Tired Gabriels ran out of steam

There were a few scores to settle
at the Rugby Club on South Sound last Sunday as Round 4 of the Digicel Gaelic
league was a rerun of Round 1 and the teams defeated on opening day were
looking to turn the tables on their early season conquerors.

The first game saw table toppers
Gabriels take on the Western Gaels and the memory of an 11 point defeat earlier
in the season was plenty of incentive to spur the Gaels on and they were
determined to get retribution for that earlier thrashing.

Gabriels suffered a blow before the
game even started as their talisman and the league’s top scorer Niall Boyle was
ruled out by injury.

The Gaels started brightly and
captain Paul Broderick was quickly off the mark with an early point which was
swiftly followed by a Dave O’Driscoll goal to give them a four point lead.

Gabriels were unfazed and they
started putting some good moves together and they started to pick off a few
scores of their own as Dermot O’Kelly and Scott Brittain were able to find the
range from distance.

Colm Moynihan added a point for the
Gaels but their confident start began to unravel and their passing started to
go astray as half time approached. O’Kelly was having a fine game for Gabriels
and he scored a couple of more points to whittle the lead down to one point at
the break.

Craig Linton, Trevor Murphy, James
Kennedy and Paul Broderick added to the score tally for the Gaels and Bryan
Fitzgerald and O’Kelly again responded for Gabriels. It was not enough however
as Gabriels ran out of steam and the Western Gaels held on for a three point
win  to leap frog over Gabriels in the
league table.

The first ladies match was a fierce
competition between Oliver Plunketts and Sarsfields. Both teams had many
chances to put the ball through the posts but it was Sarsfields’ Kim Antifave
who drew first blood by scoring through the uprights.

Oliver Plunketts, with many chances,
fell to the pressure and were unable to covert any of their attempts at the
front. The second half continued to be an all out battle between the two sides,
with Oliver Plunketts’ Jackie Ridgway evening up the game with a point through
the posts. Helena McGrath and Joan Murphy were able to convert an additional
point each with the final score being Sarsfields 3-0 to Oliver Plunketts 1-0.

The second men’s game pitted the
Wolfe Tones against Cabra Gaels. It was a similar storyline to the earlier
men’s game as the Tones had inflicted a very heavy defeat on Cabra on the
opening day but then their respective seasons had taken divergent routes as the
Tones had failed to win since that season opener and Cabra hadn’t lost a game.

The Tones were eager to get their
season back on track and it was a keenly contested affair early on with both
teams trading points.

Cabra captain Rob Moorhead’s
superior technique from the dead ball proved invaluable as he scored some fine
scores from distance and then the ball fell very kindly for Declan Daly as he
was loitering around the goal mouth and he managed to keep his head and beat
the keeper from point blank range to score the first goal.

Garry Lynch and Etienne Duvenage
traded points but then a bizarre mix-up in the Wolfe Tones defence saw Colm
Flanagan take full advantage as he raced past Howard Byrne to gain possession
of a quickly taken goal kick and he had a very simple task of finishing.

The Wolfe Tones faced an uphill
battle after that defensive calamity but they battled on gamely and Rich Marian
scored a cracking goal to give them hope but despite their best efforts they
weren’t able to bridge the huge gap. Dan Beckett, Ronnie Melia, Shaun Geils and
Tom Elliott added further points for Cabra while Eamon Wilson, Shannon Moylan
and Robbie Baylor were on the mark for the Tones as Cabra ran out winners 15-7.

The sun was at its brightest and
hottest and with many of the girls tired from running five miles in The Off The
Beaten Track Relay Race earlier in the day, it was with thankful hearts that Na
Piarsaigh and Buffers Alley took to the pitch for the later game at 5pm just as
the heat was becoming a little more bearable.

While Na Piarsaigh had a full squad
of 12 players, the Buffers struggled with numbers this week and borrowed the
very talented newcomer Katherine Maw who did a fantastic job defending against
the Greens.

Of course this meant the Buffers
had no subs, but they fought hard and never gave up for a moment with points
scored by Bobeth O’Garro, Emma Ward, Natalie Larkman and Sandra Parton while
Loletta Hanna put up a strong presence in defence.

It was a fantastic game showing the
real spirit of Gaelic but finally Na Piarsaigh managed to creep ahead after a
tie at half time to end the game at 9-6, thanks to points by Rosie O’Connor,
Laura Fitzgerald, Mary Dunne and a brilliant goal by Liz Austin.

It was an enjoyable and fun filled
afternoon for players and spectators alike on what was a very warm and sunny
day in Cayman. The 2011 Digicel League is fast approaching the half way mark
and Round 5 will be played this Sunday.

Cabra Gaels are table toppers for
the men’s League, just edging ahead of the Western Gaels, while in the ladies
league Sarsfields and Na Piarsaigh are first and second place respectively.

Coming up on the Gaelic social
calendar is the St Patrick’s Day Festival which is a family fun day to be held
at the South Sound Rugby Club on Saturday 19 March.