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Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club Kicks Off Autumn City League Opening Day

Jameson Hurley Reporting

September 20, 2015

Nashville, Tennessee

On a picture perfect Sunday, the men and women of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club gathered at Heartland Fields for the kick off of the Autumn City League. The newly drafted teams donned their kits emblazoned with brand new team logos designed by clubman, Grant Gill. The kits also featured the logos of 3 new team sponsors: Jennifer M. Barry Books, Ports; Caleb Ben Harper Farrier Services, Blue Notes; and Aruba Networks, Leesiders.

Excitement and anticipation hung in the air as Mr. Andrew Ward, President of the Middle Tennessee Highland Games, took charge of the ceremonial throw in. Mr. Ward was honored for his inclusion of the NGAC in this year’s Highland Games held just one week prior. With ceremonies and welcomes out of the way, it was off to the matches.

Ports v. Blue Notes

The Blue Notes, under the captainship of Ashley Tabolinsky, took to the ground to face the Ports, captained by Brendan Rauer. Rauer, who led the spring season’s Ports to the championship, looked to start things off right with his newly drafted side.

And start things off right they did! While both teams appeared shaky out of the gate, it was the Ports who found the first point when Nick Chamberlain put one over the bar from a good distance. While the Blue Notes worked to get onto the score sheet, the Ports’ defense kept them out. Johnny Watson and Sam D’Amico added to Chamberlain’s efforts and put the Ports up 4 – nil before the Notes eventually found the target. Both sides managed to score a goal before the half leaving the sides separated by 3 points at the break.

The second half was filled with lots of excitement as Tabolinsky and Cody Murdock closed the door on the Ports’ usual scorers, and Ryan Buckley, Joey Whalen, and Aaron Joley were able to add to the Notes’ point total. But it was newcomer, Brian Goodwin, who took full advantage of his debut to make his mark. 2 goals from the rookie gave the Ports the confidence and buffer they needed to go on and win the match. Ports 6-6 (24) v. Blue Notes 2-2 (8)

Blue Notes v. Leesiders

The Blue Notes, with a confidence-building post-match rally from Captain Tabolinsky and Renee Anzivino headed back out to the pitch for the second match of the day against Captain Corbett Ouellette’s Leesiders. If ever there was a voice that could will the sliotar over the bar, that voice belongs to Captain Ouellette, but would his vocal leadership be enough to motivate his side to bring home the win?

Much like filling sandwiched inside an Oreo cookie, the cream match would prove to be a sweet and delicious match-up. The scoring started early and did not stop as both sides mounted attacks, but it was how they scored that separated the sides at half. The Leesiders, kept out of the goalies area by the defensive prowess of power couple Cody Murdock and Ashley “Smashley” Tabolinsky, took their points, with Chris Davis and Grant Gill running the field and striking balls over the bar from range. On the other end of the field, it was weaknesses in the Leesiders’ defense that left the door wide open for shots on net. Ryan Buckley and Renee Anzivino knocked in a couple each for the Notes, leading to a half-time score of Leesiders 1-4 to Blue Notes 4-1.

The second half proved to be as exciting as the first, with notable performances by Molly Buckley and rookie Chris Cavin who both showed magnificent hustle and a never-die attitude. As the points kept coming for both sides, it was two goals from Officer David “High Tower” Smith that brought the score line within 1 point in the closing minutes. The Leesiders mounted an all out attack, even running Corbett Ouellette all they up field from goal, but in the end it was the Blue Notes who took the narrow, 3-point win. Blue Notes 4-4 (16) v. Leesiders 2-7 (13).

Leesiders v. Ports

It was the Leesiders’ turn to play back-to-back as Ports returned to the pitch for the third match of the day. The Leesiders, in a strategic move, tasked regular point scorer Chris Davis with marking Johnny Watson. This was a curious decision since Watson struggled mightily to score in the day’s first match, but would it be a correct one?

The Ports looked to be well organized from the start, working the ball quickly and precisely around the pitch. Their attack came fast and furious, and their many scoring threats proved to be too much for the Leesiders’ defense. Meanwhile, the Ports’ defense, Katie Sampuda, Caleb Harper, and Emily Rodriguez, built a wall in front of their goal, which kept the Leesiders out. The Leesiders finally found a point in the closing minutes of the first half, bringing the half-time score to: Leesiders 0-1 v. Ports 0-4. To which Chris Davis exclaimed, “We’re on the board!”

The second half was lively from both sides, even as the bodies were wearing down from the day’s efforts. The Leesiders’ front man, David Smith, who managed to work through the pain of a nasty finger injury he received during his previous match, knocked in a potentially game changing goal. Grant Gill worked the field with pace, and rookie Jillian LaFave showed great growth in her first weekend out, but the effort did not result in scores. In the end, the Ports’ cavalry made the forward march more often and successfully than the men and women in red, and thus came out on top. Final score: Leesiders 1-1 (4) v. Ports 0-9 (9).

An afters celebration was enjoyed by all at Dan McGuinness Irish Pub, at which the inaugural “Player of the Day” award was presented to none other than the debutant, Brian Goodwin, whose raw but blossoming talent was recognized by his fellow club members. Congratulations Brian. What will next week bring? Will the Ports continue with their winning ways, or will the Leesiders or Blue Notes go on to dominate? Who will win “Player of the Week” honors? Come on out to Heartland Fields to find out.

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League Standings:

Ports 6 points

Blue Notes 3 points

Leesiders 0 points

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