamrocks v ISYL

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sun Aug 11 - Junior A Football: Wolfe Tones v Aidan McAnespies

Wolfe Tones 1-8 Aidan McAnespies 2-8

Two second half goals, one from the spot, saw Aidan McAnespies through to the Junior A Football Final.  Great work in the defence and patience when in possession were the keys to the win.  The Tones had an extra man for the final 12 minutes or so but could not press home the advantage, and it will be a date with Donegal in next week’s final for McAnespies.

Ryan Lambe in Possession for the Tones.
It was McAnespies up by a point after 15 minutes as the game ebbed and flowed.  Dan McCabe opened the Tones account with a point from play before Michael Lynch leveled affairs.  After Cormac Joyce-Power pointed from a free, Lynch answered for McAnespies with a well finished effort.  McAnespies worked hard in the back line to block down Tones efforts and regain possession.  Midfeilder, Sean Walsh put McAnespies into the lead and was followed by Lynch with another where the Magherafelt native showed lovely skill to work the opening for himself.

The Tones netted after a turnover in the McAnespies back line.  Joyce-Power had possession inside the box and hit the waiting Dan McCabe with a pass, leaving McCabe to tuck the ball into the top corner.  McCabe followed with a point to put a goal between the sides in the run up to the break.  Some good work by the McAnespies midfield resulted in two points before the half time whistle to make it a one point advantage for the Tones at the break.

McAnespies continued to force turnovers and work the ball well with some good running and patience.  The reward was two goals and two points, the goal came from Jimmy Rigney’s boot after Sean Walsh found him through on goal with a handpass.  Walsh followed with a point himself and McAnespies were 2 points to the good.  After Marty Farrell pointed from the Tones another goal came from a great run by Cian Sharkey.  Sharkey was pulled down in the box and Walsh netted with the kick.

Conor Bogue on the Ball.
The sides traded points before a major incident that resulted in Walsh being shown a red card. A big loss for McAnespies who would have to play the final 12 minutes a man down. With 4 points between the teams it was all to play for in the run in.  McAnespies held possession well and let the minutes tick away, and the pressure built for the Tones to go for a goal.  Some chances went amiss for the Tones before Shane O’Brien pointed to make it a one goal game with 2 minutes left.  With McAnespies holding possession and tired Tones legs, the clock ticked away on the Tones. 

Macs:  Paddy Coakley, Sean Clifford, Mickey Boyle, Cian Sharkey, Gareth O’Neill, James Rigney, Sean Walsh, Cronan Dempsey, Colm O’Malley, Eoin Gormley, Conor Bogue, Gareth McAlinden, Michael Lynch.

Tones:  Patrick Gallagher, Barry McShea, KeithGill, Mike Kerr, James Farrell, Ciaran Clifford, Jim Lynch, Ian Whelan, Dylan Murtagh, Cormac Joyce-Power, Marty Farrell, Dan McCabe, Ryan Lambe.
By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football Semi-Final: Galway v Aidan McAnespies

Aidan McAnespies 4-16 Galway 1-10

Aidan McAnespies ended up with a comfortable win over Galway in the second semi-final Sunday.  It was a game where Galway needed to take their chances to have a chance of upsetting the apple cart, however the Westerners saw the ball drift wide all too often when the opportunity arose.  McAnespies were clinical in front of goal with a rampant Tony Brosnan creating openings over the first 20 minutes.  Two first half goals set the stage for a victory that sets up a double next weekend between McAnespies and Donegal whose junior A teams will also meet in the final Sunday.

Michael Branigan looking for room.
Galway got off to a good start with 3 points on the run after McAnespies had opened the scoring through Tony Brosnan.  Jamie Walsh, Michael Brannigan and Sean Carrabine all hit the mark as Galway looked to settle quickly.  McAnespies, however, with Brosnan at center forward and spraying the passes around with deadly accuracy, were not long getting into it.  After putting a lovely score over the bar, Brosnan hit Steven O’Hanlon with a beautifully floated ball, O’Hanlon then made the opening for Evan Cronin to finish into the net.  McAnespies now up by two points.

