"You'll not see nothing like the mighty quinn"

One couldn’t help but be reminded of the famous Manfred Mann ballad “The Mighty Quinn”, as another little bit of history was created by the Regina Gaels, on a sunny Saturday Saskatchewan afternoon at Massey Park, which saw the first ever game of hurling to be played in the Province of Saskatchewan, between the Regina Gaels selection of Fionn Mac Cumhaills and Cúchulainns.

The Mac Cumhaills captained by the ballad inspiring  Evan Quinn, took a firm hold of the game right from the throw-in. Quinn, playing in an unfamiliar mid-field role, was winning a lot of primary possession, and his penetrative running resulted in an early 7 point lead for the Mac Cumhaills

Cúchulainns were having problems making the ball stick in with their full forward line, and MacCumhaills were able to neutralize any Cúchulainn threat, with Gary Loonam operating as an effective sweeper.

However sensing that their initial game plan wasn’t working, Cúchulainns switched Galway man Brian Skehill into full forward and started to utilize a short running game, as Paddy Shannon and Brian Fagan began to gain a foothold at midfield.

A brace of long range scores from Shannon allowed Cúchulainns back into the game, however Mac Cumhaills goalkeeper de Ryckel, used the short puc-out to great effect, ensuring Cúchulainns were never able to enjoy a prolonged period in MacCumhaills territory, indeed the Belgian net minder brought back memories of an famous world cup playoff where his fellow country man Michel Preudhomme stubbornly denied Ireland a chance to qualify for the world cup in France.

The defining moment in the game came when after a darting run through the Cúchulainn rearguard, Sean Walsh was unceremoniously hauled down for a Cúchulainn penalty, indeed Mac Cumhaills full back Ronan Costello, was lucky not to see any further action brought against him for a very cynical foul, which was not dissimilar to Sean Kavanagh’s disgraceful pull down on Connor McManus in the All-Ireland quarter final of 2013.

Paddy Shannon lined up to the penalty, and struck the ball towards the top left hand corner, however the ball was deflected over for a point by McGloin’s hurley to deny Cúchulainns what would have been a largely deserved goal.

The teams went into the break with Mac Cumhaills leading by 9 points and Cúchulainns had it all to do if they were to claim victory in this historic game.

The second half began in a rip roaring fashion as a combination of Walsh, Fagan and Shannon goals leveled matters.

However this was to be as good as it got for Cúchulainns as Quinn once again came to the fore for the MacCumhaills men with a quick fire brace of goals to settle the MacCumhaills heads, and hardworking efforts from Dave Martin and Denise Murphy ensured that Cúchulainns never had any prolonged settled period of possession.

As the game came to a close, both teams traded scores, however MacCumhaills were able to hold on to their lead and run out 7 point winners on a score line of 32 -25

One notable aspect of the game was the skill level exhibited by all players involved, with impressive displays from Jeff Malone, Colan MacCrum, and Rhona McGloin, and it a credit to coach Mark Landers that he was able develop a group of players which could provide a thoroughly entertaining game of hurling which was further enhanced by classy displays from the more experienced, David Nolan, and Marks Savage and Dervan.

Come all without, come all within

Mac Cumhaills:Evan Quinn (Captain), Ronan Costello, Dave Nolan, Denise Murphy, Peter McGloin,  Mark Dervan,  Pierre de Ryckel, Gary Loonam

Cúchulainns:  Paddy Shannon (Captain), Sean Walsh, Brian Skehill, Dave Martin, Mark Savage, Jeff Malone, Colan MacCrum,  Rhona McGloin

Man of the Match:Evan Quinn

McEneaney Cup Match Reports

13 Gaels took 4 cars and spent 11 hours driving down to Missoula, Montana for the 2015 McEneaney Cup hosted by the Montana Grizzlies. The McEneaney Cup is part of the Cascade League, which incorporates hurling clubs from the states of Oregan, Washington and Montana, and Regina Gaels were delighted to have been invited along to Montana’s leg of this established competition.

The Gaels contingent comprised of seven lads and three ladies, as well as three more coming along for support. Benton Brigade and Columbia Red Branch, two established Oregon clubs, both had ten hour journeys to travel to the University of Montana campus, while the host club, despite being founded less than 2 years ago, brought a strong squad of 27 on the day. The Gaels, competing in their first ever hurling games were certainly aware of the tough task at stake.

Regina Gaels 19 Benton Brigade 1

The Gaels got off to a terrific start in their opener and never let up in a dominating display. Dave Martin kicked a goal in the first half which also saw the tenacious Sean Walsh in fine ash-breaking form. Denise Murphy brought about one of the biggest cheers of the day from the couple of hundred in the crowd with a shattering shoulder. Three second half goals by Mark Landers ensured victory for the Gaels in this historic occasion for the club. Many thanks to loan players Morgan, Dillon and Gerard of Montana who bolstered the team’s effort.

