Sunday, July 31, 2022

Intermediate Football - Wolfe Tones v Christopher's

Christopher’s 2-21 Wolfe Tones 2-11

It took more than one half of football for Christopher’s to pull away from their opponents and seal the points in the final Intermediate match in the regular season phase of the competition.  Win or lose it was always going to be Christopher’s playing the Shannon Blues  next week in the semi-final, and the Tones made a game of it until they ran out of steam in the second  half of the game.

Wolfe Tones played their final game of 2022 Sunday

The first half was marked by 4 goals, 2 for each team.  The Tones looked the better of the teams over the first 15 minutes and had tallied a 6 points to 2 advantage.  Oran McCarney, Rian Moylan, Cormac Joyce-Power and Gavin Walsh all had found the space between the posts and it was looking to be a promising outing for the men in blue.  Christopher’s wiped away most of that advantage with a cheeky Alan Kennedy goal.  Kennedy was headed across the face of goal with a number of defenders in between, and a point looked on but the Westport man fooled everyone sneaked the ball inside the post with a low shot.  A Kennedy free had the teams level but the Tones struck back.  It was Cian McGovern who was played through and from an angle finished well.

Christopher’s then netted a second from Diarmuid Baker who made the Tones pay full price for a turnover and the Christopher’s wing back finished well.  The goals were not over yet though.  The Tones went seeking to get it back again and after Cian McGovern was pulled down in the area, Gavin Walsh did not leave much room for error as his penalty shot to the top corner came off the underside of the bar and into the net.  Michael Kerr pointed a 45 for the Tones and two Kennedy frees for Christopher’s made it a slim 2-7 to 2-6 Tones advantage at the break.

Christopher's advance to next week's semi-final

Christopher’s took over the game in the second half and it was a case of death by a thousand points.   The Kilkelly – Kennedy axis went into full tilt, and with some great support from the half back line in the form of Luke Tunny and Baker the points sailed over the Tones crossbar.  There could have been a goal but Ben Savage made a good save from Andrew Inman’s close range shot.  The Tones only had a Gavin Walsh effort to account for their efforts while Christopher’s racked up 8 with no reply. 

As the subs came on to get a run out the curtain came down on the 2022 season for the Wolfe Tones.  In fairness getting a team out on the field will be seen as a success and hopefully there is something to build on for the club for the coming years.  Christopher’s are into a showdown with the Blues next week to see who plays Kerry in the final in 2 weeks’ time.

Christopher’s:  Bill Crookston, Jake Kelley, Martin Coppinger, Pat Kenneally, Luke Tunney, Diarmuid Baker, Andrew Inman, Conor McGuinness, Gerry Bannon, Killian Kilkelly, Paul Cannon, San Kendellan, Alan Kennedy.

Tones:  Ben, Ronan Fox, Dylan Hand, Oran McCarney, Stephen Grogan, Mikey Kerr, Dylan Murtagh, Cormac Joyce-Power, Cian McGovern, Gavin Walsh, Oisin McCarney, Caolan Slevin, Rian Moylan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football - Connemara Gaels v Donegal

Connemara Gaels 0-13 Donegal 0-16

Ruairi Rafferty tried to get around
Colm Faherty
It was a game the Gaels needed to win to keep their hopes alive in the junior A championship and force a possible playoff against Cork.  Donegal on the other hand were already into next week’s semi-final and just waiting to see whether it would be Cork, or another meeting with the Gaels next week.  It turned out to be a tight game all the way though until Donegal pulled away in the run up to the final whistle to knock their opponents out of the championship, and it is Cork who the northerners will meet in the semi-final next weekend.

The Gaels started the brighter of the teams and looked to be playing with a bit more intensity both in the tackle on defence and up front when in possession.  Gaels defenders were tight on their men and got the better of the early exchanges.  Tadgh O’Siorchru and Steven Murray had early points on the board, followed by Paddy McGee and Paraic McDonagh.  McDonagh could have had a goal after the ball came off the post from Steven Murray’s shot, but the Carna man’s foot got under the ball and over the bar it went.  Hugh Devine had pointed Donegal’s only score of the early exchanges, and the Gaels were looking good.

Donegal settled and had got themselves back into the game and were on level terms just after the mid-way point.  Darragh Lawlor and Ruairi Rafferty put three over between them, and the Gaels were lucky not to have lost a player to a black card after Muiris Carton was pulled down on his way through towards goal.  Carton at center forward and Rafferty at corner forward started to play a prominent role in Donegals’ efforts as the game wore on.  A few stray passes crept into the Gaels game, but the sides traded scores to maintain parity up to the half time break at 0-7 each.

Tadgh O'Siorchru on the attack for the Gaels

The second half started as the first ended with each team canceling each other out on the scoreboard.  There was never more than a point between them and the lead switched hands on a couple of occasions as the teams vied for the advantage.  Declan McBride put Donegal one to the good before Paddy McGee and Bradley Fox had the Gaels up by a score.  Rafferty leveled it again before Fox put a lovely effort over to put the Gaels up again. It was equaled by Darren Grant who sailed through the Gaels defence and ith no passing options, simply slotted the ball over himself.  Soon afterwards a similar effort from the same player had Donegal up again.   The Gaels answered through Tadgh O’Siorchru whose point had the Gaels level heading into the final 15 minutes with a nicely taken free.

