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AGM and Holiday Party 2019 Wrap-Up

Well, one more year of hurling and Gaelic football in Nashville is on the books. We now look forward to 2019 with excitement and a nearly new board! Here’s what went down at our year-end meeting:

Officer Elections

Your new board members for 2019 are:

Chairman – Ryan Buckley

Vice Chairman – Ryan Lowe

Secretary – Ashley Murdock

Registrar – Megan Themm

PRO – Matt O’Donnell

Games Development Officer: Noah Fitzpatrick

Jesse Gentry will return as Treasurer for the second year in his term.

Awards Ceremony

Club Member of the Year – Ryan Buckley

Spirit of the NGAC – Matt O’Donnell

Rising Star in Hurling – Noah Fitzpatrick

Most Improved in Hurling – Megan Themm

Outstanding Player in Hurling – Patrick Deneen

Outstanding Player in Hurling – Whitney Morrical

Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year – Ryan Lowe

Rising Star in Gaelic Football – Steph Fulbright

Outstanding Player in Gaelic Football – Evan Lamberth

Outstanding Player in Gaelic Football – Joy Grabenstein

Superlatives (Just the fun stuff)

Most Likely to Break a Hurl – Cody Murdock

Most Likely to Go to the Hospital – Ryan Lowe

Most Likely to Go to Weekly Training – Noah Fitzpatrick

Most Likely to  Go to Afters – Danny Espensen

Most Likely to Borrow a Mouth Guard (Never actually happened, but he did offer his to someone else) – Corbett Ouellette

Most Dedicated Spectator – Katie Marcario

Huge, huge special thanks to Emily Rodriguez for planning the whole shebang again this year! And to Renee Anzivino for hosting this crazy crowd. We couldn’t have done this without either of you.


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A Cinderella Story: Quore Wins Fall League Championship

Things weren’t looking great for Team Quore halfway through the league. After five losses, they had zero points in the standings and would most certainly be shut out if they couldn’t win every game left in the season. That’s exactly what they did, coming back from nothing on the board to tying up the whole season. After the last match of regular play, every team was tied with 10 points, bringing the decision for championship finalists to a point differential from the whole season.

A quick tally of all points and goals for the season put Quore and ENBW into the final, and, after a hard-fought championship match, Quore took home the trophy for the second time this year. Congratulations to Team Quore captain Ryan Culligan!

Beyond the excitement the close competition brought, the NGAC also welcomed several rookies on board this season. Quore had the highest number of first-time hurlers with three: Sean McGauran, Patrick Campbell, and Jonathan Themm. East Nashville Beer Works had two: Bo Ladner and Noah Fitzpatrick. Homegrown also had two with Isaac Gann and Joseph Rodriguez. It’s proof, once again, that the club as a whole is the real winner, as we continue to welcome incredible new talent with every season.

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Fall League Standings: One Week Changes Everything

irish nashville hurling

While Quore got off to a rough start, the team has found cohesiveness of late and turned around the league standings table. Still behind second-place Homegrown by two points, next week’s league play could send them straight ahead to the finals.

Yesterday’s matches were some of the most competitive and fun that Nashville GAC has ever seen, proving once again that, while one team may go home with the Harper Hurl at the end of the season, the real winner is the club as a whole.

Here’s the score breakdown from yesterday’s games:

League standings as of week four:

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Mid-Season Fall League Standings

With three days of matches finished and two more to go before the championship match on 11/4, we look back at the action of the past few weeks.

Week one was a firm victory for East Nashville Beer Works, who won both of their matches against Homegrown and Quore. The play was fierce and the scores tight, but in the end, Quore lost both matches, giving a total of 4 points to ENBW and 2 to the Homies.

Week two saw a big turnaround for Homegrown, when they won both of their matches against East Nashville Beer works and Quore. Unfortunately, it was another loss against ENBW, leaving them at 0 points for the season to that point.

That brings us to week three, a winning day for all. Each of the teams took home one win, with Quore getting some points on the board with their victory over Homegrown.

