By Frank Brady
GALWAY 2-13 NEW YORK 0-12
In the previews and run up to this game, few with this writer included gave New York much chance of being a major obstacle to Galway in the first round of the Connacht championship. However, as it transpired, the Big Apple footballers troubled the Tribesmen right to the very end, though the scoreboard hardly indicated that. Just as in Irish history, the outcome might have been different it if hadn't snowed in Kinsale so also the outcome of this game might have been different if New York had not been reduced to thirteen men for much of the second half. However "if" can be a very big word and the ill discipline certainly hampered New York's chance in an otherwise very gritty performance against their much more vaunted opponents. New York went on the attack from the throw-in but failed to convert the opening chances.
Galway's first attack was much more productive after Nickey Joyce was fouled out on the left wing. He quickly took the free to Gary Sice who flicked it to Pauric Joyce. The veteran forward dummied and put the ball in the net with consummate ease as the New York defense were ball watching. Despite it being a devastating blow for the home team, they didn't panic. New York continued to attack in the opening minutes but recorded three wides before Johnny Murtagh pointed after Damien Burke fouled. After eleven minutes, Galway's first point came from a Nickey Joyce free after Aidan Power was harshly judged for over carrying. A minute later, Dan Doona struck his first point, a spectacular effort from the right wing with Ronan Caffrey and Benny O'Reilly involved in the lead up to it. Galway now appeared to be slipping into their groove with Pauric Joyce causing plenty of problems for New York. A quick free from Joe Bergin ended with Joyce's first point from play and he would end the day with a tally of 1-6. With thirteen minutes gone, the football proceedings were interrupted as referee Condon gave yellow cards to Pat Madden and Niall Coleman; indeed Madden was fortunate not to get marching orders as his yellow was immediately followed by a tick. Galway remained on the offensive as the two Joyces linked up well for Pauric to fire over. Three minutes later, Nickey Joyce had Galway's next score as he finished off a very well-worked movement involving Bergin and Eoin Concannon. Just as Galway seemed to be pulling away, Joe Bell stepped up to fire over from long range after good support work by Doona and Brendan McGourty. A minute later, Murtagh split the posts with a "forty-five".
When play switched, Pauric Joyce was on target again when he had Galway's last score of the half. For the remainder of the period, New York had the edge as they took control of the middle. Doona sent over a sideline ball, while Murtagh punished for a foul on Jason Kelly. Then just before the short whistle, Adrian O'Connor sent in a long ball to Benny O'Reilly who quickly turned and fired over when he also might have opted for a goal. Galway led by 1-5 to 7 points at the break.
On the restart, a deep run by Gary Sice ended with a foul and a point from a free by Pauric Joyce. However Adrian O'Connor replied as he capitalized on good support play by Murtagh and O'Hara. A minute later, Sice finished a nice move after a give and go with substitute Matthew Clancy. New York's next attack had Galway's defense in trouble as a long ball from Madden bobbled hither and tither on the goal line before Finian Hanley cleared it to safety. With seven minutes gone, another spectacular and inspiring point from Doona left just a point between the sides as Galway appeared to struggle at midfield along with the oppressive heat and the tenacious tackling of New York.
Joyce edged Galway two in front before he was uncharacteristically off target with a close in free. With thirteen minutes gone, Madden picked up his second yellow and left the game. His teammates picked up the slack as a good move involving Benny O'Reilly and Lonan Maguire ended with another pointed free from Murtagh. Further misfortune befell New York midway as Murtagh picked up his second yellow for a foolish late hit on Thomas Fahy. It was a double whammy as Joyce pointed the resultant free plus the deficit was now at two points with a two-man shortage. Two minutes late, a foul and dissent led to another Nickey Joyce point. New York kept battling as Doona pointed after a good run by O'Connor was impeded. The tit-for-tat nature continued as Joyce replied for Galway. New York came right back with a point as Donna floated another fine effort after O'Connor carried the ball deep from defense.