Brosnan, Declan Hughes, and O’Hanlon added three points in a row and McAnespies started to take a firm grip on affairs.  Galway got themselves back into it in terms of possession and created a number of good chances, but only had a Sean Carrabine point to show after some wayward shooting.  Before the break McAnespies had added another 5 points to their lead.  A second goal from Declan Hughes after a great Pierce Laverty run was followed by points from Evan Cronin and O’Hanlon.  A Galway chance at a goal was well stopped by the alert Robbie Croft between the posts, and at the break it was a nine point gap for the Westerners to bridge, 2-7 to 0-4.

Evan Cronin and Aidan McAnespies will meet 
Donegal in the final next Sunday.
An encouraging start to the second half by Galway was soon extinguished.  Brannigan and Cian Hanley pointed to chip at the gap between the teams, and Galway almost had a goal but Robbie Croft made a good save with his leg to deny Brannigan who tried to slide the ball low from close range.  McAnespies responded to the let off with points from O’Hanlon and Cronin, and another goal came for McAnespies to well and truly put a nail in it.  A Peter O’Connell run made the opening for O’Hanlon to finish.  Cronin followed with a point and at that stage the game was more or less over as a contest.

Each side started to empty the benches.  Galway managed a late goal from Michael Brannigan who found the corner past the outstretched arm of Croft.  It was a matter of playing out time at that stage, and an exciting final awaits between McAnespies and Donegal next Sunday.

Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Mark Mannion, Evan Wynne, Stuart Cullen, Danny Burke, Sean Melville, Jamie Walsh, Michael Moylan, Adam Gallagher, Cian Hanley, Shairoze Akram, Sean Carrabine, Michael Brannigan.

Macs:  Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsell, Ronan Murphy, Daniel Guinness, Pierce Laverty, Oisin McConvey, Declan Hughes, Barry Kerr, Anthony Cournane, Tony Brosnan, Evan Cronin, Steven O’Hanlon, Robbie Smith.
By Rory O'Donnell

Aug 11 - Senior Football Semi FInal: Donegal v Connemara Gaels

Connemara 2-9 Gaels Donegal 1-16

Donegal and the Connemara Gaels played a very exciting 60 minutes that was full of incident and plenty of exciting football.  There were some great scores and a sending off, that actually served to lift the Gaels efforts in the final 10 minutes to almost pull off an unlikely comeback.  Donegal however were full value for their victory, with some impeccable place kicking by Laoisman, Gary Walsh, and pushing home the advantage when the momentum was with them.

Paudge McAnenly turns Aidan Sullivan.
It was blistering pace to open the game.  Each team was keyed in on the task ahead and the challenges were uncompromising.  Keelan Sexton got the Gaels off the mark with a point off the inside of the post, and Ciaran Murtagh answered for Donegal.  Donegal outscored the Gaels 4 points to 2 in the following sequence, with Gary Walsh, Ray Connellan, Barry John Keane and Shane Carthy with some superb points.  There were a couple of mis-hit frees from the normally reliable Sexton, and Donegal had momentum.

A penalty for Donegal with 18 minutes gone put the northerners well and truly in the driver’s seat.  Sean Fox came to meet Gary Walsh for a through ball and was adjudged to have fouled the Laoisman.  Walsh took the spot kick expertly and the goal put Donegal into a 4 point lead. The points began to flow as Mark Bradley (free), Walsh and Murtagh were all on the mark and Donegal pressed home their advantage.  In spite of some excellent play from Adam Dallon at center back from the Gaels, the westerners struggled to find any kind of form going forward.  At the break it was a 1-10 to 0-6 Donegal lead.

