Posted on

Congratulations to Fall League 2017 Champions East Nashville Beer Works!

After a long, hard battle, the East Nashville Beer Works Ports took home the Harper Hurl yesterday. The team, led by captain Jesse Gentry beat the Quore Blue Notes with a score of 4-14 to 3-1.

 

Start making plans to join us in the spring! We already have several things in the works, including our Music City Invitational tournament, an intro day for beginners, and some Gaelic football training to prep for our next league. If you’d like to keep up to date on the latest so you don’t miss any chance to play hurling or Gaelic football during the off season, like our Facebook page. See you soon!

Many thanks to Timothy Walter for the incredible photos!

Posted on

NGAC 2017 Summer Gaelic Football In Review

An extensive history of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club will someday point out that while the club was founded around a group of people’s love for the sport of hurling, there was also a Gaelic football at its very first official occasion.

2016 came with a mission to give life to Gaelic in the NGAC. The second half of the year would be marked by the first regularly scheduled trainings for the sport, with established members and fresh new faces all learning how to lift the ball with the foot, fist pass the ball, solo off the toe, and all the other basics. To break the streak of entropy at that level, the club enlisted the help of football obsessive Matt O’Donnell to head the Gaelic Football Development Committee in the spring of 2017. This led to a much more focused brand of the sport, which was designed to make way for the very first league of competitive play for the club in the summer.

The inaugural NGAC Gaelic Football league would held at the field house of Boost FitClub, located just west of downtown Nashville. Due to Nashville’s high summer temperatures, combined with excruciating humidity and piercing midday sun, it was found best that this first league be set indoors. Eight players comprised each of the 3 teams, with an active side of 6 players (5 fielders + 1 goalkeeper, with 2 subs). Team sponsors included East Nashville Beer Works (ENBW), Asgard Brewery, and One Hour Heating and Air (OHHA).

Prior to the season, it looked as if all three of the teams had an even match to them. No one could say for sure how they thought the season would pan out. It would be all up to who was available to each roster to play on match day and what transpired on the pitch.

Week 1 – July 9

ENBW def. OHHC

ENBW def. Asgard

OHHC def. Asgard

The first week of play saw dynamic, yet measured play across the board from each team in each game. As the first organized attempts at Gaelic football go, it certainly passed the “eye test”. In other words, if anyone who was familiar with the sport were to be watching, they’d agree that it looked like Gaelic.

ENBW won the day with an early exposition of strategic play to win easy, critical points, including a brilliant 45 meter free kick from captain Danny Espensen. Asgard would struggle to win kick outs from either end and create enough scoring opportunities from play, keeping their win column empty for the first Sunday out. OHHA would divide their time between the whistles evenly, backed by superb hand passes from Jesse Gentry, fine ground game, and effortless looking kicks over the bar by their head man, Liam Barry.

Interlude: Peach Cup, Atlanta – July 15

Structured into the schedule would be a weekend for members of the NGAC to travel to Atlanta, GA to compete in the Peach Cup. This tournament holds importance alongside our first league as it would also be the first time we’d see dedicated players travel for Gaelic football instead of the hurling members getting a game in during a break in their schedule. Teaming with members of the Memphis club and a few lads coming up from Orlando, the NGAC was represented with as many as 6 players on a side at a time, including Pancho Mackin-Plankey and Matt O’Donnell, who both played in all but one match on the day. Both players made strong impressions throughout the tournament, with O’Donnell scoring 0-3 from play.

Week 2 – July 23

Asgard def. ENBW

Asgard def. OHHA

ENBW def. OHHA

When league play resumed, the competition took back some of the parity that the pre-season predictions had been hinged on. Asgard fought their way back into the standings by winning out their day in back-to-back matches. The Norsemen implemented a strict policy of defensive pressure on every scoring chance for the opposition, and were aided by the out of nowhere ball winning abilities of NGAC rookie Bryan Miller, impressive kicks from distance by Tim Walter, and 2 goals off the left foot by club chairman, Ryan Buckley. ENBW would win the third match with an onslaught of fisted balls over the bar for points, primarily by Chance Butler, that just couldn’t be matched.

Week 3 – July 30

Asgard def. OHHA

ENBW def. OHHA

ENBW def. Asgard

Anything was still up for grabs as the teams entered the second half of the league. Asgard’s strategy of stifling most chances of score from play continued through the first match with OHHA, in large part thanks to late addition Nick O’Rick helping to create a blockade on the defensive line, though the slippery midfielder Patrick Deneen made things incredibly difficult around the middle 1/3 of the pitch.

ENBW would take the mid-card match on the strength of great ball-stripping from Brendan Rauer and movement to and from forward Molly Bombardi, The team in navy blue would again prove what they could manage when they had momentum carry through back to back matches, despite great effort in the backfield from Ben Flynn.

In the Week 3 closer, Asgard’s Chris Davis would help keep points on the board and the team would take a lead into halftime. However, ENBW’s Pancho Mackin-Plankey facilitated the ball forward with a fine athleticism, while the speed and aptly timed passes of NGAC stalwart Corbett Ouellette were just a little too much to be overcome.

