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Music City Invitational Match Report

By Jameson Hurley

The inaugural Music City Invitational, hosted by the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club, was the first event of its kind in the state of Tennessee. Hurling and camogie teams from St. Louis, MO; Indianapolis, IN; Atlanta, GA; and Knoxville, TN traveled to the host city for an action-packed day of Gaelic games. The event, which was postponed for two weeks due to ice and snow that rendered the pitch unplayable, was played under beautiful sunny skies and mild spring conditions.

The Opening Ceremony

Early arriving players were welcomed to the pitch by a dense layer of fog. As the players warmed up, the fog lifted, and the day was underway. The Nashville Pipe and Drum Corps kicked off the opening ceremonies followed by the singing of the National Anthems of the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland. Reverend John Hammond, of Christ the King Parish, gave a moving benediction, and with that, the matches were off.

6 hurling teams and 3 camogie teams set off into battle to see who would claim the cups. In the group stages of hurling, Indy Green, St. Louis, and Nashville competed in the Green Division, while Atlanta, Knoxville, and Indy Black faced off in the Gold Division. Over on the camogie pitch Atlanta 1, Atlanta 2, and a combined Indy/Nashville squad were set to compete in a round robin tournament.

On to the Matches

The first two matches of the day featured Indy Green v. host club Nashville and Atlanta v. a newly formed club form Knoxville, a team of U.S. Army Reserve soldiers. Both matches were spirited and competitive, but the experience of the long established clubs of Indy and Atlanta proved too much for the newer kids on the block. Final score: Indy Green 7-12 (33) to Nashville 1-3 (6) and Atlanta 7-16 (37) to Knoxville 1-0 (3).

Next up on pitch 1 were the Sons of Liberty from St. Louis v. Indy Green. The long-established friendly rivalry between Indy and St. Louis proved to be one of the highlights of the day, with an excellent display of long-range pointing and strong defensive stands from both teams. In the end, it was the crisp passing and efficient teamwork of the men from the Hoosier state that gave them the full-time edge. St. Louis 0-7 to Indy 0-11. Over on pitch 2, Indy Black put up a valiant effort, but their friends from the South proved too experienced and too strong a side. Atlanta took the victory, and with it advanced to the next stage of the tournament along with Indianapolis Green.

Over to the Camogie Pitch

Who would face Indy Green and Atlanta in those next matches? That was to be decided shortly thereafter when Nashville faced off against St. Louis, and Knoxville tested their improving skills against Indy Black. But first, all in attendance would be treated excellent match on the camogie pitch. Atlanta, last year’s North American camogie champions split their squad for the round robin stages. The first camogie match featured Atlanta 1 v. Indy/Nashville, and what a thrilling match it was. Excellent ball movement, precise scores, and amazing defensive plays kept the assembled fans on their toes. In the end the Indy/Nashville Squad found the space between the posts more often, scoring 7-8 (29) to Atlanta’s 5-3 (18). Indy would go on to face the second Atlanta squad, ending that match with a similar result, and thus claimed the championship. What would happen in the “friendly” scheduled for later in the day, when Atlanta would play at full strength against their northern rivals?

Back to Hurling

Back on the hurling pitch, it was Chairman of the Nashville GAC Johnny Watson’s former club mates from St. Louis who were set to do battle the host city. Pride was on the line for the Nashville forward, as a victory against the men he led to a National Championship just 4 years prior would mark quite an accomplishment for the club he founded just 2 years ago. The winner of the match would go on to face Atlanta in the next round, while the loser would be relegated to a shield match against the Gold Division’s 3rd place team. The competition was fair but fierce, with both sides exchanging blows. With minutes to go, Nashville took a 2-point lead, when Watson snuck a ball past the goalie. St. Louis, not done with their effort responded with a quick point followed closely by another. With time nearly expired and the match level, Nashville was awarded a free. Tension filled the air as the sliotar was lifted and struck. Wide. The game ended in a draw, with both teams earning a point, and St. Louis advanced on point differential.

On the adjacent pitch, the men from Indy Black faced off against Knoxville. The newcomers, strengthened by the addition of two experienced subs, dug in and played hard. While the skill was not quite there, the passion and courage was. Indy Black, with their experience, led the charge, putting up 7 brilliant points from play. But those points, combined with 3 goals would, in the end, not be enough to offset the new found goal scoring prowess of the Knoxville side. At the final whistle, the scorecard read: Knoxville 6-3 (21) to Indy Black 3-7 (16). Knoxville was set to face the other Indy side in the next round.

The top two hurling teams from each division took to the pitch to decide who would face off in the championship match. On field 1, it was Indy Green who would put Knoxville’s recent winning ways to the test. The boys from Indy wasted no time in putting up the first score, as Knoxville struggled to win the ball. Once they started scoring, Indy did not stop, and while Knoxville turned to the subs that led them to victory in the earlier match against their opponent’s fellow clubmen, their scores came too rarely to slow Indy down. At full time, the scoreboard told the tale: Indy Green 5-18 (33) to Knoxville 1-4 (7). Indy Green advanced to the final.

On field 2, St. Louis, hoping to show that the draw against Nashville was unlike their usual winning ways, faced off against a tough Atlanta side. The match was physical from the start with each team’s strongmen attacking the ball with ferocious intensity. The battles at midfield gave way to attacks on goal, which were shut down time and time again by each side’s defense. While the both sides gave their all in hopes of reaching the championship, it was Atlanta who won the chance to challenge Indy Green for the cup. St. Louis would have to settle for a consolation match against Knoxville.

Over to the Camogie Pitch

Back over at the camogie pitch, a full strength Atlanta side greeted the combined Indy/Nashville squad for a “friendly” battle for pride. A high standard of play was on full display, as neither side wanted to leave the pitch the loser. There were scores to be had, and scores were indeed found, with the ladies from Atlanta showing their supporters why they were the deserving winners of last year’s National title. In the end, it was Atlanta who prevailed with a score of 7-37 (58) to 1-11 (14).