With three minutes of injury time added, New York were just two points adrift. They surged forward frantically searching for late scores to tie up or perhaps win the game that most deemed highly improbable if not impossible a week ago. However lack of numbers at the rear allowed substitutes Cormac Bane and Matthew Clancy to hit points in injury time while Bane finished off with a goal as the final whistle sounded. Galway escaped with the win, though as their selector Sean O'Domhnaill noted, it was a poor performance. He added that they failed to follow their game plan and were just not physical enough. Indeed he was quite candid by saying that he felt sorry for New York as the sending offs were extremely costly and the late scores added a veneer of respectability to a scoreboard.
The New York performance, though coming up short, certainly did wonders to put pride back in the New York jersey, and they certainly proved many of their critics wrong, including this one. They battled wholeheartedly, despite the oppressive heat and humidity, and played intelligent possession-type football as the circumstances dictated. However they will rue the lost opportunity for a monumental upset as ill discipline certainly was a major contributing factor in the end; especially when this aspect of the performance was totally within their control. However, in this instance, it's better to see the glass as partially full rather than almost empty.
Galway: Eoin O'Conghaile, Kieran Fitzgerald, Finian Hanley, Alan Burke, Diarmuid Blake, Gary O'Donnell, Damien Burke, Barry Cullinane, Niall Coleman, Gary Sice (0-1), Fiachra Brealhnach, Joe Bergin, Eoin Concannon, Padraig Joyce (1-6), Nickey Joyce (0-4)
Subs: Cormac Bane (1-1), Matthew Clancy (0-1), Thomas Fahy, Danny Cummins
New York: Pa Ryan, Colin McCarron, Brendan McGourty, Lonan Maguire, Alan Raftery, Aidan Power, Joe Bell (0-1), Pat Madden, Adrian O'Connor (0-1), Jason Kelly, Paul O'Hara, John Murtagh (0-4), Benny O'Reilly (0-1), Dan Doona (0-5), Ronan Caffrey
Subs: Kevin McGeeney, James Moynagh, Jason Killeen, Ross Donovan
[PHOTO BY PETER MARNEY: Galway's Niall Coleman and Adrian O'Connor of New York compete for the ball at Gaelic Park.]
Man of the Match: Dan Doona
Referee: Maurice Condon (Waterford)
The Ladies Railway Cup competition was a highly entertaining curtain raiser with goals a plenty. The Ulster/Connacht combination started impressively with Emma Clarke, Colleen Jordan (2), and Joanne McKenna hitting early points. After eight minutes, Sarah Rowley opened Leinster/Munster's account after linking up well with Courtney Traynor and Jemma Mahoney. However Ulster/Connacht continued to attack with Clarke, Jordan, McKenna, and Sharon Brady combining for five points. Just when it appeared the rout was on, the O'Rourkes, Molly and Mary, hit a brace of points before Linda McKeon buried a great goal after a good pass from Molly O'Rourke. Straight from the kick out, McKeon and O'Rourke reversed roles to score another goal. A late goal by Carlene O'Callaghan left the Ulster/Connacht comb leading by 1-10 to 2-3 at the break.
On the restart, a goal from a penalty by Mary O'Rourke after Molly was fouled left just a point between the subs. Some great saves by Vickey Powers kept Leinster/Munster from going ahead. Then goals from Catriona Brady and Colleen Jordan put the Ulster/Connacht squad well in front. Both sides traded scores for the remainder of the game with Jordan, McKenna, Britton, Callaghan, and O'Reilly being the main flag raisers for Ulster/Connacht while the O'Rourkes, Dwyer, Rowley, and Mahoney kept Leinster/Munster in the contest to the final whistle.
