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NACB Roundup Plans taking shape for biggest ever playoffs

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eamon Kelly

The North American County Board of the GAA held its annual pre-playoff meeting at Chicago Gaelic Park recently.

As in previous years, the national officers met with the local central division board under the chairmanship of Tom Dolan to review the arrangements for the national playoffs, scheduled to be played at Chicago Gaelic Park during Labor Day weekend. Following the inspection of the primary field and four additional playing sites, the committee met for six hours to finalize the tournament schedule and to conduct the draw for the opening rounds of the playoffs.

It is expected to be the biggest NACB playoffs ever undertaken since the formation of the board in 1959.

With the expansion of ladies football, camogie and under-age football, close to a 50-game schedule will be on the agenda.

Fifteen cities representing 10 divisions will be competing for national honors at various level in both codes.

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Accommodation and transportation arrangements to support the hundreds of players and supporters expected to travel for the playoffs are almost complete.

Since San Francisco does not have a senior football competition and Philadelphia does not have a senior hurling competition, it was agreed that a losing San Francisco intermediate side and a losing Chicago senior hurling team would make up the fourth teams for the senior draws.

The draws

Following are the draws for the 1999 NACB playoffs:

Senior football: Central (Chicago) #2 vs. Western (San Francisco, San Jose) #2; Central (Chicago) #1 vs. North East (Boston).

Intermediate football, North East vs. Western Junior Football "A": Central #1 vs. North East; Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego) vs. Western; Midwest (Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh) vs. Florida; Philadelphia (Washington DC) vs. Central #2.

Junior Football "B"

Florida vs. Midwest; Atlanta vs. Denver; North West (Seattle) vs. winners of Florida/Midwest.

Senior Hurling

Central 2 vs. Western; North East vs. Central 1.

Junior Hurling

North East vs. Western; Southern California vs. Philadelphia; North East/Western vs. Central.

Ladies Senior Football

Central 1 vs. Western; North East vs. Chicago 2.

Ladies Junior Football

Central vs. Western; Central/Western vs. Philadelphia; North East vs. Atlanta; Midwest vs. Florida; Southern California vs. North West;

Camogie

New York vs. North East; New York/North East vs. Western; Philadelphia vs. Central.

The Minor Football Draw pending

Central (Chicago) Division

In senior football, St. Brendan’s defeated Pádraig Pearse 3-13 to 0-9.

A solid second half performance underlined St. Brendan’s determination to retain the central division senior football title as they overcame an early challenge from Pádraig Pearse to gain a well deserved 13-point victory.

Pádraig Pearse were the most dominant team in the opening half but faded right after the turnover. They jumped into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead in the opening minutes but two awful defensive errors allowed St. Brendan’s in for two undeserved goals, scored by John Sparling and Martin Delaney.

Rather than enjoying an interval lead of a few points Pádraig Pearse found themselves trailing 0-8 to 2-4 and facing the winds in the second half.

With Graham Bourke and Peader McGrane dominant at centerfield, St. Brendan’s faced little challenge in the second half, outscoring their opponents 1-9 to 0-1. Colm Murray scored Brendan’s third goal just before the full-time whistle.

Senior Hurling

Cu Chulainn defeated Erins Own 1-20 to 2-15. Cu Chulainn, 1997 central division senior hurling champions, remain unbeaten as the first round of the leagues came to a close last week at Chicago Gaelic Park.

After trailing by ten points, 0-6 to 2-10 at half time, they launched a tremendous second half rally to overcome the deficit and march on to a two point victory.

It took Erins Own much of the first quarter to take advantage of the stiff breeze. After trailing Cu Chulainn in the early stages a fine goal by Nigel Jennings (Antrim) in the 11th minute gave them the lead for the first time. Another goal by Galwayman Paul Finnerty seven minutes later put them in the driver’s seat and set them on the road for the comfortable interval lead.

With Carol Grant and Declan Buggy getting the upper hand at centerfield, Cu Chulainn gradually reduced the deficit.

A goal by Brian Sullivan at the beginning of the fourth quarter put just three points between the teams.

In a most hectic final 10 minutes, several points were exchanged between the two sharpshooters, Carol Grant of Cu Chulainn and Erins Own’s Colm Cassidy. However, in the final moments, the Cu Chulainn forwards, enjoying good ball supply and wind advantage, took and maintained a two point lead to the final whistle.

Midwest Division results

Junior Football: Pittsburgh Celtics 3-15, Cleveland St. Pats 3-3; Cleveland St. Jarlaths 3-15, Buffalo Na Fianna 0-0.

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