It’s still anyone’s season, with two more weeks to go before deciding who goes on to the championship match. The table, as it stands, looks like this:

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All The Things You Want To Know About The 2018 All-Ireland Hurling Final

galway limerick hurling final

Written by Matt O’Donnell

Despite games such as rugby invading the hearts and minds of people in Ireland, there’s no hiding the fact that the All-Ireland finals are among the most watched events on television every year. Many people with either no Irish blood or a lack of skin in the game often only get their eyes in front of the competition when it finally comes down to the two best counties playing on the final match day of the year (for inter-county play). This being the case, we’ll take a look at this year’s participants, Limerick and the reigning champions, Galway. We’ll see them from a standpoint of their county’s history as well as a look at the road that each took to get to Croke Park this coming Sunday. 

Galway and Limerick are two of those counties that are fairly bound together in destiny for hurling. Despite having only irregular matches due to playing in different provinces and different periods of dominance affecting their standings in the same division of the National League, they’ve faced off in the All-Ireland season eleven times. While Limerick owns a winning record of 6 matches to Galway’s 4 (plus a draw), a pair of Galway’s wins are the 1923 and 1980 All-Ireland Championship medals. 


134 years after the establishment of the GAA, many counties can claim to be thought of as important to the game. No matter who you’d support, though, its easy to agree that Galway has been a solid rock since the establishment of organized play. Even if we overlook an apocryphal story about Michael Cusack wanting to establish the GAA in Galway (a story full of plot holes), we know that early hurling tournaments were a huge draw in the county by 1887. The popularity and skill shown in Galway led them to enter a team in the first All-Ireland championship that year. Under the banner of the Meelick club, Galway would reach the final before losing to the Tipperary champions, Thurles. They have never received the losers’ medals that they are entitled to.

Despite nearly two decades of dominance in Connacht provincial play after the dawn of the 20th century, Galway would finally stand alone as champions in 1923, losing the following three finals they appeared in. Despite incredible club hurling in the county, the inter-county record in the decades that followed for the Tribesmen resulted in not much more than heartbreak. The side would finally raise the cup in 1980, defeating…Limerick. This championship came at a time of pain for the west of Ireland, suffering from both great economic hardship and subsequent mass emigration. The speeches of Joe Connolly and Joe McDonagh from the Hogan Stand live on in glory to this day. Senior medals were won in 1987 and 1988 against perennial powers Kilkenny and Tipp, respectively. Despite overwhelming wins in the All-Ireland club championship, The West would only awaken again in 2017 to finally win a championship for modern hurling phenom Joe Canning. 


In light of Galway’s unity and prominence from near enough the moment that organized play under the GAA began, it’s with a more somber mood that we consider the early years of Limerick. Despite the Limerick Commercials winning a senior football title for the county in 1887, unrest of the political flavor caused bitter division and controversy for a decade. Despite walkouts, abandonment of fixtures, and even multiple county boards at one point, Limerick recovered thanks to an emergency convention to establish a new governing body in 1894. Commercials would claim their second football title in 1896. Then finally, in 1897, the Kilfinane club would topple Tullaroan from Kilkenny to make Limerick All-Ireland Senior Hurling champions for the first time. 

1910 would be the next time that Limerick, represented by the Castleconnell club, would reach a final. 1918 would see another title, spurred by a new dedication to preparation. Limerick adopted the style or training pioneered by Clare and Laois of players being on a strict diet, grueling physical regimen, and a training camp held in the lead-up to the final. Having lost to Wexford in their previous appearance, Limerick won the final this time by 26 points, an utterly crushing contest. They’d do it all over again in 1921, beating Dublin 8-5 to 3-2, but the real story of The Shannonsiders would be told through the 1930’s. In that decade, they’d win not only the 1934, 1936, and 1940 All-Ireland titles, but they’d also win the National League a ridiculous 5 times in a row, from seasons ending in 1934 through 1938. 

Limerick’s 1973 All-Ireland is their only senior title since 1940. Despite this, polling in the decades that have passed shows that passion, participation, and support for Gaelic games in the county have never dwindled. This will be their first appearance in the Croke Park final since 2007. 

