Greenville Cup

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Atlanta made the short journey up I-85 on May 16th to participate in the Greenville Cup alongside our hosts, Holy City Cup champions Hampton Roads and Charleston. The Atlanta Camogie team also continued their mission to spread the gospel of Camogie to every corner of the Southeast by playing an exhibition match against a combined Southeast selection.

In the opening game of the hurling tournament Atlanta took on our hosts Greenville. A quick start with goals from Seamus Byrnes, fed by good direct ball from Peter Molloy at full back. saw the visitors take a commanding lead. Andrew Dodd, in the unfamiliar environs of midfield, batted every ball down with authority in the air to break up the play. The team showed superb hustle demonstrated by Jamal Herrera O’Malley getting stuck into tackles and Brian Laughlin getting great hooks in and taking a sliotar to the throat for his troubles. Matt Gault dropped a thundering shoulder on his opponent to make space to hit a quick ground pass to set up Seamus Byrnes to finish to the net before half time. In the second half Greenville made a spirited come back. A pair of long range frees from expert marksman Peter Molloy and a couple of points from play from the returning Bill Hayward however helped temper Greenville’s momentum. The athleticism of Thomas Kwok & Matt Shand stood to the team as the game was closed out for an Atlanta victory by a scoreline of 6-9 to 4-10.

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Atlanta qualified to meet a strong Hampton Roads team in the final. In line with recent trends, Atlanta grasped the momentum from the beginning through early goals from Seamus Byrnes. Paul Jones commanded the center back position throughout breaking up play after play to deliver quality ball into the forward line. The dogged tenacity of David Herrera O’Malley ensured that no easy ball was won by Hampton Roads in the middle of the park. John Hunt & Lance Miller won a lot of ball in the half forward line to provide the foundation for many attacks throughout the game including a move which resulted in Bill Hayward crashing the sliotar to the net. Long range frees from Peter Molloy again proved invaluable in this game to maintain Atlanta’s lead. Special mention however must be made to the heroic man-marking performance by Matt Shand who showed incredible grit to mark the best player on the Hampton Roads team. Atlanta closed out the game to defeat Hampton Roads by a score line of 5-5 to 2-10. Captain Patrick Lynch accepted the trophy on behalf to the team as the celebrations continued until late in the night back in Ri Ra’s Irish Pub in Atlanta.

Congrats to Jamal & David Herrera O’Malley who made their competitive debuts for Atlanta in this tournament. Special thanks also to the Atlanta Camogie squad for all their support on the day.

Hurling squad: Patrick Lynch, Andrew Dodd, Peter Molloy, Brian Laughlin, Lance Miller, Thomas Kwok, Jamal Herrera O’Malley, Seamus Byrnes, David Herrera O’Malley, John Hunt, Paul Jones, Matt Gault, Matt Shand, Bill Hayward & David O’Donoghue

Atlanta Clan Na nGael Golf Classic Success

First Place Trophy Winners, golf 2015

The feeling of camaraderie, good-natured competition and even chivalry were present at the 2015 Atlanta Clan nGael Golf Classic sponsored by RiRa Irish Pub.

During team check in and registration, players, on-lookers and volunteers enjoyed the excitement of the coming day greeting friends old and new; tapping the kegs; and enjoying the lovely Irish dancers as they performed in the warm late morning sun.

The course at Heritage Golf Links may have been a little challenging, especially at the second Hole-In-One challenge. Only two players made it to the green, but all had a great time trying. Stuart Kelly even came to the rescue of one of the golf course employees who nearly lost her vodka bottles  – always the gentleman.

At the end of the day, and while scores were tallied, Auctioneer Rob Kiely gave an energetic performance during the exuberant bidding for prizes donated by RiRa Irish Pub, Tourism Ireland, Shamrock Manor Equestrian, United Distributors, The W Hotel, Paul White, David Walsh, and Ciaran O’Flaherty. Special thanks to RiRa who came on board as our tournament partner for this event and take a lot of credit for ensuring we had 116 players turn up making it our largest golf classic to date.

Final scoring had Noel Kierans, Chris Kendrick, Napeleon Onate, and KJ Lee as the first place trophy winners. KJ Lee also won for longest drive, while Ciaran O’Flaherty was awarded Closest to Pin. The complete score board is below.

