Gaelic Football Match Week #4 : Recap and Results

Match 1: 10:00 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch

Happy Apples vs. Ferguson Brewing Co

The first time these 2 sides met was match #1, which was an absolute cracker. It was a well-played, cagey affair ending up in a 3 point victory for Ferguson Brewing Company. That match saw one Joe Byrne arrive out of the mist up the St. Vinny’s cart path with 15 minutes left to play. There would be no such apparition for the Fergies this time though, and Happy Apples was ready to have their revenge.

As the sides lined out, the most notable sight was that captain Ryan Lobbig was absent for Happy Apples. His skill and speed were crucial if the Apples were going to win this match. Without the captain’s contribution, I feared this match could be one-way traffic.

From the throw in it was a fairly even match, with both sides showing some free-flowing play. At the 5″ mark, FBC’s Matt Anglin hit a stellar short angle point from the left side. This will not be the last time you hear his name… As the match settled in, the Apples were forging ahead without the possession game that Ryan Lobbig brings to the side. A flurry of activity in the Ferguson end by the Apples saw 3 consecutive wides in a short span at the 12″ mark. This was not coincidentally the same time frame that captain Sterling Hayden left the match for Ferguson with a strained hip flexor – he would not return. However 20″ in, Ferguson Brewing Co turned up the wick. After a foul in the Apples’ end, a free sent in fell a bit short giving Ferg a gilt-edged chance at goal – only to be blocked on an outstanding effort by Apples’ defense. 23″ in, ‘the teaching Brit’ Ryan Limb bombed over a free from 45m to extend Ferguson’s lead to 10-2. That would be the last score for the Fergies in the half, with Happy Apples adding 2 late points to their tally.

Halftime:

Happy Apples: 0-4-4

Ferguson Brewing Co: 1-7-10

As Happy Apples tried to rally for a 2nd half comeback, the absence of Ryan Lobbig was crippling. What the Apples needed was some possession and ball movement and being without their most mobile player made that virtually impossible. The 34″ mark was the beginning of the end for the Reds as they conceded a penalty which Mike Keane was happy to put into the ‘ol onion bag. A 40″ goal by Eric Caldwell pulled the Apples back into the match if only for a few minutes. At this stage, Ferguson’s Matt Anglin put his stamp on the match by scoring his 4th point from play.  The last 15 minutes was basically a clinic in possession from Ferguson Brewing Co, with Bob O’Mahony, Dan Cowin, Phil Hawkins and Ryan Limb all spending quality time with the ball.

Final:

Happy Apples:  1-6-9

Ferguson Brewing Co:  2-13-19

Scores:

Happy Apples: Ryan Hallows(0-2), Eric Caldwell(1-0), Joe Driefke(0-1),  Mike Guinn(0-3).

Ferguson Brewing Co: Angel Garcia(0-1), Keith Mayers(0-1), Matt Anglin(1-4), Mike Keane(1-3), Ryan Limb(0-4).

Man of the Match: Matt Anglin – Ferguson Brewing Co.

 

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Match 2: 11:15 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch

Pat Connolly Tavern vs. AOH St. Charles

Not unlike the first match of the day, the first time these 2 sides met in week #1 it was magical. The Pat Connolly Tavern squeaked out a W in that one, with their keeper Kara Richardson under constant siege.

The 2nd match of these 2 teams was much like the first. From the opening throw in, AOH’s John Beard got loose down the left side and a long ball found him in stride, allowing him to stuff the ball home for a 3 point lead within the 1st minute of play. Could this be a case of ‘here we go again with all the goals?’. Yes, yes it could. Only 1 minute later PCT’s keeper was under attack again with Kara making not 1 – but 2 point blank saves. That run of play right there saved this match from getting out of control, as the Pat Connolly Tavern crew buckled down and worked the ball around with some nice possession play. 13″ in featured yet another turning point for the PCT when AOHSTC’s Jeff Brown scored an apparent goal resulting from a free attempt sent short – but was ruled to be in the small box, allowing the PCT to dodge another 3 point bullet. At this stage midway into half #1, there were 7 combined scores for the sides; all points for PCT and all goals for AOHSTC. Just before the half, the referee showed a yellow card to AOH’s Greg Hake for what looked like a regular high ball challenge with PCT’s Tony Cowin. After Cowin went to ground holding his head, Hake was shown the yellow.