Heading into the final week, the standings would read:

ENBW 5-1

Asgard 3-3

OHHA 1-5

With just one week of the league season left, it looked like some of the balance that had looked so good was beginning to break down. ENBW was cruising through their schedule with a roster full of speed and power, while the other teams just couldn’t keep pace. The best hope looked like it would be for an overwhelmingly unlikely tie at the top. This would require Asgard to win out the day, and have OHHC produce just their second win in the remaining contest.

Week 4

OHHA def. ENBW

ENBW def. Asgard

OHHA def. Asgard

Heading into the final trio of matches, there was some anticipation over the possible path to victory for Asgard. Based on the schedule rotation, however, captain Matt O’Donnell and his team would have to wait out the result of the ENBW vs OHHA match to know if they would even be able to take the season into their own hands. OHHA would come out of the gate blazing, taking the lead midway through the first half and being tied twice before they didn’t have to look back. The much needed victory was built on both ends, with midfield beast Ryan Lowe and Joy Grabenstein’s superb ball control returning to the roster, and Liam Barry’s goalkeeping enabling the side outfitted in his native Cork colors to come out on top.

Asgard took the pitch for the second match knowing full well that their play would determine whether or not they could match the top of the heap. Asgard’s lead at the halftime whistle was defined by placing a dedicated defender on Pancho Mackin-Plankey, who had spent the entire league as a bottleneck for ENBW, being fed balls from the back line or moving kick outs won up to the forwards. An early goal and a couple of open space balls over the bar by Matt O’Donnell did well to hopes alive and good spirits. When play resumed, however, ENBW had other ideas. While the final moments of their first match were marked with an unusual amount of erratic wide scoring attempts, Danny Espensen’s side would make up for most all of them with enough to solidify that ENBW would stand alone as champions.

The final match of the NGAC’s first attempt at league play for Gaelic football seemed like it would be a play for pride between Asgard and OHHA. Asgard would enter the match with a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head play between the teams. When it was all said and done, it would finally be OHHC’s turn to win out their entire day slate. The red team started the match with two goals inside the first quarter of the match, but Asgard was able to stay close on the trail, thanks to defender Ryan Culligan pulling opposing passes to the forward line out of the air. Nearly as soon as the referee threw the ball in for the second half, OHHC closed the book on the match. A beleaguered Asgard would be unable to produce quality kick outs. This led to a parade of OHHA players, including Evan Lamberth, Joy Grabenstein (from both legs), Patrick Deneen, and Ryan Lowe floating seemingly effortless points over the bar in blistering succession. So while the buildup had hoped for a return to even keel at the top end of the standings, it was OHHA who mastered the day to balance out Asgard!

NGAC 2017 Gaelic Football Summer League Champions: East Nashville Beer Works

Congratulations are in order for the East Nashville Beer Works team, led by their captain, Danny Espensen! Their high level of tactical play and pure athletic talent kept them as the team to beat all season.

Time will never forget, rightfully, that ENBW are the first winners of the NGAC Gaelic football championship. At the same time, though, there will always be a sparkle in the cup for everyone who made the inaugural league a reality and a rousing success.

Someday, you could be forgiven for looking back at the inaugural season and seeing grueling, oftentimes clumsy matches played by small teams on an unusually small, artificial turf pitch. However, anyone who was there will be happy to tell you otherwise. They’ll tell you how expectations for the league were regularly topped and adjusted on a weekly basis leading up to the opening match. They’ll tell you how dedicated the training was to not simply producing something that looked like the sport. They’ll tell you about points scored from nearly everywhere on the pitch. They’ll tell you about how each player’s position was ultimately only a suggestion, that their work rate had to be higher to keep their team covered. They’ll tell you about feverish short hand passes, points that snuck in through the lowest corner of the narrow uprights, and the unpredictability of where kicks of the highest arc might land. They’ll tell you that on four Sundays in the summer of 2017, Gaelic football staked its first claim in Nashville.

Posted on

Our Weekend Fight Club: The Peach Cup

peach cup rundown

This week, men and women from Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Greenville, Augusta, Knoxville, and Memphis all got up and went into work, just like normal. What’s not normal are the bandages, bruises, and braces underneath their business casual attire.

These bruised and battered warriors want you to ask about their injuries so they can tell you all about hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football. There’s no rule against it. They’re in the fight club that anyone can—and will—talk about.

How We Fight

Perhaps the first purpose of the GAA in America was simply to give Irish immigrants a place that felt like home. With more non-Irish now playing here than Irish-born, the purpose of the GAA in America has changed. Nowhere is this new mission more evident than right here in Nashville.

Our club, founded by John Watson and Anji Wall, exists to spread awareness of and appreciation for these Irish sports. That means everyone plays (small caveat here: our players have to be over the age of 18, unless they have permission from a parent who’s also willing to go to all the matches), regardless of age, fitness level, experience, nationality, or anything else, really. Our youngest member is 18, and our oldest is somewhere in his 60s. And our oldest member got out on that pitch this weekend to play the toughest team at the tournament; he got out there as often as he wanted to and played as long as he could.

