A round-up of this week's happenings in the New York GAA scene.

Kerry/Donegal goals overwhelm Na Fianna

Kerry/Donegal 4-9, Na Fianna 0-5

It's a cliché that goals win games, and that certainly was very much the case in the ladies’ final on Sunday which saw favorites Kerry/Donegal bang in three goals in a 10-minute spell in the second quarter. 

That major triple strike by arch goal specialist Marie Dargan was a rampart that no matter how hard Na Fianna tried, they were never able to scale. 

The opening quarter was a rather tame tussle as each side would just have a point to show. Though Na Fianna enjoyed a monopoly of possession, they were guilty of uncharacteristic squander mania and had nothing to show for their occupation of Kerry/Donegal’s territory. 

However, on a counter and first attack, Kerry/Donegal’s field general Kelly Keating got the opening score. Then approaching the first water break Brianna Tierney leveled up with a pointed free. 

After hydration, Na Fianna continued to dominate territorially as Stephanie Tierney was a veritable powerhouse driving her team forward, and her sister Brianna would give their team the lead with another pointed free. 

Kerry/Donegal were gradually easing their way into the possession stakes, but their GPSs appeared to be miscued. That was, of course, until Linda Callan scored their second point, and that seemed to set the scene for a scoring spree. 

Courtney Traynor worked hard to keep the ball in play along the end line before setting up Dargan for her first goal. This duo would be major players in the next goal as well. Traynor sped through the middle only to be floored in the penalty area. The goal scoring specialist Dargan was on hand to send the keeper one way and the ball to the net the other way. Dargan chipped in a point before she had another major strike. 

Na Fianna looked set to clear their lines but swarming and tenacious tackling forced a turnover. The ball was delivered across the goalmouth where Dargan was well-positioned to flick it to the net. Though other attacks were fruitless, Kerry/Donegal led by 3-3 to 0-2 at the short whistle. 

Upon resumption, Na Fianna looked to be fired up and prepared to take the game to their more vaunted opponents. It looked promising when Sinead McGourty soloed up the field to land the best point of the match. 

However, it was back to the Kerry/Donegal script as Keating was shrewdly directing operations and setting the platform for more scores. Traynor burrowed her way in, drew a foul, and left Dargan to point the free. Traynor also had the next point with Keating as the supplier. 

In fairness to Na Fianna, though outplayed and outscored, they battled away. Maggie Murray and Kelly McCormack landed points, but they were soon answered at the other end as Sara Roche sauntered up to hit the target as did the hard grafting Megan Fitzpatrick before the last break.

After hydration, Lily Sheehan capped off a great performance by setting up Loretta Cunningham for goal number four. Further points from Fitzpatrick and Lauren Rodican closed out the game that was nearly done and dusted after Dargan’s three-goal strike. 

Referee Paul McCarthy, from Philadelphia, did a very competent job with a very common-sense approach. Michelle Dowd was multi-tasking. She was fullback for Kerry/Donegal, but as vice chair, she also had to present the trophy to winning captain Kelly Keating.

Naturally, it was disappointing for Na Fianna, but with a host of young talented players such as Madison Donohue, Gemma Mooney, Sinead McGourty, Grainne Lavery among others, we’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of them. 

Kerry/Donegal: Kristina McGrath, Aoife Mathers, Michelle Dowd, Keva Moore, Ciara O’Neill, Sara Roche, Laura Wynne, Lily Sheehan, Michelle McVann, Megan Fitzpatrick, Kelly Keating (capt.), Lauren Rodican, Marie Dargan, Courtney Traynor, Linda Callan. Subs: Eileen Egan, Loretta Cunningham, Sinead McRory, Sonia Clarke, Elaine McDonagh, Mairead Clarke, Catriona Mullan, Saoirse Boyle, Kaitlyn Mahon, Roisin Wynne, Niamh Doheny, Tara Elliot.

Na Fianna: Claire Browne, Grainne Fitzpatrick, Anne Marie Kelly, Ciara O’Reilly, Gemma Mooney, Stephanie Tierney, Sinead McGourty, Maggie Murray, Madison Donohoe, Orla Gormally, Kelly McCormack, Shauna McGrath, Maeve Redmond, Brianna Tierney (capt.), Mary McGinn. Subs: Grainne Lavery, Emma Reynolds, Niamh Bowden, Kayla Coughlin, Fiona Gormally, Clodagh Gormally, Sinead Gormally, Catherine Brady, Christana Brown, Megan O’Connor, Giselle Doherty, Sharon Redican. Referee: Paul McCarthy.

Player of the Match: Kelly Keating.

Posted by New York Ladies GAA on Sunday, August 1, 2021

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Strong Finish for Sligo

Sligo 1-12, Brooklyn Shamrocks  1-7

The last quarter was the decisive one in this senior football match as Sligo hit top gear to make their semifinal spot, while Brooklyn’s spot could be a bit more circuitous if not uncertain. Entering the last stanza the score was tied at 0-7 to 1-4, but Sligo would explode to hit 1-5, while limiting Brooklyn to 0-3. 

