More than 200 players took part in the 2015 LIME Cayman Islands Gaelic Football League last Saturday.
Four women’s teams and four men’s teams battled it out to become cup champions at finals day at Cayman International School.
Following a knockout round, winners in each league met in a winner-takes-all final.
With league sponsors LIME providing shade and refreshment for both teams and spectators, the stage was set for a spectacle of big hits, big skills, and big wins.
Buffers Alley and Oliver Plunketts women’s teams started the day off with a nail biter to the last minute, with Buffers edging a win by only one point. Playmaker Karlie Kennedy scored a goal and several points for the Plunketts, putting her in the running for player of the year, but the relentless onslaught from Buffers and their superstar goal scorer Elena Testori did enough to secure their place in the final.
The other semifinal saw Sarsfields scream out of the blocks and score two quick goals against Na Piarsaigh, who managed to get back into the game in the second half, but the damage was already done, with a Buffers Alley-Sarsfields final set for later in the day.
Testori continued her scoring streak, and with the help of last year’s MVP Jane Hale, Buffers took the final and the cup, with a score of 10 points-5 points. Sarsfields put up a valiant effort, with Nicky Keogh coming out of retirement to score 3 points.
In the men’s first semifinal, league winners Wolfe Tones crushed the struggling Gabriels with a tally of 20 points-11 points. David O’Connell could do no wrong all day, splitting the posts five times, with his teammate and seasoned veteran Sean Lyne bagging a goal and couple of points to put the game out of the Gabriels’ reach.
Western Gaels, after having a rollercoaster season, used the wind to their advantage, leading by a point at half time against the Cabra Gaels, whose star striker Padraig Brosnan kicked over half of their scores throughout the game. With a stroke of brilliance, Richard Pooley dived full stretch to punch the ball beyond the reach of Cabra’s keeper for a goal that was just enough to give the Western Gaels the win and a chance to square off against the Tones in the final, a match everyone was looking forward to.
The match was a fierce contest of physicality and skill, with the referee on his toes to keep the game in check. Paul Hennessy managed 8 points for the Gaels, usually enough to take any game, with well taken points and free kicks, but the Tones, with a massive panel and substitute bench, pressed them hard in the second half to edge out 14 points-11 points, taking the spoils.
The real winners on the day, however, was everyone who came down to enjoy a fantastic exhibition of an ancient sport, with great skill and admirable sportsmanship, that attracts players from all around the world. League sponsors Whiskey Mist at the Strand Plaza put on the after-party.
The awards dinner for the 2015 season will take place on Friday, July 17.