Our ladies combined with St. Louis camogie, because the reason for attending the tournament was to simply play the sport they loved—not to see their names on a trophy. They were thrilled to wear Nashville shirts for their first match and St. Louis shirts for their second. When they missed out on winning the second game by two points, the euphoria was palpable.

Our fledgling Gaelic football team took five members along to join Memphis for a mega-team against Atlanta. Later in the afternoon, in order to get even more playing time, they took off their Tennessee jerseys and donned Atlanta shirts to help out their nemesis. The purpose wasn’t to win—it was to play.

And for the first time since the founding of the Nashville hurling squad, our guys won three rounds to go to the finals at the Peach Cup. It was a tough match, hard fought but eventually lost. And that’s okay, because the sheer joy of making the finals for the first time was enough to carry us to the after party with a spring in our step and a song in our hearts.

How We Keep Growing

Maybe we’ll shock the hell out of everyone in Ireland by saying that winning isn’t the club’s first priority. Of course, competition is important, and a trophy is an exciting possibility. The teams we send to tournaments pour their hearts and souls into playing the very best they can, all with dreams for a win.

Someday we’ll get there. That’s what it’s all about: the pursuit, the journey. Where you find out who you are and what you’re made of through the wins and losses.

And even when Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club reaches the point where we’re able to take home the trophy from a tournament, we’ll never sacrifice our beliefs and values for the sake of winning. We exist to spread awareness of and love for these Irish sports.

When we foster love for hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football, we grow. We become an even bigger family—one that supports every member, regardless of their ability. One that welcomes everyone to play and encourages everyone to be the best they can possibly be.

Nashville challenges every American club to adopt this mission. Teach love of the sport and not love of the trophy. Talk about your sprains, bruises, cuts, and scars around the water cooler at work. Encourage others to come out and join in the fun, regardless of their age, experience, or physical ability. Share your fight club with everyone you know, and then some.

Together, we can spark a true revolution.

Posted on

Congratulations to Our Fall 2016 League Champions Quore!

quore fall league champions

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.

man and woman of the match

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!

quore and homegrown

Posted on

The Blue Notes Take the Harper Hurl

blue notes champs

Blue Notes Best Leesiders 4-12 to 3-6

Congratulations to the winners of the spring league championship. The Blue Notes, captained by David Bowen, fought to stay on top through most of the season. The Leesiders were worthy foes, though, snagging a couple wins – just enough to keep the Notes from getting complacent. The exciting season culminated in a championship match between the reds and the blues.

In the first half, it looked as though the Leesiders might just snatch the victory from the Blue Notes’ confident clutches. After the break, the blues came back with a vengeance. In perhaps the most exciting match to date, the teams wrestled the lead from each other again and again. When the final whistle blew, the Blue Notes remained on top.

blue notes captain

We offer a hearty congratulations to all the Blue Notes team members: David Bowen, Corbett Ouellette, Benjy Flynn, Gillian Walshe-Langford, Molly Bombardi-Mount, Sam D’Amico, Aaron Joley, Trevor Hoagland, Bill Rodriguez, and Andrew Kamp.

Thanks to the referee Chris Davis and the Ports for officiating.

Special recognition goes to Caleb Harper, who forged our league trophy from solid steel.

Finally, thanks to everyone in the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club for all your hard work in promoting Irish sports in Nashville. Baile Ceol Abú!

blue notes and leesiders

Posted on

Nashville GAC Fall League Championship Report

ports win fall league 2015

Jameson Hurley Reporting

Nashville, TN

November 1, 2015

 

Ports and Leesiders Battle for League Title

After 6 weeks of league play, the Ports faced off against the Leesiders to decide who would be crowned champions. The Leesiders earned a chance to challenge the league-leading Ports when they narrowly defeated the Blue Notes in week 6. The Ports, who suffered two defeats in week 6, would look to break the Leesiders’ newfound momentum in hopes of hoisting the Harper Iron Hurley at the day’s end.

Pace and Skill Mark the Opening Minutes

To say that the atmosphere was tense with anticipation would be an understatement. The captains, Brendan Rauer for the Ports and Corbett Ouellette for the Leesiders, rallied their sides, and the teams took to the pitch. From the opening whistle, the play was fast and furious. Johnny Watson was the first to find the target when his long shot, which looked to be headed for a point, slipped just under the bar for a Ports’ goal. Watson was quick to follow with a point, giving the Ports a confidence building early lead of 1-1 to no score. The Leesiders, finding motivation under the zealous cheering of Captain Ouellette, tightened their defense and played smart balls into their forward line. Ouellette, along the quick and agile Grant Gill found the target for the Leesiders, leveling the score.

