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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.

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Ports Claim Nashville City Spring League Title

Nashville hurling and camogie

Jameson Hurley Reporting

Nashville, TN

July 12, 2015

Does it get any better than this? What began back in March, with the captains gathered drafting their teams, culminated in the Nashville city spring league championship on Sunday. The Ports, who looked unbeatable most of the season, were set to face the Blue Notes, another solid side who found the yellow and blue side’s Achilles heel just two weeks prior, upsetting the Ports and robbing them of an undefeated season. Coming into the day, it was anyone’s guess who would walk away with the Harper Iron Hurley when all was said and done.

One thing was for sure: Mother Nature would test the men and women as much as they would test each other. Hot and humid air hung over the pitch, with game time temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 110. As the sun beat down, captains Brendan Rauer (Ports) and Mike Conway (Blue Notes) readied their sides. There would be no time for opening ceremonies or speeches as the referee called the captains in for the start of the match. The teams took to the pitch, the whistle blew, and the match was on.

Three quick passages of play resulted in wides for both sides, but the play was crisp and skillful. It was the Blue Notes who found the first point of the day, capitalizing on a great opportunity that started on their defensive end when Caleb Harper beat Johnny Watson to the ball and cleared it long into his half forward line. The Ports, however, did not delay in striking back when the always-reliable Jamie Norris sent a point in from midfield. Points would be the story for the majority of the half as both team’s goalies, recognized as strong men in their position, were rarely put to the test.

Both teams relied on nearly the whole cavalry for scoring responsibilities. Players moved around the pitch, skillfully executing well-placed passes and on-target shots. Mike Conway, Chris Davis, Aaron Joley, Grant Schlisner, and Caleb Harper all got in on the scoring action for the Blue Notes while Jamie Norris, Johnny Watson, Grant Gill, Britti Himmelfarb, and Niamh Cunnane all found the target for the Ports. Halftime score: Ports 3-9 (18) to Blue Notes 1-7 (10).

Coming into the second half with the comfort of an 8-point lead, the Ports wasted no time in trying to pull further away from their opponents. A quick point off the throw in, followed closely by a second, put the Ports up by 10 within the first minute. However, captain Mike Conway, in a bold decision, pulled his brick-wall keeper, Ryan Buckley, out of goal and put him at full forward. The decision proved tactically sound as Buckley was able to use his size and strength to win balls and put powerful shots on the mark. A point and a goal for Buckley put the Ports on their heels and gave the Blue Notes the confidence they needed to fight hard and go for a win. Near the middle of the half, an aggressive foul in the Blue Notes’ keeper’s area resulted in a penalty that went for another goal, and when the teams paused for a heat-mandated water break, the Notes had pulled within 3 points of the Ports.

Play resumed and, with 15 minutes to go and the teams nearly level, both sides could see that victory was within their reach. Another goal from the Blue Notes evened the score, and a point shortly after gave them the lead. The Notes seemed to have found a secret weapon in Grant Schlisner who used his height to win high balls, turn, and score at will. Chris Davis and Mike Conway worked hard in the midfield, sending balls in deep to set up scoring opportunities, while Caleb Harper and Molly Buckley held the line defensively. It looked like it would be a repeat of the match two weeks prior, when the Blue Notes were able to hold a slight lead over the Ports to claim the match. But the Ports had ideas of their own. Captain Brendan Rauer and Ashley Tabolinsky did well in their defensive roles to win balls and send them into the midfielders Grant Gill and Jamie Norris who found points or teammates often enough to keep the match close.

The heat was certainly taking its toll as the match wore on, but the players dug deep, contesting 50/50 balls, and fighting hard to get shots off. Back and forth it went, and the players dug deeper still. With minutes to go, the Ports, who had not once found the back of the keeper’s net in the second half, scored a stunner of a goal, giving them a slight advantage. Both sides managed to find just a bit more in the tanks and muscle over another point each, but at the referee’s final whistle, it was that late goal that decided the match. Final score: Ports 4-20 (32) to Blue Notes 4-17 (29).

Club Chairman, Johnny Watson, lauded the efforts of both teams and commended them on a great display of hurling. And while it could have been either team’s day at the start, in the end was the Ports who hoisted the coveted Harper Iron Hurley. In the spirit of “One Club” and camaraderie, the entire club retired to Dan McGuinness to tell tall tales o’ hurling achievements and to celebrate the true victors, all of the men and women who work hard, play hard, and keep the sports of hurling and camogie alive and well in Middle Tennessee.

nashville hurling and camogie

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Nashville GAC Member Graduates from Police Academy

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club extends warm and excited congratulations to David Smith, who graduated from the Nashville Police Training Academy on June 9, 2015. David has been a real asset to the club for over two years. We know he’ll approach his new career with the same enthusiasm, professionalism, fun-loving attitude he’s brought to the NGAC.