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Thank you to all for your participation in this event and your continued support of the GAA in Atlanta. Thanks to the twenty five club members who volunteered on the day to help make this event a huge success. If you have any questions please contact us directly at info@atlantagaa.com.

Holy City Cup – Charleston

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Atlanta travelled to Charleston, SC on April 25th to participate in the third annual Holy City Cup alongside our hosts, Raleigh, Greenville and Hampton Roads. The camogie coaches and squad also participated in a camogie clinic and friendly game for camogie players from the rest of the southeastern clubs. It was fantastic to see the newly formed Cumann na mBan club from Virginia sedt fifteen girls to participate which bodes well for the future of camogie in the South.

In the opening game of the hurling tournament Atlanta took on a fit and determined Charleston outfit. Seamus Byrnes scored an early goal before Charleston’s hustle and pace began to dominate around the middle of the park. Some well taken scores by Charleston resulting in them leading at half time. Atlanta started the second half with great purpose. Matt Shand, whose fitness and hustle shown throughout this tournament as evidenced in the photograph below, began to shut down the Charleston midfield to allow Atlanta to get on top. Lance Miller scored a goal after finishing a great run to the back post and used a neat ground stroke to set up Seamus Byrnes to score another goal shortly thereafter. A long clearance from Peter Molloy took a lucky bounce to end up in the back of the net to further extend our lead. John Hunted added a spectacular point on the run from 40 yards out. Just as complacency began to take hold however, the Charleston team scored a couple of goals to launch a spirited comeback. A combined Matt Gault and Sarah Spiller effort in a goal line scramble resulted in a goal at the end which closed out the game. Atlanta won the game with a final score of 5-4 to 3-5.

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The next group game against Raleigh was to decide which club would advance to the final to take on the Hampton Roads club. Once again Atlanta got off to a quick start via a Seamus Byrnes goal as the midfield of Matt Shand and Paul Jones went through an amount of work. Dan Kuemmerle played outstanding defense in this game to counter an excellent attacking unit from Raleigh. Jolene Glenn in goals also made some many outstanding saves throughout this game. In spite of huge commitment shown by Atlanta, the goal scoring prowess shown by Raleigh proved to the difference between the sides. Seamus Byrnes, in a fantastic individual performance, finished with 4-1 which consisted of all of Atlanta’s scores in this game against 7-3 scored by Raleigh.

Well done to Matt Gault, Billy Kane and Matt Shand who made their competitive debuts for Atlanta in this tournament. Congrats to winners Hampton Roads who won their first tournament thanks to their tremendous work developing hurling in Virginia in recent years.

Hurling Squad: Jolene Glenn, Brian Laughlin, Peter Molloy, Dan Kuemmerle, Paul Jones, Matt Shand, John Hunt, Seamus Byrnes, Matt Gault, Lance Miller, Jen Beato, Billy Kane, Sarah Spiller, Zoe Beato & David O’Donoghue

Music City Invitational – Nashville

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On March 21st Atlanta sent hurling & camogie squads to compete in the inaugural Music City Invitational tournament held in Nashville, TN. Knoxville, St Louis, Indy along with our hosts also competed in the hurling tournament while Atlanta & Indianapolis competed for the camogie tournament. Well done to Nashville for doing a great job hosting such a large tournament in only their second year as a club.

Atlanta played the newly formed club Knoxville in the opening game of the hurling tournament. This was a momentous occasion given the club, which consists of US Army reservists, was established by Athens resident and Atlanta hurler Pat Harvel. The new Knoxville team developed their love for hurling during their annual boot camp in California in January using equipment lent to them by the Atlanta club. The game featured some nice long range points from Gavin McKee from half forward. John Hunt in turn showed great industry in the full forward line winning lots of possession and finished off some nice scores from close range. Justin Christopher, who played the role of super sub coming in at various stages during the game, finished a close range shot to the net at the end of the game. In spite of great heart shown by the Tennessee boys, the experience of Atlanta proved too strong in a competitive game.

The second game of the tournament saw Atlanta take on St Louis in a very physical match. The commitment from both teams was evident from the start in an environment that suited Andrew Dodd who was out in front for every ball and got stuck in as needed. Brian Canavan played a tremendous match in a sweeper role supporting the steely toughness of full back Peter Molloy. Paddy Lynch in goals made some great saves and telling clearances throughout this game. St Louis could not contain Seamus Byrnes at full forward who provided the scoring threat that Atlanta needed to close out this game.