Keeper Barry Stands Strong

The Ports tried to respond, but despite some great balls into the forward line, the confident goalkeeping of Liam Barry denied the Ports time after time. The boy from Cork, Barry, would bring the crowd to their feet as he blocked a shot from the Ports’ powerful mid-fielder, Nick Chamberlain, and made a spectacular second save when Chamberlain attempted to strike Barry’s ricochet into the net. Barry would certainly be a nominee for man-of-the-match honors for his first-half performance, which along with the spectacular defense from Coby Baker and Chris Davis shut down the Ports for the remainder of the half, and a late-half goal gave the Leesiders the lead going into the break. Ports 1-2 (5) to Leesiders 2-2 (8).

Ports Fight Back

The second half saw the Leesiders open the scoring when Officer David “Hightower” Smith, relieved for the day from his patrol duties, found the back of the Ports’ net. Although Johnny Watson and Nick Chamberlain found a couple of points to keep the Ports in it, the match looked to be the Leesiders’ for the taking. A shift in the match came when Ports’ Captain, Brendan Rauer, moved Sam D’Amico onto the forward line and slid Katie Sampuda up into the midfield. D’Amico, on his first touch at Corner Forward, skirted a ball past the Leesider Keeper for a goal. He was quick to follow with a second, which brought the sides level.

As the tough play continued up front for the Ports, their defense came into form. Torrey Stroud shut down “Hightower” Smith, while the rookie, Emily Rodriguez did well to put up some strong defensive pressure, winning balls and playing them into the Ports’ midfield. The Ports gained confidence as the half wore on, playing excellent team hurling—defending, passing, and setting each other up for scoring opportunities. Grant Gill and Corbett Ouellette did well to win balls in the midfield for the Leesiders, but their hard work rarely resulted in points. Johnny Watson sent a screamer from near the 20-meter line into the upper corner of the keeper’s net, while D’Amico continued his goal scoring ways. Chamberlain and Caleb Harper added to the Ports’ tally with fine points from range.

Leesiders Fight Hard in Closing Minutes

As the match moved into the closing minutes, both sides dug deep into their reserves. The Ports hoped to hold onto their lead, as the Leesiders fought hard to get back into the game. But as time wore down, it looked to be the Ports’ day. A late goal from the Leesiders, while spectacular to watch, would be not be enough to secure the win for the red and white side. With one last look at his watch, the referee blew the final whistle, and players from both sides fell to their knees, having given it all in the closing minutes. Cheers erupted from the sidelines as much for the fantastic match as for the Ports’ victory. Ports 6-6 (24) to Leesiders 4-3 (15).

Ports Hoist the Iron Hurley

After a thrilling match, and a competitive and exhilarating season, the “Harper Iron Hurley” was presented to Ports’ captain, Brendan Rauer. Rauer, who was sporting in victory, paid tribute to his fellow captains, Ashley Tabolinsky – Blue Notes and Corbett Ouellette – Leesiders, thanking them for their hard work all season in leading their teams. Club Chairman, Johnny Watson, thanked the captains and players stating that, “this was the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club’s most competitive season to date.” Excellent matches all season culminated in a superb championship match and a season that will be remembered for its passion, sportsmanship, and excellent hurling.

Baile Ceol Abú

 

Posted on

Nashville City League Match Report Week 6

Jameson Hurley Reporting

October 25, 2015

Nashville, TN

Leesiders battle Blue Notes for championship berth

After 5 weeks of intense, back-and-forth battle, the league table still held a lot of suspense. The Ports secured a spot in the league championship match with wins on week 5, but the Leesiders and Blue Notes were only separated by a single win. Either team could advance, given a number of scenarios, but if the Leesiders could muster a win against the Blue Notes in the first match of the day, they stood a very strong chance of advancing. Paddy Power had the teams at even odds, and who would earn the right to face the Ports was anyone’s guess.

Are you a Red or are you a Blue?

The highly anticipated match between the Blue Notes and the Leesiders kicked off the day. If they had any hope at making the championships, the Leesiders were in a must win situation. The Notes on the other hand could suffer a loss to the Leesiders, but still earn a spot in the big dance, if they could top the Ports by a lot of points later in the day.

The match started at a frenetic pace, with both sides mounting intense attacks, but the defense was tough on both sides of the pitch and scores just would not come. It was Joey Whalen, for the Blue Notes, who finally knocked one over the bar to open the scoring. In response, Leesiders Corbett Ouellette and Grant Gill put on a blocking clinic, slowing the Notes’ attack. The highlight of the early part of the half came when Ryan Buckley’s massive puck out lodged the sliotar in Coby Baker’s helmet. Chaos ensued, but the match was soon back under way. It was Grant Gill who found the first point for the Leesiders, but his schoolmate, Joey Whalen, had all the right stuff, pucking two more over the bar to give the Notes the halftime lead 0-4 to 0-1.