Ulster/Connacht: Vickey Powers, Niamh Britton (0-1), Joanne Monaghan, Rosie O'Reilly (0-1), Charlene O'Callaghan (2-2), Michelle Brennan, Catriona Brady (1-1), Sharon Brady (0-1), Emma Clarke (0-5), Joanne McKenna (1-4), Colleen Jordan (2-2)
Leinster/Munster: Imelda Mullarkey, Stephany Tierney, Kelly Roach, Courtney Traynor, Aine Dwyer (1-0), Linda McKeon (1-0), Sarah Rowley (0-2), Mary O'Rourke (1-1), Molly O'Rourke (2-3), Jemma Mahoney (0-1)
Referee: Eugene Kyne
KERRY/DONEGAL 1-14 NA FIANNA 2-9
These two great rivals from last season served up a very exciting game on Saturday evening. Na Fianna were early on the attack as Kelly McCormack crashed a great shot off the crossbar with Allison Traynor and Brianna Tierney involved in the build-up. Catriona Brady had the opening score for Kerry/Donegal while Molly O'Rourke replied two minutes later for Na Fianna. Kerry/Donegal had plenty of possession but failed to advance the scoreboard. Aine Dwyer pushed Na Fianna ahead with a good assist from Michelle Brennan. A good counter attack by Kelly Roach and Ali Kelly ended with a foul on Denise Dunnion but Catriona Brady failed to convert. However Charlene O'Callaghan leveled up and Dunnion pushed her team ahead as she finished off a good move involving Michelle McVann and Catriona Brady. Brianna Tierney quickly restored parity after Molly O'Rourke did the grafting. The tit-for-tat nature continued as Dunnion fired over courtesy of a timely interception by Brady. Midway Na Fianna struck for a major as Mary O'Rourke goaled after Molly and Imelda Mullarkey did the support work. Na Fianna added another point but the accurate Dunnion hit three in a row to level up with five minutes left. Na Fianna finished strongly as a strong run by Allison Traynor ended in a foul and a score while Molly O'Rourke also pointed for a foul on namesake Mary. Na Fianna led by 1-6 to 7 points at the break.
Kerry/Donegal continued to dominate territorially but wasted several chances. Molly O'Rourke and Allison Traynor tacked on two for Na Fianna while a Kelly Roach point left a goal between the sides. Midway a timely interception by Cathleen Enright set up Dunnion for a goal. A minute later, she had the lead but a good move involving Kelly McCormack and Joanne McKenna ended with a Molly O'Rourke point to level the game again. Now Kerry/Donegal became much more fruitful with their possession as they hit three points in the next five minutes, Dunnion had two and defender Britton one. However once again Na Fianna produced a major strike as Molly O'Rourke goaled to tie the game and enhance the tension. Kerry/Donegal kept their composure and their defense tight as a Dunnion point put them ahead after a great run by Ali Kelly. Kelly availed of the last score herself while a late attack by Na Fianna was cleared form the danger zone by Michelle McVann to ensure her team's victory and to conclude a very exciting and sporting game.
Kerry/Donegal: Benny Tuohy, Niamh Britton (0-1), Aoife Gibson, Cathleen Enright, Ali Kelly (0-1), Anita McKenna, Cathleen Hickey, Catriona Brady (0-1), Michelle McVann, Thea Clarke, Kelly Roach, Charlene O'Callaghan (0-1), Ger Doheny, Denise Dunnion (1-9), D. Kennedy
Subs: Siobhan Green, Loretta Duffy, Colett McElligiot
Na Fianna: Nora McGrail, Jessie Garcia, Catriona Lynch, Ashley Brophy, Shannon Sallane, Stephenie Tierney (0-1), Imelda Mullarkey, Aine Dwyer (0-1), Michelle Brennan, Allison Traynor (0-1), Molly O'Rourke (2-6), Briana Tierney, Kelly McCormack, Mary O'Rourke, Jeanine Ryan
Subs: Joanne McKenna, Ali Wheway
Player of the Game: Denise Dunnion
Referee: Dean O'Connor
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
1:00 Mayo v. Rangers (KO)
2:30 Astoria v. Brooklyn/LI (KO)
4:00 Cork v. Donegal (KO)
5:30 Down v. Cavan (KO)