Maples snatched victory in the dying minutes to be crowned this year’s winner of the Pete O’Neill trophy in the Cayman Gaelic Football Mixed 9s Tournament over the weekend.
Thirteen teams faced each other over two days at Cayman International School in Camana Bay. In addition to the trophy, season-opening bragging rights were up for grabs, a press release states.
Harmonic, last year’s winners, opened the event with a narrow win over KPMG. Maples, Scimitar and FTI won both their group games to finish Day 1 in top positions, setting the standard for Day 2. Maples, aka the Harlem Globetrotters, showed no mercy, disposing of Team Epic Day and DMS in fine form, with veterans Shane Martin and Padraig Brosnan sending the ball through the posts from all angles.
Day 2 started with DMS, Silver Wheaton and Rawlinson finding their feet, winning their opening games and putting themselves in contention for the knockout stages. Derek O’Toole, Silver Wheaton’s captain, controlled the game with attacking runs from deep in his own half, aided by his “partner in crime” Leena Banerji.
Their good form continued, as they secured a spot in the semifinals, only to be overpowered by defending champions Harmonic, who continued their domination throughout the day, demolishing Ernst & Young and Scimitar in the group stages.
They gained so much confidence, even captain Danny Santiago was shooting for points, albeit unsuccessfully.
Maples were beaten by Alix Partners in the group stages, only to face them again in the second semifinal of the day. This time, they edged out their opponents to set up a final against Harmonic.
To no one’s surprise, Harmonic led by a healthy margin at halftime, but the underdogs dug deep, with points from Rob Moorhead and Eamon Wilson taking a stronghold in midfield. With the crowd behind them, Maples won the trophy as the clock wound down.
MUFG and PWC, who proudly fielded many newcomers, were not able to advance beyond the group stages.
With record attendance, and dozens of new sign-ups for the coming year, the day was an all-out success, organizers said in a press release.
The Club committee, all volunteers, organized a seamless event, with food, drink and music, the press release notes.
Anyone interested in joining the league should contact the club through [email protected] Training takes place at Cayman International School on the Jan. 18 and 25, and Feb. 1 from 8:30-9:30 p.m.