Without any time for celebration, David reported for duty this morning. We know he’ll get some time to revel in his accomplishment soon enough. For now, leave some words of congratulations for him! We’re so proud of you, David.

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Music City Invitational Match Report

By Jameson Hurley

The inaugural Music City Invitational, hosted by the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club, was the first event of its kind in the state of Tennessee. Hurling and camogie teams from St. Louis, MO; Indianapolis, IN; Atlanta, GA; and Knoxville, TN traveled to the host city for an action-packed day of Gaelic games. The event, which was postponed for two weeks due to ice and snow that rendered the pitch unplayable, was played under beautiful sunny skies and mild spring conditions.

The Opening Ceremony

Early arriving players were welcomed to the pitch by a dense layer of fog. As the players warmed up, the fog lifted, and the day was underway. The Nashville Pipe and Drum Corps kicked off the opening ceremonies followed by the singing of the National Anthems of the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland. Reverend John Hammond, of Christ the King Parish, gave a moving benediction, and with that, the matches were off.

6 hurling teams and 3 camogie teams set off into battle to see who would claim the cups. In the group stages of hurling, Indy Green, St. Louis, and Nashville competed in the Green Division, while Atlanta, Knoxville, and Indy Black faced off in the Gold Division. Over on the camogie pitch Atlanta 1, Atlanta 2, and a combined Indy/Nashville squad were set to compete in a round robin tournament.

On to the Matches

The first two matches of the day featured Indy Green v. host club Nashville and Atlanta v. a newly formed club form Knoxville, a team of U.S. Army Reserve soldiers. Both matches were spirited and competitive, but the experience of the long established clubs of Indy and Atlanta proved too much for the newer kids on the block. Final score: Indy Green 7-12 (33) to Nashville 1-3 (6) and Atlanta 7-16 (37) to Knoxville 1-0 (3).

Next up on pitch 1 were the Sons of Liberty from St. Louis v. Indy Green. The long-established friendly rivalry between Indy and St. Louis proved to be one of the highlights of the day, with an excellent display of long-range pointing and strong defensive stands from both teams. In the end, it was the crisp passing and efficient teamwork of the men from the Hoosier state that gave them the full-time edge. St. Louis 0-7 to Indy 0-11. Over on pitch 2, Indy Black put up a valiant effort, but their friends from the South proved too experienced and too strong a side. Atlanta took the victory, and with it advanced to the next stage of the tournament along with Indianapolis Green.

Over to the Camogie Pitch

Who would face Indy Green and Atlanta in those next matches? That was to be decided shortly thereafter when Nashville faced off against St. Louis, and Knoxville tested their improving skills against Indy Black. But first, all in attendance would be treated excellent match on the camogie pitch. Atlanta, last year’s North American camogie champions split their squad for the round robin stages. The first camogie match featured Atlanta 1 v. Indy/Nashville, and what a thrilling match it was. Excellent ball movement, precise scores, and amazing defensive plays kept the assembled fans on their toes. In the end the Indy/Nashville Squad found the space between the posts more often, scoring 7-8 (29) to Atlanta’s 5-3 (18). Indy would go on to face the second Atlanta squad, ending that match with a similar result, and thus claimed the championship. What would happen in the “friendly” scheduled for later in the day, when Atlanta would play at full strength against their northern rivals?

Back to Hurling

Back on the hurling pitch, it was Chairman of the Nashville GAC Johnny Watson’s former club mates from St. Louis who were set to do battle the host city. Pride was on the line for the Nashville forward, as a victory against the men he led to a National Championship just 4 years prior would mark quite an accomplishment for the club he founded just 2 years ago. The winner of the match would go on to face Atlanta in the next round, while the loser would be relegated to a shield match against the Gold Division’s 3rd place team. The competition was fair but fierce, with both sides exchanging blows. With minutes to go, Nashville took a 2-point lead, when Watson snuck a ball past the goalie. St. Louis, not done with their effort responded with a quick point followed closely by another. With time nearly expired and the match level, Nashville was awarded a free. Tension filled the air as the sliotar was lifted and struck. Wide. The game ended in a draw, with both teams earning a point, and St. Louis advanced on point differential.

On the adjacent pitch, the men from Indy Black faced off against Knoxville. The newcomers, strengthened by the addition of two experienced subs, dug in and played hard. While the skill was not quite there, the passion and courage was. Indy Black, with their experience, led the charge, putting up 7 brilliant points from play. But those points, combined with 3 goals would, in the end, not be enough to offset the new found goal scoring prowess of the Knoxville side. At the final whistle, the scorecard read: Knoxville 6-3 (21) to Indy Black 3-7 (16). Knoxville was set to face the other Indy side in the next round.