Two expertly taken frees from Gary Walsh from distance added to Donegal’s lead and open it to 9 just after the restart. Things turned a little chippy with a number of off the ball incidents and yellow cards issued to players from both teams.  The Gaels persistence eventually paid off as they netted through Paudraig McAnenly 10 minutes into the period to reduce the difference to 6 points. 

Ray Connellan on the move for Donegal
The teams traded points before Paul Donaghy was sent off for a second yellow card incident, and with 15 minutes left and a 6 point lead, the game was Donegal’s to lose. The Gaels lifted their efforts and after the sides swapped points before some quick thinking resulted in a goal for the Gaels.  A quickly taken free from McAnenley to the open Sean Conneeley put the Rosmuc man clean through and Conneeley took his time to make sure of the goal. 

One goal in it and the clock running.  The Gaels tried to isolate McAnenely but a couple of over-hit passes into the full forward line came to naught.  Kevin O’Halloran entered play and almost immediately pointed to make it a two point game and raise the hopes of the Gaels supporters.  Donegal went for the possession game, however, the Gaels had a couple of opportunities reduce the gap further between the teams that went awry.  Donegal finished the game with points from Carthy and Cian Clinton to put an end the Gaels hopes, and to make a return to the senior football final to defend the title won last season.

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Niall Collins, Niall Kelly, Colm Shaughnessy, Adam Fallon, Kieran Killeen, Nathan Donnelly, Paul Donaghy, Sean Conneeley, Keelan Sexton, Nathan O’Neill, Paddy McGee, Paudraig McAnenly.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Aidan Sullivan, Jason Noctor, Aaron Deeney, Jack O’Brien, John Bingham, Shane Carthy, Ray Connellan, Ciaran Murtagh, Mark Bradley, Sean Donnelly, Barry John Keane, Gary Walsh.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun Aug 11 - Junior C Hurling FInal: Sean Og's v hartford

Hartford 0-7 Sean Og’s 4-10

Sean Og’s captured the junior C hurling championship after a well contested final with Hartford.   An early goal for Sean Og’s had Hartford chasing the game, and three more in the second half put the result beyond doubt.  There were some great performances from the newly minted hurlers who are all graduates of the youth program. 

Sean Og’s took the break with a comfortable looking 5 point lead.  An early goal from Jack Martyn, whose long distance free eluded everyone until it found the back of the net, got Sean Og’s off to a great start.  Sean Og’s kept the pressure on with Kieran O’Driscoll, Colm O’Malley, and Martyn sweeping up everything around the middle of the field.  O’Driscoll proved to be the marksman for Sean Og’s with 4 points, although there were some missed opportunities for the youngsters.

Junior C Hurling Champions - Sean Og's
Hartford had some chances of their own and converted 2 points.  One a free from Niall Geoghegan and a fine effort from Eric Stassen resulted in scores.  Goalkeeper, John O’Brien, was called upon to make some saves off the line as Sean Og’s threatened on a number of occasions.  At the break it was a 1-4 to 0-2 score in Sean Og’s favour.

The second half saw Sean Og’s net shortly after the restart with a brilliant effort from Dylan Coyne who had entered play late in the first half.  Coyne followed with an expertly taken point and Hartford had it all to do now, and battle on they did.  Tom Shea answered with a well taken long distance effort, but with 9 points to make up Hartford were going to need a couple of goals.

Hartford Hurling Team
With Hartford putting some pressure on the Sean Og’s goal and threatening to reduce the gap, a third goal came for the youngsters from Eoin Morissey.  Daniel Murphy added a couple of points to extend the lead.  Hartford continued to push with some good work by Mike Lanza, Andrew Collins and Adam Mackie.  Aidan Joyce, however, made some good stops in goal to maintain a clean sheet, and when Peter Bannon netted a fourth, the game was beyond the reach of the Connecticut side.

A successful first foray into the adult leagues for the youth players, many of whom played at minor level at the CYC a couple of weeks ago.  