With 3 matches left for the day, the men of Nashville and Indy Black faced off in the shield match. The green and gold side, still suffering for the disappointment of finishing 3rd in their division after the tie against St. Louis, took to the pitch with heads held high, while Indy Black, having suffered two defeats, were determined to get a win. Nashville, however, proved the stronger side, defeating their opponents 3-9 (18) to 1-2 (5).

In the consolation match, Knoxville, having lost their two star substitutes, picked up a number of reserves from Nashville. This new support led to a competitive match at times, but the St. Louis Sons of Liberty, with their seasoned veterans, proved to strong for the tired minds and legs of the men from Tennessee. Final score: St. Louis 8-12 (36) to Knoxville 2-3 (9).

And the Final Match

The final match of the day would give the Music City Invitational its inaugural hurling champions. Indy Green took to the pitch to face Atlanta, two teams that proved all day that they deserved to vie for the cup. The competition was intense from the opening throw in as both teams clashed and fought for every open ball. Indy approached the game with practiced, precision passing, and set themselves up to launch points over Atlanta’s bar. Atlanta countered with attacks from seasoned veterans, many who’ve played for decades, as they worked their way through Indy’s defense. The ash continued to clash, the scores continued to mount, and the players continued to offer a display of elegant, workmanlike hurling. The assembled crowd roared at every hard fought battle, every decisive defensive stand, and every superb score. The sides held each other tight to a narrow score line, but when time expired, it was Atlanta who held the slight edge and claimed the cup: Atlanta 4-13 (25) to Indy Green 4-10 (22).

The day, which had started on such a high note, ended on and even higher one with top class, quality displays of hurling and camogie from all teams involved. From players who have played for a lifetime to those who’ve only been playing for 2 weeks, the standard of play was impressive, the courage and passion were evident, and the love of the games on full display.

Off to Afters and The Trophy Presentation

The teams gathered later in the evening for afters at Dan McGuinness Irish Pub to share in the success of the day, to lick their wounds, and to tell tall tales of sporting heroics. Trophy presentations were made to the ladies of Indianapolis, victors in the camogie tournament, and the men of Atlanta, the winning side in the hurling tournament. The inaugural Music City Invitational was declared a great success, and the future looks bright for this event to become a successful annual event. Proof once again that Gaelic sports are alive and well in the South of the USA.

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Nashville Hurling League Championship Match

Jameson Hurley Reporting

After 7 weeks of regular season play, it all came down to this: The Ports under the guidance of Captain Corbett Ouellette earned to right to face the Leesiders, captained by Grant Gill in the league championship match. These two teams spent the regular season swapping spots at the top of the table, so it was only fitting that they would take to the field on the day of the final to settle the score. Would the Iron Hurl remain in the hands of the Ports, or would the Leesiders take possession of the coveted prize?

As the captains readied their teams, the crowd began to gather under the clear blue skies of the autumn afternoon. Opening ceremonies commenced with the presentation of the teams, followed by beautiful renditions of the National Anthems of Ireland and the United States, sung by Caleb Ben Harper and Jennifer Barry, respectively. Ports man, Mike Conway, and Nashville Pipe and Drums Major, Nathan Dungan, gave the crowd a special treat, putting on a fantastic musical display on the bagpipes. And with that, the players took to the field for 60 minutes of much anticipated action.

The early minutes were filled with nerves as players from both sides made sloppy work of the game, and the usually sure striking players, Jamie Norris (Ports) and Johnny Watson (Leesiders), put their first attempts well wide of the posts. It was the Leesiders who were the first to calm down though, taking the first point of the game with nearly 3 minutes of time expired. That point was quickly followed by a goal from the Leesiders’ left corner forward, Dan Sachs. In response, Ports man, Jamie Norris looked to even the match, taking every opportunity to send the ball over the bar, which he would do on 4 occasions during the half. The calm winds aided the goalies in their ability to drop long puck outs out to the wings of the field, and great clashes ensued as players fought to win the ball and set up scores.

The match was shaping up to be the exciting battle that all had anticipated with great hurling coming from both sides, but substitute Alan O’Connor, who came off the bench for the Leesiders, would prove to be the difference-maker in the first half. His play, controlling the midfield, and giving another option to the Leesiders regular attackers, Chamberlain, Watson, and Sachs, opened up play and opened the door for the scores to tally up in favor of the team in red.

The half came to an end, just after the chaos and confusion from a last minute injury to Ports forward, Joey Whalen, was cleared up. It was reported to the sideline that Whalen (who it turned out had simply twisted his ankle) suffered a break. Physiotherapist, Michelle Dickston, responded to the calls for help, and found Spec Ops Conway holding Whalen’s left ankle. She began examining it, with Whalen responding that everything felt fine on that ankle, only to follow up with, “it’s actually my right ankle.” Alan O’Connor would later be heard to remark, “it was like an episode of M*A*S*H out there.” With that all cleared up, the half came to a close, with the Leesiders leading 5-9 (24) to 1-5 (8).

After the intermission, and with the captains agreeing to allow two Blue Notes to join the now short-sided Ports, the players took to the field for the second half. This would not be a repeat of the first half, as the Ports, not ready to give up the fight, mounted an all hands-on-deck attack. Timothy Ryan Buckley, now in goal for the Ports, closed off the leaky first-half net, while Mike Conway and Jamie Norris focused their attention on attacking the Leesiders goal. The two would combine for 6 goals in the half. Recognizing the threat coming from these two powerful strikers, Captain Gill repositioned his players, and worked to shut down the big men. As the half wore on and the players wore down, the Leesiders found the strength to forge forward and get scores of their own. The red sides’ regular scorers were added by shots on target by Captain Gill and Sam D’Amico, and in the end it was their teamwork and tenacity that would see them raise the Iron Hurl at the end of the day.

Final score: Leesiders 9-15 (42) to Ports 7-6 (27)

Leesiders: Katie Sampuda, Molly Webb, Ed Brosz, Nick Chamberlain, Grant Gill (C.) (1-1),  Sam D’Amico (0-1), Alan O’Connor (1-8), Nick Chamberlain (2-2), Johnny Watson (1-3), Dan Sachs (3-1), Grant Schlisner

Ports: Liam Barry, Molly Bombardi-Mount, Mike Conway (3-1), Jamie Norris (4-4), Joey Whalen (0-1), Corbett Ouellette (C.), Thomas Saunders, Timothy Ryan Buckley (loan), Caleb Harper (loan)

Man of the match honors go to the men and women of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic club for their hard work promoting and playing hurling in Nashville Tennessee.