The 2018 Hurling Season

At the GAA Special Congress in 2017, it was decided that rather than have provincial knockout tournaments, the Senior Hurling Championship would be played using round-robin groups of 5 teams in both Leinster and Munster, while the B Championship would move to a system more like the National League (the specifics of this are available upon request, though it’s worth mentioning that the cup for the new highest tier of the B system has been named after the aforementioned Galway man, Joe McDonagh). Most agreed from the very start of the summer that this system helped produce the most exciting hurling championship in recent memory, with the most extreme saying that it’s by far the best ever. 

It’s truly hard to say which side had the harder time of it getting to this Sunday. Limerick finished straight in the middle of the pack of the Munster Championship, with 2 wins, a draw, and a loss. They opened with a less than comfortable, in hurling score possibility, win over Tipperary 1-23 to 2-14, before moving on to draw with eventual division winners Cork. They would work through the back half of the Munster group 2-26 to 1-16 before taking it on the chin from Clare by 9 points. Thanks to the 3rd place finish in the province, they placed in the preliminary quarter-finals, starting with an absolute demolition of Carlow, scoring 5-22 to 13 points. In the quarter-final, they just barely got over the line against Kilkenny, taking a single point to victory for the first time in the competition since 1973. Only a slightly larger 4 points would separate them from Cork in the semi-final, in what was absolutely be a classic game for the ages. Watch it if you can. 

On the other hand, Galway are here by some combination of dominance and good fortune. No one could touch them through the round-robin phase of the Leinster Championship, trouncing Offaly, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Dublin in order. On July 1st, nothing separated Galway from Kilkenny at 18 points each in the Leinster final, forcing them to do it again the next week. On that day, 3 goals from Kilkenny weren’t enough to stifle an increased number of players joining in the scoring and they fell to the Tribesmen. As provincial winners, Galway didn’t appear again until the All-Ireland semi-final round, where they faced off against Clare, who had just knocked off Davy Fitz’s continual building side from Wexford. Galway were again made honest men of when they drew Clare at 1-30 apiece, forcing a replay. While the defending champions were able to adjust to Kilkenny and win that replay by 7 points, the repeat of the semi-final was only decided by a point.

While there have been plenty of storied meetings between these two counties, the easiest place we can look to find what we may need to know was during this year’s National League. Limerick took the day back in March, defeating Galway by a score of 2-18 to 1-19. The already oft-mentioned Joe Canning is second in total points scored in this championship with 1-69, while Limerick’s seventh placer Aaron Gillane sits with only 1-34. At the same time, both Gillane and Shane Dowling both make the top list of scorers in a single game at 0-13 and 0-15 respectively. 

Many GAA pundits see the maturity, consistency, and toughness of Limerick’s play over the full 70 minutes as possibly being an edge, if there is one favoring Limerick. In both semi-final appearances against Clare, Galway bounded out ahead early before letting Clare come back and make it worrisome for Micheál Donoghue’s squad until the final whistle. On one hand, the dominance of a scorer like Canning and his supporting cast including Cathal Mannion playing in a direct return to the Croke Park final gives them an experience that Limerick haven’t had for a moment in time, only last having lost to Kilkenny in 2007, the second of four consecutive titles for an utterly dominant side of The Cats. Irish bookmakers Paddy Power set the odds for this match at Galway 4/7 and Limerick 11/8, with 9/1 odds of a draw. No matter which captain raises the Liam MacCarthy Cup on Sunday, it will have been well earned. 


*If you want to watch it all go down with the NGAC, join us at 9 am on August 19 at East Nashville Beer Works. We’ll have Irish Breakfast Pizza on a pizza buffet ($10), plus beer and wine available.

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Just Games? Gaelic Sunday 100 Years On

Gaelic sunday

Written by Matt O’Donnell

Whether you come to the GAA or Gaelic games through Irish or American heritage (which we are lucky to have both of in our Nashville club), it’s easy to feel connected in self-determination, defiance, and revolution. That connection is easy to embody by remembering that when our oppressors came to keep us in line, they came for our leisure.

For Americans, they will think back to when the British government came to profit from our tea. For the Irish, memory may be best served by considering when they came for our games.

This year, August 4th will continue the glacial, yet powerful drive of Ireland’s “decade of centenaries” with commemorations of what we know as Gaelic Sunday. That day, which represents a vibrant balance of bold, systematic defiance and thankfully peaceful protest, is underrepresented as one of the tentpole acts of defiance against the rule of London in Ireland.