The opening minutes of the first half looked to favor a Blue Notes’ victory when Alex Pinkston put a stunning point over the bar. The Leesiders, down considerably at this point, reorganized and tried to find an answer. And it was an answer they found when Matt Baxter brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning shot for a goal. Grant Gill kept the scoring going, snagging two more points for the Leesiders, while the red side continued to do work on defense and prevented all Blue Notes’ scoring attempts. With the score level at 0-5 to 1-2, it was the captain, Corbett Ouellette, who rose to the occasion, hitting a fine point to give his side the lead and ultimately the win. Blue Notes 0-5 (5) to Leesiders 1-3 (6).

The Notes look for a back door into the Championship

Now level on league points with the Leesiders, the Notes would need to go on a scoring rampage against the Ports to overcome a substantial score differential of -65 points in order to play spoiler to the Leesiders’ near-certain appearance in the championship match. The Ports, down several players, opened the scoring when Nick Chamberlain put the sliotar over the bar. That would be the end of their success in the first half, as the Blue Notes’ defense prevented any more scoring from the Navy and Gold side. Cody Murdock and Joey Whalen took full advantage of the weakened Ports, scoring 3 goals between them. A lovely point from the reptiphile Oak Reynolds complimented their efforts. At the half, the score favored the Blue Notes by a margin of 3 goals.

The Ports must have had a rousing call to arms at the half, because they came out attacking with a newfound energy. Nick Chamberlain, in a mirror of his opening drive in the first half, notched a quick point for the Ports. This was just the beginning of their comeback, as Bill Little pointed, followed by goals from Chamberlain and Captain Brendan Rauer. The effort, however, simply wouldn’t be enough as the Ports came up short of victory at the full-time whistle. Blue Notes 5-2 (17) to Ports 3-3 (12), and though the Blue Notes savored the victory, their enthusiasm was short-lived. Their inability to score 60 additional points ensured that the Leesiders would dance in the big show against the Ports in one week’s time.

A preview of the championship, perhaps

The final match of the day saw the Leesiders come off their rest break to face the Ports. Would this be a glimpse of the championship match? The Leesiders certainly hoped so, as they came out firing. Points and goals and points and goals came from all over the red side with the scoring going down like this: Grant Gill point, Liam Barry goal, Grant Gill point, Grant Gill goal, Matt Baxter point, Coby Baker point, Corbett Ouellette point, Chris Davis point, Corbett Ouellette point. What did the Ports have to say in response? Nothing! At the half it was Lees 2-7, Ports 0-0.

Once again, the Ports had a rallying cry at halftime and brought a little more heat in the second half. Nick Chamberlain found the back of the Leesiders’ net, and was really the man of the half and he struck in another goal and a point for his beleaguered side. Coby “who needs hands when you can catch a sliotar with your helmet” Baker put forth a strong effort for the Leesiders, but Katie Sampuda would have none of it, holding Baker to just one second-half point. Chamberlain continued his march for the Ports, but it wouldn’t be enough to match the Lees efforts, who continued their scoring streak with: Ouellette point, Baker point, Ouellette point, Ouellette point, Rayne Leonard goal, Ouellette point, Baker goal, Leonard goal. Final score Ports 2-1, Lees 6-12.

Player of the Week

Although they couldn’t celebrate securing a shot at the championship, the Blue Notes were able to hoist front man, Cody Murdock, onto their shoulders as he was recognized as “Player of the Week.” A special recognition goes out this week to the double-goal scorer Rayne Leonard who successfully defended her thesis and will now be known as Masterful Rayne Leonard. Congratulations to both!

Posted on

Nashville Fall League Week 5 Match Report

buckley at the puckout

Jameson Hurley Reporting

October 18, 2015

Nashville, TN

Week five saw all three teams enter the weekend with championship implications on the line. The stakes were high. The Leesiders, who forfeited both of their matches the week prior, could stay in the championship hunt if they found a win, while wins by the Blue Notes and Ports could clinch their spots in the championship match to be held in two weeks’ time. The captains for each squad hoped that their tactical maneuvers would be spot on, but even the best laid plans would be put to the test on the pitch. Where would things stand at the end of the day? We head to Heartland Fields to find out!

The Leesiders look to narrow the gap

As the Leesiders warmed up, the Blue Notes found themselves wondering if they’d have enough players to field a team. With just minutes to go before the match, a late arrival filled the requisite number and the match was on. The Leesiders did not delay in their attack, demonstrating in the opening minutes that they came to win. It was Grant Gill for the Leesiders who controlled in midfield. Using speed and skill, he was able to break off of his mark, Joey Whalen, several times to find space and put the sliotar over the bar. And when Whalen would win the ball, Gill switched quickly into defensive mode, putting on a blocking clinic at Whalen’s expense.

While Gill proved reliable, so to did Chris Davis and last week’s “player of the week,” Matt Baxter, who exploited weaknesses in the Blue Notes’ defense and found points of their own. Baxter, demonstrating a newfound confidence in his game, struck the game’s opening goal when he found the back of star keeper Ryan Buckley’s net. Baxter would’ve had another, had it not been for Ryan Buckley’s better half, Molly Buckley, who covered the goal when R. Buckley moved out into space to clear the ball. M. Buckley saved a piercing strike in what was likely the best play of the day.