Halftime:

Pat Connolly Tavern: 0-6-6

AOH St. Charles: 3-1-10

1 minute into half #2, AOHSTC found themselves in the principal’s office again as Jimmy Orbin was shown a yellow card for overly aggressive play. Just minutes later things went from bad to worse for AOH when Greg Hake was shown yellow #2 in the 38th minute. But the AOH offensive onslaught continued when the referee awarded them a penalty 42″ in. Once again, PCT’s Kara Richardson proved to be the difference as she thwarted the spot kick and the rebound, eventually relenting on attempt #3 when AOH flooded the box and put the rebound away.

After the sending off of AOH’s Hake, PCT did not change their approach and kept the points from play flowing regularly. Playing 1 man up for virtually the entire 2nd half, PCT enjoyed even more room for the big man from Co. Kerry, Kieran O’Shea. The man was unstoppable on the day scoring 9 points and dictating play with his physical presence on the ball. With AOH’s focus on goals, the points from O’Shea were crucial in keeping this match close. Pat Connolly Tavern had a chance to edge out in front with some breathing room at 44″, but a rocket from the 20m line hit the upper 90 of the frame – literally – as the ball struck the post, crossbar and ultimately the goal line. After a bit of a scramble AOHSTC was able to clear the ball to the outside and out of danger.

As if things weren’t difficult enough for AOH, Jimmy Orbin joined Hake on the sideline with his 2nd yellow on the day at 50″. That left the PCT primed to take advantage of being 2 players up and put this match to bed. However PCT was only able to muster 2 more points from the short advantage and at the final whistle – we were tied.

For the purist, you will love the Pat Connolly Tavern’s style of play with quick movement, wide play, sublime points and quality possession. The video game generation will salivate over AOHSTC’s method of route 1 football: middle of the pitch, long balls over the top to the forwards who will pump in goals regularly. They’ve no interest in points at all as they have exactly 2 points in 2 matches vs. PCT – it’s all goals, all the time.

2 completely different ways to get to the same place: goals vs. points.

Final:

Pat Connolly Tavern: 1-13-16

AOH St. Charles: 5-1-16

Scores:

Pat Connolly Tavern: Ken Buckholtz(0-2), Kieran O’Shea(0-9), Matt Hoffman(0-2), Tony Cowin(1-0).

AOH St. Charles: John Beard(1-0), Alex Cooke(0-1), Jeff Brown(2-0), Pete DaPrato(2-0)

Man of the Match: Kieran O’Shea – Pat Connolly Tavern

STLGAC Football Team Previews

Welcome to the 2017 version of the STLGAC Gaelic Football City League.

Our polished journalists will be keeping the world abreast of all the on (and potentially off) field action all season long right here on STLGAC.com. So please check in weekly for match results, commentary, insights, rumors and general craic.

With the team reveal concluding only just last night at the Pat Connolly Tavern, we haven’t had much time to digest the team sheets. However here in the newsroom, we never rest. Sometimes you need some training wheels to get through the task at hand, and here at HQ the Tito’s and Red Bull quite possibly could be said training wheels.

Without further ado, let’s dig into the 4 teams contending for this season’s Monkey Cup.

 

St. Charles Ancient Order of Hibernians

http://stcharlesaoh.com/

Captains Joe Kinealy (r) and John Beard (l)

Joe Kinealy
John Beard
Alex Cooke
Greg Hake
Jeff Brown
Jimmy Orbin
John Charlton
John Krause
Jordan Finnegan
Juan Villa Torrecilla
Maggie Faul
Mal Freeman
Mike Hertfelder
Mike Hill
Mike Orbin
Pat Fitzgerald
Pete DePrato
Ricky Whalen
Tim Buckley
Tim Renz
Wes Werner

Hot Take:

When I look at this roster, I immediately think ‘BEEFY’. Make no mistake – this is going to be one physical team. In fact, this writer has personally shown a red or yellow card to at least half of these people over the years.