In the final Atlanta took on Indy in a rematch of the first round game at nationals in Philadelphia in 2012. Atlanta got off to a cracking start as Seamus Byrnes used the element of surprise to execute a leaping catch before crashing the sliotar to the back of the net. Further points by Brian Canavan, Philly Cocoman added to the lead. Indy came storming back however as excellent midfield play provided their forward line with quality supply to score two goals and add on some subsequent points to close out the half leading by four points. Faced with adversity for the first time in this tournament, Atlanta met the challenge head on inspired by some strong words in the half time huddle. Additionally, a tactical switch putting Gavin McKee into the full forward line and assigning John Hunt to a man marking job on the Indy center back reaped dividends straight away. On resumption of the half, the speedy McKee gathered possession out in front of his marker before setting up Seamus Byrnes to score his second goal of the game. McKee quickly followed this with a goal of his own as his pace provided the Indy backline with plenty of headaches. Atlanta added points from frees from Philly Cocoman and extended the lead fortuitously as a long range fee bounced to the net. In a similar pattern to the first half, Indy mounted a spirited comeback as the intensity of the match stepped up another level. Brian Canavan fulfilled the role of inspirational captain in the final quarter of the game as he covered every blade of grass sweeping up ball and driving clearances up the field. Some heroic goal line defending was complemented by an outstanding long range point from Paul Jones in the dying seconds to close out the match. In the end Atlanta captured the inaugural Music City Invitational by a score line of 4-13 to 4-10. At the after-party that night, Nashville Chairman John Watson presented the winning captain Brian Canavan with the cup. This tournament represented the first hurling trophy collect by Atlanta since the 2012 season marking an excellent start to the season.

Well done to Paul Jones, John Hunt, Seamus Byrnes & Justin Christopher for making their competitive debuts for Atlanta in this tournament. Thanks to Brian Boland for helping the hurling and camogie management teams by shouldering the officiating burden for both teams throughout the day.

Hurling Squad: Patrick Lynch, Andrew Dodd, Peter Molly, Brian Canavan, Philly Cocoman, Paul Jones, Gavin Jones, John Hunt, Seamus Byrnes, Justin Christopher, Brian Boland & David O’Donoghue

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The camogie tournament took on a 7 a side format with Atlanta’s split squads taking on a combined Indy selection.  In a thrilling match, Atlanta 1 took on Indy in a game full of full of skill and excellent score taking. Indy started brightly but Haley Stolp & Kristin Cardell did great work in the fullback line to repel their attacks. Jolene Glenn, Tricia Tanguay and Lauren Alexander did a tremendous job in a goalkeeping platoon in absence of regular shot-stopper Cathi Dugger. Ashley Harel led the full forward line and as a result of her direct attacking play ended up with 3 goals to her credit. The Atlanta girls fought hard but Indy won at the finish by a score line of 7-6 to 5-3.

After the free flowing nature of the opening game, the Atlanta 2 versus Indy proved to be a much more defensive game. Annie Greenwood led the defensive effort executing numerous spectacular blocks to inspire her fellow defenders such as Virginia Varela-Eyre & Liz Capawana who made a nuisance of themselves by batting balls down and putting their markers under tremendous pressure. Karina Clarke covered a huge amount of ground at center forward and showed great hustle to break up numerous defensive clearances. In the end, Indy defeated Atlanta 2 by a score of 3-4 to 0-2 to capture the Music City Invitational cup.

In a possible forerunner to a rematch at the National Playoffs in Chicago, Atlanta took on Indy in a 13-a-side friendly match after tournament play concluded.  A determined Atlanta team set out to make up for their defeats earlier in the day. Amanda DuShane covered huge real estate on the field and contributed from center back scores both from frees and open play. In a complete team performance Atlanta ran out winners by a score of 6-8 to 1-3 to round off a great day of camogie.

Atlanta 1: Ashley Harel, Amanda DuShane, Tricia Tanguay, Lauren Alexander, Jen Beato, Kristin Cardell, Jolene Glenn & Haley Stolp

Atlanta 2: Sarah Spiller, Liz Capawana, Annie Greenwood, Danielle Lanfear, Karina Clarke, Mani Phelps, Virginia Varela-Eyre  & Zoe Beato

Congrats to Liz Capawana who made her first competitive appearance for Atlanta in Nashville. Thanks to the Nashville girls who played with Atlanta for the tournament portion of the day.