Following our longest and most successful season to date, Team Quore, captained by Ben Flynn, took home the Harper Hurl after the championship match yesterday. Their competition, Homegrown, was captained by Trevor Hoagland. Homegrown edged out the third team, Beer Pale, during last week’s matches, when Beer Pale had to forfeit the first match of the day with too few players.
While Quore hit the ground running during the first of the season, easily winning match after match, both Beer Pale and Homegrown experienced tremendous improvement throughout the fall. Homegrown took two or three weeks to find their stride, as Beer Pale handed them loss after loss. Somewhere around the halfway mark, however, the tides turned. While Quore was still the big winner most weeks, Beer Pale and Homegrown began a fierce battle for the second spot in the championship.
Captain Ben Flynn assembled a crack team from some of the most experienced players on the NGAC roster, as well as two newcomers, including Doug Shaughnessy and Thom Watkins. Thom also took home the “Man of the Match” trophy yesterday. Also making up Quore’s team were Britti Layne, the Woman of the Match, Greg Roberts, Virginia Poole, Chris Davis, Ryan Buckley, David Bowen, Bill Rodriguez, Aaron Joley, and Ashley Murdock (absent during the championship match).
Homegrown also started the season with several new players, some of whom had never played a match before the first sliotar dropped on September 11. New players included Danny Espensen, Ryan Culligan, Chase Quirk, Frank Prather (who was absent during the championship match), and Andrew Tiller (playing his second season with the NGAC). Anchored by experienced players Brenden Rauer, Rayne Leonard, Liam Barry, Samantha Hoagland, Sam D’Amico (also missing from the championship match), Molly Buckley, and Captain Trevor Hoagland, the Homegrown rookies quickly caught up, winning one match over Quore last week before heading into the championship game yesterday.
Indeed, Thom Watkins and Britti Layne exhibited tremendous skill yesterday, with both responsible for most of the points on the board for Quore. Also of note from the Quore side were Aaron Joley, with perhaps his best hurling performance to date; Chris Davis, who split his time between turning in a spectacular performance and mentoring his rookie opponent; and Virginia Poole, who, in her second season with the NGAC, put some points on the board, as well.
The Homegrown squad also turned in spectacular displays, with Andrew Tiller performing jaw-dropping defense on several occasions, Liam Barry frustrating the Quore offense whenever possible, Danny Espensen playing injured (don’t tell his doctor!), Brendan Rauer’s dogged offense, and Ryan Culligan, who put points up for Homegrown.
As thrilled as we all are for Quore members, the real winner here is the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club. This season was filled with some of the best hurling we’ve seen in our three and a half years of existence. We owe it to our captains, Ben, Trevor, and Caleb of Beer Pale, and to our seasoned players who have challenged and guided new members over the past few months.
Though competitive hurling is closed for the season, we look forward to a bright 2017 and a spring league filled with even more new players. Thanks to all who came out to support us this fall. We can’t wait to see you next year!