What to Watch For:

This team is chock full of veterans, so no matter how a match is going you’d be a fool to count them out. There are more former champions than not on this roster. Also as I alluded to above, these guys (and ladies) are flat out bruisers. Both of the Orbin brothers have been known to step well over the line in terms of physicality. Tim Buckley is a solid, tenacious presence on the pitch and the only question on the day is what shade of yellow card would he prefer. Jeff Brown is essentially a man-child and will run over anyone or anything to make a play. Greg Hake is a tall, strong individual and will be a presence in the air. And then you’ve got Pete (Pedro) DaPrato. All this guy does is win stuff. Touched by the hand of God, (surely his family emigrated from Rome) this guy hasn’t ever been on a sub-.500 team as far as I can remember – and we go pretty far back. The 2 Captains themselves are nothing to sneeze at either. Both will make massive contributions on and off the pitch for this team.

Last Word:

This is a playoff team. I expect to see them in the Monkey Cup Final. If these old farts can stay injury free, they’ll do some damage. This isn’t a run and gun team, but they will be steady, smart and solid. They could be in danger if attendance is an issue, as some of the younger and faster teams could take advantage of the space on the pitch when AOH STC wears down. Overall, a well drafted team by Captains Kinealy and Beard.

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Ferguson Brewing Company

http://www.fergusonbrewing.com/

Captain Sterling Hayden (not pictured: Scott Stevens)

Sterling Hayden
Scott Stevens
Andrew Malone
Angel Garcia
Bob O’Mahony
Bruna Prates
Chris Buck
Dan Cowin
Fiachra Lennon
Joe Byrne
John Severs
Keith Mayers
Lauren Delaney
Matt Anglin
Matt Stuart
Mike Keane
Owen McQuiston
Phil Hawkins
Ryan Limb
Will Bennett

Hot Take:

When I look at this team, I see effort, graft, grind, sweat, heart. There is no quit in this roster. On top of that, Sterling always has a plan in his draft. I have learned not to question his judgement and it’s easy to see the direction he intends to take this season. This is mos def a blue collar team.

What to Watch For:

I have to say, it’s a good thing they have a lot of heart on this team – they’re going to need it. I see some ‘boom or bust’ potential here. There will likely be some attendance issues in my opinion, and hard work will only go so far… If Joe Byrne – who is without doubt the most talented player in this league – shows up for 50-75% of the matches, this is a very solid Monkey Cup final team. If the lad is AWOL, they will have to rely heavily on captain Hayden, LFC Youth Academy leader Mike Keane and ‘ol Bobby O. If you look up ‘desire’ in the Oxford English, there is a photo of Bob O’Mahony plain as day. This man can simply force a team to perform just by his effort. He will pull the last bit of effort out of each of his teammates. And not to leave out Andrew Malone, as solid a player as we have in the league. The question there is when he will hit peak form. Can he sprint out of the gates and impact the match, or will it take him 3 matches to get up to snuff? Questions abound. Luckily we will start seeing some answers on Saturday.

Last Word:

Like I say, all or nothing with this group. They could go on a mad run and devastate teams or they could have slim attendance and be .500. I do believe in Sterling’s draft nous though, so I expect to see this team battling for a spot in the Monkey Cup final more likely than not.

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Happy Apples

http://happyapples.com/

Captains Ryan Lobbig (r) and Ryan Hallows (l)

Ryan Lobbig
Ryan Hallows
Andrew Lally
Andy Moran
Anne Glaser
Brian Hendrick
Chance Evans
Ed Reidy
Eric Caldwell
Gabe Crabson
Jason Kenny
Jeff Fowler
Joe Abkemeier
Joe Driefke
Kelly DePrato
Leo Perez Mereno
Luke Wilmes
Matt Carroll
Mike Guinn
Steven Kieran
Will Stewart

Hot Take:

This is a fit and talented team. The 2 captains themselves will lead by example. This group will be able to mix it up on the physical side as well, with a few players that also moonlight with rugby. Plenty of good veteran experience here too. A very steady side that won’t hit the valleys, but may not quite reach the peaks either.

