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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 City League Match Report Week 6

Jameson Hurley Reporting

October 25, 2015

Nashville, TN

Leesiders battle Blue Notes for championship berth

After 5 weeks of intense, back-and-forth battle, the league table still held a lot of suspense. The Ports secured a spot in the league championship match with wins on week 5, but the Leesiders and Blue Notes were only separated by a single win. Either team could advance, given a number of scenarios, but if the Leesiders could muster a win against the Blue Notes in the first match of the day, they stood a very strong chance of advancing. Paddy Power had the teams at even odds, and who would earn the right to face the Ports was anyone’s guess.

Are you a Red or are you a Blue?

The highly anticipated match between the Blue Notes and the Leesiders kicked off the day. If they had any hope at making the championships, the Leesiders were in a must win situation. The Notes on the other hand could suffer a loss to the Leesiders, but still earn a spot in the big dance, if they could top the Ports by a lot of points later in the day.

The match started at a frenetic pace, with both sides mounting intense attacks, but the defense was tough on both sides of the pitch and scores just would not come. It was Joey Whalen, for the Blue Notes, who finally knocked one over the bar to open the scoring. In response, Leesiders Corbett Ouellette and Grant Gill put on a blocking clinic, slowing the Notes’ attack. The highlight of the early part of the half came when Ryan Buckley’s massive puck out lodged the sliotar in Coby Baker’s helmet. Chaos ensued, but the match was soon back under way. It was Grant Gill who found the first point for the Leesiders, but his schoolmate, Joey Whalen, had all the right stuff, pucking two more over the bar to give the Notes the halftime lead 0-4 to 0-1.

The opening minutes of the first half looked to favor a Blue Notes’ victory when Alex Pinkston put a stunning point over the bar. The Leesiders, down considerably at this point, reorganized and tried to find an answer. And it was an answer they found when Matt Baxter brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning shot for a goal. Grant Gill kept the scoring going, snagging two more points for the Leesiders, while the red side continued to do work on defense and prevented all Blue Notes’ scoring attempts. With the score level at 0-5 to 1-2, it was the captain, Corbett Ouellette, who rose to the occasion, hitting a fine point to give his side the lead and ultimately the win. Blue Notes 0-5 (5) to Leesiders 1-3 (6).

The Notes look for a back door into the Championship

Now level on league points with the Leesiders, the Notes would need to go on a scoring rampage against the Ports to overcome a substantial score differential of -65 points in order to play spoiler to the Leesiders’ near-certain appearance in the championship match. The Ports, down several players, opened the scoring when Nick Chamberlain put the sliotar over the bar. That would be the end of their success in the first half, as the Blue Notes’ defense prevented any more scoring from the Navy and Gold side. Cody Murdock and Joey Whalen took full advantage of the weakened Ports, scoring 3 goals between them. A lovely point from the reptiphile Oak Reynolds complimented their efforts. At the half, the score favored the Blue Notes by a margin of 3 goals.

The Ports must have had a rousing call to arms at the half, because they came out attacking with a newfound energy. Nick Chamberlain, in a mirror of his opening drive in the first half, notched a quick point for the Ports. This was just the beginning of their comeback, as Bill Little pointed, followed by goals from Chamberlain and Captain Brendan Rauer. The effort, however, simply wouldn’t be enough as the Ports came up short of victory at the full-time whistle. Blue Notes 5-2 (17) to Ports 3-3 (12), and though the Blue Notes savored the victory, their enthusiasm was short-lived. Their inability to score 60 additional points ensured that the Leesiders would dance in the big show against the Ports in one week’s time.

A preview of the championship, perhaps

The final match of the day saw the Leesiders come off their rest break to face the Ports. Would this be a glimpse of the championship match? The Leesiders certainly hoped so, as they came out firing. Points and goals and points and goals came from all over the red side with the scoring going down like this: Grant Gill point, Liam Barry goal, Grant Gill point, Grant Gill goal, Matt Baxter point, Coby Baker point, Corbett Ouellette point, Chris Davis point, Corbett Ouellette point. What did the Ports have to say in response? Nothing! At the half it was Lees 2-7, Ports 0-0.

