By Eamonn Kelly
Wolfe Tones 2-14, Parnells 1-4
Wolfe Tones, the Guinness North American Board Senior football champions, are giving every indication that they will be a tough nut to crack in their bid to capture a record fourth consecutive national title. While they still face a strong challenge here in Chicago, they have compiled a perfect record after just two games in as many weeks.
After a 6-point win over Padraig Pearse in their opening game last week, they followed up with an impressive victory against Parnells at Gaelic Park last Sunday. Even though the 13-point margin may have been somewhat flattering to the winners and not a true reflection on the gallant effort put forward by Parnells, the Tones played direct intelligent football and were in total control for most of the contest. Their defense led by the Rafter brothers and Peter Quinn was solid, holding the Parnells to just two points in the first half while the forward line was equally impressive. Their top scorers were Derick Ryan, who registered 6 points and Sean Curran with 1-2. Monaghan star Rory Mone, while off target with several shooting attempts, was instrumental in setting up most of his teams attacks on the Parnells goal.
Wolfe Tones set the tone in the early stages of the game, with Derick Ryan opening the scoring within 3 minutes. Parnells tied the game within two minutes following a fine point by Sean Kenny but then went scoreless for the next 20 minutes. During that period Wolfe Tones added 7 points, scored by Ryan (3), Brian Murphy (2) Enda Rafftery and Paul Doyle. It wasn’t until the 27th minute that Sean Kenny registered Parnells second point but that was followed by a similar score by Brian Murphy to give the Tones a 7-point interval lead.
Wolfe Tones added to their lead on the turnover with points by Ryan and Mone before Parnells enjoyed a short period of dominance. During a 5 minute period, Parnells reduced the gap to four points as a result of a Dermot Kenny point and a fine goal by Garret Fitzgerald. Wolfe Tones dominated the final quarter which resulted in goals from Curran and Murphy to ensure a deserved victory. Once again, Emmett Haughian, enhanced his reputation as one of the top goalkeepers in the league with another fine performance for Parnells.
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Erin’s Own 2-15, Limerick 2-11
Too bad this wonderful hurling game came to an abrupt ending in the 56th minute when referee Pat Neylon called a halt to proceedings after a second brawl broke out in the final moments of the game. Following a most enjoyable and sporting 55 minutes of hurling a scuffle emerged near the Limerick goalmouth away from the play that resulted in the stoppage of play by the referee. Moments after order was restored and the sending off of Limerick goalkeeper, Martin O’Grady and Erin’s Own full forward, Paudie McShane, a nasty but brief confrontation developed that resulted in the referee deciding to call off the game. Ironically, both teams, eager to finish the game shook hands before adjourning to their respective dressing rooms.
The game started at a fast pace with Erin’s Own taking an early lead with a shock goal by McShane in the opening minute. Thanks to a solid display by Limerick’s halfback line led by Fergus Flynn, Limerick recovered quickly and soon went in front with points from Flynn, Ollie Ryan and a good goal from Christy Phillips. The final 10 minutes of the half was evenly contested with both teams exchanging scores by Barry McNaughton and Eamonn McKay of Erin’s Own and Limerick’ s Pat Cronin and Ollie Ryan to give Limerick a four point lead at the interval.
After Limerick extended the lead to five points, Erin’s Own mounted an offensive that resulted in points by McKay, Phil Blake and Jason McDonald to tie the game. A great final quarter emerged. In a hectic two minute span McDonald and Phillips exchanged two great goals that excited the small attendance. Erin’s Own then took control with points by McDonald and Phil Blake before the unfortunate fracas broke out that ended the game prematurely.
St. Brendan’s 2-13, John McBrides 0-5
St. Brendan’s are emerging as the top team to beat in the Central Division Guinness junior football championship following another strong display. Last Sunday at Gaelic Park they had little difficulty disposing of a weak John McBrides by a 14-point margin. The game was over as a contest by half time with St. Brendan’s scoring 8 points and restricting their opponents to a lone score, a point registered by Matt O’Donnell. Scorers for St. Brendan’s in the first half were Kieran McDermott 0-3, Owen Cleary 0-3, and Kevin Horgan 0-2.
McBrides controlled the opening moments of the second half and were unfortunate not to have scored a goal on their first attack when a great shot by Frank Murphy just went wide of the post. Their early efforts were rewarded when Pierce Devlin pointed in the 5th minute. However, with St. Brendans regaining their first half form they controlled the rest of the game. McDermott added a couple of points before Owen Collery scored two goals to put the game away.
Wolfe Tones 1-11, Parnells 2-6
Wolfe Tones enjoyed long spells of superiority in this scrappy junior football game but just scraped through by a two point margin in the end. They were completely on top in the opening quarter but atrocious shooting by their forwards prevented them from going into a comfortable lead. They managed only three points in the first 30 minutes while Parnells notched 1-5 to end the half with a five-point lead.
After both teams exchanged points in the early stages of the second half, the Tones forwards began taking advantage of ball possession and soon erased the deficit. A superb second-half display by Cahal Kearns made the difference between victory and defeat for Wolfe Tones. He notched a total 1-6 in a 20-minute period. His goal came at a crucial stage in the game, just 40 seconds after Declan Doyle had netted to give Parnells the lead in the 26th minute. Parnells generated a few attacks in the closing moments but the Tones held out for a deserved two point victory.
Central Division schedule
for Sunday, June 21, at Gaelic Park:
1:15 p.m., Senior Hurling, Cu Chulainns vs. Limerick
2:30 p.m., Junior Football, Parnells vs. Padraig Pearse
3:45 p.m., Senior Hurling, Harry Bolands vs. Erin’s Own
5 p.m., Senior Football, St. Brendans vs. Padraig Pearse
Midwest Division Results
Pittsburgh Celtics 3-12, Detroit Padraig Pearse 3-6
Buffalo Na Fianna 1-3, Detroit Wolfe Tones 7-14