Category: Archive

NY GAA: Westmeath and Cavan draw it even

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Sunday’s exciting Senior A Football match between Cavan and Westmeath ended in controversy when Ciaran Walsh’s late, late point leveled the match.
The job of refereeing in New York can be a thankless one and this column is loath to criticizing anyone who takes on the challenge, and the abuse that all too often comes with the job. Few men gave put themselves in the middle of the fray as often as Tommy Fahey has over the years, but on Sunday, he blew it.
Cavan were clinging to a one-point lead after three points on the trot had given the Blues a 1-12 to 2-8 lead. Substitute Alan Carollan’s fine pass set up Colin Shannon for an outstanding point with less than four minutes left, putting Cavan on top for only the second time in the match.
Now Cavan had to hang on as Westmeath threw everything into the attack, fighting to get at least a share of the spoils from a match they could have long sewn up, but for some brutal marksmanship. It looked good for the Breffni boys when Westmeath wasted a chance by kicking a sideline ball right back over the sideline, but it wasn’t over yet.
Westmeath launched one last desperate attack, floating a long high ball into the Cavan backline. Westmeath’s Ciaran Walsh positioned himself to field but just before, or perhaps just as he caught the ball, the Gaelic Park buzzer sounded loud and clear, meaning game over.
Walsh caught, turned and fired a curling shot just inside the upright, but the horn had sounded and the match was finished. Having nothing to lose, Westmeath appealed. The referee and his umpires conferred and incredibly the point was awarded and Westmeath had been gifted a draw.
Cavan were incensed and let it be known, while Westmeath left quickly looking for all the world like the cat that swallowed the canary.
In truth, Westmeath could have salted this match away after getting a dream start from a first minute penalty. Streaking midfielder Vinny Gavin was taken down in the square just moments after the throw in to start the match and his fellow Down man Niall McArdle calmly put Westmeath up a goal.
Westmeath appeared to be overmatched at the start, their empty bench standing in sharp contrast to a Cavan side that boasted the likes of Carollan and Shane Russell in reserve. But that early peno helped keep favored Cavan at bay even as Westmeath were weakened when Walsh pulled up lame. With no relief on the sideline “Wiggie” had little choice but to stay in the match and after extensive treatment at the half he was fatefully moved into the full forward line.
Westmeath were getting a huge performance from Keith Hennessey, while Peter Dalton and midfielder Vinny Gavin also stood out.
Cavan weren’t firing on all cylinders and never really did except in short spurts. Westmeath led 1-4 to 0-5 at the half and after conceding an opening point to full forward Ryan McCormack, they struck back with a great goal. Sean Roche and Derek Costello combined to feed Hennessey who raced through the Cavan defense before blasting an outstanding goal.
Cavan had a lot of trouble getting the New York county corner forward Paddy Smith involved, but when they did get him the ball he was lethal. A point and then a goal when Smith wrong footed the keeper soon leveled the match and only five minutes of the second half had elapsed.
A McArdle free put Westmeath back in front but Cavan took their first lead when the second of JP Smith’s consecutive frees floated over the lathe. Westmeath fought back with points from Gavin, Costello, and Brian Murphy and it looked like the Lake County side would not be punished for their poor shooting.
But Cavan fought back. The Shannons, Colm, and Fergal were in the middle of it as was Thomas Pierce with his Aussie Rules style jersey and Dave Rooney. Cavan went ahead and it looked like they had done enough. Then came “Buzzergate”, a draw, and a brewing controversy.
Man of the Match: Keith Hennessey.
Cavan: Kieran Traynor, Steven Maloney, Thomas Pierce, James McIntyre, Paul Crossan, David Rooney, Dennis McCarthy, Sean Lordon, Cormac Kelly, Colm Fitzpatrick, JP Smith (0-5, 4 fr), Colm Shannon (0-2), Fergal Shannon, Ryan McCormick (0-2), Paddy Smyth (1-3) Subs: Shane Russell, Alan Carollan.
Westmeath: Brian Donnellan, Jim Flynn, Peter Dalton, David Bailie, Ciaran Walsh (0-1), Pat Coyne, Sean Roche (0-1), Brian Murphy (0-1), Vinny Gavin (0-1), Justin O’Halloran, Keith Hennessey (1-1), Tom Quinn, Sean Collins, Nial McArdle (1-2, 1-1 fr), Derek Costello (0-2).
Referee: Tom Fahey.

