A round up of New York's GAA news this week.

Westmeath 4-16   Mayo 1-10

Westmeath easily brushed off the challenge of Mayo in the first semifinal of the intermediate league, and certainly, they will go forward to the final as firm favorites against Leitrim. 

The Lakesiders were totally dominant in the opening quarter as McDermott, Flanagan, O’Mahoney, and company had six points on the board as Mayo were bedeviled by poor distribution and turnovers. 

However, just before the first water break, in an infrequent attack, Mayo got a sliver of hope when a big catch by big Dave Hansbury set up Dave Pond for a goal. The action quickly returned to the other end where a rasper from Dylan McDermott ricocheted off the crossbar, but it was blasted to the net by the inrushing Dalton McDonagh. 

The scoring spree continued as McDonagh worked his way in for another goal while Sean Moore and McDermott chipped in with points before Mark Nally slammed in a third goal. Tom Conway and Shane Slattery had points for Mayo, to leave the score 3-10 to 1-2 in Westmeath’s favor at the short whistle. 

Given the size of the deficit, there was little chance of a Mayo comeback especially when Westmeath could introduce subs of the caliber of Ciaran Brennan, John Comerford, Luke Kelly and Liam Butler.  In fairness to Mayo’s Conway, Slattery, Hansbury, O’Neill, Bowden, McLean, Varley and company they kept trying even if the cause was well lost at halftime.

Westmeath: Sean Stones, Keith Scally, Paidi Mathers, Alan Dunne, Shane Flanagan, Trevor Holloway, Stephen Monaghan, Mark Nally, Sean Moore, Kieran O’Mahoney, Phelim Flanagan, Dalton McDonagh, Dylan McDermott. Subs: John Comerford, Ger McPartland, Jack Martin, Liam Butler, Ciaran Brennan, Luke Kelly, Conor Gibbons, Corey Tennyson, Jack Lynch.

Mayo: Connor Tenny, Mike Murphy, Sean McEvoy, Ray Houlihan, Damian Varley, Shane McNeilis, Conor Bowden, Tom Conway, Ollie McLean, Shane Slattery, Eddie Hogan, Dave Pond, David Hansbury. Subs: Sean Corrigan, Ryan O’Neill, Donald Dolan. 

Referee: Peter McCormack.

Man of the Match: Dalton McDonagh.

Leitrim Tops Kingdom

Leitrim 3-7   Kerry 0-11

The other semifinal between Leitrim and Kerry was a lot more competitive and exciting. You could say it wasn’t Kerry’s day as they were forced to line out minus several key players, plus they lost center forward Jack McCarthy to an injury. Of course, being a Leitrim supporter, I wouldn’t be overly compassionate about the Kingdom’s plight.

In addition, the Leitrim keeper brilliantly forced a penalty over the bar at a critical juncture in the game when a goal would have tied it up. 

Meanwhile, Leitrim got off to a great start as a herculean effort to keep the ball in play ended up with Stephen Harten flicking it into the corner of the net. 

Leitrim was calling and getting the shots early on, as Cormac Maguire pointed and a long run from defense by Enda Fowley ended with Sean Kelly landing a fine long-range effort. 

Kerry was struggling in the early stages, but then two fine points from Gary O’Driscoll got them traction and fired up. Next Peter Fox got inside the Leitrim defense but keeper John O’Hora parried the goal-bound effort to safety. 

Leitrim increased their lead with a superb score from Meath man Ruairi O’Caoileain. They continued to press but were guilty of some woeful and wasteful wides before they struck for goal number two. A defense-splitting run by Kelly set the stage for Stephen Harten to goal. Leitrim looked to be leading comfortably at the break, 2-3 to 0-2. 

Upon resumption, Leitrim’s comfort zone appeared to increase as O’Caoileain pointed a free. However, that changed quickly as Kerry enjoyed their best quarter of football, a five-point scoring spree. 

Kevin Dwyer started the scoring sequence with a point and Sean Liddy followed with another point that could have ended up as a goal. Keelan Hickey sandwiched in a point between two fine efforts from O’Driscoll, who was proving to be quite a handful for the Leitrim defense. 

The Kerry spree was interrupted by another O’Caoileain point after a good run by the hard grafting Fergal Ellis set up the chance. After the last water break, Hickey pointed after Kerry survived a goalmouth scramble at the other end, but O’Caoileain answered with another fine effort. 

A point from O’Driscoll just left a goal between the sides when Kerry was awarded a penalty for a foot-block. The spot-kick was deflected over at the expense of a point and that certainly deflated the Kingdom’s attempt at stopping Leitrim. 

The save seemed to have inspired Leitrim as they surged down the field and a Ellis point got his team some breathing room. However, Ellis wasn’t finished as he went on another attack, and I don’t know if his shot dipped or deceived the keeper, but it dropped into the back of the net. 

That fortuitous shot killed off any chance of a Kerry comeback, while simultaneously propelling Leitrim into the final against unbeaten Westmeath next Saturday evening. 

Leitrim: John O’Hora, Enda Fowley, John Lavin, Chris O’Shea, Ian Slowbody, Rory Redican, John Conefrey, Fergal Ellis, Cormac Maguire, Sean Kelly, Donal Casey, Ruairi O’Coileain, Stephen Harten. Subs: Charlie O’Loughlin, Jamie Coyle, Shaun McNamee, Liam O’Rourke.