Once again, the Ports had a rallying cry at halftime and brought a little more heat in the second half. Nick Chamberlain found the back of the Leesiders’ net, and was really the man of the half and he struck in another goal and a point for his beleaguered side. Coby “who needs hands when you can catch a sliotar with your helmet” Baker put forth a strong effort for the Leesiders, but Katie Sampuda would have none of it, holding Baker to just one second-half point. Chamberlain continued his march for the Ports, but it wouldn’t be enough to match the Lees efforts, who continued their scoring streak with: Ouellette point, Baker point, Ouellette point, Ouellette point, Rayne Leonard goal, Ouellette point, Baker goal, Leonard goal. Final score Ports 2-1, Lees 6-12.

Player of the Week

Although they couldn’t celebrate securing a shot at the championship, the Blue Notes were able to hoist front man, Cody Murdock, onto their shoulders as he was recognized as “Player of the Week.” A special recognition goes out this week to the double-goal scorer Rayne Leonard who successfully defended her thesis and will now be known as Masterful Rayne Leonard. Congratulations to both!

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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

ngac fixtures

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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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Meet Jameson Hurley!

Each week during league play, Jameson Hurley presents the world with a dramatic retelling of the Nashville GAC hurling matches. We thought it was about time everyone met this illustrious writer…well, writer and editor. In addition to serious smarts, these guys are pretty dang cute.

Jameson Watson

jameson watsonName: Jameson


Nickname: Jamo


Number: 00


What was your first thought when you saw hurling?
 Ball!

When did you first decide you were hooked? On my first touch

Do you play any other sports?
 I chase squirrels, play tug, and I wrestle. 

What’s your day job? I am a journalist and I am the Chaplain of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club


What do you want to be when you grow up? A proctologist


What are your top five favorite movies or books? Ulysses, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Police Academy I, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Bambi (but mostly because of Thumper). I also like cat videos on YouTube.


Do you follow any of the Irish county teams? Cork


What’s your best memory? Breakfast


What’s your favorite band? Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

What’s your biggest goal? Someday I am going to find out who’s a good boy.


Who’s your best friend? Anji Wall


What’s something people may not know about you? Probably the biggest thing that people don’t know about me is that one time, probably 2 or three years ago, I was going to—SQUIRREL!

Hurley Barry

hurley barryName: Hurley


Nickname: The Hurls


Number: 3, like my dad.


What was your first thought when you saw hurling?
 Do I need opposable thumbs to play?

When did you first decide you were hooked? When John gave me belly rubs.

Do you play any other sports?
 I’m a fair keeper at football.

What’s your day job? Guarding the house from thieves, kids, little old ladies, the postman, falling leaves, and the wind.


What do you want to be when you grow up? A good boy.


What are your top five favorite movies or books? Snatch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Mask. Lassie. Benji. Cujo.


Do you follow any of the Irish county teams? Cork


What’s your best memory? When Conor McGregor won the interim belt.


What’s your favorite band? Anything classic rock. Oh, and Coldplay.

What’s your biggest goal? To evict the cat from my dog bed.


Who’s your best friend? Liam Barry


What’s something people may not know about you? I can spell L-E-A-S-H.

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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 Gaelic Athletic Club Kicks Off Autumn City League Opening Day

Jameson Hurley Reporting

September 20, 2015

Nashville, Tennessee

On a picture perfect Sunday, the men and women of the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club gathered at Heartland Fields for the kick off of the Autumn City League. The newly drafted teams donned their kits emblazoned with brand new team logos designed by clubman, Grant Gill. The kits also featured the logos of 3 new team sponsors: Jennifer M. Barry Books, Ports; Caleb Ben Harper Farrier Services, Blue Notes; and Aruba Networks, Leesiders.