Barnabas shake Armagh

Senior Football Div. A

St. Barnabas 2-9 Armagh 0-8

Two well-timed goals staked St. Barnabas to the win over Armagh in Sunday’s opening match at Gaelic Park. Armagh entered undefeated and with St. Barnabas’s reputation well established as one of New York’s finest JFA sides, it figured to be an attractive curtain raiser.
Ronan Garvey opened the scoring for the Saints with a sweetly struck free off the ground two-and-a-half minutes in, and Garvey’s skillful display would be a difference maker in this match.
Both teams were shorthanded, with Armagh sorely missing Garreth Kelly, who sat out the first half before checking in early in the second. Armagh couldn’t afford to keep the dynamic Kelly on the sidelines, leg injury or not. Barnabas had several familiar names absent from their team sheet, including Pat Lyons and Sean Carbin, as the holiday weekend took its toll.
Garreth Campbell was first on the board for Armagh as they equalized. Then the small group of early attendees were treated to two bits of magic from Ronan Garvey. First the New York county man freed himself with a sidestep before launching a high looping shot that sailed over the bar from 50 yards.
Then Garvey went highest to field the ensuing kickout. When Garvey touched down, he spotted Tom Flynn behind the defense and hit him with a picture perfect 40-yard pass, a long accurate pass being his trademark.
Armagh keeper Dermot O’Sullivan bailed out Armagh, stopping Kelly’s effort and the Orchard County were soon back on level terms via a Kieran Traynor point. That score sparked an Armagh revival, and it looked briefly as if they would run St. Barnabas off the pitch.
Armagh’s skillful corner forward Damien McAnn kept it going when his fine pass placed fellow corner man Aiden Dolan, who drew the foul, which he duly pointed. Midfielder Declan Sheeran followed with a very good point and Armagh went 0-3 up after Collie Fearon’s clearing pass started a field length move that finished with an outstanding point from McAnn.
Then Ronan Garvey took off on a long run and his point against the run of play gave Barnabas life with 12 minutes still to play in the first half. A Garvey free cut another point from the deficit and then suddenly the Saints were back in front. Dave Garvey, partnering brother Ronan in the middle of the park, sent in a long ball that broke in the Armagh goalmouth. Tom Flynn got a boot to it and Barnabas went ahead 1-4 to 0-5.
O’Halloran pointed to open the second half, but Armagh weren’t finished. McAnn scored a good one after Shane Lyons made it happen. Then Traynor unveiled the seldom used left foot for a point and Armagh were back within 0-1.
That’s when Ronan Garvey struck again. Garvey’s pass put the ball in Terrence Flynn’s chest from 40 yards with just one defender back. Flynn shook free with a nice sidestep, and coolly took his goal try.
Armagh were shaken but they rebounded well and began to take over the match, but could not convert their chances. Poor shooting and passing did them in and they began to let their frustration with referee Tom Darby interfere with their play, arguing his decisions, only to see the ball moved forward time after time.
Then O’Halloran cheekily went for goal from 35 yards, forcing O’Sullivan to put it over for a Barnabas point. Armagh’s last real chance came when Traynor was robbed pointblank by St. Barnabas keeper Barry Lynch. Armagh’s frustrations finally boiled over when full back Lee Kelly got the line for dissent and Barnabas had the win.
Man of the Match: Ronan Garvey.
St. Barnabas: Barry Lynch, Brian Montgomery, Chris McAleer, Andrew Donoghue, Brian Kelly, Eddie Greenan, Pat Flynn, Dave Garvey, Ronan Garvey (0-5, 3 fr), Terrence Flynn (1-1), Paddy Reddington, Thomas Flynn (1-0), Joe Gallagher, Dave O’Halloran (0-3), Thomas McGovern.
Armagh: Dermot O’Sullivan, Peter McKeown, Lee Kelly, Gary Shannon, Eoin McPartland, Collie Fearon, Paul McGuiness, Shane Lyons, Declan Sheeran (0-1), Garreth Campbell (0-1), Kieran Traynor (0-2), Tony McCall, Damien McAnn (0-2), Pat Maguire, Aiden Dolan (0-1, fr) Sub: Garreth Kelly (0-1, fr).
Referee: Tom Darby.

