In a sign of things to come, Westmeath trailed 1-1 to no score after six minutes when Mike Keaveney slotted home from a rebound.
The midlanders had missed three very doable chances to that point with strong play from home county midfielder John Brennan, who started quickly. On the other hand, Clare were much more clinical in their approach, taking their chances when they arose. Michael Slowey placed Ronan Garvey, and the New York county man pointed on the four-minute mark.
Keaveney was then on the spot to goal after Westmeath keeper Brian Donnellan robbed Eric Bradley.
Down U-21 Niall McArdle was one of Westmeath’s prime culprits. The full forward was continually able to lose his marker, particularly in the early going, but despite numerous chances, he would only tally one point from a free on the evening.
For their part, Clare weren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard, but with Turla Keaveney (2) and Slowey (1) adding points, the Banner kept their nose in front. Westmeath made them earn what they did get with Peter Dalton and Pat Coyne operating at the center of a stingy Westmeath defense and Brennan and center forward Vinny Gavin winning a lot of possession.
Two well-taken points from Gavin and Justin O’Halloran brought Westmeath within a goal, 1-4 to 0-4 at the half, and gave the Leinster side’s supporters hope that their boys’ shooting woes were behind them.
Clare were on the score sheet with a first-minute point on the restart from the boot of their busy wing forward Michael Hogan. Then the match came to a decisive point. McArdle freed himself and his piledriver had Conor Loughnan cleanly beaten in the Clare goal, only to be denied by corner back Shay Furlong, who made a dramatic save off the goal line.
Only a few minutes later Gary Dowd, thriving since his recent switch to wingback, earned a straight red card from referee John Fitzpatrick for a late and reckless tackle.
Now Westmeath would play the final 24 minutes with a man advantage, and plenty of time to erase a 1-5 to 0-4 deficit. But as we know by the score at the top of this page, that would not happen.
A combination of hard work from Clare and continued poor shooting and passing from Westmeath saw Clare increase their lead by 0-3 points over the next 13 minutes. Clare were now on top at midfield with Paul O’Connor having solved Brennan and Eric Bradley finally coming into the match after appearing disinterested in the early going.
Westmeath were unable to trouble the scoreboard operator until Gavin finally pointed in the 24th minute. Ronan Garvey immediately replied with his third well struck free of the half while Justin O’Halloran blasted wide for Westmeath when a goal looked certain.
Westmeath finally located the goal posts with a late three-point flurry, but by then the match belonged to Clare. Clare will take the points and they showed great heart after going a man down, but more will be expected of their star studded lineup as the season progresses.
Man of the Match: Ronan Garvey.
Clare: Conon Loughnan, Philip Wickham, Marty Meehan, Shay Furlong, Gary Dowd, Kevin Newell, Richie Kane, Paul O’Connor, Eric Bradley, Pat Hogan, Michael Slowey (0-1), Michael Hogan (0-1), Joe Egan, Michael Keaveney (1-3, 1 fr), Ronan Garvey (0-4, 3 fr).
Westmeath: Brian Donnellan, Jim O’Flynn, Peter Dalton, David Bailie, Ciaran Walsh, Pat Coyne, Tommy Williams, Keith Hennessey, John Brennan (0-1), Justin O’Halloran (0-1), Vinny Gavin (0-2), Dave Fitzgerald (0-2), Barry Smith, Niall McArdle (0-1, fr), Sean Collins (0-1).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.
Barnabas are victorious
St. Barnabas 4-10
Hat trick hero Anthony Caltabianco was the “X” factor that led St. Barnabas past Celtics in Sunday’s entertaining New York Minor Final.
The Celtics had gotten the better of Barnabas in the U-16 Final immediately preceding the Minor match, and it was Celtic that scored first in this game via Danny Tierney’s first minute free. Each team had several players pulling double duty, playing in back-to-back games without a break.
The Saints were dominating possession in the early going and in wing forward Thomas McGovern they had a classy player who looked capable of causing damage. Barnabas were winning a lot of early ball from Gary Clancy who was playing wingback in a switch with Tom Nelis. Barnabas’ management made the switch at the start to match Nelis up with Celtic dangerman CJ Molloy and the move had the added affect of putting Clancy in position to win a lot of ball.