Sligo looked to be in trouble early on as Brooklyn started strongly but fortune was hardly their main weapon as they hit the woodwork, dropped frees short, and missed a few bona fide goal chances. 

On a counterattack, Ger McCullagh opened Sligo’s account after a good pass from Tony Donnelly. The hard-working Colin Keane would add another to leave Sligo ahead by 0-2 to 0-1 at the first water break. 

After hydration Brooklyn fluffed another gilt-edge goal opportunity before Cormac McWalter landed a brilliant point from away out on the wing. McCullagh was playing his full forward position well as he latched on to a high ball, called a mark, and then slotted over a point. 

Sligo was motoring much better as Donnelly was winning plenty of ball and keeping his teammates well supplied. Stephen Curley kicked a nice point after Dylan Rooney delivered a well-directed pass, while Mickey Lenaghan availed of another Donnelly pass to nail a point.   

Wides continued to hamper Brooklyn before Andrew McGowan sent over a fine long-range effort and Kevin Connolly was on target as well.

At the other end, Donnelly struck a nice point after good support play from Ger McCullagh to leave the score 0-6 to 0-4 in Sligo’s favor at the short whistle.

The third quarter had plenty of good, solid, physical football but not much scoring. On resumption, an intricate bout of elaboration saw Sligo do everything but put the ball in the net. 

Niall Madine entered the fray hoping to get the scoring stats moving in Brooklyn’s direction. They did get a goal after a long ball from Paddy Boyle was collared by McWalter and blasted to the net. At the other end, a point from McCullagh saw the sides level with a quarter to play.

Now Johnny Glynn joined the fray. Dylan McCabe pushed Sligo back in front, but Brooklyn squandered another opportunity before Madine landed a fine effort despite some very close attention. 

Then came the game-changer, a goal from Lenaghan. It was a four-man project with Glynn, Donnelly, and Paul McDaid playing crucial roles. 

Curley followed up with a point after tenacious tackling by Donnelly forced a turnover. Glynn was using his physical stature to good effect as he parlayed another ball to McCabe for him to split the posts.

At the other end, McWalter was still a handful as he won a free leading to a point. Then he seemed set to rattle the net but his blistering shot hit the post and cleared to safety. 

Sligo were now coasting as Keane capped off a fine performance with a point as Glynn was once again the main supplier. Both sides traded late points, basically their sides’ best players, Donnelly for Sligo and McWalter for Brooklyn 

Sligo: Vinny Cadden, Mike Diskin, Paul Kelly, Shane Queenan, Dara McCoonon, Jamie Davies, Dylan Rooney, Tadhg O’Riordan, Colin Keane, Mickey Lenaghan, Dylan McCabe, Stephen Curley, Tony Donnelly, Ger McCullagh, Paul McDaid. Subs: John Glynn, Harry O’Connor, Danny Corridan, Tom O’Sullivan.

Brooklyn Shamrocks: Mickey Cunningham, Diarmuid Browne, Alan Campbell, Redmond Hanna, Keith Scally, David Langan, Shane Boyle, Andrew McGowan, Anthony Devlin, Adam George, Paddy Boyle, Gearoid McDonnell, Cormac McWalter, Kevin Connolly. Subs: Ronan Boyle, Sean Leone, Joe Leone, Niall Madine, Conor Connolly. 

Referee: Peter McCormack.

Man of the Match: Tony Donnelly.

Match Postponed

The much-anticipated clash between the two predominantly American-born football squads, St. Barnabas and Rangers, did not materialize. 

St. Barnabas couldn’t take to the field as one of their former greats, Tommy McGovern and his bride Tara, were taking a trip down the aisle. Word was that Tara threw down the gauntlet to some of Tommy’s teammates by presenting with them a pair of football socks, in case they’d be suffering from cold feet. 

Anyway, from my unscientific observations with Barnabas over the years they were none too shy about amorous dalliances, but tying the knot could definitely have been on the long finger or more in line with Joseph Stalin’s five-year plans. Now that Tara has proverbially warmed the feet of Tommy’s buddies, perhaps they might be sprinting down the aisle soon into the state of wedded bliss.

Anyway best of luck to Tommy and Tara. Derrick Courtney, a longtime stalwart with Rangers and Cork, recently tied the knot with his bride Pauline. We wish Derrick and Pauline lots of health and happiness in the wedded state. 

In other news, Sonny Keena was recently hospitalized but is now reported to be doing well. Sonny, a Roscommon native, was a star performer with New York in the ‘60s, most notably when New York beat the famed Galway three in a row in the National League final in  1967. 

The legendary Keena was a lengthy and accurate kicker of a dead ball.  He would later become the top referee in New York in the ‘80s.  We wish the jovial and genial Sonny a speedy recovery.

*This report first appeared in the August 4 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.

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