After Gavin Reilly and O’Siorchru exchanged scores again the advantage swung to Donegal for the final 10 minutes.  Donegal emptied the bench as all the subs got a run and the fresh legs made a difference.  The last 10 minutes saw the northerners finish with 5 points to 2 for the Gaels.  There could have also been a goal for Donegal as Rafferty was through on a breakaway, but James O’Donnell got down well to save the low shot.  As the tiredness crept in it was Donegal who had the extra legs to seem them home in the final stretch.  Gavin Reilly popped up for two late points as he had moved into a more advanced position from his starting wing back role.  Hugh Devine, Grant and Carton all swung points over the bar to put an end to the Gaels challenge.  So, Donegal meet Cork next Sunday in the semi-final with the winners playing Aidan McAnespies in the final the following week.

Gaels:  James O’Donnell, Joe O’Shea, Ciaran Killeen, Colman Conroy, Ben Conway, Nessan O’Donnell, Bradley Fox, Tadgh O’Siorchru, Steve Murray, Cian Carr, Donal Reany, Paddy McGee, Paraic McDonagh. 

Donegal:  Padraig McLaughlin, Paul McNulty, Mark Canny, Hugh Devine, Declan McBride, Gavin Reilly, Ronan Gallagher, Darragh Lawlor, Darren Grant, Morris Carton, Chris O’Neill, Eamonn Kelly, Ruairi Rafferty.

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, July 25, 2022

Ladies Football - Boston Shamrocks v Connacht Ladies

Connacht Ladies took the Game to the 
Shamrocks Early
Boston Shamrocks and Connacht Ladies met as old rivals on Sunday as the Ladies footballers took to the field on a roasting hot Sunday afternoon.  Following a hotly contested game it was the Shamrocks who had that extra bit to see themselves to an 8 point win.

The Shamrocks took early lead with a goal and two points from Ceiti Long.  Connacht stormed back into the game, and in a quick fire response scored 3–3 without reply.  Emma lynch and Clodagh Gaffney did most of the Connacht scoring as the Shamrocks struggled to respond.  Respond they did just before half time with a couple of points from Sara Jane McDonald and Silvana Doherty.  At the break it was the Connacht Ladies who held the 4 point advantage, 3-3 to 1-5.

Shamrocks came out flying in the second hald and two Chloe McGinty goals after great link up play with Ciara Horan put the shamrocks 2 to the good.  McDonald and Aoife Gilmartin then reeled off 5 unanswered points to put the shamrocks well ahead before the teams took to the second sos uisce.

Trailing by 7 points, Connacht Ladies made a push to try and regain the advantage and scores from scores from Lynch and Laoise McDermott meant it was game on again, however, the Shamrocks were able to hold off their opponents and sub Michaela Kelly got the last point of the game to seal a shamrocks win.

Boston Shamrocks

Final score shamrocks 4-13 Connacht 4-5.

Shamrocks:  Cathy McEleaney, Ciara Murphy, Oonagh Shields, Cara Segal, Marie Byrne, Kaci Lynch, Hayley McKeever, Ciara Horan, Silvana Doherty, Marie Kelly, Shannon Costello, Ceiti Long, Chloe McGinty.  Sarah Jane McDonald, Aoife Gilmartin, Leanne Quinn, Michaela Kelly.  Connacht Ladies:  Leann McColgan, Clare McCarthy, Catherine Cullen, Kate Guinan, Orlaith O’Connor, Lori Behan, Laoise McDermott, Emma Lynch, Aoife Delaney, Melissa Madigan, Aisling Gough, Michaela Donoghue, Clodagh Gaffney.  Saoirse McTavish, Maeve O’Sullivan, Emer McLaughlin, Aisling Kerr, Elle Pirch, Aoife Reynolds, Kristen McKeever, Aisling Dineen.

Photos by Peter Greene.  

Senior Football - Donegal v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 1-6 Donegal 1-16

The Gaels Mikey Kerr in Possession
Donegal brushed off their last 2 outings where they suffered back to back defeats to overpower the Connemara Gaels and gain confidence going into the final week of the round robin stage and into the semi-finals.   Donegal will have a chance at top spot and a bye into the final if they defeat Galway next Sunday, and hope that the Gaels can turn Aidan McAnespies which will force a draw for the top spot.  It was after the first half water break that Donegal turned on the afterburners and pretty much overwhelmed the Gaels scoring six points to one against and hold a formidable 9 point lead at the break, one that the Gaels were not likely to overcome in the second 30 minutes.

The Gaels started brightly.  A Ciaran Turbitt free was followed by a great score from home grown player, Mikey Kerr to put the Gaels 2 points to the good early.  Donegal were not long finding their feet and Paul Mannion had the teams on level terms with two typically well taken efforts.  Then the Gaels suffered their first blow after conceding a penalty.  Shane Carthy was fouled in the box and up stepped Mannion to take it.  The shot came off the foot of the post, and right back into Mannion’s hands and the Dubliner finished easily past Sean Fox.  The Gaels answered with a score from Turbitt who was showing well early.  Shane Killoran, who lined out at midfield, then made a foray into the heart of the Gaels defence and his goal bound shot was deflected wide, Corey Gallagher converted the 45.  Killoran went again soon afterwards, and this time his shot was deflected over the crossbar by Fox who reacted well.  The Roscommon man was showing that he was eager to make an impression.