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Season Scoring totals:

FIRST LAST Total Goals Total Points Total Score
Johnny Watson

20

56

116

Nick Chamberlain

10

17

47

Mike Conway

14

5

47

Jamie Norris

6

29

47

Brendan  Reynolds

11

11

44

Brendan Rauer

8

7

31

Dan Sachs

7

2

23

Corbette Ouellette

3

12

21

Ryan Buckley

3

11

20

Joey Whalen

4

6

18

Grant Gill

4

6

18

Chris Davis

1

13

16

David Smith

4

3

15

Alan O’Connor

1

8

11

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Sam D’Amico

1

6

9

Thomas Saunders

2

0

6

Renee Anzivino

2

0

6

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Jason Clark

1

0

3

Eric Weber

0

3

3

Pete Kennedy

0

2

2

Ashley Tabolinsky

0

2

2

 

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Nashville GAC Week 5 Match Report

Jameson Hurley Reporting

If the weather were up for “man of the match” honors, this week’s clear winner would have been the wind, which blew steadily from the town end during all three of the day’s matches. The gusts would challenge both the attack and the defense, holding up shots, sending the sliotar far wide, and pushing puck-outs down the length of the field. The day would also see the Blue Notes’ final opportunity to secure wins and thus remain in the hunt for the league title. Several players, having traveled to Southern Indiana to play Collegiate GAA games at Indiana University the day prior, would have to dig deep to find the strength to compete in the day’s league matches.

The day’s matches kicked off with the Ports in their dark blue kits taking on the Blue Notes in their baby blues. The Notes were first to strike, when the intimidating Brendan Rauer fired a stunning shot on goal. A response from the usually sure footed Ports was slow to come. The Blue Notes, who have struggled in games against the Ports kept up their attack, with big man, T.R. Buckley managing 4 points in the half, while Ports man, Mike “Spec Ops” Conway, who has been on a bit of a scoring drought, guided the sliotar into the back of the Blue Note net on three occasions before the halftime whistle. The teams retired for the break all level at 2-4 (10) to 3-2 (10).

The Notes, most certainly tasting their first victory found themselves fighting the wind in the second half. Mother Nature would not slow their attack, and with 2 minutes to play, the sides remained level. A late goal from the Ports gave them a 3 point advantage and put the pressure on their friends in light blue. An attempt to set up a late goal off a long free did not go in favor of the Notes, and at the final whistle the scorecard read: Blue Notes 3-6 (15) v. Ports 5-3 (18). In the end, it was the five goals from “Man of the Match,” Mike Conway, that helped secure victory for the Ports.

The Blue Notes, well aware of the power of the wind from their first game, opted to defend the town end goal in the first half of game 2. T.R. Buckley, who’d been the Notes’ leading scorer in the prior match, was reassigned to his more familiar position between the posts. The confident scorer, Johnny “Sticks” Watson, was the first man with an opportunity to score, but an unsure grip, coupled with the pressured defense of the mighty Brendan Rauer, saw the Leesiders man send the ball wide. Blue Notes captain, Chris “Griz” Davis, with quick feet and a steady hand, plucked the ball from the air on the next puck-out, and fired a sure shot over the Leesiders bar.

It looked to be the Notes’ day, but a sloppy, weak-side shot on goal from Johnny Watson somehow slipped by the usually sure hands of Big T.R. and found the back of the net. This was quickly followed by another cracking pull on net by Watson, after an initial, brilliant save rebounded off T.R. Buckley’s stick. The sides were level at the half, and with the wind at their backs in the second half, coupled with Sticks’ renewed confidence from those late, first-half goals, the Leesiders attacked the Blue Notes at every turn. The Blue Notes defended their end with confidence, but in the end the Leesiders’ crisp passing and effective teamwork would prove to be just too much for the Blue Notes. It was former NGAC club member, now Memphis hurler, Jesse Gammons, who was all business at midfield. His workman’s efforts playing the ball into the forward line earn him Man of the Match honors in the 4-6 (18) to 4-3 (15) victory in favor of the Leesiders.

The Ports, with all of the confidence of their first victory of the day, would take the pitch for the third match to face their rivals, the Leesiders. The Blue Notes, having lost their two matches, were now statistically eliminated from the championship match to be played in 1 months time, but the Ports and the Leesiders were both eager to one up each other on the league table. The mighty wind would once again play a major role in the matches; the Leesiders elected to play the first half straight at the snarling beast. The match began with the once again, seemingly confused Johnny “Sticks” Watson responding to big T.R. Buckley’s inquiry, “Are you playing forward?” with, “Yes, so shouldn’t you be headed to that goal?” (indicating the goal Watson planned to attack). Buckley, quick to point out that he’d been recruited to mind the net for the short-handed Leesiders, put Watson’s mind at ease and took his place in front of the Leesiders net.

Correcting his errors from the second game of the day, Watson was the first to score, striking a confident shot into the wind. Dan Sachs, at forward, also got into the mix, as he and Watson, working together off of the delivery service from Jessie “Business” Gammons and Grant “Vinnie” Gill, combined for 5 goals and 8 points in the match. The Ports simply did not have a response and, even with the unexpected move of pulling Jamie Norris out of goal and into scoring position, along with a spectacular goal by Thomas Saunders, the dark blue found themselves on the losing side, and thus, out of first place. Ports 2-6 (12) v. Leesiders 6-8 (26).

So the match is set for the November 2 championship, but every team still has a lot to play for. Blue Notes’ forward, Renee Anzivino, summed it up well: “Every game matters. We always play to win.” The league is off next week as players travel for inter-county play but will return for 2 more weeks of league matches before the Ports face the Leesiders in the league championship match.

Big T.R. Buckley claims Man of the Day honors for his play in goal and at forward for the Blue Notes combined with his work in goal for the short-handed Leesiders.