Scholarship on the GAA and the Irish Revolution has done much in recent years leading up to the centenary of these events to pull together the dual narratives of the organization as a driving revolutionary force and of its failure to adopt any official stance into one much more realistic view.

August 1918 was not the first time that we could have seen action taken against GAA fixtures. As early as 1914, during debates for the Day of Rest bill (regarding the legalities of work and activities on Sundays), an argument was made that Ireland deserved special dispensation for the principles that led Gaelic games to thrive and entertain. It was worried by many MP’s that holding the GAA in contempt of the bill for fixing matches on Sundays would cause great harm to Irish society, particularly to the working classes.

While it can never truly be said that all members of the British government were unsympathetic to the self-determination of Ireland, attitudes would change at its higher levels as the tide of revolution moved in. It’s important to remember that Gaelic games returned to prominence and organized in 1884 as part of a greater move to increase Gaelic identity in a time when a great number of the population could close their eyes and remember the Great Famine, its subsequent widespread emigration, and the holding down of any calls for Ireland being ruled locally from Dublin. It would only make sense that members of the GAA would be incredibly likely to join organizations such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Irish Volunteers, and others who lit the tinder box of Ireland.

It was easier to see the ties out in the open during the aftermath of the Easter Rising in April 1916. As many members of the GAA participated, Dublin Castle began to keep more of an eye on meetings held in Dublin, which were dubbed the “Central Council of the GAA.” Matches were a routine part of the day for prisoners held in Frongoch, Wales. Tournaments were held in November 1916 and March 1917 to benefit the Irish National Aid and Volunteer Dependents’ Fund, which overwhelmingly supported all political prisoners interred for Nationalist activity. In fact, the GAA rapidly because the highest source of finance for the fund, both through these tournaments and from collections taken at matches.

As the situation in Ireland began to be too much of a surge for the British government to hold back, it was decided in July 1918 to prohibit the holding of any public meetings in Ireland except under official permit. The GAA fell under this order, having been dubbed a “dangerous organization.” Shortly after, soldiers caused confrontations over matches in Offaly, Down, Kildare, and Cork. And so, on July 20th a unanimous decision was taken by those present at a GAA meeting that “no permits would be asked for under any conditions; and provisional councils, county committees, leagues and clubs were to be notified accordingly; and also, that no member was to participate in any competition if any permit had already been obtained.” Furthermore, they arranged that a mass fixture of matches would be set for 3pm on Sunday, August 4th.

When August 4th came, practically every hurling and football club affiliated with the GAA took part. Thanks to the size of the participation, exact metrics are hard to pin down for certain. The general accepted number of matches of either sport that occurred is placed at 1,500 (though numbers as high as 1,800 have been commonly used as the high end, as well). The August 5th edition of the Freeman’s Journal reported that 54,000 players took part, while speculation of any number between 45,000 and 100,000 was claimed by the newspaper Sport. The number of spectators that came to support the matches was titanic, and no attempt at putting a number on the crowds is readily available.

Dublin alone would see 24 matches played (22 football, 2 hurling). Seventeen matches were played in Kildare, where the county board decreed that any club that did not participate would face certain suspension. Cork would fix around 40 matches, though heavy rains would force most of them to be abandoned. Matches were also played between nationalist prisoners in a Belfast jail. In one minor victory for the authorities, Camogie players were barred from entering Croke Park. Instead, they played a match in the middle of Jones’ Road to a large crowd.

At this level of widespread civil disobedience, the British authorities were utterly powerless. One match report notes that there were a large crowd of police at a match, but only as ticketed spectators.

Gaelic Sunday is a true triumph in many ways. We can see it as a victory for the GAA in multiple ways. Not only did this mark an overt look towards a true statement by a previously a political facing organization, but as a beautiful expression of the way the sport is organized given that it was left to each county board to fix its own matches. The level of participation by every county is a mindblowing statement of the dedication to Gaelic games, whether you were standing up because the GAA represented something greater to your national identity or whether it was the fruition of the (likely long forgotten) debate on the Day of Rest bill in 1914. August 4th, 1918 is arguably the “largest, most widespread and successful act of public defiance against British rule in Ireland in the period between 1916 and 1922”. As previously stated, the fact that an act this size can be looked back on with clear certainty as a day of peaceful protest should gain it a greater place in the Irish Revolution.

