Wednesday, June 17
John Brady Cup Semifinals
6:30 p.m.: Kerry vs. Roscommon; 7:45 p.m.: Armagh vs. Dublin
The John Brady Cup has now become a huge part of the Intermediate championship since its inception some years ago. A way to blend a team and a way to fight for silverware; it has produced some fantastic games over the years.
Named in the memory of former New York footballer John Brady who passed away at a far too young age, the final will be played on Saturday evening at Gaelic Park. Battling to get there are four of the championship favorites this year, with all having impressive wins in the group stages of this competition.
Some stars that will be on show include John Hanratty and Patsy Martin from Armagh; Shane Carty and Declan Reilly from Dublin; Shane Russell and John Walsh from Roscommon; and Kerry’s Justin O’Halloran and Willie O’Donnell.
This might be the only medal that O’Donnell has not won in an illustrious career in New York. Tonight should serve up two intriguing games with the results very difficult to predict.
The final on Saturday promises to be a brilliant encounter between whichever two teams get there.
Friday, June 19
6:30 p.m.: FDNY vs. NYPD
The annual contest that pits the city’s forces against each other is upon us again. Always a very festive evening with music, fun and games, the actual football match is taken very seriously.
Last season the NYPD had some very prominent guest players in their ranks, with county captain Robbie Moran on the 40. Danny O’Sullivan will square off against former Roscommon teammate John Walsh. Jack Meaney, Thomas McGovern, Benny Madden, John Joe Sullivan and P.J. Doherty, all very familiar names in Gaelic Park, will have a major say in the direction of the win in this game.
Look out for Brian Quinn on the sidelines for FDNY in a vocal showing, the popular ref and former New York minor back in 1976 when the side went to Ireland to play in the championship.
On the other side Michael Corridan will be on hand getting the cops sorted.
A fantastic evening for a very worthy cause. See you there.
Sunday, June 21
2:30 p.m.: SH Offaly vs. Galway
Game two in the hurling season, Offaly have a win under the belt as they look to go for a three in a row. They defeated Tipperary in an excellent game of hurling two weeks back when they made a brilliant recovery to a half time deficit.
Shane Sweeney, Darren Reilly, Brian McNaughton and familiar faces Enda Condron and Colin White all had parts to play. As the game went on they settled and were far more direct than Tipp.
It will be a big challenge for Galway to knock them from their pedestal, but certainly the Tribesmen are dogged in their determination to get back into the winner’s circle at this level. The last time they were champs was in the days of their famed three in a row side that included Eamon Shields, Brendan Keesham, John Hennessy and Martin Grealish out of Boston; a historic side at the time when there was 10 senior hurling sides in New York.
This year Dave Simms, John Kennedy and Seamus Pender will have new help from Ireland as they look to upset the champs.
Offaly to prevail by seven.
4 p.m.: SF Cork vs. Donegal
A little unusual to put Cork back to back with Offaly as three players lineout with both sides. However, if Armagh wins the John Brady semi then they will have three games in a week, so some items leave a lot to the historic questions. How does the schedule get done?
Rory Stafford is a huge part of both Cork and Offaly sides, and he will line out at centerfield with Alan Rafferty in this one if his hand has cleared up from a knock he received against Tipp. A terrific pairing.
Gary Dowd and Tom Hardwick were in the middle of the park for Donegal last week. Hardwick did go off injured, but Dowd loves a challenge as his career in New York shows. The bigger the better.
Aiden Downes and John McNicholas continue to play at top form for Donegal, while Conor Brosnan is a valuable pick up.
Cork has a terrific home base. Their ball carrying skills are very impressive, with Jack Hoare, Francie Cleary and J.P. Boyle having terrific starts to the campaign.
The bank is back up to 95 All-Ireland tickets after Leitrim covered last week. We hit two out of three and called Tyrone and Donegal a draw, but were off by one point.
The Rebels to take the win here by four points with 30 tix riding on it. For an extra 10, Cork 1-14 Donegal 1-10.
5:30 p.m.: SF Cavan vs. Tyrone
The final game of the day on Sunday pits Tyrone riding on the crest after a one-point win over Donegal vs. Cavan, who are on a three game losing streak.
Tyrone had excellent displays from John McGinley, John Murtagh from Crossmaglen, and big Eamonn Lyons in the victory. They live by the sword, goals, which can be a dangerous game to play. It has been fairly successful thus far, however.
Darren Petit has also been playing very well for the side, and the return of Gary Reilly this week will lift the side immensely.
Cavan have had problems, but the fight in Paddy Smith, Michael Smith and Brendan Reilly is second to none. Conor Brady is having a good year despite the losses, while Martin O’Connor is still in the top three shot stoppers in New York.
Hopefully an entertaining fixture to round out the day.