FIRST LAST Total Goals Total Points Total Score
Johnny Watson

19

53

110

Brendan  Reynolds

11

11

44

Nick Chamberlain

8

15

39

Mike Conway

11

4

37

Jamie Norris

2

25

31

Brendan Rauer

8

7

31

Corbette Ouellette

3

12

21

Ryan Buckley

3

11

20

Joey Whalen

4

6

18

Chris Davis

1

13

16

David Smith

4

3

15

Grant Gill

3

5

14

Dan Sachs

4

1

13

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Sam D’Amico

1

5

8

Thomas Saunders

2

0

6

Renee Anzivino

2

0

6

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Jason Clark

1

0

3

Eric Weber

0

3

3

Pete Kennedy

0

2

2

Ashley Tabolinsky

0

2

2

 

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Nashville GAC Week 4 Match Report

Jameson Hurley Reporting

At the halfway point of the season, the Ports and the Leesiders continue to fight for top of the table honors, while the Blue Notes still search for their first win. Last week’s matches, the closest in the club’s short, but exciting history, proved that all three teams had the skill and tenacity to win matches. The confidence built by the teams in those nail biters would be put to the test as the league entered its 4th week of play.

In what is shaping up to be quite the rivalry, the first match featured the second place Ports taking on the league leading Leesiders. The short-handed Ports would look to a loan from the Blue Notes, along with a visitor, Eric Weber, from club chairman Johnny Watson’s former club, the St. Louis GAC, to fill out their numbers. The sides took to the pitch, and from the opening whistle, it was clear that this would be a tight battle. The Ports who opened the scoring with an on target shot on goal. The Leesiders responded with a point, but the scoring in the first half would be kept low, due in large part to the defensive efforts of visitor Eric “The Grill” Weber, who, assigned to mark scoring leader, Johnny “Sticks” Watson, held the marksman to just 3 points. After the intermission, the Leesiders, down by 2 points, shifted their tactics, and targeted the Ports’ goal. Nick Chamberlain put 3 in the net, with Sticks finding space and managing 3 more shots over the bar. In the final minute, the Leesiders, down a point, were awarded a free. The attempt to drop the sliotar in deep to set up a goal was thwarted by Ports, which gave them the single point victory. Leesiders 3-7 (16) v. Ports 3-8 (17) Man of the Match: Ports’ forward line playmaker, Joey Whalen.

It was “Man of the Match” from the first game, Joey Whalen, who opened the scoring campaign for the Ports in the day’s second match. The Blue Notes, sensing victory was surely within their grasp after the close match last week, worked to find an answer. The Notes’ Captain, “Griz” Davis, found himself in an intense midfield battle with Ports’ Captain, “Frank” Ouellette, which saw each of them capturing a couple of hard earned points. Ports man, Brendan “Oak” Reynolds, found his way through the Blue Notes’ defense and struck 3 punishing shots on goal that even the swift hands of the keeper, T.R. Buckley, could not stop. The fluid movement and smart teamwork of the Ports put them in scoring position more often, and the halftime score reflected as much with the Ports leading 3-4 to 0-2. The second half lacked the thunder of the first, with the scores being limited to 3 points from the Ports, two of which came from frees. Final score: Ports 3-7 (16) v. Blue Notes 0-2 (2). Man of the Match: Ports’ goal scoring maestro, Brendan Reynolds.

The Blue Notes, determined to not let the match 2 defeat get them down, huddled between games and came up with a new strategy. Big T.R. was relieved of his goal keeping duties and dispatched to the forward line. A confused Johnny Sticks remarked, “Hey, you’re defending that goal,” indicating the opposite direction. “Nope, I’m attacking yours,” remarked Buckley. And attack he did, smashing in 1 goal and 4 points in the first half alone. The game, separated by 1 point in favor of the Leesiders, went to the intermission with both sides gunning for victory. In the second half, the Leesiders, responding to Buckley’s attack in the first half, marked the big man with one of their own, tasking Dan Sachs with shutting down T.R. Buckley. Johnny Watson answering his teams’ call to bring the points, put 3 thrilling shots on goal and 3 more over the bar. Dylan “Double D” Heath, playing well in his role at fullback for the Notes, did his part to minimize the scores, making no fewer than 6 blocks, but in the end that effort would not be enough to see victory for the Blue Notes. Final score: Leesiders 5-9 (24) v. Blue Notes 3-6 (15) Man of the Match: The Leesiders defensive tactician, Dan Sachs

The Ports reclaim their seat at the top of the table, sitting level on point with the Leesiders, but edging them out by a +16 score differential. Newcomer, Dylan Heath, in only his second week of league play claims the Man of the Day honors for his strength on defense for the Blue Notes, while Johnny Watson continues to lead all scorers adding 5 goals and 12 points to his total. Next week’s games kick off at Noon with the Ports v. Blue Notes, followed by the Blue Notes v. Leesiders, and ending with the Leesiders v. Ports. We’ll see you at Heartland Fields for all the action.

FIRST LAST Total Goals Total Points Total Score
Johnny Watson

15

41

86

Brendan  Reynolds

11

8

41

Nick Chamberlain

8

15

39

Jamie Norris

1

21

24

Mike Conway

6

4

22

Brendan Rauer

5

6

21

Corbette Ouellette

3

11

20

Joey Whalen

4

6

18

Ryan Buckley

3

6

15

Grant Gill

3

3

12

Chris Davis

0

12

12

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Sam D’Amico

1

5

8

David Smith

2

1

7

Thomas Saunders

1

0

3

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Jason Clark

1

0

3

Eric Weber

0

3

3

Pete Kennedy

0

2

2

Ashley Tabolinsky

0

2

2

Dan Sachs

0

1

1

 

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Nashville GAC Week 3 Match Report

Match Day 3
Jameson Hurley Reporting

Just as it was beginning to look like summer had released its grip on the Nashville area, the fireball in the sky, having consulted the calendar, gave a nice, hot, last day of summer. The competition in the third week of the Nashville City League was heating up too. Coming into the day, the Ports and Leesiders sat tied in points at the top of the table with the Ports claiming the top spot on score differential, while the Blue Notes looked to get their first win of the season. The gathered crowd was in for a real treat, as the growing skill, confidence, and fitness of the players would surely lead to some quality hurling.