Excitement and anticipation hung in the air as Mr. Andrew Ward, President of the Middle Tennessee Highland Games, took charge of the ceremonial throw in. Mr. Ward was honored for his inclusion of the NGAC in this year’s Highland Games held just one week prior. With ceremonies and welcomes out of the way, it was off to the matches.

Ports v. Blue Notes

The Blue Notes, under the captainship of Ashley Tabolinsky, took to the ground to face the Ports, captained by Brendan Rauer. Rauer, who led the spring season’s Ports to the championship, looked to start things off right with his newly drafted side.

And start things off right they did! While both teams appeared shaky out of the gate, it was the Ports who found the first point when Nick Chamberlain put one over the bar from a good distance. While the Blue Notes worked to get onto the score sheet, the Ports’ defense kept them out. Johnny Watson and Sam D’Amico added to Chamberlain’s efforts and put the Ports up 4 – nil before the Notes eventually found the target. Both sides managed to score a goal before the half leaving the sides separated by 3 points at the break.

The second half was filled with lots of excitement as Tabolinsky and Cody Murdock closed the door on the Ports’ usual scorers, and Ryan Buckley, Joey Whalen, and Aaron Joley were able to add to the Notes’ point total. But it was newcomer, Brian Goodwin, who took full advantage of his debut to make his mark. 2 goals from the rookie gave the Ports the confidence and buffer they needed to go on and win the match. Ports 6-6 (24) v. Blue Notes 2-2 (8)

Blue Notes v. Leesiders

The Blue Notes, with a confidence-building post-match rally from Captain Tabolinsky and Renee Anzivino headed back out to the pitch for the second match of the day against Captain Corbett Ouellette’s Leesiders. If ever there was a voice that could will the sliotar over the bar, that voice belongs to Captain Ouellette, but would his vocal leadership be enough to motivate his side to bring home the win?

Much like filling sandwiched inside an Oreo cookie, the cream match would prove to be a sweet and delicious match-up. The scoring started early and did not stop as both sides mounted attacks, but it was how they scored that separated the sides at half. The Leesiders, kept out of the goalies area by the defensive prowess of power couple Cody Murdock and Ashley “Smashley” Tabolinsky, took their points, with Chris Davis and Grant Gill running the field and striking balls over the bar from range. On the other end of the field, it was weaknesses in the Leesiders’ defense that left the door wide open for shots on net. Ryan Buckley and Renee Anzivino knocked in a couple each for the Notes, leading to a half-time score of Leesiders 1-4 to Blue Notes 4-1.

The second half proved to be as exciting as the first, with notable performances by Molly Buckley and rookie Chris Cavin who both showed magnificent hustle and a never-die attitude. As the points kept coming for both sides, it was two goals from Officer David “High Tower” Smith that brought the score line within 1 point in the closing minutes. The Leesiders mounted an all out attack, even running Corbett Ouellette all they up field from goal, but in the end it was the Blue Notes who took the narrow, 3-point win. Blue Notes 4-4 (16) v. Leesiders 2-7 (13).

Leesiders v. Ports

It was the Leesiders’ turn to play back-to-back as Ports returned to the pitch for the third match of the day. The Leesiders, in a strategic move, tasked regular point scorer Chris Davis with marking Johnny Watson. This was a curious decision since Watson struggled mightily to score in the day’s first match, but would it be a correct one?

The Ports looked to be well organized from the start, working the ball quickly and precisely around the pitch. Their attack came fast and furious, and their many scoring threats proved to be too much for the Leesiders’ defense. Meanwhile, the Ports’ defense, Katie Sampuda, Caleb Harper, and Emily Rodriguez, built a wall in front of their goal, which kept the Leesiders out. The Leesiders finally found a point in the closing minutes of the first half, bringing the half-time score to: Leesiders 0-1 v. Ports 0-4. To which Chris Davis exclaimed, “We’re on the board!”

