By Eamonn Kelly
Beautiful weather attracted a large crowd to Chicago Gaelic Park for the recent opening of the new playing season in the Central division of the NACB.
It was an historic occasion as the first competitive junior hurling match was played in the division. It was also a first for the appearance of a Milwaukee junior hurling team in a competitive game as they provided the opposition against the local Cuchulainns team in the semifinal of the Chicago city championship.
While the vastly more experienced Chicago team won the contest 5-18 to 2-2, the Milwaukee team have made tremendous progress in the art of hurling during the three years they have played the sport.
With the exception of centerfielder Patrick Moloney (Dublin) and fullback Ian Corcoran (Cork), the rest of the squad are American-born and many of non-Irish heritage.
The teams’ first-half display was especially impressive as they kept pace with Cuchulainns. They opened the scoring with two magnificent long-range points but the locals took control at the beginning of the second quarter and enjoyed a 4-6 to 2-2 interval lead.
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Milwaukee, not used to the full-sized pitch at Gaelic Park, tired in the second half and were held scoreless. Nevertheless they battled away to the end. Most impressive was the courageous display of their goalkeeper, David Olson who made several great saves as his goal was under continuos siege in the second half.
Hurling/camogie is promoted in Milwaukee with the staging of a co-ed four-club league sponsored by local businesses.
Limerick 1-15, Boland 1-7
Both senior hurling teams, especially Limerick, displayed a high level of fitness for this early part of the season. Following an early goal by veteran forward Kevin Horan, the Bolands shot into a seven-point lead by the beginning of the second quarter. However, a tremendous rally by Limerick resulted in the scoring of eight consecutive points without reply and give them a one-point interval lead.
Spearheaded by brilliant displays by defense men, Marcus Morris and Brian Fealy and fine shooting by Damian Dooley (0-6), Limerick maintained control in the second half, outscoring their opponents 1-5 to 0-1. Limerick’s goal was scored by Tipperaryman, Patrick Slattery.
St. Brendan’s 0-14, Tones 0-12
In senior football, old rivals St. Brendans and Wolfe Tones served up a very entertaining encounter in the city championship semifinal. The main contributor to the winners’ success was Kildare county player Nial Buckely. While some of his scoring attempts went astray, his distribution of the ball to better positioned colleagues and his high fielding was a treat to watch.
Wolfe Tones were handicapped early in the game by the dismissal of their star forward, Rory Mone (Monaghan), who was engaged in an off-the-ball incident with St. Brendans goalkeeper, Gordon Gallagher (Dublin), who was also shown the line.
In the opening game of the four-game schedule Parnells defeated Wolfe, 1-15 to 0-7, to reach Junior football championship cup final.
Here is Sunday’s schedule:
1 p.m., Sr. Ladies Championship Cup, Erin Rovers vs. St. Brigids; 2:15 p.m., Jr. Hurling Championship Cup, Harry Bolands vs. Erins Own; 3:30 p.m., Jr. Football Championship Cup, St. Brendans vs. Padraig Pearse; 4:45 p.m., Sr. Football Championship Cup, Parnells vs. St. Brendans.