Toronto Gaels men overcame tough St. Mikes as women took on Roger Casements
Author: Sean O’Shea
Senior Men’s Football League – Round 2
The second round of the Toronto Senior Football League witnessed Toronto Gaels face St. Mikes in the final game of an action packed Saturday at Centennial Park. Mikes, the runners up of last year’s championship, had defeated St. Pats in the opening round of the league the previous week while the Gaels got the better of Durham.
Toronto Gaels opened the scoring on the 4th minute with a free from Conor Finnegan. Mikes were quick to respond; popping a point over the crossbar. Finnegan, the Gaels talisman on the half forward line didn’t stay quiet, scoring a point from play with a fantastic left foot. Despite good pressure from the Gaels, Mikes were not long in drawing the game level by scoring a point on the 6th minute mark. A tit-for-tat scoring battle would be the theme for much of the first half.
13 minutes in Dan Fay, who was exceptional for the Gaels against Durham, scored a beautiful point from play, aided over the bar by the post. Unfortunately, moments later, Dan went down with a bad shoulder inquiry. After a lengthy stop in play, he was forced to leave the pitch and was replaced by Dublin’s Eoin Delaney.
With play resumed, both teams exchanged points. Sean Fee, Aaron O’Hara and Tadg Quilligan forced errors from Mikes as the Gaels defence held firm. Enda ‘Jemba’ McCaffrey, in his first outing for the Gaels this season, mopped up loose possession at the half-back line. The first half was a defensive battle as both the Gaels and Mikes stood steady for much of the opening 30 minutes.
The Gaels finished the half with a late flurry, with points from Conor Finnegan and Aaron O’Hara. The score at halftime stood Toronto Gaels 0-7 St. Mikes 0-6.
The second half opened with a fantastic point from JJ Quigley. In his first outing in a senior jersey for the Gaels, the former Louth inter-county player proved adept at throwing off a series of Mike’s defenders with dummy solos. His fellow county man, Cian Halpenny, worked tirelessly throughout the game. The young defender continuously ran the ball up the field. Colm Byrne from Offaly proved excellent with well-placed shots into the Gaels forwards. He added to the Gaels tally with a fisted point in the final quarter of the game.
Toronto Gaels proved the stronger team in the second half. Conor Finnegan once again had his scoring boots on. The Cavan man and Gaels captain demonstrated his leadership and football prowess with a series of points from play and frees. He was aided by scores from Brian O’Callaghan who is becoming increasingly comfortable in the forward line.
In a game where the Gaels were always going to be challenged the experienced clubmen stepped up to the mark to provide direction. Ciaran Clarke brought an increased tempo to the Gaels in the second half which allowed them to push ahead. The mixture of experience and new blood served the men in green, white and yellow well.
Toronto Gaels finished the game out a lot stronger as Mikes failed to keep up on the scoreboard. Brilliant hands from Andy Dunne under a high ball aided Conor Finnegan with another score. A goal by Eoin Delaney put distance between the teams as Toronto Gaels pushed on for a victory.
It was overall a tough game for Toronto Gaels but one which will stand to them as the league progresses. St. Mikes are a serious outfit who produce quality displays year after year. Without a doubt, these two teams will face each other down in competitive games later in the season. The Gaels face St. Pats this weekend in the next round of the league.
Final Score: Toronto Gaels 1-14 St. Mikes 0-10
Senior Ladies Football League – Round 2
Toronto Gaels Ladies had their second ever competitive game on Saturday, facing the women of Roger Casements. They opened the days proceeding with an early start of midday.
After facing Durham in the first round of the league, the Gaels were eager to prove themselves against a Roger Casements team who have extensive experience. It was clear from the display that Toronto Gaels Ladies are developing week-after-week and are becoming more comfortable with the pace of play in Toronto.
Erin Merkley, a Canadian who discovered Gaelic Football a matter of weeks ago, dominated midfield throughout the opening half. Receiving excellent ball from her sister Shawna, she provided pace and tempo to the Gaels. Knocking over a fantastic point she was assisted by Rachel Moen who also added to the Gaels first-half tally.
The second half opened with another point from Erin Merkley. Another point from Katie McCormack kept the Gaels in contention. Rachael Moen added to her tally for the day with another excellent score. A goal by the Gaels Ladies late in the second half rallied the assembled crowd.
While the result did not go the way of the Gaels, it is evident that the team is coming along in leaps and bounds. This Saturday, Toronto Gaels will face the women from St. Mikes at 5.30pm at Centennial Park.
Final Score: Roger Casements 2-16 Toronto Gaels 1-06