The absence of key Blue Notes was obvious on both ends of the pitch as the Leesiders attack seemed unstoppable and the Notes found themselves unable to score. A late first half goal gave the Notes some hope, but a flurry of points in the second half would secure the win and pull the Leesiders to within a game of the Blue Notes in the League standings. Leesiders 2-10 (16) to Blue Notes 1-2 (5).

Leesiders look to make it a double

A second win of the day would put the Leesiders level with the Blue Notes in the league standings, while a Ports win would secure a spot in the championship for the navy blue side and place the Leesiders’ fate in the hands of the Blue Notes. The rallying cry from the Leesiders’ pre-match huddle was illustrative of what was on the line in the day’s sandwich match.

The Ports liked their odds as this week’s match saw a first-of-the-season appearance by the powerful and reliable Jamie Norris. The Leesiders had a weapon of their own in Liam Barry who, just released to play after a summer ligament injury, demonstrated his skill in the Leesiders earlier match against the Blue Notes.

The Ports struck first when Nick Chamberlain broke free and put a solid shot over the bar. Norris, playing at corner forward, would add to Chamberlain’s efforts striking over a couple of points of his own, while Katie Sampuda did well to win balls at midfield and play them into the veteran scorers. Grant Gill, coming off his spectacular performance in the first match, remained the go to man for the Leesiders but found himself unable to replicate his earlier performance. In a massive team effort, the Leesiders’ front line closed the gap before the half when Brendan Rauer, in goal for the Ports, failed to effectively clear the ball and opened the door for a Leesider goal. It was the boy from Cork, Liam Barry, who pulled on the loose ball and sent a zinger past the keeper and into the Ports’ goal. Separated by 5 points at the half, both sides held tight to victory hopes.

The second half saw fantastic defensive work from Rayne Leonard and Chris Davis, who were able to slow the Ports’ pointing efforts, while at the other end of the pitch, the Leesiders managed strike in a goal and 4 points. With the game tightening up, the Ports drove hard at the Leesiders’ goal, with Jamie Norris managing to squeeze two more past the Leesiders’ keeper. The addition of Norris proved to be an excellent asset as the seasoned vet fit well into his new squad and helped secure the win and a certain spot in the league championship. Ports 3-8 (17) to Leesiders 2-4 (10).

Blue Notes hope to crush Leesiders’ dreams

Game 3, under crisp blue afternoon sky, had massive implications for the Blue Notes, who, with a win, would guarantee their spot in the championship match against the Ports. The Leesiders could only watch as the Blue Notes held the fate of the red side in their powder blue hands. Would the Ports crumble and open the door for the Notes? Might this be a preview of the championship? Would the Leesiders celebrate a Ports’ victory as if it were their own?

Answers to these questions came, and they came fast. Right from the start, the Ports attacked, with Norris and Chamberlain once again finding early points. Their attack was well supported by Caleb Harper and Torey Stroud, who were able to stop every Blue Note counterattack. The Notes once again found that the absence of some key players impacted their ability to take control of the game, and while Molly Buckley and Renee Anzivino did well to slow the attacking Ports, the Ports targeted the area often and accurately enough to build solid lead. A half-time score of 3-7 to 2 points, in favor of the Ports, kept the Leesiders’ hopes alive.

The second half reflected the first as the Ports continued their domination. The Notes were able to manage a goal and a couple of points as Bill Little and Joey Whalen worked hard at midfield, but Jamie Norris, in a challenge to his long-time friend, Ryan Buckley, decided to test the Blue Notes’ keeper with strike after strike on goal. The Blue Notes dug deep, and played hard for the whole match, but it was not to be their day. Final score: Blue Notes 1-4 (7) to Ports 9-14 (32).

With the table tightened, the league moves into its final week. The Ports clinched a spot in the championship match, and the Blue Notes hold a slim, single game advantage over the Leesiders. There’s a lot on the line. Will Leesider Captain Corbett Ouellette see his team play on November 1, or will Ashley Tabolinsky lead her Notes over the finish line? Come on out to Heartland field on Sunday, October 25th to find out.

After the matches, the club recognized Molly Buckley’s excellent play during the day, awarding her “Player of the Week” honors. Well done, Molly.

League Table:

Ports 24 points

Blue Notes 12 points

Leesiders 9 points

ngac fixtures

Posted on

Fall League Week 3 Match Report

Jameson Hurley Reporting

October 4, 2015

Nashville, TN

In what is shaping up to be a highly competitive season, the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club marked the midway point with three thrilling matches on Sunday. The Ports, who suffered two losses last week, returned to form with back-to-back wins, while the Blue Notes, twice victorious the prior week suffered two loses. It was the Leesiders who found the winning way in the first match of the day causing a shift and tightening of the overall table. The action packed day saw all three teams put on magnificent displays of the ancient game, marking what should be a fantastic rundown to the final in the second half of the season.

Leesiders battle the Blue Notes in a tight match.