Kieran McDevitt Fields Cleanly
for Donegal

With the scores at 1-4 to 0-3 after the first half water break the game was still looking like it was up for grabs, however Donegal stepped up the pressure and pretty much made a statement over the next 15 minutes.  After James Garrity made with a one goal difference with a point, Donegal ran at the Gaels and suffocated their opponents in the dead heat of Canton.  It was the aces of Ciaran McFaul, Killoran, and Caolan McColgan who led the charge, with Shane Carthy as always involved in the link up play as the points went over.  The Gaels could not find an outlet to relive the pressure and every ball the sailed over the bar was another blow to morale.  Ciaran McDevitt pointed after calling mark before the break, and it was a 1-10 to 0-4 Donegal advantage heading into the second half.

There were changes to the Gaels lineup to start the second half with Matt Sullivan and Justin Kieran coming on.  The opening 10 minutes was a stalemate as the Gaels could not make inroads and Donegal seemed happy to keep the ball when in possession and let the clock run down.  There were a couple of good chances at points that were missed by the Gaels before Garrity pointed with a lovely curing effort.  The point just served to poke the bear and Donegal lifted their efforts.  McFaul pointed, and at the other end, Jason Noctor made a great block on Turbitt who had an opening for a goal shot.  Jack Doherty, who came on from the line pointed before the water break and it was a case of saving face for the Gaels heading into the last quarter.

Barry McCambridge restored some respectability to scoreboard with a goal for the Gaels, the Armagh man took his chance well after being played in behind the defence.  Donegal were keeping it fresh with several introductions from the line and there were additional points from Keelan Sexton and Sean Lowrey, as well as Carthy before all was said and done.  It was a merciful sounding of the final whistle for the Gaels, and the Connemara men will be wondering how to get the most out of what is a good squad of players for next week’s outing against a very good looking Aidan McAnespies.   Should Galway turn Donegal next week, and Gaels lose to the Macs then we have a possible playoff scenario for the semi-final spot.

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Jack Coyne, Callum Holland, Sean Conneely, Ryan Caffrey, Michael Coyne, Jack Lynch, Ben Crealy, Colman Mulkerrins, Jack Mahon, Mikey Kerr, Ciaran Turbitt, James Garrity.  Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Jason Noctor, Kieran Tobin, Caolan McColgan, Jack O’Brien, Sean Doherty, Shane Killoran, Shane Carthy, James Newell, Ciaran McFaul, Cory Gallagher, Ciaran McDevitt, Paul Mannion.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Intermediate Football - Kerry v Christopher's

Kerry  0-17 Christopher’s 1-12

Kevin Kilkelly sees a chance at a goal
Kerry joy in Ireland today and in Canton the Kerry men will also have been happy with their day’s work.  The kingdom shook off a persistent Christopher’s challenge to secure a 3 point win and the top placing in the Intermediate championship.  It was not until after the first water break that Kerry started to motor and with the teams level at half time, Kerry played some nice football to pick off the points and open up a lead that they maintained throughout the remainder of the second half.  Christopher’s struggled to get any kind of rhythm going and will be playing the Blues in a semi-final in a couple of weeks time not matter the results for the final round of games.

Christopher’s got off to the better start with a goal and 2 points to a single Kerry point after 10 minutes.  The penalty came after Rian O’Sullivan had got Kerry off the mark with a first point for the Kingdom to make it a 2 points to one score line.  Mark McSweeney at corner forward was fouled in the penalty area as the ball was played quickly downfield from the kick out, and Kevin Kilkelly dispatched the kick into the bottom corner.  It was Kilkelly and Alan Kennedy who accounted for Christopher’s scores, Kilkelly with a point to add to the goal, and Kennedy with three points.  Kerry took some time to gain a foothold in the game and there were some well taken scores once they did, with plenty of interpassing from the half forward line.  There could have been a goal when Rian O’Sullivan was sent through, however, Bill Crookston was equal to the shot and kept the ball out.  Kerry’s scores came from O’Sullivan, Jack Casey and Gearoid DIllane.

Padraig Doyle and Bill Crookston Challenge
for the Ball.

Kerry came out strong following the water break.  The forward line started to motor and some quick exchanges saw the scores go over the bar.  Dillane, O’Sullivan, Farrell, and Casey each pointed before Kilkelly and Kennedy provided some relief for Christopher’s.  At the break it was level thanks to 2 O’Sullivan points, Kerry 0-9 Christopher’s 1-6 at the half.

Kerry held an advantage following the restart.  O’Sullivan at half forward had found his groove and popped over 2 nice points before Kilkelly answered for Christopher’s.  Then it was Declan O’Sullivan finding the space between the posts, and Jack Farrell as Kerry opened up a 3 point lead that they would maintain for the remainder of the game.  Christopher’s made some changes looking to reignite the forward line but still struggled to change the tone of the game and overcome the gap between the sides.  Luke Tunney and Kennedy pointed, while it was Jack Farrell for Kerry to make it a 2 point game heading into the final 15 minutes. 

