Category: Archive

Hurl of an effort

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

A disappointing crowd of fewer than 1,000 showed up on this cool, rainy afternoon in the Bronx. The promised thunderstorms never materialized, but storm clouds or not it was a shame that New York’s championship effort in the most Irish of sports was so poorly attended.
Those in attendance saw Derry jump out on top with a well-taken point from corner forward John O’Dwyer just 25 seconds in. New York were slow to settle and Derry extended their lead a further two points, with both coming off miscues in the New York defense. The home team finally got on the scoresheet in the eighth minute with a free from their top scorer, Trevor Fletcher.
In fact Fletcher and, to a lesser extent, Robbie Ryan were the only New York forwards to consistently trouble the Derry backs. Derry’s veteran full forward and captain Oliver Collins, playing in his last season, traded points with Fletcher as a light drizzle began to fall.
New York’s best player on the day was goalkeeper Dave Simms. “It is disheartening,” the Laois-born netminder said later. “It is very hard to make the breakthrough.”
Simms did all that he could bringing off several outstanding saves, but he was not content to limit his role to an entirely defensive one. With New York trailing by 0-4 to 0-2, Simms came out to his 21-yard-line to take a free. His tremendous drive broke in the Derry goalmouth and was lashed to the back of the net by an alert Robbie Ryan. Ryan’s goal stood up until halftime and New York retreated to the warmth of their dressing room leading 1-8 to 0-8 at the break.
With 35 minutes to play, New York were three points to the good, but it was still too soon to make travel arrangements. With the exception of Trevor Fletcher, all of New York’s top performers wore single digits on their backs. Led by Simms, the home team’s defense made Derry work for everything they got.
New York’s inside forwards were a step slow, except for Robbie Ryan, and scoring chances were limited mostly to Fletcher’s free taking. Derry were as quick starting in the second half as in the first. John O’Dwyer pointed twice on the restart and his speed was stretching the New York defense.
Collins’s 10th-minute free leveled the sides, while New York’s attack floundered. Collins was accurate with another free after O’Dwyer was fouled and Derry were back on top. New York wasted a golden opportunity to equalize when Fletcher eschewed a point, instead shooting low in the 15th minute. That effort failed and New York would not add to their final halftime total until 32 minutes had ticked off the second-half clock.
That Derry were only able to add two more points to their advantage during New York’s dry spell is a testament to Simms and his backsmen. New York manager Mike Kennedy declined to single out any players after the match but it was his defense he had in mind when he said, “Some of our players played out of their skins.” Fullback Peter Dalton, Aiden Kiely, Tadhg O’Callaghan, and Adrian Guinan were especially effective.
New York finally got on the scoreboard off a well-struck 65 from Fletcher. After failing to raise a flag for virtually an entire half New York were now within 0-2 with an Ulster Final berth at stake.
Derry center back Michael Conway made a huge catch and clearance to derail a promising New York attack. Then Bonnie Kennedy’s pass sent Kevin Kennedy in on the Derry goal. The latter Kennedy was fouled 21 yards from Derry’s goal. With just three minutes added time to be played, Fletcher was instructed to take the sure point. Fletcher’s 35th minute effort pulled the Gotham side within a single point.
Were we headed for extra time for a second straight week? The answer came quickly and it was not to New York’s liking. John O’Dwyer scooped up a loose breaking ball and when his shot went over the black spot New York were sunk and Derry, like Leitrim before them, breathed a huge sigh of relief on the way to JFK.
Co-men of the Match: John O’Dwyer for Derry and Dave Simms for New York.
Derry: Kieran Stevenson, Paul McVeigh, Emmett McKeever, Colin McEldowney, Dominic Magill, Michael Conway, Aaron McCloskey, Paul Cartin, Ruairi Convery (0-1), Michael Collins, Reamann Kennedy, Danny McGreillis (0-1), John O’Dwyer (0-5), Oliver Collins (0-8) 6 frees, Cathal McKeever. Subs: Gregory Brunton, Gregory Biggs.
New York: David Simms, Aidan Kiely, Peter Dalton, Barry Smith, Tadhg O’Sullivan, Sean Quirke, Adrian Guinan, John Madden (0-1), Sean Nolan, Mike Stretch (0-1), Gary Quinlan, Trevor Fletcher (0-8, 6 frees), Bonnie Kennedy, Kevin Kennedy, Robbie Ryan (1-0). Subs: John Byrne, Kevin McKay.

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