Offaly slip by Kilkenny/NJ combo

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Senior Hurling

Offaly 3-15 Kilkenny/New Jersey 3-14

Offaly pipped Kilkenny/New Jersey at the post when Kieran Bergin’s free beat the buzzer in Sunday’s thrilling Senior hurling feature. A sizeable crowd had made their way to Gaelic Park on this July 4th weekend by the start of this match and they were treated to a good one.
Reports of the demise of hurling in New York appear to have been somewhat premature. Instead, it seems that the six remaining clubs have solidified their base. A look at the number and the quality of subs at all the hurling matches played so far this season is a very encouraging sign.
After a quick start by the Combo that yielded a two-point lead inside a minute via Kevin Corbett and free taker extraordinaire David Greene, Offaly scored the next five points. After the Leinster semi-final debacle, the Faithful added recent Kilkenny panelist Sean Dowling in a case of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and it was soon proved a smart strategy. The center forward notched one point each from play and a free on his way to four first half points before injury limited his effectiveness in the second half.
Corbett and Greene kept Kilkenny/NJ in touch and by the break the sides were level. Six first-half points by Greene, included 0-5 from frees. Greene’s unusual free taking ritual, including bending his hurl until is seemed liable to snap, was painstakingly slow, but highly effective.
Halftime was one of the five times these sides were level and it is to the Jersey Cats’ credit that they never let Offaly pull away. Offaly led by as many as five points on three occasions and on the last when substitute Shane Cunningham’s goal made it 3-14 to 2-12 with only four minutes to play, the Combo looked finished.
Instead, Ronan Sheedy sparked a revival that just fell short. For Sheedy it was an unusual day. Normally Sheedy starts at the center of the defense but on this afternoon Sheedy found himself on the bench. Then when he did check into the match, it was in the forwards, not his usual defensive role.
Sheedy wasted little time getting involved. His 18th minute goal, after Greene’s free had been saved by Cathal Bergin, had brought the Combo within 2-12 to 2-10.
Now Sheedy earned a free and with the clock ticking down Greene went for goal. Again the Offaly defensive wall refused to yield and Kilkenny/NJ settled for a Denis McCarthy point.
Then another Combo sub Conor Griffin fed Sheedy after a great run. Sheedy fired a rasper, forcing Alan Gleason to pull off a magnificent save, with the ball going over for a point.
Gleason saved again, this time from Nicky Kenny and again Sheedy was fouled after gathering the rebound. With two minutes left, Greene’s blast found a crease and shook the twines and the sides were level.
Offaly scrambled desperately for one last try and Gleason’s long puck out resulted in an Offaly free. Kieran Bergin had impressed all game, first at half forward and then at midfield, and now the match was his to win. It was never in doubt as Bergin fired over the black spot, breaking Combo’s hearts and clinching a thriller for Offaly.
Man of the Match: Kieran Bergin.
Offaly: Alan Gleason, Matt Mitchell, Paul Murphy (0-1), Brian Delaney, Enda Condren, Aidrian Guinan (0-1, fr), Fergal Phelan (0-1), Leon Donegan , Kieran Bergin (1-3, 1 fr), Sean Dowling (1-4, 1 fr), Cathal Curtin (0-3), Geroid Keough (0-1), Colin White (0-1) Subs: Ed Flynn, Shane Cunningham (1-0), Niall Marshall.
Kilkenny/New Jersey: Don Ryan, Tom Giltinane, Matt Fitzgerald, John Slattery, Tadgh Healy, Robert Conlon, Declan Corbett (1-2, 1 fr), David Greene (1-8, 1-7 fr), Dess Brennan, Cathal McKeever (0-2), Nicky Kenny, Denis McCarthy (0-1) Subs: Ronan Sheedy (1-1), Conor Griffin.
Referee: John Hennessey.

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