After a hand-passing skills clinic, led by Johnny Watson, the Leesiders under the guidance of Captain Grant “Vinnie” Gill and the Blue Notes, captained by Chris “Griz” Davis took to the pitch. The Blue Notes were the first to strike when birthday boy, Brendan Rauer, put a great shot over the bar. The Blue Notes, invigorated by the score, put the pressure on. Their new mantra, “turn and point,” coupled with some realigned defensive tactics, made it clear that they only had one thing on the mind: victory. Newcomer Dylan “Double D” Heath and standout defender Ashley “Smashley” Tabolinsky, put the Leesiders’ forwards under extreme pressure, while the always sure hands of Timothy Ryan Buckley repelled the Leesiders’ shots on goal. An extraordinary effort on both sides of the pitch kept the sides nearly level throughout, but a late Leesider goal from Jason Clark, would provide the confidence the red side would need to finish the match strong. The referee’s whistle blew shortly thereafter, and after a few moments of scoresheet confusion, it was settled that the final score read: Leesiders 2-11 (17) to Blue Notes 3-4 (13).

Match 2 would prove to be just as exciting and competitive, as the Leesiders remained on the pitch to take on their top-of-the-table rival Ports. After a pitch shift to accommodate a curious game that looked to be a form of Gaelic football where the players were not allowed to take the ball into their hands, shots over the bar counted for nothing, and players spent a considerable amount of time writhing around on the ground, match 2 was off. Strong defense on both sides of the pitch kept the scoring low, and magnificent saves by both goalies meant that the only scores to be had would come from shots over the bar. Johnny Sticks and Nick Chamberlain connected on some key passes, and were able to work the ball over the bar for a few Leesider points, while Jamie Norris, escaping from his position in goal, led the scoring for the Ports. The usually reliable Mike “Spec Ops” Conway saw his shots on goal saved by the valiant efforts of the Leesiders new goalie, “New” Grant Schlisner, who in his first day playing hurling was already proving himself to be a wall through which the sliotar could not penetrate. A strong push by the Ports in the closing minutes, complete with a highlight reel worthy battle between Conway and Chamberlain, would fall just short of leveling the game. At the whistle, the exhausted Leesiders pumped their arms in the air as their single point victory moved them into first place. Leesiders 1-7 (10) to Ports 1-6 (9).

The Blue Notes, rested and relieved from their officiating duties, snapped their helmets back on and took to the pitch to face the Ports in the 3rd match of the Day. Still pained by the earlier close loss, the Blue Notes brought the fight. Much like the previous two matches, this one would prove to be a battle of the defenses. Dug in like soldiers engaged in trench warfare, the sides would attack and retreat with no real gains on the scoreboard. The halftime score reflected the tactics as it read Blue Notes 0-0 to Ports 0-2.  Had the Notes forgotten their new mantra already? The second half was slightly more productive for the Ports as Joey Whalen, Captain Corbett “Frank” Ouellette, and Jamie “Day Job” Norris put up points. To counter the Ports points, the Notes seized a couple of opportunities to break down the Ports’ defense and net 2 goals. With 5 minutes to go, the match was level at 2-1 (7) to 1-4 (7). It would remain so until a shot from Corbett Ouellette sailed over the bar in the closing minute. On a last push, and with time nearly expired, the Blue Notes were awarded a 65. Timothy Ryan Buckley came out of his goal to take the shot and attempt to level the match. It was not to be, however, as his free sailed wide right of the post. Final score Blue Notes 2-1 (7) v. Ports 1-5 (8).

What a day of hurling. The three matches were the closest to date. Johnny Watson spoke to the crowd after saying, “Wow, we had two matches where the teams were only separated by a point, and another separated by a goal and a point. (This is) truly a testament to the improved play of all of the hurlers. The day will be remembered for excellent defensive battles and hard won scores.”

League standings: Leesiders 12 points; Ports 9 points; Blue Notes 0 points. See you at next week’s games. The Leesiders and Ports get things going at Noon at Heartland Fields.

Man of the match for match 1: Jason Clark for his late, confidence building goal
Man of the match for match 2: Grant Schlisner for his goal keeping heroics
Man of the match for match 3: Liam Barry for his critical defensive play
Player of the day: newcomer “New” Grant Schlisner for a standout performance on his very first day playing hurling

Scoring Leaders:

FIRST LAST Total Goals Total Points Total Score
Johnny Watson

10

29

59

Nick Chamberlain

5

14

29

Brendan  Reynolds

6

8

26

Mike Conway

6

4

22

Jamie Norris

1

17

20

Brendan Rauer

4

5

17

Corbette Ouellette

3

7

16

Joey Whalen

3

3

12

Grant Gill

3

2

11

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Chris Davis

0

9

9

Ryan Buckley

2

2

8

Sam D’Amico

1

4

7

David Smith

2

1

7

Thomas Saunders

1

0

3

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Jason Clark

1

0

3

Pete Kennedy

0

2

2

Ashley  Tabolinsky

0

2

2

match day 3

Match Day 3

 

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Nashville GAC Autumn League Week 2 Match Report

fall league afters
Jameson Hurley Reporting

Traffic on area highways heading into some other small sporting event at LP Field delayed some players’ arrival at Heartland Fields on Sunday, but all arrived safely and eager to play under the clear blue skies and ideal temperatures. In what will become a weekly feature, Johnny Watson kicked off the afternoon with a skills clinic. Players used this opportunity to focus on the fundamental skills of a proper lift and to warm up ahead of the day’s matches.

Match 1 saw the teams from last week’s midday match, the Ports and the Blue Notes take the field, eager to get the day underway. Cody Murdock opened the scoring with a fantastic point from long range in the early minutes of the match. That, however, would bring the end to the scoring for a good while. Minutes ticked off the clock, as both team’s defenses crushed their opponents attacks. A fan on the sideline was heard to mutter, “Jeez, is anyone going to score?” The halftime score sheet reflected the sentiment with only 1 goal and 3 points registered between the two sides. The second half would be a different story, though, at least for the Ports, who under the leadership of Captain Ouellette managed to put the Blue Notes under great pressure. Mike Conway and Brendan Reynolds opened up on the Notes net, combining for 6 goals between them. And while Timothy Ryan Buckley put shots on target for the Notes, his charge wouldn’t be enough to overcome the Ports’ offense. Ports 5-6 (21) v. Blue Notes 1-2 (5).

