Long Island Gaels 2-15
As it is 25 years since their last triumph, the Galway hurling club in New York will be enjoying this particular win for many weeks to come after a splendid performance that saw them end that long wait in style in Gaelic Park on Sunday.
The Galway club have endured a tough time in recent years and certainly had to work for their championship win over a gallant Long Island Gaels side. In truth, though, the Tribesmen controlled this game for long periods and were certainly worth their 6-point winning margin.
The game started off at a blistering pace with Clara man Keith Hogan posting two long-range frees to put the Gaels two points ahead after three minutes. However, this was to be the last time the Gaels would lead the game and within three minutes Conor Cooney had the Tribesmen in front with a goal and a point in quick succession. Tadgh Haran posted another point for Galway before a Lee Chin point and a further brace from Cooney left Galway 1-06 to 0-2 points up after 15 minutes. Keith Hogan responded for the shell shocked Gaels with three further frees but he could do little to prevent the onslaught and by half time Galway had three further points from Cooney as well as scores from Brian Glynn, Robbie Jackson and Haran with only an additional Hogan free in reply for the Gaels to leave the half time score Long Island 0-6 Galway 1-11.
Eight points down at the half, the Gaels to their credit responded well in the second half and early scores from O'Dwyer and David Burke gave them a lifeline but it wasn't to be with Tadgh Haran in particular in sensational form for John Kelly's men posting 1-03 in the second half, his goal in particular leaving the game beyond doubt with 12 minutes still to play. Further Galway points from Jackson, Harte, Trevor Vaughan and a superb goal from Wexford man Lee Chin put the icing on the cake while the Gaels responded through points from Jack Skelly, Hogan, Conor Gough and Tadgh Slevin and consolation goals from Skelly and O'Dwyer reflected the effort the Gaels put in over the 60 minutes but it mattered little in the end as the game was all but over with 10 minutes to go.
For the Gaels there were too few big performances on the day though Keith Hogan, Skelly and Matt Keating did give their utmost to the cause. There were performances all over the field to pick from for the tribesmen with Brendan Bugler, Conor Cooney and Tadgh Haran the stars on show on the field Jackson, Chin and Cohen also made huge contributions but in this authors opinion the Most Valuable Person in the cause today was Clontusker's own John Kelly without whom there would be no Galway hurling club given the Trojan work the man has put into the club over the last number of decades.
As the final whistle blew the emotion was clear for all to see and hear with a huge cheer from the crowd the biggest cheer reserved for the man himself, John Kelly the Stalwart of the the Galway hurling club who captain Robbie Jackson paid particular tribute to in his victory speech.
Galway: Richie Gaule, David Healy, Johnny Cohen, Aidan Harte (0-1) Brendan Bugler, Ciaran Hoyne, Liam Butler, Lee Chin (1-01) Robbie Jackson (0-2) Conor Cooney (1-05) Tadgh Haran (1-04) Brian Glynn (0-1) James Nolan (0-1) subs Aaron Farrell, Trevor Vaughan (0-1) Con Butler , Thomas Foley, Alan Joyce, Rob Lowery, Johnny Power, Gary Brownan.
Long Island Gaels: Ray Murray, Cian Morris, Luke Mullaly, Matt Keating, Conor Lynam, Barry Mulligan, Tadgh Callagahan, Conor Gough (0-1), Jack Shelly (1-1), Keith Hogan (0-8) David Kenny, David Burke (0-1) Ryan O'Dwyer (1-1). Subs Cian Hayes, Danny Breen, Danny Masterson, Jake McMahon, Cleon Murtagh, Tadgh Slevin.
With additional reporting by Simon Gillespie.