New York GAA: Sligo and St. Barnabas split series, Rangers too good for Rebels, and Manhattan overwhelms Mayo.
*Editor's Note: These reports appeared in the September 9 edition of the Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.
Sligo and St. Barnabas Split Series
St. Barnabas 1-12 Sligo 0-9
These senior football teams have met twice so far this season. Sligo won the first encounter, and St. Barnabas claimed the second. The next time that they meet will be the final, the ultimate decider for the kingpins of New York senior football.
Both sides claimed to be short-handed for their latest encounter. It certainly promises to be an intriguing final: youth vs. experience, American-born vs. Irish-born.
Sligo started sprightly and went on the offensive from the throw-in, but their first two efforts were off target before Mickey Lenaghan got them on the board with a pointed free after Stephen Curley was fouled.
The early exchanges were looking a little ominous for Barnabas as Sligo looked set to goal, but over-elaboration ended in a miscue and a miss. Barnabas gradually found their feet and more importantly the range as Mikey Brosnan pointed for a foul on Shane Hogan. The score was quickly followed by a spectacular long range effort from Dylan McDermott to have the Bronx boys ahead at the first water break.
After rehydration McDermott matched his first point with an equally impressive second one. Niall Murphy replied for Sligo with a fine effort despite intensive defensive pressure. Sligo was soon back on level terms as a field-sweeping movement involving Paul Kelly, Daniel McKenna, and Murphy ended with Curley sweeping over a point.
Barnabas was soon back in front as Hogan went on one of his trademark runs through the middle to split the posts.
Then came the major strike and score that propelled Barnabas into the driving seat. A long ball was judiciously knocked down by Sean Reilly into the path of Gearoid Kennedy, and in a blink, the ball was in the corner of the net. McKenna pointed a free for a foul on Lenaghan but Barnabas had the better of the exchanges for the remainder of the period as good defensive work by Conor Hogan, Dylan Curran and company kept the Yeats Boys at bay. Barnabas went in leading by 1-6 to 0-4, courtesy of two more points from McDermott.
On resumption, Sligo went on the offensive with McKenna leading the charge with two points. However, it was soon back to the Barnabas script as they put three unanswered points on the board.
Reilly was proving to be a very productive supply line as Brosnan (two) and McDermott edged their team into a 1-9 to 0-7 lead approaching the last water break.
Sligo’s chances of a late comeback took a hit as a black card offense left them down a key player. McKenna was still battling away as he hit over two points, but the reply was three from Barnabas as Brosnan, McDermott, and Caolan Mathers hit the target as they coasted over the line with a six-point victory. Irrespective of where teams had full rosters, this was quite an impressive performance by this youthful and fit St. Barnabas squad. I’m sure big Johnny will have all his troops on board and in fine fettle for the final.
St. Barnabas: Brandan Cole, Peter Cronin, Conor Hogan, Jamie Boyle, Francis Cole, Shane Hogan, Dylan Curran, Conor Rafferty, Conor Mathers, Gearoid Kennedy, Sean Reilly, Mikey Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Tiernan Mathers, Caolan Mathers.
Sligo: Vinnie Cadden, Daniel Maye, Paul Kelly, Shane Queenan, Johnny Glynn, Darragh McConnan, Ger McCullagh, Paul McDaid, Kevin McGeeney, Daniel McKenna, Stephen Curley, Niall Murphy, Mickey Lenaghan. Subs: Tom. Sullivan, Niall Judge, Jamie Brannigan.
Referee: Peter McCormack
Man of the Match: Dylan McDermott.
Rangers Too Good for Rebels
Rangers 2-10 Cork 1-3
The scoreline for the most part tells the story in this Junior A encounter between the Rangers and the Rebels. Granted the odds were stacked against Cork before they took to the field as several of their regular players were unavailable due to holiday commitments.
Still, they made sure that the fixture would be fulfilled as a number of former notable players, some a few years past their play-by date, returned to help their team once more. What a fine gesture of support and loyalty to your club!
Cork would be forgiven if they thought it was a case of Murphy’s Law as the ball was just about thrown in when one of their players was given marching orders to the sideline for a rather irrational infringement. The exchanges were evenly balanced in the opening quarter as both sides would put a brace on the board.
Matt Miniter and Kevin Loane registered points for the Rangers, while Tom 0’Sullivan and Conor Hunter caulked up Cork’s scores. Then the pace and power of Rangers became the norm as Cork struggled to stay in the hunt. The writing was on the wall when Shay McElligott banged in a goal and Loane added a pointed free.
The McElligott brothers, Shay and Brian, two very talented youngsters, provided the next vignette of skill as they slotted over a brace to have their team leading by 1-5 to 0-2 at the short whistle.
Loane kicked off the scoring in the second half with a point before he linked up well with Shay McElligott for the latter to net goal number two. Brian McElligott tagged on another point and little changed in the pattern of play except referee Pat Donoghue was forced to issue a few disciplinary cards to maintain decorum.