Coming off their two victories last week, Captain Gill’s Leesiders took to the pitch to try their luck against Captain Davis’s Blue Notes. The clash started off with some great back-to-back scoring as both teams seized upon weaknesses at midfield and put the sliotar over the bar. Most impressive was the work of Ashley Tabolinsky, whose 2 early points put the Leesiders under real pressure. Captain Davis summed it up well, “Ashley was great. She was aggressive to the ball and didn’t pause when she took her confident shots.” Those points would be offset by an equal number of points along with some goals at the other end, and at intermission, the Leesiders led by 3 goals. The second half opened up for the Leesiders, with club Chairman and last week’s top scorer, Johnny “Sticks” Watson along with Nick Chamberlain and Sam D’Amico, adding to the scoring total. Final score: Leesiders 6-7 (25) v. Blue Notes 1-5 (8).

The Leesiders, showing signs of strain from the victory over the Blue Notes, remained on the pitch to battle the Ports in the third match of the day. The match turned out to be a battle of the midfields, and for much of the 30 minutes, it was the midfield of the Ports that held control. The Ports, with their quick feet, sure hands, and accurate passing mounted a full team attack, finding points and goals at every turn. The sides headed into the halftime break level on points, but with the Ports holding a 3-goal advantage. The second half brought more of the same, and while Chamberlain and Watson kept the points coming, the lack of teamwork from the Leesiders, combined with a barrage of points from the Ports gave the dark blue side the clear advantage at the full-time whistle. A confident Captain Ouellette said, “The Iron Hurl (league championship trophy) will remain in the hands of the Ports at the end of the season.” If his side’s teamwork, good hands, and determination in this game are any indication, his prophecy just might come true. Ports 7-8 (29) v. Leesiders 2-9(15).

At the close of week 3, the Leesiders and the Ports sit in first and second with 9 points each, but the Ports 13 point goal/point differential advantage, puts them at the top of table. It was another fantastic week of hurling, proof that the ancient game has a firm grip on Nashville. Jen Barry, club public relations officer, summed it up well: “The games were great, and each week the quality of play improves. This week was even more exciting and skillful than last week.” It is her great hope that “the Ports win the league, and that we can recruit enough players to add a fourth team in the spring season.”

We’ll see you next week at noon at Heartland Fields for all the hurling action in week 3 of the autumn league.

Season scoring leaders:

FIRST LAST G1 P1 TOTAL
Johnny Watson

9

18

45

Mike Conway

6

4

22

Nick Chamberlain

4

9

21

Brendan  Reynolds

4

7

19

Jamie Norris

1

11

14

Corbette Ouellette

3

4

13

Joey Whalen

3

2

11

Grant Gill

3

1

10

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Chris Davis

0

7

7

Brendan Rauer

1

3

6

Sam D’Amico

1

3

6

David Smith

1

1

4

Ryan Buckley

1

1

4

Thomas Saunders

1

0

3

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Pete Kennedy

0

2

2

Ashley

0

2

2

 

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Nashville GAC Autumn Hurling League Opening Day

team photo
Jameson Hurley Reporting

In stark contrast to the brutally hot days of the Nashville summer hurling league, the autumn league kicked off under overcast skies and temperatures that topped out in the mid 70/20’s. At high noon, the players from the three newly drafted teams gathered for opening ceremonies. Grammy award winning country musician, Pete Kennedy from Birr, Co. Offaly was on hand to throw the ceremonial first ball in to retiring captain, Aaron Joley and summer league champion captain, Corbett Ouellette. And with that toss, the league was underway.

The Leesiders, under the guidance of captain Grant Gill, took to the pitch against Captain Ouellette’s Ports for the first match of the day. The Leesiders grabbed the ball off the initial throw in, but nerves and rust resulted in chaotic play and an eventual shot wide of the posts. As the early minutes ticked by, it was clear that these two teams were evenly matched, but it was captain Ouellette’s Ports who got off to an early lead. One of the summer leagues’ top scorers, Jamie Norris of the Ports along with Brendan “OAK” Reynolds, were in fine form as they racked up points from play. With minutes to go in the half, special guest Pete Kennedy subbed in for the Leesiders, and while it is well known that the singer/songwriter can play guitar, all in attendance were witness to the fact that he can also play hurling. With the Ports leading at half, Captain Gill gathered his Leesiders and refocused their attentions to the task at hand. Whatever he said must have worked, because they came out firing. Nick Chamberlain and Johnny “Sticks” Watson, who seemed to be practicing their wides in the first half, straightened out their shots. Their points along with some goals from Watson and Gill were enough to put the Leesiders over the top. Final score 1-7 (10) to 3-7 (16) in favor of the Leesiders.

A reporter and a photographer from the local newspaper, The Tennessean, were on hand for the opening throw in of the day’s second match between Captain Corbett “Frank” Ouellette’s Ports and the Blue Notes under the leadership of Chris “Griz” Davis. Although they’d just battled the Leesiders, Ouellette’s Ports looked fresh and ready for play. Jamie Norris seemed to find his stride as he pointed at will. The Notes’ offense was strong, too, as they worked together to put the sliotar over the bar. At the half, the Ports, who were able to find holes in the Notes’ defense and score goals held a solid lead. The second half proved to be a duplicate of the first, with Norris on pointing duty, while Brendan Reynolds, Mike Conway, and Joey Whalen found the back of the net. One of the most thrilling goals of the day came when Thomas Saunders, unwilling to give up on his attack, took a massive shot on goal, which brought the Ports’ goal total to 6. While the Blue Notes kept it nearly level on points, it would be those six goals, coupled with what the Tennessean reported as the “barked instructions” from Captain Ouellette, that put the Ports on top in the end. Ports 6-7 (25) v. Blue Notes 1-6 (9).