How glad we are that the centenary of Gaelic Sunday again falls on a weekend so that every club, no matter where, can remember this as we watch the late stages of All Ireland Championships in both football and hurling. Or perhaps even better, especially at home in the NGAC, take the field to play Gaelic games ourselves.




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Everything You Need to Know When Joining the NGAC

We know; joining a club is hard. We’ve all been there. There are the usual questions, like “Will everyone like me?” and “How much commitment is required?” Then, you realize you’re going to play a rare sport that’s only starting to grow in the US.

Wow. So many questions.

Have no fear. We’re here with all the answers, and then some. Let’s start with the easy ones.

Who can play?

Right now, we accept people of all genders, ages 18 and over. Our sincere wish is to start a youth league soon, but for now, we’re all grownups. Kind of.

Will everyone like me?

Pretty much guaranteed. We’re an eclectic group of people, from various geographic locations and cultures. If there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s accept everyone. Seriously, we’re so overjoyed that you want to play this rare sport that you’ll be on everyone’s Christmas card list immediately. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or whatever you might celebrate.

What should I bring for my first time to training?

Good athletic shoes—cleats if you have them, clothes you can move in, and lots of water. We provide the rest of the equipment, until such time as you decide you’re hooked and want to buy your own.

How much commitment is required?

As much as you would like to give. We have spring and fall hurling leagues, with matches every Sunday for six (or more) weeks, and a summer Gaelic football league for five weeks. We travel during the summer and fall for tournaments in other cities. We participate in several festivals, recruiting events, and fundraisers throughout the year. If you can make it to any, we’ll be so glad to see you.

How much are annual dues?

Our dues structure offers a few different options. For general members, the annual fee is $20. If you’d like to play in the any of the leagues, add $40 for each. If you’re a student, the league fees are each $20. For any financial hardship cases, simply speak privately with a board member.

This structure provides everyone the chance to vote, even if they don’t play in the leagues. Paid members can also travel to play in tournaments, even if they choose not to join league play.

For a quick visual, just to keep things clear, a member who will not play in any league matches pays only $20 per year. A member who wishes to play in both the spring and fall hurling leagues will pay the $20 general fee, plus two $40 fees, for a total of $100 for the year. If you add Gaelic football, it’s $140 for the year. If that’s still not clear, blame the writer of this blog, who always preferred English over Math in school.

Where can I get equipment when I’m ready to commit?

This is a tricky one. See, because we play an Irish sport, the best equipment comes from Ireland, but we do have one American supplier.

On occasion, one of our members will be lucky enough to go to Ireland. You may be able to convince them to pick up a hurley or other items for you.

Where can I find all the latest info?

The best bet is always the website. We update the calendar on a regular basis, complete with times and addresses. Sometimes things change at the last minute, especially if inclement weather is involved. To keep up with those announcements, you can do one of two things:

  • Send a text message to 81010 with the message: @hurling for text notifications.
  • Join the Facebook group.

We also have a Google group, but the information found there might not be the most up to date.

Are there frosty beverages involved?

For the love of all things Irish, yes. We do visit some local establishments for refreshments and fellowship after most training sessions and matches. Please don’t feel uncomfy if you don’t drink. Many of our members are there for a frosty sweet tea, soda, or water. Just…some are there for beer, too.

Who makes all the decisions around here?

We try to open up the biggest and most impactful decisions to the whole club. Everyone who has paid dues gets a vote. Some of the smaller decisions—mostly of the organizational type—are handled by the board. The board members for 2018 are as follows:

  • Chairman: Liam Barry
  • Vice Chair: Danny Espensen
  • Treasurer: Jesse Gentry
  • Registrar: Ryan Culligan
  • Secretary: Molly Buckley
  • PR: Jen Barry

Each board position has a term of two years. Elections are held during the Annual General Meeting in December. Should a position vacate for any reason, the board appoints a new member until elections can be held.