Farrell and O’Sullivan points were answered by Tunny and Kennedy, but with the clock running down a goal was what was really required by Christopher’s.  In the Canton heat, with energy levels sapped from both teams, it looked increasingly unlikely that we would be in for an explosive finish.  The teams traded points to see it out, and it is Kerry the top seed and straight into the final.

Kerry:  Sean Bohan, Alex Clark, Noel Hatton, Shane O’Connor, James Farrell, Connor Stark, Declan O’Sullivan, Darragh , Jack Casey, Jack Farrell, Rian O’Sullivan, Gearoid Dillane, Padraig Doyle.  Christopher’s:  William Crookston, Jake Kelly, Martin Coppinger, Andrew Inmon, Patrick Kelly, Luke Tunney, Diarmaid Baker, Conor McGuinness, Denis Dempsey, Killian Kilkelly, James Horgan, Mark McSweeney, Alan Kennedy.

By Rory O'Donnell

Galway Boston Northeast Senior Hurling Champions

Galway 4-23 Fr. Tom Burke’s 3-13

The ball is there for Cathrach Daly or John Moylan.
Galway secured the title of Boston Northeast senior hurling champions on a brutally hot Sunday afternoon at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton.   Galway got off to a flying start, but Tom’s reined their opponents in for the middle 30 minutes of the game, however the Galway half back line pretty much had the measure of the Tom’s forwards in the deciding period and with 3 second half goals the Tribesmen ran out comfortable winners in the end.

At the end of the first 30 minutes Galway held a 3 point lead, which would have left Fr. Tom’s feeling pretty good because the men in maroon had opened up a nine point lead inside the first 15 minutes. Within 10 minutes Galway held a 1-4 to 0-1 lead and were dominating all areas of the field.  Tom’s were forced into fouling in danger areas, and when you opponent has a free taker of the caliber of Jason Gillane, most areas are dangerous in which to concede a free.  Warnings were issued to a couple of the Tom’s players by referee Maurice Condon.  Gillane converted 3 frees and Barry McDonagh put one over from the wing before Joe Fogerty got Tom’s off the mark with a point.  Billy Power at corner forward had the ball in the net soon afterwards following a loose pass out of the Tom’s defence.  Power pounced and there was no stopping the Waterford man from putting the ball into the far corner.   Additional points came from Michael Kiely, Gillane and McDonagh before Tom’s got their second score of the game to reduce the gap to 8 points.

Tom’s got a foothold in the game thereafter and pointed two more to start feeling better about themselves.  Mark McCarthy, Fogerty, Liam Moore and Cathrach Daly were on the mark.  After the water break Tom’s got the goal back though a penalty.  Aaron Dunphy was fouled as he bore down on goal and the penalty awarded without hesitation.  Fogerty buried the shot and there was just 2 points in it.  The rest of the half played out even stevens, though Tom’s did need a goal from Ronan Fox to keep touch.  A free from the half back line dropped into the Galway box and Fox got the touch to level the scores at 1-9 to 2-6.  Galway ended the half 3 points to the better with scores from John Moylan, Gillane and McDonagh, while Fogerty frees kept Tom’s within 3 points at the break.  It could have been a 6 point advantage for the Tribesmen as Michael Kiely hit the post after being played in by John Moylan.  1-14 to 2-8 at the half in Galway’s favor.

The second half say Galway open up the lead with points from Gillane and John Moylan as Tom’s were slow out of the blocks again.  Another Tom’s goal reduced the deficit as a mis-hit shot from Dunphy ended up in the hands of Fogerty alone in front of goal, and Fogerty does not miss chances like that.  Dunphy then pointed and there was just 2 points in it.  Galway dominated the last third of the game and their half back line was all over anything that dropped into the area of the field.  Liam Savage, Gavin Fives and Danny Burke time and again came out with the ball to send it into the danger areas.  Before the second half water break Galway had netted twice.  The first was a goal from Billy Power who did not give up on what looked to be a lost cause and kept the ball in play to net from a difficult angle.  Moylan got the second after being left in a man on man situation, Moylan turned his marker and finished well with just the keeper to beat.

The Victorious Galway Senior Hurlers

Galway were 11 up heading into the final 15 minutes and truth be told, it was looking like Tom’s would need a miracle to turn the tables.  The teams canceled each other out in the run in as Galway continued to smother the Tom’s forwards, and a late goal put the icing on the cake.  Back to back titles for Galway who will represent the division at the USGAA finals in Chicago the weekend of August 20.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Conor Murphy, Mark McCarthy, Jack Martin, Cathrach Daly, Niall Murphy, Cian Wadding, Fergus Byrne, Liam Moore, Cathal Hardiman, Joe Fogerty, Aaron Dunphy, Ronan Fox.  Galway:  John Coleman, Daniel Loftus, Tom Murray, Danny Burke, Liam Savage, Gavin Fives, Eoin Morrissey, Michael Moylan, Barry McDonagh, John Moylan, Jason Gillane, Michael Kiely, Billy Power.

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Intermediate Football - Wolfe Tones v Shannon Blues; Senior Football - Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Shannon Blues and Wolfe Tones met in the third game of the day on the field of dreams at the Irish Cultural Center on Sunday.  It was a tight game all the way through as the Tones attempted to gain their first victory of the campaign and retain an outside of a playoff appearance. 