Clancy kept the ball pumped into McGovern and company but it took McGovern some time and a few wides to find his range.
Still, St. Barnabas leveled with Chris McTiernan pointing from a tough angle after seven minutes. Then, on the resultant kick out, Catalabianco struck for the first time. Clancy went high to gather the Celtic kick out and quickly fed Kyle Hannon. The dynamic center forward then found the Barnabas full forward in the tight quarters. Catalabianco neatly turned his man and blasted his shot to the back of the net.
Barnabas stretched their advantage to 1-6 to 0-2 after 20 minutes and tri-captains Joe Hallinan, Clancy, and Kyle Hannon could be forgiven for mentally preparing their acceptance speeches.
Meanwhile Celtic weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Center back Brian Hegarty, who along with brother Kevin are sons of former of former Donegal star Mike Hegarty, pointed after a long solo.
Celtic began to turn the match their way as CJ Molloy began to enjoy more space after Nelis limped off in the 21st minute. Kevin Purce was battling McGovern hard and Celtics crept back into the match with a point from Daniel Tierney after a long pinpoint pass from Molloy. Three more pointed frees from Molloy closed out the half as Celtics drew within 0-2, 1-6 to 0-7.
The last 0-5 of the opening had been scored by the Celtics and the momentum was clearly on their side when referee John Fitzpatrick threw in the ball to start the second half.
The Saints were first on the scoreboard on the restart from another McGovern free when Catalabianco struck again. The powerful full forward fielded well despite the close attentions of the Celtic full back, before turning and bulling his way goalward. Catalabiano’s blast left Celtic’s fine keeper Kevin McArdle no chance, and Barnabas were suddenly two goals clear.
CJ got a point back for Celtics, but then Catalabianco did it yet again. This time the Barnabas power forward settled under the high sideline ball launched by McGovern. Using his strength to ward off the defense, Catalabianco caught, turned and fired.
Moments later Catalabianco and McGovern combined to spring substitute Paddy Hallinan and the Barnabas U-16 fullback made the best of his chance, firing a fine goal.
That was essentially that as Barnabas wrapped up the 2005 U-18 New York Championship.
It is worth noting that with player supply from Ireland slowing to a trickle in the past couple of years, much lip service has been given to getting more Irish Americans, and indeed American players, involved at the senior level.
Despite some occasionally poor passing and shooting, the standard at this Minor final was very encouraging and if the New York GAA is serious about expanding the talent pool we should start seeing some of these young footballers showing up on junior and senior clubs in the very near future.
Man of the Match: Anthony Catalabianco.
St. Barnabas: Brian McGovern, Gerard Dunleavy, Joe Hallinan, Bobby Chambers, Greg Picchione, Gary Clancy, Tom Nelis, Brian Byrne, Nick Mestousis, Tom McGovern (0-6, 5 fr), Kyle Hannon , Tom Brady (0-2, 1 fr), Jack Hannon, Anthony Catalabianco (3-1), Chris McTiernan (0-1), Paddy Hallinan (1-0) Subs: Kevin Gibson, Bobby Chambers, Steve DeCastro, Michael Nardella.
Celtics: Kieran Patton, Kevin Hegarty, Chris O’Connor, Rory Creegan, Brian Hegarty (0-1), Kevin Purce, Shane O’Connor, Justin Friele, Brendan Gurrier, CJ Molloy (0-7, 5 fr), Chris McSweeney, Russell Gurnier, John Keegan, Daniel Tierney (0-3) Sub: Sean Tierney (1-0).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.
Galway finesse towards a win
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A strong finish sparked Galway to their first win of the 2005 season, putting their record at 1-1 at the expense of Waterford, who fell to 0-3. This match was played in ideal conditions, as the recent cool spell gave a break to players and spectators alike at Gaelic Park.
The early omens were good for Waterford, who were on the board after only 20 seconds when Roy Henley pointed after Keith Callanan earned the early free. Henley was in good form, particularly in the first half when his 0-7, all from frees, coupled with Jamie Duggan’s goal, paced Waterford in a 1-8 to 1-8 opening stanza.
Waterford’s chances took a blow in the 14th minute when their New York countyman Paul Murray went off with an injured nose. The Tribesmen have picked up a few former Clare players and former Limerick marksman Dave Simms.
