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NY GAA: Cavan come out on top

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Cavan earned another crack at Kerry with a hard fought victory over Donegal in Sunday’s SFA semi-final at Gaelic Park. Cavan came out flying at the start, determined to win the right to face down Kerry on the pitch after the insanity of the unplayed 2004 final.
The Breffni men opened with a 0-3 to 0-0 run with two points coming from Garreth Smith and one from Paddy Smith. Donegal finally got it going with an excellent point from Joe Sweeney after 14 minutes. Sweeney lofted his shot into the strong breeze at Donegal’s back and watched it float through the uprights.
Donegal notched the next four points of the match. Cavan came back with a good point from their very dependable midfielder Cormac Kelly. Not the flashiest of players, Kelly may well have been one of the most consistent and effective midfielders in New York this season.
Cavan followed with a Paddy Smith point that began with a fine Kieran Traynor save in the Cavan goal and ended when Smith pointed the rebound after being robbed by a magnificent save by Eunan Doherty. JP Smith then gave Cavan a 0-6 to 0-5 lead with their third straight point
Donegal responded with their own triple. John Whycerly pointed from play and Thomas Deehan chipped over two frees as Donegal poked their noses in front. Garreth Smith pointed a free after the buzzer and Donegal lead 0-8 to 0-7 with 35 minutes to play for a spot in the 2005 New York Final.
Cavan kept their side unchanged on the restart while Donegal had a bit of a reshuffle. Kevin Lilly was sprung from the bench, going center forward while Joe Sweeney was replaced. Full forward Kevin Mitchell moved out to wing forward and Garreth Kelly, who had played 60 tough minutes for Armagh in the previous match, went full forward.
Garreth Smith pointed a free for Cavan which Conor Hunter answered for Donegal, before simmering tensions finally bubbled over. Surprisingly Donegal home county star Nial McCready, who should really know better, was in the middle of it. McCready and Cavan substitute Michael Smith got involved and referee Fergus Daly presented both players with yellow cards.
Then with calm restored, McCready took an extra shot at Smith, leaving Daly no option but the red card. Thirteen minutes of the 35 minute second half had elapsed and Donegal would have to play the rest of the way with a man short.
Donegal almost got an immediate pick me up when Hunter dove to fist the ball into an empty Donegal net. But it wasn’t to be. Cavan fullback James McIntyre, excellent all afternoon, stepped in for the save. Donegal substitute Paddy O’Kane pointed from the rebound and Donegal had the lead 0-10 to 0-9.
It didn’t last long. Paddy Smith made a huge catch under pressure, turned his man and got revenge on keeper Doherty with a perfectly struck ball for Cavan’s first goal. Cavan had the two-point lead but a Lilly free cut the gap to just a point.
There was still plenty of time and plenty of fight in Donegal as this match threatened to turn ugly. Garreth Smith tacked on a Cavan free with just over 13 minutes to play. Then, suddenly, Cavan’s two-point lead was five points. JP Smith and Colm Shannon, both of whom were excellent throughout, combined to place a wide-open Ryan McCormack. McCormack left Doherty no chance and time was running out on Donegal.
Donegal wouldn’t score again as Cavan padded their score with points from Garreth and JP Smith on their way to a showdown with Kerry.
Man of the Match: Garreth Smith.
Cavan: Kieran Traynor, Steven Maloney, James McIntyre, Dennis McCarthy, Paul Crossan, David Rooney Alan Carollan, Cormac Kelly (0-1), Sean Lordan, Fergal Shannon, Paddy Smith (1-2), Colm Shannon, Garreth Smith (0-7, 5 fr), JP Smith (0-2, 1 fr), Ryan McCormack (1-0) Subs: Michael Smith, Thomas Pierce.
Donegal: Eunan Doherty, Shaun Campbell, Gary Duggan, Martin Donaghy, Nial McCready (0-1), Matthew Mitchell, James Mitchell, Eoghan Carew, Garreth Kelly (0-1), Joe Sweeney (0-1), John Whycerly (0-1), Conor Hunter (0-2), Mike Murphy, Kevin Mitchell (0-1), Thomas Deehan (0-2, 2 fr) Subs: Paddy O’Kane (0-1), Kevin Lilly (0-1, fr).
Referee: Fergus Daly.