Shannon Blues pipped the Tones late in the Game

The Blues went into a 4 points to one lead with scores from Tom Murnane, Niall Walsh and Michael Moylan, Caolan Slevin hit the mark for the Tones.  The Tones rattled the net from the boot of Cian McGovern to go into the lead, the score followed points from McGovern and Ronan Fox.  It was tit for tat for the remainder of the half as neither team could gain a decisive advantage.  Again, it was Michael Moylan the driving force for the Blues with 2 points before Murnane netted to make it a 1-6 to 1-4 Blues advantage.  After the teams traded 2 points each the Tones hit with a goal just before the break from McGovern to hold a one point lead at the break.

The Tones extended that lead right after the restart, Rian Moylan with a goal to make it a 5 point lead and things were looking very promising.  The Blues, however, did not panic and with three unanswered points had reined in their opponents to within a score.  It was the usual suspects of Murnane, Moylan, and Walsh on the mark.  The Tones tried to push home their advantage, Cormac Joyce-Power and McGovern pointed, but again the Blues responded through Murnane.

It was coming up to crunch time and the Tones ahead by four points, but the gas in the tank was starting to run low.  The Blues finished the game with a big push to turn the tables and so they did with points from Moylan and Bailey followed by late goals by Moylan to take the points from under the noses of the Tones who will have been disappointed.  It is a tight race for the Intermediate title this year with Christopher’s and Kerry meeting Sunday afternoon in a big game for top spot.

Senior Football

In senior football action on Sunday McAnespies scored another win in their quest for the championship with a convincing win over Galway, whose hopes hang on a thread.  By half time McAnespies were 2-8 to 0-4 ahead thanks to 2 late goals from Eoin Gormley.  Galway had been hanging in with scores from Daire Keenan, John Dunne and Keith Doyle.  It was Jim McMahon on the mark for McAnespies for most of the half, and Jamie Brennan, Robbie Croft and Rory Brolly also chipped in the help matters  on the scoreboard.

The second half saw the McAnespies lead grow as the result was increasingly beyond doubt.  The Galway net was rattled again mid-way though the second period, and 2 late Tiernan Saul goals put a cap on the victory.  Next Sunday we see can Donegal break their duck against the Gaels as top spot is up for grabs and the bye into the final.

By Rory O'Donnell

Junior A Football - Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

McAnespies started the game the stronger side and pressuring the Donegal defense immensely.  The Macs were unlucky not to be 1-3 up after 5 minutes, with a series of points from Paddy O’Neill and Pauric Dillon starting off the scoring for the McAnespies.   A great save from Keeper Padraig McLaughlin denied the Macs a goal.  Donegal broke their scoreless run after a break from the backs from Neil McEnaney, whose burst from the back put the McAnespies defence under pressure.  
Another win for the McAnespies Juniors 

Despite Donegal’s efforts McAnespies  kept the pressure up, with scores from Ciaran Wallace and Mark Coughlan from play putting the McAnespies up by 4 with 15 minutes gone. Donegal weren’t backing down however, and despite a great save from  McAnespies keeper Jack Lake, Donegal kept running at the Macs, and were rewarded with frees that brought the game within a point at half time, where the Macs lead 0-6 to 0-5.

Donegal began the 2nd half leveling the match with a score from James Newall, and then gained a man advantage, as Aidan O’Malley received a black card, leaving the Macs down to 12 men for 10 minutes.  With the man advantage Donegal Built on their lead, and scores from Ruairi Rafferty and Ronan Gallagher led to Donegal building a 3 point lead.  At this pioint it looked as if Donegal had gained all the momentum.

However, after his 10 minute sin bin, Aidan O’Malley came back on and made an instant impact, scoring a great goal to bring his team level once again.  Driven on by the goal, the Macs increased the pressure, and got a penalty after Pauric Dillan was pulled down in the box, leading to Gavin Reilly getting his marching orders as he gathered his 2nd yellow card.  Donegal kept fighting and got a goal from Darren Grant, however, when it was all said and done, the Macs were the better team on the day, defeating Donegal 3-9 to 1-13.

By Evan McDonagh

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Intermediate Football - Christopher's v Shannon Blues

Christopher’s 2-14 Shannon Blues 0-15

Christopher's emerged victorious Saturday v the Blues

Goals win games they say, and it proved to be a true statement on Saturday afternoon as Christopher’s netted twice in the second half to win the points in a tight encounter with the Shannon Blues.  It was Alan Kennedy who was the main protagonist on the scoreboard for Christopher’s, and Tom Murnane for the Blues.  With the scores tied at 10 points each early on the second half Kennedy hit with a goal for Christopher’s.  Late in the half the Blues had pulled the deficit back to a point, but again a goal set them back.  The second came from the boot of Paudie Kenneally, and more or less secured both points.

The first half ebbed and flowed.  Neither side could gain a sustained period on top.  Rian Baily and Murnane’s points were canceled out by two scores from Kennedy for Christopher’s.  Christopher’s sought out Kennedy at every opportunity, and the Westport native was assured on the ball, whether it was a shot or a pass.  Bailey and Murnane were the main danger points for the Blues, and had another two points on the board, along with a free from Niall Walsh and the Blues looked more clinical and led by 3 after15 minutes.

