Gaelic football: Align Mixed 9s Tournament

The Scimitar and Maples teams met in the final.

The 2018 Cayman Islands Gaelic football season kicked off with the Align Mixed 9s Tournament Friday featuring teams from Dart, DMS Governance, F45, FTI, Harmonic, Kalo Advisors, KPMG, Maples and Calder, MUFG, PwC, Rawlinson & Hunter, and Scimitar.

The Align Mixed 9s was the first introduction to Gaelic football for many newcomers in Cayman. With all teams fielding a combination of grizzled veterans and fresh-faced rookies, the competition was fierce but friendly.

While the ultimate prize is the Peter O’Neill Trophy, the club measures the success of the tournament by how many new members sign up for the year, and with more than 50 new players registering for the league drafts, the club’s growth looks strong.

Several of the club’s youth players were also allocated to teams this year, with junior players Daniel Magennis and Kai Dobbin starring for Dart, which topped their group in their first year in the tournament, overcoming stiff competition from FTI, KPMG and Rawlinson.

In the group of death, Scimitar finished on top over perennial favorites Harmonic and sophomore sensations DMS, while Kalo struggled to overcome the loss of the talismanic Katherine Gow to illness.

PwC had their most successful tournament in years, winning their group over tournament rookies F45 and the defending champions, Maples.

Knockout stages

Kristina Maxwell of Align presents the Peter O’Neill Trophy to Maples.

Maples had their revenge on PwC, while DMS upset Dart to progress. In the other half of the draw, Scimitar’s dominant ladies crushed FTI while F45 eked out a narrow win over Harmonic.

When the dust settled, the semifinals featured three teams which had never before reached that stage of the tournament. In the first semifinal, Padraig Brosnan’s Maples team showed off their experience, dispatching a plucky DMS side led by newcomers Megan English, Jess Crawford, Darragh Murphy and Cathal McGrath. In the second semifinal, Scimitar taught F45 a lesson in composure to prevail in a hard fought and narrow victory.

Finals

The stage was set for an epic final between Scimitar and Maples. In a fast-paced game, junior superstar Tommy Kehoe was the standout for Maples, overwhelming club veterans like Scimitar’s Shane Cusack and Damian Kane. Jayme Farrell, Lisa Kemp, Katy Bayles, Laura Willighan and Anna Boughey led Scimitar’s strong contingent of ladies, but in the end it was young Kehoe who schooled the teachers as Maples retained the Peter O’Neill Trophy.

Anyone interested in signing up for the league should contact [email protected] There will be introductory sessions for new players to brush up on the skills and rules before the season begins on Jan. 28.

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