Philadelphia GAA Men's Football News
By Peter McDermott
Sunday, June 24. The Saint Pat's Club lifted the second piece of available silverware in Philadelphia men's Gaelic football–the Jim Harvey Memorial League Cup–by a scoreline of 3-12 to 0-11. Jim Harvey was from Donegal Town, and was a great ambassador of the games here in Philadelphia. When his name is mentioned, it is with reference and respect by all that knew him.
Saint Pat's led at the half over the Young Irelands by a score of 1-05 to 0-07, the minimum. The Young Irelands weren't getting a ton of scoring opportunities, but when they were available, they were slotting them over. With just 20 minutes gone, the Young Irelands were reduced to 12, after Referee Joe McGinn displayed the red card. Young Irelands put six points on the board before registering their first wide of the day. They would finish the half with just two wides. Scores came off of Declan Gormley, Patrick O'Hara, Martin Curran, and Sean McTernan.
Saint Pat's was struggling to convert their fluid play into scores during that first half, kicking five wides and lobbing two gifts straight into the keeper, Shane Callaghan's hands. It was near the short whistle with 27 minutes gone that Stevie Robinson sent the size five into the back of the net, putting just a point between them. Scores came off of Ciaran Porter, Stevie Robinson, and Lee Moore.
The second half resumed and both clubs couldn't find the target as shots were sailing just outside the posts. Both clubs made adjustments and the shooting improved. Young Irelands kept matters close till the 45-minute mark, but signs of fatigue were starting to show. The man advantage was starting to open the cracks in the Young Ireland's façade. The loss of workhorse, Adrian Mark, to injury only compounded their problems.
Midfielder Lesley Stevenson was thrown onto the top of the 20-meter line to create havoc for the Saint Pat's backline. The demand was there but the supply of ball was scarce. Instead of dropping balls into the Big Man via express airmail, they were going in 3-day ground parcel and to the wrong address. Then, they tried forcing balls into closed corridors that should have been popped over the bar.
High tide was coming, and the flooding started. Liam O'Donnell got loose inside the large parallelogram, but was denied by Shane Callaghan. Moments later, Lee Moore slipped inside his Defender, but his shot was also turned away for a 45 meter kick. The 45 was beautifully converted by Matt Crossan, with plenty to spare. That point was the beginning of the end.
The next time Liam O'Donnell got away from his marker, his shot was stopped again; very uncharacteristic based on past performances from “OD.” Shortly thereafter, Lee Moore pointed from play with his back to the uprights. American- born Conor Canavan, never left his side; but whenever Moore did find the space, he usually converted. The next ball came into Lee Moore and with a bit of dummying and sidestepping he was all alone with only Keeper Callaghan to beat. Callaghan had no option but to pull him down, and the ensuing penalty was converted by Moore. Another fine 45 from Matt Crossan, and Liam O'Donnell wasn't to be denied again, as his third time was the charm for a goal. Scores for Saint Pat's came from John Docherty, Ciaran Greene, Lee Moore, Liam O'Donnell, Stevie Robinson, and Matt Crossan.
Up next Sunday, is the Kevin McCartan Memorial Tournament Cup, which will be a Seven-a-Side Format. Most would put the Favorites Tag on the Saint Pat's Club, but within days the landscape of these teams could and will change.
Just a fortnight away from the start of the championship, and over 3 weeks to acquire the outside help before the July 20 deadline; those who have help coming will be welcoming it with open arms.
Predictions? I'll respectfully decline. We all know Saint Pat's will most likely be adding a few more, including a
new keeper (no disrespect intended, Mr. Cannon). The Kevin Barrys have a couple landed and it's rumored that there's more coming shortly. Young Irelands must add to their panel, after this day’s final.
Saint Pat's have scored 11 goals in the last two games. Any opposing clubs ringing for players, you may want to try for a couple of backs.
Monday, June 25 Those familiar colors have been making an Appearance at the Gaelic Field adjacent to the shuttered Cardinal Dougherty High School during the last four (4) weekends. The Green & Gold of Tir Chonaill, repackaged as the Saint Patrick's Gaelic Football Club.
Over the past couple years, the club redirected their focus on a rebuilding process centered around a youth program, which was composed of mostly American-born players. However, the calendar has changed, and so has the face of this club. Their selection of sanction players and the return of other players are making a lot of noise within the Philadelphia GAA.
On Sunday, June 10, their gifted American-born players lifted the Bill Drake Memorial League Cup, with a win over the Philadelphia Éire Óg boys. I'm sure that piece of hardware became well acquainted with a majority of the finest spirits in Jack Quinn's Lamplighter Tavern.
Then on Sunday, June 24, in the Jim Harvey Memorial Cup League fixture, Saint Pat's pummeled a depleted Kevin Barrys team by a score of 8-15 to 1-05; to advance to the final.
Sunday July 8 Since the Jim Harvey Cup Final, Saint Patrick's have added a big man between the posts to protect the house, Ryan Monteith. Young Ireland's picked up a cornerback in Niall McQuillan, a wing halfback in Caolan Haughey, and a dangerous forward in Patrick Quinn. Would it be enough?
Young Ireland's jumped out of the gate with some good ball work, trying to pump balls into Patrick Quinn, Patrick O'Hara, and Luke Coyle. David Doyle, Ciaran Greene, Paul Butcher, and Patrick Kennedy did well for Saint Patrick's in cutting off the incoming supply. Quinn had trouble turning his defender. Unable to get inside, he slotted over a marvelous point from the most acute of angles; well inside the 20-meter line and over near the sideline.
Monteith's kickouts were massive, falling out of the sky, when needed; or sent as long, sharp passes when midfield was congested. Quinn looked like he was going to completely torture Saint Patrick's when he hammered the ball, low and hard, on Monteith's short side for a goal. Saint Patrick's management switched a couple markers in front of Quinn, rather than suffocating him, and the moves worked. Declan Gormley and Patrick O'Hara also added nice scores for the Young Ireland's. Scores for Saint Patrick's came off Stevie Robinson, Liam O'Donnell, Lee Moore and Ciaran Porter. Two-point advantage to the Young Ireland's.
Young Ireland's 1-05 to Saint Patrick's 0-06
The second half started under the assumption that the Saint Patrick's squad must have received an earful at the half, as they seemed to sharpen up between the 45s. Saint Patrick's began to attack from the halfback line of Doyle, Greene and John Doherty, who were fed from balls cleaned up by the two cornerbacks, Butcher and Kennedy. Lee Moore, Robinson, and O'Donnell took some good points for Saint Patrick's. The highlight reel of the game came when Lee Moore served up a gem straight onto the laces of Robinson, which he volleyed one-time into the back of the net. The gift-wrapping was done by the Craigbane forward, leaving his Ballerin counterpart only to stick a bow on it. Young Ireland's managed another point, but couldn't get the equalizer. Tough loss for the Red and Black.
Saint Patrick's • 3-10 to Young Ireland's • 1-12
Up Next in Division I Men's Football, Sunday, July 15: the Young Ireland's hope to bounce back against the Kevin Barry's. The Barrys have been sitting and watching patiently, since June 17.. They have added Stephen Slater, Paul Johnston, Stephen Shannon, David McGarrity, Francis McCrudden, Conor McClelland, Patrick Fox, Conall Duffy, Ger O'Sullivan, and Dean McNally, thus far. Paperwork is rumored in the pipeline for Stefan McKenna, and Peter Mallon.
Young Ireland's will add at least Kevin Davey to the lineup.