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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 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!