By Eamonn Kelly
With only one series of games left in the double-round Guinness Central Division championship, the playoff pairings are beginning to emerge following a full complement of games at Chicago Gaelic Park on Sunday.
In Senior Football, Wolfe Tones, the current Chicago and North American County Board champions, suffered their first defeat, losing to St. Brendan’s and now must face Padraig Pearse in a semifinal showdown on Aug. 16, while St. Brendan’s qualify for the Aug. 23 final.
In Junior Football, the semifinal pairing depends on the outcome of next Sunday’s game, but everything is pointing to a Padraig Pearse vs. Wolfe Tones semifinal, with the winner playing the unbeaten St. Brendan’s in the final.
In Senior Hurling, it appears a semifinal matchup between Harry Bolands and Erin’s Own is in the works, with the winner taking on Cu Chulainn in the final. Following St. Brigid’s victory over McBrides last Sunday, the stage is all set for an Erin’s Rovers/St. Brigid’s final in ladies football.
St. Brendan’s 1-14, Wolfe Tones 1-9
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Following their thrilling first-round, draw the second phase in the St. Brendan’s/Wolfe Tones football saga was played out last Sunday with the Brendan’s putting on their best display in several years to overcome the champions by 5 points.
This was a fast-paced and hard-hitting contest. After racing into a 4-point lead in the first quarter, the winners never fell behind and were in control for most of the game. This can be attributed to their dominance at center-field, where Graham Bourke and Dublin star Brian Stynes were in great form. Up front, Player of the Day John McDonald, Brendan O’Connor and Ger Walsh took advantage to constant ball supply. Walsh was especially effective from placed balls, converting six frees.
Wolfe Tones also had their moments, especially in the second quarter. Their best forward, Rory Mone, blasted a penalty inches wide in the 26th minute. Despite that miss the Tones only trailed by 2 points at the interval. They fell apart in the third period, trailing by 9 points only 12 minutes into the second half, but thanks to fine work by Eamonn Gibney, Enda Raftery and Mone, they enjoyed a good spell when they came within 4 points of the Brendan’s.
St. Brendan’s started in great form and were 2 points up within five minutes with scores from Graham Bourke and Martin Delaney. After Paul Doyle registered Wolfe Tone’s first point, Ger Walsh (2) and John McDonald responded with similar scores to give Brendan’s a 4- point lead. Rory Mone and Graham Bourke exchanged points before Mone’s missed penalty. Mone redeemed himself with two excellent points before the interval whistle to narrow the deficit to just 2 points at half-time. At this stage, St. Brendan’s suffered a tremendous loss when their solid full back, Enda Gerraghty, was stretchered off with a serious leg injury.
However, the Brendan’s responded in great style on the turnover. Walsh pointed a free and within a minute John McDonald took advantage of a poor Tones kick-out to gain possession and slam to the net to put 6 points between the teams. St. Brendan’s enhanced their lead to 9 points following scores from Walsh and McDonald. Then came a great Wolfe Tones revival. Following a Declan Ryan point Mone scored a great goal in the 17th minute to put 4 points between the teams. However, the Brendan’s defended superbly in the final moments to prevent any further assaults on their goal to gain a well deserved victory.
Harry Boland’s 4-24, Limerick 1-10
This Senior Hurling fixture had little significance as far as the outcome of the final stages of the North American finals are concerned. Consequently, the game never developed into any kind of competitive affair. Limerick’s understrength team tried hard but couldn’t compete with a team that included intercounty players Tommy Dunne and Liam Hogan of Tipperary, James Brennan (Dublin), Noel Larkin (Galway) and Brian McMahon (Clare).
The game was all but over at halftime when Harry Boland’s enjoyed a comfortable lead of 3-10 to 0-9. Clareman Fergus Flynn, still recovering from a recent leg injury, was Erin’s Own’s best player.
Wolfe Tones 0-10, John McBrides 0-6
Wolfe Tones’ junior footballers, with a 4-point win over McBrides, are positioned for a semifinal slot in a couple of weeks. However, much improvement is needed to offer a serious challenge for the title. This was a poor football game. Shooting was deplorable and more passes went astray than found the mark. Wolfe Tones were in command for most of the first half, scoring 6 points while restricting their opponents to a single point at the interval. By the end of the first quarter they raced into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead following scores from Cathal Kearns, Tony O’Connor and Roman Mugal. McBrides lone score came from their best forward, John Marnen. The introduction of veteran star footballer Gerry Gerraghty after the interval inspired McBrides. Playing at corner forward, his vast experience contributed to his team’s improved performance in the second half. They outscored the Tones 0-5 to 0-4, with points coming from Marnen (3), Joe Lyons and Sean Folan. Wolfe Tones’ second-half scores came from Kearns and Mugal to give them a 4-point victory.
Padraig Pearse 1-14, Parnells 1-9
Padraig Pearse and Wolfe Tones junior footballers produced fine entertainment for the early arrivals. Parnells appeared to have the game all wrapped up by halftime, when they led by 1-9 to 1-3. However, they collapsed to a great Padraig Pearse revival in the second half, conceding 11 points while being held scoreless for the entire 30 minutes. Dermot Sweeney scored the Pearse goal while Declan Doyle netted for Parnells.
St. Brigid’s 3-10, McBride’s 2-1
Excellent performances by center-fielder’s Karen Kinsella and Catherina Grace set the foundation for St. Brigid’s 12-point win over McBride’s in the Guinness Ladies Football championship game. The Brigid’s forwards took advantage of ample ball supply, missing very few scoring opportunities. Their three goals were scored by Laura Walker, Jenny Rice and Collette Rowan, while Nichola Tatolis notched both McBride’s goals.
Chicago Schedule for Aug. 9
Noon, L.F., Erins Rovers vs. McBrides
1:15 p.m., J.F., Wolfe Tones vs. St. Brendans
2:30 p.m., J.F., John McBrides vs. Parnells
3:45 p.m., S.H., Erins Own vs. Cu Chulainn
5 p.m., S.F., Padraig Pearse vs. Parnells
The big game in Philadelphia last Sunday was in the Guinness Intermediate football championship between Derry and Tyrone in which Derry were victorious by 2-9 to 1-11. Having trailed at halftime by 10 points, Tyrone generated a tremendous second-half rally to score 1-10, but time was not on their side.
In Ladies football, Philadelphia and North American Board champions Emerald Eagles won their seventh consecutive Philadelphia title and retain the Mairead Farelly Cup, easily defeated the Washington Gaels.
San Francisco Results
J.F., Naomh Padraig 0-9, Y. Irelanders 0-8
I.F., Ulster 3-16, Cusacks 0-10; Rangers 2-15, Sean McDermotts 0-17; Kerry Boru 0-17, St. Joe’s 1-11
SLF., Fog City Harps 4-11, Saoirse 2-8
JLF, Fog City Harps 3-10, St. Josephs 2-10
JF, Sean Treacys 6-12, St. Brendans 1-9