The first match of the day pitted the Leesiders in their glorious red kits against the Blue Notes in sky blue. With the sun just beginning to break through the morning clouds, the referee’s whistle blew and the match was off. It took no time for the Leesiders to get on the board as visiting dignitary, Eric “Medicine Man” Vick place a well-targeted shot over the bar. His work did not stop there. Two punishing strikes on goal prompted a quick reshuffle of players with the shifting of Ryan Buckley back to the number 1 spot. This brought a stop to Vick’s goal scoring, but only the tallest and mightiest of goalies can stop points. The Blue Notes appeared unable to respond to the Leesiders’ attack until Aaron Joley finally found the mark to get the Notes on the Board.

The score, clearly uneven at 2-5 to 1-2 at the half had the Leesiders well positioned to take the match, but in a show of great sportsmanship, the Leesiders traded the visitor, Vick, to the Blue Notes. The Leesiders, in a wise move, placed the superb defending skills of Chris Davis in Vick’s pocket, which had the effect of slowing down his scoring drives. The Notes, with Joey Whalen and Corbett Ouellette controlling the midfield, were able find 3 more points and a goal. As the game entered the final minutes, the intensity level shot through the roof. Both sides sent players attacking, while both team’s defenses held their lines. In the last passage of play, with the Leesiders leading by a thin 2-point margin, the Notes mounted an all-out attack. Grant Gill, in goal, made a fantastic save, but his short clearance gave the Notes a last bit of hope. Another save by Gill, and a better clearance this time, gave way to the referee’s final whistle. The Leesiders held strong to that 2-point lead, winning the match 2-7 (13) to 2-5 (11).

Leesiders dig deep against the Ports

After the intense finish to the first match, the victorious Leesiders would have little time to recover before facing the Ports, and from the opening throw-in it was clear that this would be a spirited affair. Both sides found scores quickly as Nick Chamberlain for the Ports and Eric Vick for the Leesiders hit nice shots over the bar. Sam D’Amico got in on the scoring action, netting a fantastic goal for the Ports, while Johnny Watson appeared to have gotten rid of his errant shooting ways, striking a nice weak-side point from near the midfield line. Strong defense from Leesiders’ Chris Davis and Molly Bombardi-Mount kept the Ports scoring low, while at the other end Torrey Stroud and Katie Sampuda did the same for the Ports. The strength of both defenses was reflected in the halftime score: Leesiders 1-1 to Ports 1-4.

As the Ports mounted their attack in the second half, the Leesiders began to succumb to the day’s efforts. The tired legs of the Leesiders wobbled as the Ports continued to find scores. A sloppy goal slid into the Ports net, when temporary goalie Caleb Harper misread a free from Chris Davis. Harper, moving back to the outfield after his respite, made up for his error when he popped one past Leesider keeper Grant Gill. It was Harper, D’Amico, Watson, and Chamberlain, all feeling relaxed and capable, who moved the ball with precision, finding 3 more goals and 5 more points between them. The Leesiders dug into their reserves, but found themselves unable to respond to the Ports, managing to find only 2 points and 1 goal in the second half. Final score Ports 4-9 (21) to Leesiders 2-3 (9).

Ports battle the Blue Notes for top of the table honors

Having won their first match of the day, the Ports sat level on league points with the Blue Notes at 9 each. Both teams were champing at the bit to win the day’s third match and go into the second half of the season at the top of the table. Having recognized the importance of playing Ryan Buckley in net, Captain Ashley Tabolinsky slotted the big man between the posts.  Much like the second game, this one started off with quick scores from both sides. The Ports’ front men appeared to have found their form, while Joey Whalen, Oak Reynolds, and Aaron Joley were dialed in for the Blue Notes. The halftime score reflected the excitement of the half, with the sides separated by merely a goal: Ports 2-3 to Leesiders 1-3.

The Ports must have slipped something into Sam D’Amico and Caleb Harper’s bug juice at the half as both men took to the scoring like seasoned pros. The Ports were asking the questions, but Notes had answers, sending the cavalry forward, and taking advantage of holes in the Ports’ defense. A tremendous shot on goal, and a near save by Ryan Buckley, saw the ball land just inside the keeper’s line, taking the Ports’ goal tally to 3, while Joley and Whalen kept the Notes level with the Ports on goals. But as the Bainisteoir always says, “take your points!” especially when the net is guarded by a keeper as capable as Ryan Buckley, and so the Ports did just that, sending 11 over the bar in the second half alone. In the end, those points would be enough, giving the Ports the victory and another 3 points in the league standings. Final score: Ports 3-14 (23) to Blue Notes 3-6 (15)

Player of the Day 

Savoring the two victories, the Ports celebrated a third when Sam D’Amico was recognized as player of the day. His crisp play, good movement, and goals and points were instrumental in the Ports success. Congratulations “Meatball”!