Danny Linehan came off the bench to score as Rangers waltzed into the last quarter ahead by 2-7 to 0-2.
Both teams would get two scores in the final stanza. Long-serving Cork leader and warrior Alan Raftery got a point and he was unlucky to see a good effort rebound off the post. However, Cork did manage to get a goal from Eoin Rafferty as time ran out. It gave the score-board a slightly better complexion. Shay McElligott and Loane completed Rangers’ tally to propel them further up the Junior A table. Though the under-strength Cork squad was well vanquished, expect Liam Hanley, Gary Lowney and company to return with a younger, fitter, and more fortified outfit next time.
There’s still plenty of resolve in the Rebels’ camp. However, Rangers are evolving into serious contenders for championship honors.
Rangers: Joe Grace, Danny Burke, Derek Courtney, Martin Loane, Niall McKenna, Dylan Grace, Shane Doheny, Kevin Loane, Conor McStay, PJ King, Bryan Twomey, Shay McElligott, Brian McElligott, Matt Miniter. Subs: Ciaran O’Connor, Evan Mulgrew, Emmett Clarke, Danny Linehan.
Cork: Gary Lowney, Jamie Brannigan, Paul O’Connor, Liam Hanley, Chris O’Shea, James McInerney, John Lavin, Alan Raftery, Ger McCullagh, Aidan Burke, Conor Hunter, Mike Sheedy, Caolan O’Neill, Dara Hooley, Tom O’Sullivan. Subs Tommy Kavanagh, Tadhg Foley, Paddy Harrington, Eoin Rafferty, Niall Judge, Dennis McCarthy, Francie Cleary, Lorcan Grall, Jer McCarthy.
Referee: Pat Donoghue.
Man of the Match: Shay McElligott.
Manhattan Overwhelms Mayo
Manhattan Gaels 4-12 Mayo 1-6
This intermediate championship game was played in appalling conditions as dense sheets of rain cloaked Gaelic Park resulting in a blurry spectacle. Indeed visibility was further compromised for this scribe as one team was forced to play with their jerseys turned inside-out due to the similarity of their colors.
As the inimitable and great Irish commentator Michael O’Muircheartaigh might say, this was certainly a game of two halves. Both sides opened their accounts early. Tom Downes hit for Manhattan and Ollie McLean did likewise for Mayo.
The westerners then enjoyed their best spell as McLean was on target with two pointed frees, and Dave Hansbury executed well from a mark. Then just before the mandatory water break, which in this instance was a misnomer, Evan Courtney clipped over two points.
Upon returning from rehydration, the rain was incessant and intense, making playing conditions extremely difficult. Courtney, the nippy corner forward by way of Ennis, quickly leveled up and that was the only score for the remainder of the half as both had 0-4 at the short whistle.
Upon resumption, Jack Kiernan pushed his team ahead with a point but a Mayo corner-forward spurned a great opportunity to score a goal as he got in behind the Manhattan defense, but the shot hit the butt of the post. From the let-off, Manhattan began to exert a lot more control as Downes was capably directing operations well from the middle. The platform was set for Paul McDaid (two), Downes (two), and Conor King to swing over points while limiting Mayo to just two from James Maughan.
Manhattan now led by four entering the last stanza. Besides the deluge on the field, there definitely was a devastating deluge on the Mayo goal in the last quarter. A few points seemed to open the floodgates before McDaid set up Shay Grimley for the first goal. King added another and the rising tide seemed to carry another one over the line because neither hand nor foot touched it since it left the middle of the field.
The scoring flood had yet to crest before Ronan Mackle sent the scoreboard surging with another major. There was a temporary respite when Hansbury goaled for Mayo, but the damage was done and the game was truly over as a contest.
The good news for Mayo, despite the demolition in the last quarter, is that they are still in the hunt along with Westmeath, Brooklyn Shamrocks, and Manhattan Gaels for the semifinals. The path to the final won’t be strewn with roses in this division.
Mayo: Conor Tanney, Mick Murphy, Damian Varley, James Bennett, Colm Henry, Eddie Hogan, Ray Holian, Tom Conway, Damien Dolan, Ollie McLean, James Maughan, Shane McNeilis, Pa Glynn, Dave Hansbury, Pat Murray. Subs Ray Coyle, David Pond, Marcus Hannick, James Kilgarriff, Daniel Jackson.
Manhattan Gaels: Pauric Looney, Cormack O’Keeffe, Mark Livingstone, Ed Forrester, Stephen Nolan, Jack Davies, Jack Callinan, Damien McCaughney, Tom Downes, Tomas Coyne, Jack Kiernan, Cian McNamara, Paul McDaid, Shay Grimley, Evan Courtney. Subs Conor King, Sean Beecher, Des Featherstone, Ronan Mackle.
Referee: Alan Hearty.
Man of the Match: Tom Downes.