How can I get involved?

If you’d like to offer more than just your skills on the pitch, we’re always excited to provide opportunities through our committees. Take a look at some of the potential groups and just let a board member know if your specific passions or talents might be of service.

  • Social
  • Fundraising
  • Events
  • Recruitment

Those are the biggest questions, but maybe you have more. If so, email us at


This article was previously posted on June 15, 2016. It has been updated with current information.

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Gaelic Football Is Here!

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club has announced the 2018 Summer League for Gaelic Football. If that interests you, here’s what you need to know:


If you don’t already know how to play for feel you need a skills refresher, that’s okay! We’ll have a few weeks of training before the league starts, and training will continue throughout until the championship match. Training will take place Thursdays at 6 pm at Centennial Park, starting this Thursday, June 21.


Last year, matches were held indoors but we were constrained by the size of the pitch. This year, we’re moving outdoors to a larger field. We’ll play in the evenings to beat the heat. Starting July 22, we’ll play every Sunday evening at 7 pm at 3135 Heartland Drive. The last match will be August 19.


We work hard to keep our prices down so everyone who wants to learn Irish sports can. To play in the summer league, you’ll need to join the NGAC. Membership is $20. This earns you an invitation to and a vote at our Annual General Meeting and Holiday Party. The fee for the league is $40, which covers the cost of your jersey and the use of the fields. The total is $60.


We can’t grow the Gaelic if you don’t come out and join in the fun. We hold social and business events throughout the year and hope you’ll join us as often as you can. The more involved you are, the easier it will be to continue growing Gaelic so that we can offer more Gaelic.

This doesn’t work without YOU. Also, we’re pretty cool people who make good friends outside of the club, too.

If you’d like to get more involved, please consider joining our NGAC members Facebook group. We make announcements on the regular there, and you’ll be more likely to stay in the loop on impromptu scrimmages, hangouts, and other fun stuff. You can find us here.


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4 Types of Athletes Who Need Gaelic Football in Their Lives

Hey, maybe we’re a little biased, but we think Gaelic football is one of the greatest sports in the world. Sure, some of the NGAC might prefer a little bit of hurling or camogie instead, but in all, we think these Irish sports are pretty much the best. We’re so sure of it, that we’d like to challenge other athletes to take a look and see if we’re right. You might be on the edge of discovering your new life love. Read on to see if you’re the type of athlete that might like Gaelic football.

1. It’s for basketball players who want their game to get a little more physical.

2. It’s for volleyball players who think a tackle once in a while is the only way to make the game more interesting.

3. It’s for American football players who think pads are for the weak.

4. It’s for soccer players who think getting to use their hands could only elevate the game to a new level.

More importantly than all of these things, Gaelic football is for anyone who wants to give it a shot. Here in Nashville, we welcome anyone and everyone (over the age of 18 for now) who wants to play, regardless of how old or how in shape you are. Even if you’ve never played any of these sports (or any other sports for that matter), you’re welcome to give it a shot.

We’re just a few weeks away from our Gaelic football league, and it’s not too late to sign up. If you’re up for something new, click here to get registered. Just like that, you’ll be a part of a growing community that exists to play the sports we love, spread that love to as many people as possible, and make new friends. All you need to bring are good indoor athletic shoes, a mouth guard, and lots of water.

If you’re intrigued but don’t live in Nashville, Google Gaelic football in your city. You might be surprised to learn there’s a club there with players who can’t wait to meet you.


This post previously appeared on July 29, 2017. It has been updated with current links.

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Congrats to Quore, Winners of the 2018 Spring League!

It was a hard-fought battle between Quore and Homegrown this past Sunday, but the green team came up victorious in the end. Quore captain Ryan Culligan led his team through a nearly undefeated season (save for a forfeit or two), but Homegrown captain Evan Lamberth wasn’t going down without a fight.

The scores from both sides remained within three points throughout the entire match, and for a few nailbiting moments for Quore supporters, it looked as though Homegrown might pull off an upset. But at the final whistle, Quore had managed to hold on to their lead, and they lifted the Harper Hurl at the end.

Check out some amazing photos from Molly Buckley of the competing teams and our Spring 2018 winners!