The game turned in Christopher’s favor in the second quarter.  Luke Tunney began making dangerous runs up the wing to support the pay, and Conor McGuinness started to find his feet and dominate in the middle of the field.  Christopher’s scored 6 unanswered, 4 from Kennedy with Tunny and McGuinness chipping in with one each, before the Blues mustered another score, this one from Walsh at center forward.  Before the break Kennedy scored a peach of a point, dummying with one side and putting over with the other, while Walsh slotted over a free to make it a 0-9 to 0-6 half time advantage for Christopher’s.

Despite the loss, the Blues will fancy their chances for the Intermediate title

The Blues opened the second half intent on making amends and within 10 minutes the scores were level.  Conall Ryan, Murnane (2 points) scored for the Blues and for Christopher’s, well, it was Kennedy with right footed score.  0-10 each before Christopher’s hit with their first goal.  The warning signs were there when Sean Igoe snatched at a goal chance and sent it wide earlier, but the second time around for Christopher’s Kennedy finished low after a turnover and the Blues had to play catch-up all over again.  A free from Kennedy made it a 4 point difference heading into the final quarter.

The Blues remained patient and made a push to salvage something from the game.  A great score from Murnane was answered with 2 from Christopher’s, James Horgan and McGuinness.  The Blues however pulled within a point following 4 unanswered scores.  Mike Moylan pushed the Blues with his running, and points from Walsh, Bailey and 2 from Murnane had the game in the balance with minutes left.  A pointed Kennedy free for Christopher’s was followed by a great goal from Paudie Kenneally.  Kenneally intercepted a loose pass well inside his own half as the Blues were pushing late in the game, and continued his run till he got the final pass before finishing with aplomb to secure the points for Christopher’s.  Tis intermediate championship is really up for grabs, with these two teams along with Kerry fancying their chances at a trophy in 2022.

Blues:  Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Armstrong, Teddy Shay, Derek O’Brien, Pat Moylan, Mike Moylan, Jack Young, Pat Murray, Rian Bailey, Niall Walsh, Tom Murnane, Paul McManus, Conall Ryan.  Christopher’s:  Pat Delaney, Jake Kelly, Conor Murphy, Andrew Inman, Paudy Kenneally, Luke Tunney, Diarmuid Baker, Conor McGuinness, Jerry Kenneally, James Horgan, Sean Igoe, Mark McSweeney, Alan Kennedy.

By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, July 11, 2022

Junior A Football: Connemara Gaels v Cork

Connemara Gaels 2-14 Cork 2-14

Paraic McDonagh on the ball for the Gaels
Cork and Gaels played an entertaining opening junior A football game Sunday with Cork looking like they would take the points for most of the game, only for the Gaels to steal a draw with a Paddy McGee strike on the stroke of full time.  Tom Keane was Cork’s danger man for most of the game with the corner forward from Naomh Olaf in Dublin always looking like scoring when in possession, however, some late positional changes from the Gaels saw the westerners score 2-2 in the final 10 minutes to level the scores and rescue a point.

Cork got off to the better start streaking into a 4 points to one lead.  Tom Keane was a dangerous operator at corner forward and tallied Corks first two points.  Home Grown Padraig Smith at wing forward also pointed before a goal line save by Steven Murray deflected the ball over rather than under the bar when Cork had the goal at their mercy.  The Gaels did keep the points column ticking over with scores from Paddy McGee and Tadgh O’Siochan.  Keane then went on a 3 point scoring streak and Cork looked to be well on top before adding a goal from Smith who finished his shot well into the bottom corner from 14 yards.

With Cork holding a 1-7 to 0-4 lead the Gaels lifted their efforts.  There were 3 goal chances that went awry, one went past the far post from Donal Reany, and then 2 other shots in quick succession were well saved by Cork keeper Kieran McEnerney.  The episode did signal a Gaels comeback with the westerners reducing the deficit to 3 points.  Paddy McGee at corner forward was out in front and set up scores for Barry McCambridge, and Reany.  Paraic McDonagh also pointed and the game was back in the balance as half time approached.  Keane, however, burst through and restored Cork’s 6 point advantage with an expertly taken goal just before the half time whistle.

With work to do to try and turn their fortunes, the Gaels introduced Cian Carr to the fray at center forward to begin the second half.  Scoring chances were not as frequent in the second stanza as the pace of the game slowed a bit.  The Gaels could not make a dent in the Cork lead as any Gaels score was answered in kind.  O’Siochan and McGee’s points were responded to by Dan O’Regan and Keane.  The Gaels suffered a blow heading into the final quarter as Colm Faherty was shown the back card for a foul on Colm Cafferty as he was running through.

The aforementioned Carr finally made his mark with a neatly placed ball to the far corner of the net and was followed by a point from Mark McKenzie to reduce the gap to 2 points.  Keane restored the gap to 3 with a well taken point before the Gaels spurned another goal chance.  Paddy McGee swiped at a ball on the ground as he was off balance and the shot trundled wide.  Excitement built for the final run in as there was just the goal in it.  After McKenzie made it a 2 point game, Carr was though again and his shot was met with a great diving save from McEnerney.  The subsequent 45 was pointed and only a point was between the teams with 5 to go. 