The third match of the day saw Captain Gill’s Leesiders return to the pitch to face the tired but not defeated Blue Notes. The campaign took off with energy and enthusiasm, as both teams fought hard for the ball and attacked early. Captain Davis reworked his line-up and positioned his Notes for a more effective defense and a more precise offense. But would it be enough? The Leesiders game 1 “wide shooters,” Chamberlain and Watson, must have spent the break between games practicing their shots and passes as they seemed to find sure footing, precision passing, and shots on target to be the order of the this match. In defense for the Notes, goalie Cody Murdock and backs Caleb Harper and newcomer Padraig “Fish” Dùna made some magnificent saves and clearances, but the Notes were not able to capitalize with scores. Skillful hurling and clean teamwork by the Leesiders gave them their second victory on the day with a final score of 6-8 (26) to 1-5 (8).

After the first week of the 8-week season, the Leesiders top the table with 6 points, followed by the Ports with 3, and the Blue Notes with 0. Where will they stand at the end of next week? Be sure to check back for all of the news from Heartland Fields.

Don’t miss the incredible photo album by Tennessean photographer Mark Zaleski. 

FIRST LAST GOALS POINTS TOTAL
Johnny Watson

3

8

17

Grant Gill

3

1

10

Nick Chamberlain

2

4

10

Aaron Joley

2

3

9

Jamie Norris

0

9

9

Brendan  Reynolds

1

4

7

Mike Conway

2

1

7

Joey Whalen

2

0

6

Brendan Rauer

1

3

6

Chris Davis

0

5

5

Thomas Saunders

1

0

3

Ed Brosz

1

0

3

Pete Kennedy

2

2

team photo

Many thanks to Mark Zaleski, Brian Wilson, Pete Kennedy and family, and Sky network for joining us on this exciting day!

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Week 6 Match Report

Last Regular Match of the Summer League

By Jameson Hurley

After 5 weeks of battle, and 15 matches played in rain, boiling heat, and swampy conditions, the three teams of the Nashville GAC descended on Heartland Fields for the final week of regular season play. Going into the day, the Ports were guaranteed a spot in the championship match, while the mighty Blue Notes looked to be well positioned to secure the second spot. Captain Gill’s Leesiders would need to win both of their matches and see the Notes lose both of theirs in order to move to the second spot on the table. Would the Leesiders muster enough grit and determination, along with a little bit of luck to advance, or would Captain Joley’s Notes capture a victory and thus a spot in the inaugural season’s championship match?

Every player knew what was at stake in the first match of the day as the Blue Notes faced the Leesiders. The match started with quick pace, and lots of back and forth play, but neither team was able to score. Minutes ticked by as shots were blocked and balls went wide. It was the Leesiders who eventually opened the scoring when C.s. Kammerzell put the sliothar over the bar. A quick response for the Note’s Jamie Norris, however, made it clear that this contest would not be settled quietly. Both sides, determined to play again in two weeks’ time, battled hard, but the Blue Notes ability to crack the Leesider defense and put shots on goal proved to be the deciding factor. Final score Leesiders 2-12 (18) v. Blue Notes 5-7 (22), and with that the Notes earned a spot in the championship match.

A down, but not beaten, Leesider team regrouped and prepared for the second match of the day. Sure, they could no longer make the championship, but an opportunity for a spirit raising victory still existed. Close followers of the league know that the Ports defeated the Leesiders in each of their previous 5 matches. And with that in mind, Captain Gill rallied his team and charged them with winning their final match of the summer. Would the team in white and red find that elusive victory and finish the season on a high note, or would Captain Ouellette’s Ports salt their open wounds?

The match unfolded like so many between these two sides, as players arrived ready to work and evenly matched. The match featured crisp play, effective passing, and brilliant scoring as both sides worked to spoil the other’s day. With 2 minutes to go, the sides were tied. A point for the Ports put them in the lead, followed by a quick answer from the Leesiders. With time nearly expired, the Leesiders were awarded a 65; this would surely be the final play of the day. Johnny Sticks, unable to get a clean lift from the heavy grass, was forced to pull straight away on the ground. It was Sam D’Amico who used his quick feet to win that ball. A pass to the good Dr. Wall, who was perched in the center of the field, resulted in a Leesider point. With that, a final puck out for the Ports was followed by the referee’s fulltime whistle. Leesiders 2-9 (15) v. Ports 2-8 (14).

While the final match of the day would have no impact on the standings, it would offer a preview of the championship match. The Ports and the Blue Notes took to the field for this blue on blue battle. These two tough sides showed all in attendance how they earned their spots in the championship match. Hard, precise play from both sides kept the game tight throughout. While many were wowed by Timothy Ryan Buckley’s massive puck outs, and Jamie Norris’ punishing scores, this reporter was most impressed by the play of the two Mollys (Webb and Bombardi) and Katie Sampuda, who fought hard for every ball, and made massive contributions to their respective teams. The score line was tight throughout the game, but in the end, it was the Blue Notes who edged out the Ports 4-5 (17) to 3-4 (13).

After another amazing day of hurling, the final is set. The championship match will see the Ports face the Blue Notes in what is sure to be a fantastic match. Join us at Heartland Fields in two weeks time on Sunday, August 3 at 4:00.

IMG_4497 IMG_4518 IMG_4522 IMG_4530 IMG_4532

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Nashville City League Match Report

Week 3 of Competitive League

By: Jameson Hurley

Week 3 of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club proved even more exciting than the first two weeks. As player skill and fitness improves, so does the quality of play. Officially, it was the second day of summer, and if game time temperatures were any indication, Nashville is in for a hot one. It was as if the men and women of the NGAC wanted to be “one in heat-suffering spirit” with the USA Men’s Soccer team, as game time temperatures in Nashville exceeded those predicted in Manaus for later in the day. With pop-up tents for shade, and ice water on hand, the matches were underway.

Match 1 featured the Blue Notes v. the Leesiders. A question hanged heavy in the heavy hanging air: Would Captain Gill lead the Lees to victory with the confidence gained from their prior week’s win over the Blue Notes, or would Captain Joley rally his squad and rebound from their loss? It was clear from the start that this would be a memorable battle. The ball moved about the field like a butterfly on a calm spring day, but when shots were fired for scores, they were erratic and often off target. While the gladiators did battle at midfield, the goalies were kept busy with puck outs after the countless wides. In time though, the scores did come, with Anji Wall leading all scorers with 5 points from play. The score line remained close throughout the match, with both teams gaining and losing their advantage, but in the end, it was the grit and determination of the mighty Blue Notes that won on the day, edging out the Leesiders by 1 point. Blue Notes 1-7 (13) to Leesiders 2-6 (12).

