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Did We Meet You Today at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games?

We had such a blast at the Middle Tennessee Highland Games, and it was all because of YOU, the people we were able to meet. Thank you so much for spending some time with us, learning about our sport, and cheering us on as we played. How exciting it was to hear applause and shouting from the sidelines!

The whole idea behind playing expo matches is to show off Irish sports and find other people who might also fall in love with hurling (and maybe Gaelic football, too). We were able to talk with several of you, and we know you’re interested in giving things a shot. We want that more than anything!

You have nothing to be afraid of. Everyone one of us was new at one point, even the very few of us who’d actually played hurling before. Imagine how nervous our founder was when he started a Gaelic sports team with just he and his wife. Sometimes you just have to take that leap, right?

We don’t want you to be scared, so we’ve put together a few articles to help. You should find all the info you need to get you started. If you have any more questions, you can always send us an email. Even better, come out to a match or a training and ask in person.

Everything You Need to Know When Joining the NGAC

How to Get Involved with the NGAC When You Don’t Play

Before we go, we’d like to invite you out tomorrow at 1 pm to watch our fall league opener. It’s going to be a lot of fun, with three very competitive matches with three very evenly matched teams. If you thought you saw some amazing hurling today, you’ve seen nothing yet. We were just having fun, but tomorrow, a trophy is on the line.

We’ll play every Sunday through the rest of September and all of October. Our championship match will take place on the second Sunday of November, on the eleventh. If you can’t come out tomorrow, you can find us at Heartland Fields any other week until the day we find out who will win the Harper Hurl. You’re welcome any time.

We hope to see all of you again soon!

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The Stages of Falling in Love with Irish Sports

Hey, you. Yeah, you over there, hiding behind the tree. We see you watching. Don’t worry, everyone looks like that the first time they see hurling or Gaelic football.

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Once you get past the initial shock and really start to pay attention to what’s going on, an even deeper amazement will set in. You probably won’t be able to believe your eyes.

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But that’s okay. It’s normal, I promise. Someone will probably approach you at this point to ask if you want to give it a shot. You might run away. A lot of people do.

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And that’s okay, too. But we know you’ll be back, watching from behind the trees.

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You won’t be able to help yourself.

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Because the bug has already bitten you. You’re going to learn Irish sports.

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So, you come out to give it a shot, even though you say you’ve never really been good at sports.

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And even though you have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

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But after one training, you know you’ve found your people.

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So you go home and start training like crazy.

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And you bring out all your friends, too. Who can learn about Irish sports and not want to share?!

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And then you score your first point. There’s no turning back now.

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You’re in love, and you don’t care who knows it!

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Does this sound like you? Sign up for our hurling league now, and come out to one of our training sessions. On August 29, we’ll hold our final park tour date at Centennial Park, so you should have plenty of other new players to join. If you can’t make that, we’ll have training again on August 31. Just watch the Facebook page to keep track of any future dates. We can’t wait to meet you!

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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.

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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!

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Nashville GAC Fall League Championship Report

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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

 

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Nashville Fall League Week 5 Match Report

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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

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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

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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!
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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

 

Posted on

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