Saturday afternoon saw the Boston GAA season get underway with 3 games from the first round of the Pat O’Brien Cup. Conditions were good underfoot considering the harsh winter the region had endured, though a stiff cold breeze greeted the teams to the back field at the Irish Cultural Center.
There were plenty of new faces on show as Kerry, Galway, and Wolfe Tones came out winners. Kerry always had their noses in front of Christopher’s save for a brief period where the teams were level shortly after half time. Galway and the Blues played a low scoring affair in which Galway prevailed by a goal, while the Wolfe Tones four point victory over Connemara Gaels flattered their opponents. A combination of wasteful first half efforts from the Tones, and two first half goals from the Gaels, kept the Connemara men in with a shout till the very end.
The early season action continues next Saturday, May 2, with Aidan McAnespies and Donegal completing the first round at 3:30, followed by two knockout clashes in which Kerry and Shannon Blues meet, with Galway and Christopher’s providing the finale.
Kerry 1-11 Christopher’s 0-9
Kerry came through their first outing of the year fairly comfortably in a game where they never were behind. Holding the edge up front Kerry went into a five points to one lead with half time approaching.
Ronan O’Driscoll at center back held the line well, while Andy Menton, Robbie Croft and Ciaran Wallace converted at the other end. Christopher’s looked to center forward Tom Fahy to break the ice on the scoreboard with a sideline kick and pushed hard before the break. Eoin O’Neill, and soon father to be, Dan Kenneally, converted just before the break to make it a five points to three Kerry lead.
Shortly after Wallace had extended the Kerry lead to 3 points following the restart, the sides were level. Fahy converted from the sideline and a free, while former Cork U21, Kevin Fuligniati, finished a wonderful move that he started himself from his corner back berth.
Croft answered in kind with a great strike, and then supplied the pass for Robert Ahern to finish into the net. Kerry rediscovered their first half mojo and added three more unanswered to provide a sufficient cushion to absorb a late Christopher’s push.
Kerry: B. O’Driscoll, S. O’Driscoll, J. O’Keefe, M. Godley, R. O’Driscoll, J. O’Shea, I Whelan, A. Menton, J.O’Keefe, R. Croft, C. Wallace. Christopher’s: C. Walsh, D. Donoghue, K. Fuligniati, S. Rice, C. Murphy, E. O’Neill, D. Cash, D. Kenneally, Dara Bell, T. Fahy, P. Kenneally, P. Manning, J. McNamee.
Galway 1-4 Shannon Blues 0-4
Galway came through a tough encounter with Shannon Blues; a James Doyle goal proved the difference in the end. The first half was a tightly contested affair. Galway led by the odd score of five at the break. Locally bred players Conor Fitzgerald and Conor Mullen pointed for the Blues, while it was Doyle (2) and the pride of Laois, Dan Reddin, who converted for Galway.
Each side managed two scores a-piece in the second period. After Conor Mullen leveled the scores with a well taken point, it was Doyle who put Galway a nose ahead. The Blues worked hard to close Galway down in the second half, however, could not convert the hard won possession into scores kicking several balls wide of the posts, putting the umpires to work fetching the stray balls from the woods behind the goal. The deciding score came from the man on the mark, Doyle. A sideline kick from Sean Marshall found Doyle at the far post and the Galway captain put the ball away with his left foot. The Blues almost leveled again, but Fitzgerald’s acrobatic effort to palm the ball into the net, and level the scores, found the crossbar instead.
Galway held out with Vinny O’Brien doing well at corner back alongside Greg Lundy. Blues war horse Gary Henry put a trademark free kick over the bar from distance, but time was on Galway’s side and the Brighton men came out with a hard earned win to start their season.
Blues: M. Moriarty, S. Kelly, D. O’Brien, J. Craig, L. O’Connell, C. Mullen, P. Murray, K. Byrne, C. Fitzgerald, P. Moriarty, K. Barry, J. Feeney, D. Kenny. Galway: D. Bindon, V. O’Brien, G. Lundy, J. Doyle, P. Cummins, N. Curry, S. Marshall, J. Kehoe, K. Gallagher, D. Reddin, T. Moloney, K. Cummins, JJ Doyle.
Wolfe Tones 2-9 Connemara Gaels 3-2
The Gaels and Tones rounded off the day with a game that was tight on the scoreboard, though the Tones it must be said, held the aces and only showed themselves in the second half. The westerners got off to a flying start with goals from easterners; Wicklow man Matthew Byrne netted from close range and was soon followed by Kildare’s own Luke Purcell. Sean Conneeley added a point and the Tones were reeling.
Last season’s championship finalists labored. Having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession they had little to show for it. Gavin Walsh eventually turned the spigot with a point and then followed a bizarre sequence in which the Tones should have netted, however, after grabbing the rebound off an initial save and with the goal yawning in front of him, Marty Farrell won the prize for the miss of the year, hitting the spot on the crossbar from the edge of the small square.
Walsh and Mike O’Brien pointed before the break to reduce the gap to four points. The Gaels rode the two early goals to about half way through the second half. Darren McGuire was the man who put an end to the messing with back to back goals after Joyce-Power had pointed twice.
The Gaels exposed the Tones back line again and sneaked in a third goal. Tommy Higgins took a quick free to the unmarked Coleman Conroy who fired into the net from close range. Although there was just the point in it the Tones controlled the final minutes by holding possession. Alan Molloy, O’Brien and Joyce-Power provided the finishes to shepherd the Tones to the final whistle.
Gaels: E. Connolly, D. Leech, C. McDonagh, L. Purcell, D. Black, C. Mulkerrin, T. Higgins, T. McDonagh, J. Polly, N. Graham, S. Conneeley, K. Owens, M. Byrne. Tones: P. Miskell, D. McGuire, C. Moriarty, D. McDonnell, G. Brilly, K. Gill, A. Molloy, B. McShea, M. O’Brien, C. Joyce-Power, S. Kelly, G. Walsh, M. Farrell.
Schedule May 2
Pat O’Brien Cup
3:30 – First Round Donegal v Aidan McAnespies
4:30 – Q/F Kerry v Shannon Blues
5:30 – Q/F Galway v Christopher’s