With that, the Leesiders retreated to the shade for rest while the Blue Notes remained in the sun’s glaring rays for the second match of the day. Captain Ouellette’s Ports, eager to hold the top position in the league, and to rebound from their drawn match against the Notes in week 2, took to the pitch in varsity fashion. From the throw in it was clear that the Ports meant business, marking the opening score of the game. The Notes gave an early response, with a cracker of a goal from Captain Joley, but that was nearly it for the scoring from the Dublin colored side. Captain Ouellette, in goal, locked down the net, and his defenders took care of minimizing points from play. Some fantastic battles took place for the ball, but all too often it was the Ports who emerged from the scrum with possession. And all too often those won battles resulted in goals and points. The Blue Notes, exhausted from their earlier battle, did indeed leave it all on the pitch, but at the final whistle, the referee’s score card read: Blue Notes 2-1 (7) to Ports 5-6 (21).

nashville hurling leagueDid the Ports leave enough in the tank to finish the day with two wins? The Leesiders emerged from the shade, and took to the pitch to find out. You’ll recall the incredible battle between these two teams during the second week of play, when the Ports scored a late goal to defeat the red and white side by two points. From the opening toss, this match looked to rival that classic. Quick scores from both sides got things going, and the points continued to come with ease, in this, the second highest scoring match of the season. The usual suspects: Nick Chamberlain, Eric Vick, and Corbett Ouellette for the Ports, and C.s. Kammerzell and Sam D’Amico for the Leesiders, were joined by newcomers to the scoring sheet, Jesse Gammons and Greg Roberts, who all had points from play. The crowd was treated to an exciting and very tightly contested match, and when the referee blew his whistle for the “player welfare water break,” The teams were separated by only 1 point. At the restart, it was clear that both sides had imbibed on some sort of “goal scoring” tonic during the break, as the sleepy keepers were unable to defend their nets. A final Leesider free into the box failed to be converted by the attackers for a much-needed goal, and with that the full-time whistle blew. The Ports held their seat at the top of the table. Ports 5-8 (23) to Leesiders 4-7 (19).

Join us for the games next week at 4:00 at Heartland fields. Game 1, Ports v. Blue Notes, followed by Blue Notes v. Leesiders, and finally, Leesider v. Ports.

Standings: Ports 16 pts., Blue Notes 7 pts., Leesiders 3 pts.

Nashville hurling city league DSC_4540 DSC_4523 DSC_4519 DSC_4518 DSC_4509 DSC_4494 DSC_4399 DSC_4473 DSC_4387 DSC_4411 DSC_4535All photos by Ashley Raby.

 

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Nashville Hurling League Match Report

Nashville GAC City League Week 2

Jameson Hurley Reporting

Week 2 of the Nashville City League saw three fantastic matches played at our new home pitch, Heartland Fields. Whatever deal the Board made to get the fields must have included a provision that all games be played in 90+ degree weather. It was agreed upon by the captains that water breaks would be taken at the midpoint of each half, and with that hopeful reprieve, the Leesiders and the Ports entered Dante’s Inferno for the first match of the day.

Coming off two defeats in Week 1, Captain Gill’s Leesiders looked to get a win. An enthusiastic pep talk raised the spirits of the white and red side as they took the field. The scoring came quick from both sides, but it was the Ports who pulled to the early lead with back-to-back goals. Johnny “Bad Back” Sticks was put to the test in goals, allowing 3 in the first half alone. The stand out strike of the half came from Renee Anzivino’s foot as she kicked the ball over the head of the Leesider keeper. The Ports were in full control of the match at half, but the Leesiders, with memories of the crushing defeat at the hands of the Ports in week one, were determined to not go down with out a fight. It was C.S. Kammerzell at the helm, seemingly scoring at will. The Leesiders charge was nearly complete when, with scores level, the Ports scored a fantastic goal near the end of the game. In the end, the Ports were the victors in the thrilling and very close match. Ports 4-4 (16) to Leesiders 2-7 (13).

With no rest time for the Leesiders, it was on to the second match of the day. Captain Aaron Joley readied his mighty Blue Notes as the Leesiders took time for a brief recovery. It must have been the painful loss of that very close first match that motivated the Leesiders, as the determined side came out swinging from the opening throw in. It was the skillful C.S. who once again led the charge. Sticks, having learned much from his first time in goal, placed his “goals closed” sign up, denying the Notes several opportunities to hit the back of the net. Jamie Norris and Brendan Reynolds did their best to keep the Blue Notes in the game, but at the end of the day, the scores came too often from the Leesiders, and the Notes fell 8-8 (32) to 2-8 (14).

It was now the Blue Notes turn to rebound from a loss as they remained on the pitch for game 3. The Ports, well rested and hydrated, but maybe a bit stiff, looked to be the early favorites in the game. Nick Chamberlain and Eric Vick gave the Ports the early lead with goals in the opening minutes. But Jamie Norris and Timothy Ryan Buckley were set on saving the day for the Notes. It was clear to all in attendance that the heat was taking its toll on all of the players as tired legs and minds moved about the pitch in lethargic fashion. The game was not without thrills though, and as the clock ran down it was clear that this game was set for a fantastic finish. With the referee’s announcement of a minute to play, both sides dug deep, and pushed for a victory. With 1 last attempt for a point, Jamie Norris burned what little gas was left in his tank, but the score would not come. At the blow of the whistle, the score sheet read: 3-3 (12) to 2-6 (12), a TIE.

Who will come out on top in next week’s matchups? Join us at Heartland fields for all the action. As a reminder, games will begin at NOON so that we can finish in time to cheer on the USA as they take on Portugal. Match 1. Leesiders v. Blue Notes; match 2. Blue Notes v. Ports; match 3. Blue Notes v. Leesiders.

Standings: Ports 10 points, Blue Notes 4 points, Leesiders 3 points