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The Blue Notes Take the Harper Hurl

blue notes champs

Blue Notes Best Leesiders 4-12 to 3-6

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

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

blue notes captain

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

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

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

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

blue notes and leesiders

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Nashville GAC Fall League Championship Report

ports win fall league 2015

Jameson Hurley Reporting

Nashville, TN

November 1, 2015

 

Ports and Leesiders Battle for League Title

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

Pace and Skill Mark the Opening Minutes

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

Keeper Barry Stands Strong

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

Ports Fight Back

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

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

Leesiders Fight Hard in Closing Minutes

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

Ports Hoist the Iron Hurley

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

Baile Ceol Abú

 

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Nashville Fall League Week 5 Match Report

buckley at the puckout

Jameson Hurley Reporting

October 18, 2015

Nashville, TN

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

The Leesiders look to narrow the gap

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

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

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

Leesiders look to make it a double

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

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

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

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

Blue Notes hope to crush Leesiders’ dreams

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

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

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

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

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

League Table:

Ports 24 points

Blue Notes 12 points

Leesiders 9 points

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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

 

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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