Kerry: Kevin Dwyer, Ronan McLoughlin, Mike Cronin, Keith Sheehan, Ed Myers, Sean Liddy, Keelan Hickey, Peter Fox, Steve Lottie, Jack McCarthy, Padraig McCray, Richie Lang, Garry O’Driscoll. Subs: Paul Nolan, Ger Walsh. 

Referee: Pat Donoghue. 

Man of the Match: John O’Hora.

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Barnabas Nips St. Ray’s

St. Barnabas 1-13   St. Raymond’s 0-13

IN the opening stanza of this junior A league semifinal it seemed as if Barnabas would coast easily to victory as they put 1-3 on the board to a solitary point from Shane Slattery. 

Tiernan Mathers opened the scoring and Dion Norney landed a brace before the Mathers brothers, Tiernan and Conor, combined for the latter to fire to the net. 

After hydration St. Rays stepped up their performance as Slattery was adept in the dual role of a target man and chief scorer. Dan Quinn sandwiched in a point between a brace from Slattery. 

At the other end, Mikey Brosnan pointed after brother Shane forced a turnover and landed another minor from a free. Ashton Walsh scored a spectacular point after riding a few staunch tackles, but Barnabas finished the period strongly with three points, courtesy of Mikey Brosnan (two) and Tiernan Mathers to leave the Bronx boys ahead by 1-8 to 0-5 at the short whistle. 

Upon resumption referee Peter McCormack rightly handed out two red cards for unscheduled fisticuffs before St. Ray’s hit a purple patch to put four unanswered points on the board. Midfielder Bowden landed the first, fullback McPartland the second and Slattery had a brace to leave just two points between the sides. 

Now the exchanges were intense and testy on the field and a little salty on the sideline too. However, three late points from Mikey Brosnan (two) and Conor Mathers temporarily stalled the St. Raymond’s momentum. 

After hydration St. Ray’s shot themselves back into contention with three points from Slattery to reduce the deficit to two. Both sides exchanged points, Mikey Brosnan for Barnabas and Shane Slattery for Rays. 

The scene was set for the final score with a superb catch by Tiernan Mathers, who drew a foul, leaving young Brosnan to tap it over for a three-point victory. Overall quite a close and well-contested game with Barnabas just about having enough in reserve to stave off the multiple Ray’s rallies. Barnabas now meets Rangers in the final on Thursday evening. 

St. Barnabas: Jack Dennis, Mike Boyle, Paudi Mathers, Adam Power, Sean Liddy, Peter Cronin, Tiernan Mathers, Shane Brosnan, Caolan Mathers, Jack Martin, Mikey Brosnan, Dion Norney, Conor Mathers. 

Subs: Anthony McGrath, Owen Cole, John Clarke, Aidan McDermott, Nick Mastousis.

St. Raymond’s: Tom Enright, Ger McPartland, Mike Murphy, Frank Kennedy, Niall Bowden, Ultan O’Connor, Dan Sheehan, Conor Bowden, Shane Curley, Asthon Walsh, Dan Quinn, Shane Slattery, Steve Cunningham. Subs Pierce Crowley, Shane Tierney, Kevin Butler. 

Referee: Peter McCormack. 

Man of the Match: Shane Slattery. 

Rangers in a Romp

Rangers 3-18   Westmeath/Offaly 3-6 

This junior B championship game clash involved contrasting teams. One was a youthful, fit and skillful team while the other was a seasoned and experienced outfit. 

Conor Gibbons got the opening score for the combo squad, but Rangers almost totally dominated the first half to lead by 1-11 to 0-2 at the short whistle. Chris Mulvihill got the goal with help from Emmett Loughrane, while Shay McElligiot, Joey Grace, PJ King, and Loughrane rained over points. 

Then an exhortatory speech from keeper Mike Stones at the break seemed to produce the desired effects. His troops quickly added 1-3 to their tally. Cormac McLarnon had the goal while Sean and Adam Stones along with Gibbons had points. 

Rangers weren’t just observing as Grace kicked two superb points and McElligiot landed a brace from frees.

The combo squad managed to get a lot closer in the last quarter as Jason Kelly blasted a penalty to the net for a foot block and Gibbons added another major to get within three points of the Rangers. 

But Rangers stepped up a gear to surge further ahead on the back of goals from Mike Ryan and Loughran and points from King, McElligiot and Mulvihill. As noted these were very contrasting teams, so also were the halves. The first was boring, the second exciting and eventful.

Rangers: Ashton Walsh, Emmett Clarke, Danny Burke, Martin Loane, Ciaran O’Connor, Dylan Grace, Shane Doheny, Tommy Nelly, Mike Ryan, Emmett Loughrane, PJ King, Joey Grace, Shay McElligiot, Chris Mulvihill, Chris Kennedy.

Westmeath/Offaly: Mike Stones, Dan Shanaghy, Liam Butler, Declan Glennon, Dan King, Tommy Warburton, Ultan O’Connor, Jeff Farrell, Jason Kelly, Simon Hickey, Tiernan Donnelly, Conor Gibbons, Cormac McLarnon, Adam Stones, Sean Stones.  Sub: Ger McPartland. 

Referee: Peter McCormack.

Man of the Match: Joey Grace.

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