Malones Scotland GAA League Finals
August 11th 2018, St. Ambrose HS Coatbridge
Juniors: Dalriada v Glasgow Gaels
Seniors: Dunedin Connollys v Glasgow Gaels
Official Match Programme:
Photo Credits: Paul Paterson Photography:
Gaels fall in Valiant League Final Efforts
This weekend saw the culmination of the Malones Scotland GAA League Finals. First was the final in the Junior division. With a very competitive League campaign, defending back-to-back champions Glasgow Gaels once again finished top of the table, tallying an impressive 19-67 across all of their League matches. Last year’s championship runners-up Dalriada (a combination of players hailing from Dundee and Aberdeen) came out swinging in this year’s League. Missing out on the Championship spoils last year—by a single point—drove the men from the North-East with renewed spirit.
Dalriada started the first half in blazing fashion with a point by Hugh Conlon and a goal chance after a long-range effort from midfielder Shane McManus dropped just short –but the subsequent palmed effort was saved by Gaels keeper Gerry Kennedy. The defending champions had a difficult time getting on the score board, and 10 minutes in, Dalriada full forward Aiden McKinley fired one into the back of the net. In the next attack, John Needham connected with Sean Campion to give the Gaels their first score of the day after 12 minutes (Dalriada 1-02 to Gaels 0-01). A tightly marked Brian Sharkey gave the Gaels their second score of the day. However, McManus continued to be a problem for the Gaels defence and with a signature power through the full back line, he was finally taken down by the Gaels keeper—resulting in a penalty—which McManus hit wide. This renewed the Gaels spirit and with several quick attacks up the park, several players were fouled to make it three frees in a row for the Gaels which were easily scored by Brian Sharkey. A bobbled ball in the full back line resulted in another goal for Dalriada. The Gaels defence kept the pressure high, however, with blocks from Conor Spalding and Mark Gallagher lifting the team at each point. The half time score, 2-05 to 0-05 left the Gaels men with an uphill battle in the second half.
The Gaels forwards started with all the momentum, with two inspired marks won by Adrian Farrell in midfield and quick kick passes up to Sharkey and Gerard Caden the Gaels quickly worked their way to come back within 2 (Dalriada 2-05 to Gaels 0-09). It was a day for penalties though and yet another was awarded to Dalriada after a pull of the arm in the box—which McManus made sure of this time. The Gaels kept the heads and persisted on—getting a penalty of their own when Caden was dragged down in the box. Sharkey cooly placed it in the bottom right corner of the goal. Chris Bierne slotted a lovely long-range point for the Gaels to put the score at 14 each. Yet another penalty for Dalriada seemed to knock the wind out of the Gaels sails temporarily—until McManus hit the crossbar. Yet Dalriada seem to use the miss as motivation and continued their poised attacks to make the score 3-12 to 1-11 with 10 minutes to go. The Gaels came to life again after forward Caden and midfielder Farrell linked up for a nice one-two into the goal (Dalriada 3-12 to Gaels 2-11). The Gaels wouldn’t go down easily. Captain Paul Scully upped the intensity in the full back line to see a few of the subsequent Dalriada attacks easily thwarted. Caden continued to power through the Dalriada full back line and McManus saw a black card for his pull down on the Gaels forward. Soon after, a miss hit free out saw Caden power the ball in to the back of the net to make the score 3-13 to 3-11 with 4 minutes to go. The Gaels desperate for another goal just couldn’t find the target and Dalriada’s patience saw them through. Dalriada’s captain–Horkan scored the last point from range—a fitting end to the game for the Dalriada men. Final score Dalriada 3-15 to Gaels 3-11. An exciting ending to very competitive game.
Gaels team: 1. Kennedy, 2. Scully (C) 3. Donnelly 4. Gallagher 5. Gannon 6. O’Hanlon 7. Spalding 8. Scanlon 9. Farrell 10. Campion 11. Bierne 12. Needham 13. Caden 14. Sharkey 15. Murtagh Subs: Morton for Donnelly 25min, Walls for Murtagh 30min, Kineavy for Needham 48min, Heeran for Campion 50min
Dalriada team: 1. Keane 2. O’Flaherty 3. McBride 4. Rooney 5. Devlin 6. Kirrane 7. Sweeney (VC) 8. McManus 9. Conlon 10. Keady 11. Doohan 12. Horkan (C) 13. Pigott 14. McKinley 15. Divilly
The second final, in the Senior division, once again saw Scotland stalwarts Dunedin Connollys matched up against Glasgow Gaels. In their fourth consecutive League final meeting, it seemed that both teams were missing a few keys players. However, the game remained a very close affair but once again saw the Connollys men victorious for an unprecedented 10 League titles in a row. The player of the match was undoubtedly the Connollys talisman Sean Malee who scored 11 of Connollys 15 points on the day.
The first half momentum started with the Gaels who had a point from David Comiskey and a goal chance early on. Connollys quickly responded by levelling the game at 2 points each, 10 minutes in. The Dunedin men did well on the kick outs, on both sides of the ball—winning much of the possession through marks in midfield. The Gaels defence were disciplined and worked hard to keep Malee and the Connollys forwards out of the scoring zone. Corner back Shane Ryan flew from forward to forward, mounting the pressure on the Edinburgh men to make quick decisions. However, it seemed that Malee could hit a point from wherever he was placed on the field, scoring from the left and right sides of the pitch. He proved to be difficult for the Gaels defence to handle. Gaels full back and captain Damian Kellegher kept the shots on goal at bay—keeping Connollys goalless throughout the game. The Gaels forwards continued to work hard in each attack with midfielders Conor Higgins and Paul Duffy working to power through the Connollys defence. Gaels forward Richie Stevenson put 5 on the board to add to the Gaels scores from Duffy, Comiskey and Dawson. With only 2 points between the sides at half-time (DC 0-11 to GG 0-08) this final proved nip and tuck for the sides once again.
The Gaels won the second half throw in and a quick score seemed to be on, yet Dunedin’s defence were able to intercept any passes near them. Each point scored by either side was met with a counter. With Gaels wing forward Conal Gormley scoring a lovely point to bring the score back within two (DC 0-12 to GG 0-10). Well-taken scores from Malee and McAteer put the Dunedin men a further 2 points ahead 10 minutes into the second half. The Gaels continued to pursue their scores and some slick running off the shoulder saw wing back JP Langan with an easy score through the black spot. Gaels Centre-half Aidan Kerlin slotted one over to keep the game within 2 with 5 minutes to go. Malee continued his barrage of points to keep the Connollys side ahead. Scores from Stevenson and Comiskey continued to keep the Gaels within a score. But one last hand pass over the bar from Connollys gave them the insurance point to end the game at 0-15 to 0-19 in favour of the defending champions.
Gaels team: 1. Woods 2. Ryan 3. Kellegher (C) 4. Murphy 5. Treacy 6. Leonard 7. Langan (0-01) 8. Duffy (0-01) 9. Higgins 10. Comiskey (0-02) 11. Kerlin (0-01) 12. Gormley (0-01) 13. Dawson (0-02) 14. McArdle (0-01) 15. Stevenson (0-06) Subs: Cremin for Gormley 40min, O’Sullivan for Kerlin 45min, Maher for McArdle 45 min, Curran for Higgins 50min
Connollys team: 1. Harbinson 2. Kearny 3. Powel 4. Hannah 5. McGurk 6. Horan (C) 7. McAteer 8. Mullin 9. Dever 10. McCann 11. Rean 12. Newton 13. McKeever 14. Matassa 15. Malee. Subs: Moriarty for Rean, Talbot for Newton, Ward for McKeever.