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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!