Thursday, August 12, 2021

2 Hurling Championship Deciders and Finals Places Decided

On a glorious Saturday afternoon at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, Mass the first championship titles were decided.  There were 2 firsts, Providence and Sean Og’s each won their first hurling championships, defeating Hartford and Worcester to capture the Junior C and Junior B championship titles.

For Providence the win was 6 years in the making.  The club was started in 2015 and up until this season had never even contested a final.  This season the Rhode Island Club took some serious strides with their only defeat of the season to their final opponents, Hartford.  The game was a close run affair with Providence just about holding their opponents at bay.  At the scoring end it required 4 goals, one in each half from James Glendenning and 2 in the second from Brendan McGinn to secure the win.  However, it was goalkeeper, Mike Baressi, who won the man of the match for his performance between the posts for Providence.  Baressi, along with 3 other starters in the team, is a first year player who only took up the sport this season and has taken to the game like a fish to water.

Club Chairperson, Mike Kenneally, talked about the numbers coming to training during the season.  Also, Mike credited Cathal Hardiman, a Galwayman who found himself in Providence and joined the club, with raising the bar for everyone, and the players responded.  As for their first championship, “It is still sinking in”, said Mike.  “No words can describe what it means for the club.”  Best of luck to Providence in the USGAA finals.  Although there will be 3 starting players missed due to injury the Providence club are sure to give it a go.

Providence:  Michael Barressi, Conor O’Rourke, Mike Kenneally, John Feeney, Matthew Parks, James Crocker, Austin Clark, Nick Bruz, Adrian Conley, Jack Douglass, Jack Condon, James Glendenning, Brendan McGinn;

John "Boxcar" O'Driscoll Gives the Final
Talk to Sean Og's.  (Photo Rachel O'Driscoll).

In another first, Sean Og’s hurlers took their first piece of silverware.  It was a huge victory for the youngsters who have come through the underage ranks over the last 10-12 years to defeat the reigning USGAA Junior B Hurling title holders, Worcester Fenians.  Sean Og’s were formed in 2019 with the aim of providing a team for young home grown players to transition to adult competition.  For many years this step has proven to be a roadblock to the development of American footballers and hurlers.

The first half belonged to the reigning champions from Worcester who held a 1-8 to 0-6 half time lead.   Sean Og’s turned it around in the second half.  The teams were all square coming into the final 10 minutes with Worcester on 2-8 and Sean Og’s 1-11.  With the reigning holders fighting hard to retain the title, the young American’s came through with some great scores down the stretch to take the win, Mike Moylan tallying 3 of the final six points, and Aidan O’Malley 2.  It is another milestone on what is proving to be a season of transition to the home grown players coming through the ranks and the future of the games in the states.

Said manager John O’Driscoll, “It was important, with nothing last year and the lads getting older.  Lads are filling the void for a lot of teams this year and are getting more games which brings them along a lot more.”  O’Driscoll also noted that this year many clubs are relying on the home grown players who have come through the age groups.  It is certain that this season will stand to these kids and set them up for future games.

The Sean Og’s Junior B footballers also have a chance to take some silverware we they will face defending champions, Donegal, in the final this weekend, and the ladies footballers meet the Boston Shamrocks.

Sean Og’s:  Aidan Joyce, Peter Bannon, Mikey Kerr, Eoin Faherty, Patrick Moylan, John O’Riordan, Jack Martyn, Aidan O’Malley, Dylan Coyne, Dan Murphy, Eoin Morissey, Mike Moylan, John O’Doherty; Jack Kelly, Stephen Joyce, Colm O’Malley, Niall O’Malley, Matty Duane, Brendan Smith, Aidan Flanagan.


Happy Faces:  James Flaherty and Ryan Caffrey .
(Photo by Rachel O'Driscoll)

The senior football semi-final also provide to be an hour of excitement as Aidan McAnespies surprisingly pulled ahead of the favoured Connemara Gaels in the first half, and caused some worried looks on the Connemara supporters side of the field.   With the Gaels 1-3 to 0-2 ahead thanks to an early goal from Paddy Cunningham, McAnespies hit with 3 goals in quick succession to stun the crowd.  A Stephen Ward goal, followed by points from Eoin Morissey and Robert Croft.  Croft then struck a penalty home after Eoin Gormley was pulled down in the box, and netted McAnespies third came thanks to a brilliant finish from Croft to the far side of the net.

The Gaels gathered themselves, however, and finished the half with points from Jack Bambrick and Cunningham, and a late Cunningham goal left the score at 3-5 to 2-5 in the Macs favor to start the second half.  The second period saw the Gaels pull away, their dominance underlined by a superb finish from Michael Kerr.  Kerr started a run from his own 14 yard line down the right side and was last to receive the ball on the opposite 14, and from a somewhat tight angle crashed the ball into the roof of the net.  Sean Conneeley added another goal from the spot after Kerr was pulled down, and things seemed done and dusted.  With the Gaels sitting on a 9 point cushion and McAnespies with just the one point to account for their second half efforts, the game suddenly tightened up again.  Croft banged home a late penalty, which was followed by a crafty James Rigney goal.  Three point game now and Macs had one last chance at the death, but the final ball into the Gaels box sailed over the endline.  A scare for Gaels heading into the final next Sunday at 5:00, while McAnespies will meet the Shannon Blues in the Intermediate final at 1:00.

Finals Schedule

Saturday August 14

1:30 Junior C Football Final:  Portland v Hartford

3:30 Junior B Football Final:  Donegal v Sean Og’s

5:30 Junior A Football Final:  Wolfe Tones v Galway

Sunday August 15

12:00 Ladies Senior Football Final;  Boston Shamrocks v Sean Og’s

1:00 Intermediate Football Final:  Aidan McAnespies v Shannon Blues

3:00 Senior Hurling Final:  Fr. Tom Burke’s v Galway

5:00 Senior Football Final:  Donegal v Connemara Gaels

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