Standings:

Ports 12

Blue Notes 9

Leesiders 6

12120044_10153661146857329_2002859640741276544_o 12087663_10153661145027329_6769224574004375175_o 12113417_10153661156057329_1057167869798285832_o

Posted on

Fall League Week 2 Match Report

Jameson Hurley Reporting

September 27, 2015

Nashville, TN

Coming off two decisive victories in week 1, the Ports’ vulnerabilities were exposed as both the Leesiders and the Blue Notes handed resounding defeats to Captain Rauer’s squad. Meanwhile, the Blue Notes marked an historic day in the Nashville GAC, taking victory in both of their matches and thus claiming a seat at the top the table. The Leesiders, who went winless in the opening week, found their stride in the first match of the day against a lackluster Ports side, and were it not for a very close loss to the Blue Notes, the red side would have found themselves level in the league standings with both shades of blue. As it stands though, 3 points separate each team from each other. So how did it all come to pass?

Match 1: Leesiders vs. Ports         

Readied for the day, with marching orders in had, Brendan Rauer’s Ports took to the pitch full of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm was quickly drained in the opening minutes as the Leesiders’ attack proved too much for the Ports. With two punishing goals coming from magnificent strikes for Officer David “Hightower” Smith, the feeble Ports fell back on their heels. Despite many attempts from Johnny Watson, Nick Chamberlain, and Sam D’Amico, the Ports were unable to put a point over the bar. It was Chamberlain who finally brought hope, placing a long range shot clear for a point, to which Watson, recalling Chris Davis’ remark from the week prior said, “We’re on the board.” Errors on both sides kept the match tight, but at the half-time whistle those two early goals from Smith separated the sides.

The deficit, combined with first half injuries sustained by D’Amico and last week’s player of the week Brian Goodwin, forced Captain Rauer to move himself out of goal and up to full-forward. Watson fell into a midfield position and partnered with Chamberlain, but the fitness and scoring ability of Corbett Ouellette, Chris Davis, and Officer Smith proved to be too much for the duo. Watson was able to sneak in a goal, but two more by “Hightower” proved to be too big an obstacle for the Ports to overcome. Final score: Leesiders 5-2 (17) v Ports 3-3 (12).

Match 2: Ports vs. Blue Notes

After the break, the Ports headed back onto the pitch to face Ashley “Smashley” Tabolinsky’s Blue Notes. The Notes were champing at the bit and eager to face-off against the side that handed them such a decisive defeat one week prior. The Ports, looking to rebound from the earlier loss, hoped to turn things around quickly, but the injury-plagued side struggled right from the first whistle.

The Blue Notes were quick to get onto the board with a couple of rapid points and a goal, while the Ports continued to strike the ball wide or directly into the sure hands of the Blue Notes’ agile goalkeeper, Ryan Buckley. And while a couple scores did eventually come from the Ports, it was the solid defensive play of Tabolinsky and Cody Murdock who held the score low. Halftime could not have come sooner for the dark blue side, who hobbled off the pitch when the referee’s whistle blew.

Down 2 goals at the start of the second half, the Ports needed to tally some scores, and knowing that Buckley would keep a tight watch on the net, they took their points, adding a few quick ticks to the referee’s notebook. But at the other end of the pitch, the Blue Notes employed an all-together different strategy, taking full advantage of the Ports’ injured keeper to net two more goals, and thus offsetting any forward progress made by the Ports. The sides battled on, but the weary and bedraggled Ports simply could not keep up. Final score: Ports 1-6 (9) v. Blue Notes 4-4 (16)

Match 3: Blue Notes vs. Leesiders

In a repeat of the thriller played by these two sides in week 1, the third match proved to be the best and most exciting of the day. A tired Leesider side dug deep, and pulled out enough energy to give the Blue Notes a worthy challenge.

In a bold move, the Blue Notes pulled their trustworthy keeper out of goal, positioning him at the full forward line. But fear not! This did not leave the Notes exposed at net, as spectators were treated to some incredible saves on both ends of the pitch. As the battle raged back and forth, it was clear that this would be a tight game all the way to the finish.

Newcomer Alex Pinkston displayed remarkable, speedy growth when he scored a point only an hour after he learned to play the game of hurling. His efforts, coupled with decisive defensive work by Cody Murdock kept the Notes in the lead for most of the match. Despite the hard work from Baker, Smith, and Baxter, the Leesiders’ attack would fall just short. In the end, that bold move of playing Buckley forward would give the Notes their historic day as his two points would be all that separated the sides when the final whistle blew. Blue Notes 1-6 (9) v Leesiders 1-4 (7)

Player of the Week:

Having played strong, tactical offense all day, netting total of 5 goals, Officer David “Hightower” Smith was named player of the week. Just off playing his last match of the season before heading off to weekend patrol duties, Smith said of the honor, “It’s a real honor to be chosen player of the week, thanks to everyone who voted for me. My season was unfortunately cut short due to my shift change but this was a great way to end it.” Congratulations David, and thanks for keeping the streets of Nashville safe.

League Standing:

Blue Notes: 9 points

Ports: 6 points

Leesiders: 3 points

ngac cheerleader
New member Chris Cavin’s daughter served as our first official cheerleader!