The second half was lively from both sides, even as the bodies were wearing down from the day’s efforts. The Leesiders’ front man, David Smith, who managed to work through the pain of a nasty finger injury he received during his previous match, knocked in a potentially game changing goal. Grant Gill worked the field with pace, and rookie Jillian LaFave showed great growth in her first weekend out, but the effort did not result in scores. In the end, the Ports’ cavalry made the forward march more often and successfully than the men and women in red, and thus came out on top. Final score: Leesiders 1-1 (4) v. Ports 0-9 (9).

An afters celebration was enjoyed by all at Dan McGuinness Irish Pub, at which the inaugural “Player of the Day” award was presented to none other than the debutant, Brian Goodwin, whose raw but blossoming talent was recognized by his fellow club members. Congratulations Brian. What will next week bring? Will the Ports continue with their winning ways, or will the Leesiders or Blue Notes go on to dominate? Who will win “Player of the Week” honors? Come on out to Heartland Fields to find out.

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League Standings:

Ports 6 points

Blue Notes 3 points

Leesiders 0 points

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Nashville GAC Lunches with Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport

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Last Monday, September 14, 2015, the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club sat down to lunch with several special guests from Ireland, including the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Paschal Donohoe. Other esteemed guests present included the CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, and Consul General for the Southeast Shane Stephens.

Our lunch was provided by Quinn O’Sullivan, owner of Dan McGuiness Irish Pub. As we dined on southern favorites like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and green beans, Mr. Donahoe asked the club about our plans to help grow the GAA in the United States, and particularly in the Southeast. We had an unprecedented chance to give our thoughts and help work toward greater support from the Irish sports organization.

After lunch, we presented Mr. Donohoe with his own Nashville GAC jersey, which he wore with pride for several photographs. Check out all the pictures below.

The story didn’t end there. That same evening, three delegates from the hurling club were invited to a Tourism Ireland cocktail party at the Hermitage Hotel. John Watson, Liam Barry, and Jennifer Barry rubbed elbows with business owners who have distinct Irish connections while watching the world-famous Willis Clan sing and dance.

It was a great day for hurling in Nashville, for growing Irish culture and sports in the United States, and for drinking whiskey with some pretty important Irish people. We’re still on cloud nine.

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Nashville GAC and Our New Friends from Mid TN Highland Games

On September 12, we had the great pleasure of attending the Middle Tennessee Highland Games and Celtic Festival. Of course, it was an absolute blast. We got to play two friendly matches and meet hundreds of potential NGAC members. If you were one of those new friends, maybe you’ll see yourself here!

We’d love to see everyone again. If you’d like to learn more about hurling, come visit us at Centennial Park this Thursday, September 17, next to the Parthenon. We’ll have a special introductory session for all new players at 6 pm. Even if you can’t get there right at 6, come on out anyway. We go for a social drink around 7 at the Beer Pale after.
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Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club Joins Middle Tennessee Highland Games and Celtic Festival

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club (Nashville GAC) will join the Middle Tennessee Highland Games and Celtic Festival on September 12, 2015. The games, which will be held at The Hermitage, include our own Irish hurling, stone put, caber toss, sheaf toss, and hammer throw. Nearly 5,000 athletes and spectators are expected to attend.

Hurling, a fast-paced, high-scoring field game, is the national sport of Ireland, where it is predominantly played, but is also found in parts of the world where Irish immigrants settled. The game is not entirely unfamiliar to Scotland and her descendants, who may know a similar competition called shinty. While many Americans have yet to discover the ancient game, which has been played for over three thousand years, most are familiar with derivatives hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and even golf.

Nashville GAC will conduct several skills clinics throughout the day. All are welcome to learn the basics of the game, regardless of experience and even athletic ability. The focus of these clinics is to demonstrate the history and skill of the game while instilling a deep appreciation of Celtic culture within Nashville area residents. At 1:00 pm, the club will split into two teams and play a high-energy exhibition match.

The day will include so much more than highland games, too. Enjoy the Parade of Tartans, a various pipes and drum bands, highland dancers, and even a “bonniest knees” competition. More information can be found on the Highland Games website at http://www.midtenngames.com. Club members who are interested in participating in the skills clinics and exhibition matches should contact Corbett Ouellette as soon as possible.