By Eamonn Kelly
Tones 5-20, St. Brendan’s 1-9
A powerful second-half performance contributed to an easy win for 1997 American Board senior football champions, Wolfe Tones, over old rivals St. Brendan’s Sunday at Gaelic Park in Chicago. This is a solid and well-balanced football team and seem destined to represent the Central Division in this year’s North American County Board playoffs.
For St. Brendan’s, it was a most disappointing display. They were right in the thick of things all through a tense and very tough first half, but the second half was a different story. Playing second fiddle to their opponents in centerfield, the Brendan’s defense collapsed under constant pressure from a lethal Wolfe Tones half-forward line of Damian Behan, Rory Mone and David Martin.
St. Brendan’s started in great form and were very much the dominant team in the opening quarter. After scoring the first brace of points they took a 5-point lead when John Carling took advantage of a rare Wolfe Tones defensive breakdown to score a goal. However, St. Brendan’s began to lose their grip at centerfield and by the middle of the second quarter Wolfe Tones tied the game and then took a 3- point lead in the 25th minute when Rory Mone went through a lax St. Brendan’s defense and shot to the net. A brief but ugly brawl erupted between most of the players just before halftime which resulted in the dismissal of Peader McGrane of St. Brendan’s and Shane McLaughlin of Wolfe Tones.
Trailing by four points at the interval, St. Brendan’s were first to score on the turnover when Kildareman Colm Parkinson pointed in the opening minute. However, a goal by Mone three minutes later spoiled a Brendan’s revival. Wolfe Tones added four consecutive points from Mone, Behan, Pat Winters and Ronan Fitzsimmons to take a comfortable 10-point lead. The game ended as a contest when Richard Gemmill (Wicklow) blasted to the net in the 19th minute to put 13 points between the teams. The biggest crowd of the season had little to cheer about in the fourth quarter as Wolfe Tones maintained control for an easy victory.
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Bolands 3-17, Erin’s Own 1-11
After a slow start to the season with some unimpressive displays North American Board Senior Hurling champions, Harry Bolands, are giving every indication they are determined to retain the title. They have been improving with every outing and last Sunday they put on a very solid performance to overcome a strong challenge from Erin’s Own, winning in the end by a comfortable margin of 12 points. Unfortunately, this win may have been a costly one for the Bolands as their main marksman, Ken Dunne from Tipperary, was forced to leave the game in the second half with his right arm in a sling. Up to the time of his departure he had accounted for 8 points of his team’s score.
There was little between the teams in the opening quarter until Rory McCarthy scored the first goal of the game to give Harry Bolands a four point lead in the 12th minute. Ten minutes later, Michael White broke through a weak Erins Own defense to score their second goal which contributed to their 2-10 to 0-6 interval lead. Erin’s Own stayed with the champions through most of the third quarter with the exchange of points. But a goal by Tommy Murphy in the 20th minute put the game out of reach for Erins Own which left them 15 points in arrears. Erin’s Own did break their goal scoring drought when Tipperaryman Liam McGrath, converted a penalty in the dying moments but too late for a significant rally to effect the outcome of the game.
St. Brigid’s 7-8, Erin’s Rovers 0-8
Erin’s Rovers, long the kingpins of women’s football in Chicago and current North American Board champions, suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of old rivals, St. Brigid’s. Perseverance and hard work over the past couple of seasons has paid off for this club as they have formed into a well balanced team.
There was very little between the sides in the opening quarter, but goals by Francis Keenan, Collette Rowan and Aimee Bennett contributed to St. Brigid’s 6-point lead at halftime. St. Brigid’s enjoyed complete monopoly in the second half, outscoring the Rovers by 4-5 to 0-2. Rowan was in excellent form, scoring three of the second half goals while Catriona Grace accounted for the fourth goal. Eileen Hand and Fiona Mulhern scored Erins Rovers two points.
In junior football, Padraig Pearse defeated Parnells, 3-16 to 0-4, while John McBrides had a 3-point win over Wolfe Tones, 2-6 to 0-9. In the Western Division, it was Shannon Rangers 3-11, Ulster 1-16 in intermediate football. In the Midwest Division, junior footballers Padraig Pearse of Detroit topped Buffalo’s Na Fianna by 6-12 1-9. It was Detroit Wolfe Tones 4-10, Cleveland St. Pats 0-7.