Match Report: June 1, 2014
Ominous skies and a worrisome weather report hung over the launch of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club’s inaugural city hurling league. But the players arrived in force, the pitch was prepared, and the historical event went off in brilliant form.
After a league rules seminar by club chairman, Johnny “Sticks” Watson, opening ceremonies were underway. Introductions were made, and then as if ordered by Cú Chulainn himself, the clouds let loose, and the rain began to fall. The incomparable design team of Timothy Ryan Buckley and Grant Shelton Gill received thanks and gifts for their hard work on the jerseys and club crest.
With a proper rain now coming down, guest of honor, Roger Ryan from the Blackrock National Hurling Club in Co. Cork, Ireland, threw in the ceremonial first ball to NGAC club founders Anji Wall and John Watson. The humidity reminded us we were in Middle Tennessee, but the rain, and Roger’s presence, made us feel like we were at Croke Park preparing to play in the All Ireland!
Three teams warmed up and prepared to take on the day. The light blue/navy “Blue Notes,” the navy/gold “Ports,” and the white/red “Leesiders” would each play two 30-minute matches. Up first were the Ports and Blue Notes.
With the rain still falling steadily, the Ports and the Blue Notes took to the pitch in the first ever hurling match in Nashville, TN. Captain Corbett Ouellette’s Ports, in their navy and gold kits, were first to strike with a cracking goal. Blue Notes’ captain Aaron Joley kept his team focused and the assembled crowd were treated to a great half, all be it a wet and low scoring half. Rain moved out of the area during the second half, and the scoring opened up. The match proved to be a great opener for the club’s new Sunday tradition. Final score: 2-3 (9) to 2-1 (7) in favor of the Ports.
Coming off that first win, the Ports took on the Leesiders in the second match of the day. Captain Grant Gill’s team looked fantastic in the red and white of Co. Cork as both teams took to the field. The Ports were first to strike when Johnny “Sticks” Watson left Nick Chamberlain unmarked, costing the Leesiders an early point in the contest. The fit feet of the Ports kept the pressure on through the first half, leaving the Leesiders with huge deficit going into the second half. With inspirational words, captain Gill motivated his troops, and the second half was better for the team in white. Unfortunately for the Leesiders, scores would not come. In the end, Captain Ouellette’s Ports crushed the Leesiders 4-3 (15) to 2 goals (6).
The now tired legs of the Leesiders remained on the pitch to take on the Blue Notes in the final match of the day. Captain Gill’s crew, having learned from their first match, reorganized a came out swinging. With the sun now shining, both teams put on a fantastic display of the ancient game. In goals for the match, Peace Corps man, CS Kamerzell, was put to the test, but rose to the challenge, making some spectacular saves. It was clear that both teams came to play as the ball moved around the field with spectacular precision, but in the end, the lethal combination of former MTSU club mates, Timothy Ryan Buckley and Jamie Norris, proved too much for the Leesiders. Final score 5-3 (18) to 3-3 (12)
The day was a great start for what is sure to become a long tradition in Middle Tennessee. The Ports now sit at the top of the league table ahead of the Blue Notes followed by the Leesiders.
Ports: 6 points; Blue Notes: 3 points; Leesiders: 0 points.