It was Cork’s turn to test the opposing keeper as Keane was through but with a tight angle to shoot, James O’Donnell saved well.  Cork pointed the 45 from John O’Mullane, Keane then pointed after hitting a shot that fizzed wide and the rebels were winning every ball now and looked like the points would be theirs.   A last chance fell to McGee, however, who put his head down and fired the ball into the top corner to level the scores and with the kickout the final whistle sounded.   Cork will be disappointed not to have taken all of the points, and for the Gaels there is still hope.

Gaels:  James O’Donnell, Ben Conway, Stephen Murray, Colman Conroy, Barry McCambridge, Colm Faherty, Bradley Fox, Mark McKenzie, Paraic McDonagh, Tadgh O’Siochan, Nessan O’Donnell, Donal Reany, Paddy McGee.  Cork:  Kieran McEnerney, Mark Laverty, Conor Moynihan, Seamus Loftus, Mark Dalton, Rory Boyle, Sean O’Brien, John O’Mullane, Padraig Smith, Dan O’Regan, John O’Riordan, Colm Caffrey, Tom Keane. 

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football - Connemara Gaels v Galway

Connemara Gaels 2-19 Galway 2-6

Jack Lynch Rises High for the Gaels

After a tightly contested first half the Connemara Gaels put in an impressive second period to establish their championship credentials.  With Armagh men Conor Turbitt and Ben Crealy beefing up the team sheet, it was James Garrity who lit up the second half with a 10 minute period where he went into overdrive, and it seemed that neither man, woman, nor beast would have stopped him.  The game was still in the balance as the Gaels lead of two points ballooned to a yawning 10 after Garrity scored an impressive 1-5 on the trot as the Trillick man ran riot over the Galway defence.

The Gaels opened with 3 points on the trot with 2 from Garrity and Ben Crealy with a lovely effort.  Galway were not long getting into the swing of things.  A couple of frees were converted by Ben Dunne, and then a double goal strike looked to put the Tribesmen in the driver’s seat. Daire Keenan shot the first and Dunne the second, both great finishes from inside the 14 yard line.  Galway hopes must have been high of adding to last week’s victory over Donegal. 

The Gaels tried to reestablish themselves on the game and gradually found their way back into it and chipped away at the deficit.  With most of the possession, Turbitt, Mikey Kerr, and Jack Mahon converted for the Gaels while Galway’s supply to the full forward line slowed and a Danny Burke point was the sole reward coming up to the break.  Garrity’s late score made it a one point game at the break, Gaels 0-9 to Galway’s 2-4.

James Garrity and Ciaran Potter Challenge
for the Ball

The Gaels took control in the second half with some great movement and passing as they raised the tempo and Galway could not match it.  The teams traded scores to reopen affairs, Colman Mulkerrin for the Gaels and Mike Moynihan for Galway.  It was then pretty much one way traffic after that with the Gaels going on a blistering run of scores.  Conor Turbitt’s effort leveled the scores, and Michael Coyne scored an unlikely looping point from a tough angle to put the Gaels ahead.

The aforementioned Garrity then came into his own and the quick corner forward from Trillick County Tyrone tallied a goal and five points in a quick fire period.  Jack Mahon had added to the Gaels lead from centre forward after finishing a good move with a fisted point over the bar, then it was the James Garrity show.  Speed and quickness, combined with deadly accuracy from Garrity pushed the Gaels lead wider and wider.  The goal was a well finished effort, and that was really the score that put the dagger into Galway hearts.  Following a quick exchange of passes, Garrity fired the ball to the top corner from a range of about 21 yards, and that made the difference.  Six points in it, The Gaels on fire and there was no way back for Galway. 

The Gaels continued enjoy the upper hand as Galway had the wind knocked out of them.  Justin Kieran who came on as a sub added a second goal for the Gaels.  Next week for Galway is the Macs, and for the Gaels it is Donegal. 

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Jack Coyne, Callum Holland, Sean Conneely, Ryan Caffrey, Michael Coyne, Jack Lynch, Ben Crealy, Colman Mulkerrin, Jack Mahon, Mike Kerr, Conor Turbitt, Jack Garrity.  Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Stuart Cullen, Ricky Johnston, Eoin Dunne, Ciaran Potter, Aidan Flanagan, Paddy Mullins, Eoin Morrissey, Pat Moylan, Danny Burke, Michael Moylan, John Dunne, Daire Keenan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Hurling - Fr. Tom Burke's v Galway

Galway 2-11 Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-18

Tom's Cian Wadding and Galway's Billy Power
vie for possession
Tom’s had to win this game to keep the Senior Hurling Championship alive for at least one more game, they did so with a tiny bit to spare.  Joe Fogerty was a big factor in the game for Tom’s, both from play and from frees as the Tipperary man accounted for 13 of the Tom’s points.  Tom’s established a four point half time lead and in the second period dominated until the final 5 minutes when Galway launched a belated comeback effort.  Tom’s held on to take the win and the teams meet again on Sunday July 24 when Tom’s will be looking to force a fifth and final game.

Toms had the better of matters for most of the first half.  After a scrappy opening the game settled down and the teams started to play some better hurling.  The opening 2 scores for each side came from frees with the first score from play coming from Aaron Dunphy for Tom’s after 10 minutes.   Cian Wadding added another from play for Tom’s, and Fogerty added free as Tom’s opened a lead.  Michael Kiely and Liam Savage kept the scoreboard ticking over for Galway, but it was Tom’s who looked to have more energy and ambition on the day.  At the break it was a 9 points to 5 Tom’s lead.