What to Watch For:

This side, far more than the other 3, will rely HEAVILY on their captains this season. If ‘The Ryans’ can rise to their potential from the off, I see good things ahead for this lot. If they struggle to get a grip on the match from the whistle, this team will have to slog it out each week. A force in the middle of the pitch, tall and lanky Mike Guinn will be key in transition from defense to offense. If not man-marked by a skilled defender, he could dominate the flow of the match. Brian Hendrick is another talented piece to this Happy Apple puzzle. A veteran of the game, he’s as good a teammate as you could ask for. Selfless, experienced, positive are all adjectives pointing to Brian. Fitness is a question mark for your man though. We all get beat up over the course of the Fall – can BH stay on the pitch and out of the infirmary? Again, a lot of smart veterans in the red and black as well. That experience will be a huge asset in keeping this team from hitting any significant slumps in play. Will the skilled pieces of this roster perform to put the Apples over the bar?

Last Word:

If the Ryan’s can lead by example AND the team has a good strategy week in / week out, the Apples could be dangerous. Nothing about the roster screams out ‘oh dear!’ – which will work to their favor. Underestimate this team at your own peril. The key here will be having everyone moving in the same direction each week with a solid game plan. If disorganization somehow seeps in, we could see some very bad apples. The kind that turn your stomach and make you frequent the spartan loos at St. Vincent’s Park. But I remain positive and see these Apples in contention for the MC Final.

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The Pat Connolly Tavern

http://www.patconnollytavern.com/

Captains Landon Zirkelbach (l) and Shane Brennan (r)

Landon Zirkelbach
Shane Brennan
AJ Hale
Barry McDaid
Brian Finn
Brian Flatley
Dave Grattan
Eric Seyfert
Eric Weber
Eze Valguarnera
Jen Harnness
John Donovan
Jordan Hildebrand
Kara Richardson
Ken Buckholtz
Kieran O’Shea
Matt Green
Matt Hoffman
Mike Reynolds
Pete Ladell
Tony Cowin

Hot Take:

Talent. Loads of it. This could be a dominant team. When this team was announced last night, I was thinking ‘how did this happen?’. I favor the PCT to appear in the Monkey Cup. However, things can happen. All things being equal, this roster is a championship team. Again, we have to see who shows up week in and week out.

What to Watch For:

Captain Landon Zirkelbach is the backbone of this team. Landycakes, with his thighs of thunder, could squat his mom… and my mom… and probably your mom too… simultaneously. He knows the game inside and out and is experienced enough to make tactical changes on the fly. Not only is the PCT talented and skilled, but they will have top level organization and strategy to go along with it. Matt Green is one of those athletes that is good at damn near everything without even trying and his impact could be huge – depending on his availability. Mike Reynolds comes off of gardening leave to feature in this season, but how fit is he? The last time I saw Mr. Reynolds, Obama was still making decisions. Shane ‘what’s the craic?’ Brennan is also champing at the bit to get the season underway and his attitude is infectious. He will rally these boys and girls every minute on the pitch. Let’s not forget Tony Cowin’s impact either. This guy pushes himself every step of the way. He’s a fantastic teammate and makes everyone around him better. If there is enough oil on hand to lube up the ‘ol joints and he’s able to stay on the pitch, he’s as valuable as anyone on this team.

Last Word:

A spot in the Monkey Cup Final is theirs to lose, essentially. They will well and truly have a target on their back all season. If they keep their head down and concentrate on the effort rather than letting the talent carry them, they will be tough to beat. I think if they can start off the season 3-0, they could very possibly run the table. If they suffer a shocker in the first few however, the wheels could come off. My bet is the PCT lives up to expectations and finishes in the top spot at the end of league play.

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