Derry take easy route

Derry 0-16 Meath 3-6
Senior Football Div. B
Semi-final

Undefeated Derry were firm favorites coming into this match against Meath, the fourth place qualifier out of four for the Senior B Playoffs. Meath, however, were unconcerned with the odds, coming out strong in their upset bid.
Rory Maguire opened the scoring after Meath’s N.Y. county combo Mark Dobbin and Brian Newman did the spadework. Maguire added two more Meath points against Brendan Donoghue’s Derry tally and Meath led 0-3 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.
The Royals began to believe when attacking wingback Sam Yore fed Maguire for a perfectly placed goal with almost 20 minutes elapsed. Derry couldn’t get anything going against this determined Meath outfit. Tom Fields contributed two impressive dead ball points for the underdogs, first hitting a long free near the sideline and then driving over a 50, as Meath led 1-6 to 0-5 at the break.
Derry saw all their hard work all season coming to naught and they didn’t sit still. The Oak Leaf brain trust saw Rory Maguire as a threat and moved Cathal McKeever back from wing forward to mark him.
When Tom Fields caught a lazy clearance from Derry keeper Martin O’Connor and scored an all too easy goal, Derry’s strategy seemed inconsequential.
But then it began to come together for Derry as they refused to panic. Derry scored 0-10 without reply and we began to see just how this team navigated the SFB division without a loss.
Rauri O’Neill and Darren Pettit began to win possession at midfield while their aggressive backs shutout the Meath attack and their dangerous forwards made their opportunities count. Conner Downey (0-5) led the way, ably assisted by Paudie Duffy, 0-3 as Derry took a three-point lead after 30 minutes.
Then 30 minutes after Meath’s first score of the half, they added another. Again Tom Fields banged home a goal. This time the lanky full forward fielded well in traffic and blasted a great goal with three minutes to play, and extra time looming.
But it wasn’t to be. Downey got a last chance to be a hero with a 35-yard free and he made the most of it, extending Dery’s run of perfection and sending them into next week’s SFB final against Cork.
Man of the Match: Conner Downey.
Derry: Martin O’Connor, Joe Bell, Thomas Harkin, Sean Carney, Paul Mullern, Chris Collins, Steven Keating, Ruari O’Neill, Darren Pettit, Cathal McKeever, Brian O’Conner (0-1), Conner Downey (0-8, 4 fr), Rory McCluskey, Brendan Donoghue (0-2), Paudie Duffy (0-5).
Meath: Eugene Kyne, Mike Conroy, Cathal Loughnane, Ronan Sheridan, Kieran Green, Eddie Greenan, Sam Yore, Seamus Harte, Jamie Shaw, Seamus Kelly, Mark Dobbin, Paul McGuinness, Brian Newman (0-1), Tom Fields (2-2, 1 fr, 1 50), Rory Maguire (1-3, 1 fr).
Referee: Tom Fahey.

Gaelic Games
Previews for Sunday, Oct 2

Sunday is Senior Football Finals day as the New York GAA will crown both the Senior A and Senior B champs. Here’s a look at the matchups:

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SFB Final
2 p.m. Derry vs Cork
In the day’s curtain-raiser, Derry will attempt to complete a rare perfect season when they take on Cork in the B Final. Cork were impressive in topping Offaly to advance to this final. The Rebels have strong performers in the Tadghs, Collins, Healy, and Foley, with Eamon Collins dangerous in the attack and Enda Lally and Robert Conlin leading a stingy defense.
Derry built their perfect season with a good team game featuring a strong defense led by Tom Harkin, Cathal Keever, and Steven Keating. Midfielders Rauri O’Neill and Darren Pettit provide strength in the middle of the pitch. The Oak boys have dangerous scorers in Conner Downey, Paudie Duffy, Brian O’Connor, and Brendan Donoghue.
Cork will make it tough, but Derry should keep it perfect for 2005.

SFA Final
3:30 p.m. Kerry vs Cavan
Kerry will take on Cavan as they try to win this year’s title on the pitch after last year’s walkover against the Breffni boys. Kerry qualified in fine style with a blowout win versus Clare, after being impressive for much of the season.
The Kingdom have an array of weapons at their disposal, with players like Bingo O’Driscoll, Dave McCarthy, Dermot Foley, and former All Ireland star John Crowley capable of carving up any defense. Donnacha Walsh is a very talented footballer and he can influence the game from midfield or center forward, to which he is better suited. The Kerry backs are solid and Eoghan Lawlor, Pa Murphy, and Niall Corbett can quickly turn defense into attack.
Cavan will bring a lot of emotion to this final as they try to put last year behind them. They also bring a lot of talent. Goalkeeper Kieran Traynor anchors a strong defense that includes James McIntyre, David Rooney, and Dennis McCarthy. Cormac Kelly and Sean Lordan could give the Blues the edge in the midfield and the Smiths, Paddy, Garreth, and John Paul are all potential match winners. This could go either way, but the pick here is Cavan in an upset.

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