Tom’s got the second half off to the best possible start with a wonderful goal from Dunphy.  The ball made its way through 4-5 players before Fogerty found the incoming Dunphy who billowed the net with his shot.  The message was sent, Tom’s were tightening their grip on this game.  Tom’s tagged on 4 more points with no reply from Galway and the possibility of the series being extended to at least another game became a probability.  One score was beauty from Fogerty who feigned one way then struck the ball over his shoulder the other.  Tom’s were defending well and Galway hardly had a clear look at the goal until Kiely stemmed the bleeding with a free.

Aaron Dunphy has a shot for Tom's

Billy Power was languishing out on the half forward line and when the Waterford man had the ball in his hand, he was swallowed up by a host of Tom’s defenders.  Tom’s seemed content to try and see out the game at this point and the teams traded scores before Galway mounted a late comeback effort.  Two Tom’s players were yellow carded as efforts to kill the game were deployed.  There might have been a few worried brows on the Tom’s line as Kiely netted for Galway, but Tom’s responded with 2 points on the trot.   Another goal went in for the Tribesmen as the clock hit 30 minutes but it was a little too late for Galway to try and steal a win, and the championship continues.  Next date for these teams is Sunday July 24.

Galway:  John Coleman, Tom Murray, Killian O’Dwyer, Michael Moylan, Daniel Loftus, Gavin Fives, Evan Hunt, Danny Burke, Pat Moylan, Billy Power, Liam Savage, Eoin Morrissey, Michael Kiely.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Conor Murphy, Mark McCarthy, Jack Martyn, Ceathrach Daly, Niall Murphy, Fergus Byrne, Cian Wadding, Joe Fogerty, Cathal Hardiman, Liam Moore, Aaron Dunphy, Donal Mannion.

By Rory O'Donnell

Senior Football - Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 1-8 Aidan McAnespies 4-11

Donegal's Paul Mannion Lines up a Shot
Aidan McAnespies took the points in a surprisingly lopsided victory over Donegal on the final game of the day.  There was a large crowd in attendance to see the clash of the championship favourites, and if it was a close run affair they were expecting, most will have gone home disappointed, McAnespies supporters excepted.  McAnespies played some free flowing football and came up with big goals from Eoin Gormley, Robbie Croft and second half substitutes, Ruairi Scott and Tiernan Saul to put the icing on the cake.  Donegal never really got going and will be back to figuring out the pieces after their second loss on the trot.

It was double scores by the time the first half had played out.  McAnespies netted twice, the first through Eoin Gormley who showed no hesitation in burying his shot following an intricate handpassing move that involved several players inside the Donegal 21.  The second, just before the break also involved Gormley who had the assist for Robbie Croft who took his time before firing the shot into the far corner.  Donegal might have considered themselves unfortunate to have had a goal scratched as Keelan Sexton was adjudged to have been in the square before the ball. 

In the early going Donegal looked like they could prove a handful for McAnespies as a couple of beautiful Paul Mannion curlers split the posts.   With Derry’s Ciaran McFaul and Clare’s Keelan Sexton also in the forward line there was an anticipation of a Donegal onslaught at some point, which never really materialized.   Even after Gormley’s goal it was 1-3 to 0-4 as Sean Lowry and Mannion responded, and the game was still well up for grabs, but the Croft goal really proved to be a body blow for Donegal.  Overall McAnespies enjoyed the better of the play and worked the ball well through the lines, and truth be told, there could have been more on the board for the Macs but for a handful of missed chances. 

Plenty of Room for Cian Sharkey to run

Heading into the second half with McAnespies ahead by double scores, 2-4 to 0-5, there was an expectation that Donegal would mount a comeback attempt.  But it was McAnespies who dominated the all-important third quarter of the game.  Four points to no reply almost doubled the lead as Jamie Brennan at corner forward came into his own with 3 points, and Croft was on the money with the dead balls, putting a free over.   McAnespies had the back line buttoned down well, and although Donegal got some relief with a pointed Mannion free before Cory Gallagher struck with a goal following an uncharacteristic turnover in the middle of the field, the tide of the game did not change.

The score did not signal a chance in fortunes for the Donegal men, and even with several changes made from the line the pattern remained the same.  Croft and Brolly responded with points, a sign of which team was in control, and to the cheers of the McAnespies faithful in the stands, a Ruairi Scott goal with the assist from corner back, Rob Piggott, put a cap on it.  A late Tiernan Saul goal rubbed the “Sault” into the Donegal wound, and the rout was complete.  Plenty of football left to play to decide the 2022 winners, and each team has Galway and the Connemara Gaels left to play before top spot and the automatic berth in the final is decided.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Aidan Sullivan, Jason Noctor, Sean Lambe, Jack O’Brien, Sean Donnelly, Ciaran McFaul, Cory Gallagher, Sean Winston, Paul Mannion, Sean Lowry, Ciaran McDevitt, Keelan Sexton.  Macs:  Rory McElroy, Rob Piggott, Gavin Nangle, Owen Ward, Colm Lennon, Cian Sharkey, Daragh Lyne, Steve Ward, Jim McMahon, Rory Brolly, Robbie Croft, Eoin Gormley, Jamie Brennan.

By Rory O’Donnell