Hartford:  John O’Brien, Dan Putman, Haley Reierson, Brian Park, Andrew Collins, Ian Fischer, Mike Lanza, Niall Geoghegan, eric Stassen, Tom Shea, John Kilian, Chris Laggis, Adam Mackie.

Sean Og’s:  Aidan Joyce, Aidan Flanagan, Aidan O’Malley, John O’Doherty, Matt Duane, Peter Bannon, Jack Martyn, Colm O’Malley, Daniel Murphy, Kieraan O’Driscoll, Eoin Morissey, Declan O’Sullivan, Stephen Joyce.
By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Sun Aug 4 - Senior Hurling; Inter Football

In what is a preview of the Senior Hurling Championship final Father Toms faced Galway in the final league game. Both teams held their cards close to their chest as they played alternative teams. The last time the teams met, Tom’s were the victors, would they be able to once again be victorious and overcome a strong Galway side.

The game started out evenly as Dunloy native Ali Dooey got two quick frees to open the scoring. The two teams would go back and forth as Niall Walsh and John Moylan for Galway, and Darragn McGrath for the Toms would score for their sides. Galway started to push on for a bit and managed to get a two point lead. However, this would be the start of a scoring drought for Galway,as Tom’s would score a few points. It would go from bad to worse as Cian Salmon former Galway Minor would score a great goal, He received a pass from a sideline cut, and ran in to the square/ His initial shot was saved, then Salmon struck in off the ground. Tom’s would continue to score a number of unanswered points from Ian O’Shea, Darragh Mcgrath, Cian Salmon and Rory Purcell. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t kick into gear for Galway as the Tom’s would power on and shoot for fun as they went on to win the match 4-32 to 1-14.
In what was expected to be a non event, lead to a shockingly dominant victory for the Tom’s as they build the momentum for the Senior Hurling Final in two weeks time. Will Galway be able to work on this loss and push on to turn the tables against the Tom’s? Only time will tell.

Father Tom’s - Kevin Flynn, Brian Flynn, Ian O’Shea, Jason Costello, Eamon Egan, Matt Kenny, Rory Purcell, Saen Downey, Conor Costello, Darragh McGrath, Johnny Buckley, Cian Salmon, Ali Dooey

Galway - John Coleman, Mark Bermingham, Ronan Burke, Niall Walsh, Andrew Casey, Michael Moylan, Danny Burke, Kenneth O’Callaghan, Adam Kenny, John Moylan, Greg Lundy, Cormac Kelly, Aidan Joyce

Intermediate Football

Shannon Blues and Christophers met up in their final league match. Shannon Blues had already qualified for the Finals where they will face Cork.

Christophers started the game strongly, scoring a number of unanswered scores with points from Kenny O’Reilly, Mark Delaney, Fionnan O’Shea and Gerry Bannon. Blues Would get a point from Paddy O’Connor, and then Joe McHugh would get a goal to level the game early on. The game would remain close , with scores from both sides, until the Blues went on a scoring spree, scoring a number of goals and points. The Christophers would respond with scores of their own, however, the damage was too much, and the Shannon Blues were victorious.

With this result, the Christophers end their season on a low, having only won one game in the season. However I’m sure that they’ll regroup, work on what they learned and push on once again in next years Intermediate Championship. The Shannon Blues will face Cork in the Intermediate final in two weeks time.

Shannon Blues: Michael Moriarty, Shane Kelly, Brian Fannon, Conor Mullen, Tom Hannon, Eamon Kilgallon, Pat Murray, Paddy O’Connor, Joe McHugh, Darren Wallace, Conor Fitzgerald, Ger Comer, Michael Moylan

Christophers : Mark Molloy, Gerry Bannon, Martin Coppinger, Gareth Barr, Shane Power, Tom Kinsley, Ian O’Callaghan, Jerry Kenneally, Kenny O’Reilly, Mark Delaney, Bryan Herirly, Fionnan O’Shea, Dan Kenneally

By Evan McDonagh