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
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.