Simms kept Galway in touch with four first half points while corner forward Eammon Jackman got on the end of a long free from Eoin Loughnane for Galway’s first half goal. Jackman and his fellow inside forward Cian Burke were keeping their markers busy, but Galway center back Dennis Gibbon was the one who was driving the Galway attack while also back boning their defense.
Galway opened the second half the quickest with a Dave Simms point after he was fouled following a dangerous run from Jackman. Jackman followed with an excellent point, but the stylish number 13 was just getting started.
With Burke teaming with Jackman and Simms and sub Liam Kilkenny doing good work from midfield, Galway were establishing control in this match.
First half Waterford sub Padraig Whelan pointed twice as Waterford tried to keep pace. Murray bravely returned to the fray although discretion may have been the better part of valor on this occasion.
Galway keeper Finbarr Flood frustrated Waterford’s comeback chances with a good save on Tom Cooper, while Jackman put the knife in with a fabulous goal.
After a long carry, Jackman neatly flipped the slithoar over Waterford keeper Ian Duggan, staking Galway to a 2-14 to 1-11 lead.
Henley, whose effectiveness had been blunted by Liam Kilkenny, contributed two frees to the Waterford cause, but the Deices were sunk when Jackman, after receiving a Kilkenny pass, left his marker in the dust and blistered his third goal, completing both his hat trick and capping Galway’s impressive victory.
Man of the Match: Eammon Jackman.
Galway: Finbarr Flood, Seamus Pender, Eamon Joyce, Gerard Greaney, Dennis Gibbon, Eion Loughnane, John Kennedy, Dinny Forde, Dave Simms (0-8. 6 fr), Shane Spellman, Sean Greaney (0-1), Cian Burke (0-3), Eammon Jackman (3-2), Subs: Liam Kilkenny (0-2), Damien Hynes.
Waterford: Ian Duggan, Ray Duggan, Mick Furlong, Tomas Maher, Robert Loughnane (0-1), Ken Geary, Roy Henley (0-9, all fr), Paul Murray, Billy Harte, Jamie Dugan (1-0), Tom Cooper, Joe Walsh, Keith Callanan Subs: Cian O’Connor, Noel Lonegran, Padraig Whelan (0-3), Aiden Sweeney.
Referee: Donie O’Sullivan.
Cavan undermines Mayo
Senior Football Div. A
Sunday’s SFA match between Cavan and Mayo was a case of the haves beating up on the have-nots.
Despite being without Barry Annette (who was out with a broken ankle) and Alan Carolan (also out injured), Cavan were able to bring quality players like Shane Russell and Brian McCormack off the bench, while Mayo are struggling to come up with the bare 15.
Mayo, last seasons’ SFB champions, are having to do without the likes of New York county center forward Robbie Moran as their first season in the top flight, and after a long, hard struggle to get there, continues to be a letdown.
The Breffni boys won’t have learned a lot about themselves from this facile victory but they have assembled a strong side in the wake of last season’s controversial finish. On Sunday Paul Crossan was a very effective wing back, Dave “Rooster” Rooney continues to establish himself as one of the top center backs in New York. Sean Lordan and Cormac Kelly formed a very effective midfield partnership and the front six, eight including McCormack and Russell, was consistent dangerous.
Man of the Match: J.P. Smith.
Cavan: Kieran Traynor, James McIntyre, Thomas Pierce, Steve Maloney, Paul Crossan, Dave Rooney, (0-1) Dennis McCarthy, Sean Lordan (0-2) Cormac Kelly, (0-1) Colm Shannon, (0-2) J.P. Smith, (0-5,3f) Colm Fitzpatrick, (0-2) Declan Fitzpatrick, (0-1) Paddy Smith, (1-2) Fergal Shannon. (0-2) Subs: Brian McCormack (0-2) Shane Russell .
Mayo: Gary Staunton, Malachy McHugh, Vincent Nally, Emmett Cooney, Brian Montgomery, Dave Colleran, (0-1) Joe Neary, James Prenty, Alan O’Hara, Liam McDonald, Robert Boyd, Thomas Reilly, (1-0) Donald McIntyre, Michael Kilroy (0-1) Allan McGuire, (0-2, 2f).