The top two hurling teams from each division took to the pitch to decide who would face off in the championship match. On field 1, it was Indy Green who would put Knoxville’s recent winning ways to the test. The boys from Indy wasted no time in putting up the first score, as Knoxville struggled to win the ball. Once they started scoring, Indy did not stop, and while Knoxville turned to the subs that led them to victory in the earlier match against their opponent’s fellow clubmen, their scores came too rarely to slow Indy down. At full time, the scoreboard told the tale: Indy Green 5-18 (33) to Knoxville 1-4 (7). Indy Green advanced to the final.

On field 2, St. Louis, hoping to show that the draw against Nashville was unlike their usual winning ways, faced off against a tough Atlanta side. The match was physical from the start with each team’s strongmen attacking the ball with ferocious intensity. The battles at midfield gave way to attacks on goal, which were shut down time and time again by each side’s defense. While the both sides gave their all in hopes of reaching the championship, it was Atlanta who won the chance to challenge Indy Green for the cup. St. Louis would have to settle for a consolation match against Knoxville.

Over to the Camogie Pitch

Back over at the camogie pitch, a full strength Atlanta side greeted the combined Indy/Nashville squad for a “friendly” battle for pride. A high standard of play was on full display, as neither side wanted to leave the pitch the loser. There were scores to be had, and scores were indeed found, with the ladies from Atlanta showing their supporters why they were the deserving winners of last year’s National title. In the end, it was Atlanta who prevailed with a score of 7-37 (58) to 1-11 (14).

With 3 matches left for the day, the men of Nashville and Indy Black faced off in the shield match. The green and gold side, still suffering for the disappointment of finishing 3rd in their division after the tie against St. Louis, took to the pitch with heads held high, while Indy Black, having suffered two defeats, were determined to get a win. Nashville, however, proved the stronger side, defeating their opponents 3-9 (18) to 1-2 (5).

In the consolation match, Knoxville, having lost their two star substitutes, picked up a number of reserves from Nashville. This new support led to a competitive match at times, but the St. Louis Sons of Liberty, with their seasoned veterans, proved to strong for the tired minds and legs of the men from Tennessee. Final score: St. Louis 8-12 (36) to Knoxville 2-3 (9).

And the Final Match

The final match of the day would give the Music City Invitational its inaugural hurling champions. Indy Green took to the pitch to face Atlanta, two teams that proved all day that they deserved to vie for the cup. The competition was intense from the opening throw in as both teams clashed and fought for every open ball. Indy approached the game with practiced, precision passing, and set themselves up to launch points over Atlanta’s bar. Atlanta countered with attacks from seasoned veterans, many who’ve played for decades, as they worked their way through Indy’s defense. The ash continued to clash, the scores continued to mount, and the players continued to offer a display of elegant, workmanlike hurling. The assembled crowd roared at every hard fought battle, every decisive defensive stand, and every superb score. The sides held each other tight to a narrow score line, but when time expired, it was Atlanta who held the slight edge and claimed the cup: Atlanta 4-13 (25) to Indy Green 4-10 (22).

The day, which had started on such a high note, ended on and even higher one with top class, quality displays of hurling and camogie from all teams involved. From players who have played for a lifetime to those who’ve only been playing for 2 weeks, the standard of play was impressive, the courage and passion were evident, and the love of the games on full display.

Off to Afters and The Trophy Presentation

The teams gathered later in the evening for afters at Dan McGuinness Irish Pub to share in the success of the day, to lick their wounds, and to tell tall tales of sporting heroics. Trophy presentations were made to the ladies of Indianapolis, victors in the camogie tournament, and the men of Atlanta, the winning side in the hurling tournament. The inaugural Music City Invitational was declared a great success, and the future looks bright for this event to become a successful annual event. Proof once again that Gaelic sports are alive and well in the South of the USA.

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Nashville GAC Hosts First Gaelic Games Tournament in Music City

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On March 21, Nashville will welcome hurling and camogie teams from Knoxville, St. Louis, Charleston, Indianapolis, and Atlanta, as well as individuals from other clubs across the Midwest and Southeast.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 9:30 am at 3135 Heartland Drive in Donelson. The ceremonies will feature the Nashville Pipes and Drums and other special guests. Play is scheduled to begin at 9:45 am. Each team is guaranteed at least three matches, with one final match to determine the winner of the first Music City Cup.

A few quick facts about the tournament can be found below.

  • Games take place at 3135 Heartland Drive, Nashville, 37214
  • Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30 am
  • Games begin at 9:45 am
  • Food and drink will be available for sale on-site
  • Games will end by 5:30 pm
  • After party will take place at Dan McGuinness on Demonbreun St.
  • Trophy ceremony will take place at after party
  • Uber and Lyft codes will be provided for discounted rides

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to nashvillegac@gmail.com or pr@nashvillegac.com.

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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