Montana Grizzlies 25    Regina Gaels 4

The scoreline alludes to the excellent first half challenge that Regina Gaels posed the hosts, in what was a hugely entertaining game. A depleted Regina team, who had to push the injured Peter McGloin into corner forward, were understandably not afforded any loan players from the hosts, but were fortunate to gain the help Benton’s excellent goalkeeper, Nick. The Gaels trailed four points to two before a goal on the stroke of half-time by Montana’s former Kilkenny minor Naoise Waldron gave the Grizzlies a lead of five at the break. Colm Moloney was in outstanding form throughout with a super midfield display, but the students demonstrated their outstanding ability in the second half and pushed home victory.

Columbia Red Branch    23 Regina Gaels 4

Injuries took their toll on the Gaels, who had to put the hamstrung Ronan Costello in goals and were also without Mark Landers for most of the game. The excellent Juliana Smyth was forced to retire midway with a bruising injury, but the Gaels were able to prevail with the help of Montana loan players Henry, Catherine and Dirty Mike. Red Branch were in fine goal scoring form, and deserved a victory that sealed their second place finish in the competition. Rhona McGloin came agonisingly close to finding the net for the Gaels in a game that also saw Mark Savage battle hard from full back.

Overall, the tournament and the weekend in itself was a fantastic occasion for all involved. Coach Mark Landers put in a terrific effort in the seven weeks leading up to the tournament teaching the sport from the ground up, and it was a credit to Mark that four members of the team were playing hurling for the very first time and never looked out of sorts. Regina Gaels hope the sport of hurling can go from strength to strength, and as well as looking forward to Montana 2016, the club’s primary focus is to compete with fellow Canadian clubs throughout the remainder of this season. All new members are welcome with no experience or equipment necessary, and anyone wishing to get involved should contact us through our website or Facebook page.

Gaels agus Gaelettes Abú!

2013 western canadian gaelic football championship
The 2013 Western Canadian Championship Junior Final saw the hotly fancied Red Deer, Lethbridge amalgamation of RedBridge facing WCC debutants Regina Gaels.

The RedBridge men had produced some solid performances in the  Alberta Cup and were hotly tipped to claim their first WCC Junior Championship at the expense of the men from Saskatchewan who were playing their first competitive games at the this year’s WCC since they were established in March of this year.

Regina immediately set about imposing themselves on the game, through slick passing and penetrative running, and it was from former Roughrider, Mike Stadnyk, who was unceremoniously hauled down inside the small parallelogram, that Regina was given an opportunity to steal a march on the Alberta Men.

The resulting penalty was tucked away coolly into the bottom left corner by Leitrim’s Peter Maguire to give Regina the perfect start, which was further built upon by a fine point by Clare’s William O’Shaughnessy.

Trailing by 4 points in as many minutes, RedBridge responded by pointing a free to steady the ship; however this steadiness was short-lived as the ever present Stadnyk pointed after some good work from the Regina midfield intercept a RedBridge side line ball.

Sensing an upset was on the cards, RedBridge used their experience to truculently slow the tempo of the game, which resulted in several players becoming acquainted with the referee.

RedBridge used this period of scrappiness to reduce the Regina lead to two points, before O’Shaughnessy responded with another fine point to return the margin to three.
Keith O’Brien was having a titanic tussle with the RedBridge rearguard who were having major problems dealing with his physical presence and his endeavours were rewarded with a hard fought-for point to regain the four point lead for the Regina Men, however this was to be the Cork man’s last action in the game as he soon received his marching order’s as tempers began to fray in the Alberta sun.

Sensing uneasiness in the Regina lines, RedBridge used their numerical advantage to fashion a goal from a Regina Gaels defensive mix up to leave the minimum between the teams at the break.

RedBridge were first to raise a white flag after the interval to level matters and imposed their numerical advantage by moving their spare man to mid-field which caused the momentum of the game to swing definitively in favour of the Alberta men, as they then took the lead with a goal after an audacious long ball caused severe trouble in Regina goalmouth.

However, the Saskatchewan men were far from defeated and responded with a play which typified their unflinching resolve, as Mayo’s Seamus Warde stifled another dangerous ball in the Regina area before breaking free of the RedBridge attack to feed the impressive Zac MacPhearson who broke several tackles before off-loading to Leitrim’s Peter McGloin who floated a trademark left-footer over the bar.

This prompted a renewed vigour from the Regina Men who were now getting to grips with their numerical disadvantage.  However, they could not translate this into tangible scores as they hit a series of wides which kept the deficit at two.

RedBridge responded mercilessly to this impotence by hitting three further points to give them a commanding five point lead heading to the closing period of the game.

It was now when then Regina men looked completely down and out did the true resolve which Manager Niall O’Halloran had sowed within the squad in the heavy Saskatchewan snow in early April come to the fore, with outstanding displays from the defensive line of Ronan Flanagan, Mike Boyle, Seamus Warde and Goal Keeper Mark Dunleavy who refused to capitulate to the RedBridge onslaught.

Regina’s midfield of McGloin and Stadnyk, with assistance from Kerry’s Brian O’Connor began to re-exert their dominance at mid-field and engineered two crucial scores for Maguire and Captain Gary Loonam to eek Regina back into the game with minutes remaining.

And it was with the final play of the game that the Dublin man made the most telling of contributions for the Gaels from Regina. McGloin rose highest to claim a RedBridge kick out, his resulting hand pass carved an opening for Maguire to drive into the RedBridge 14m line and create the opening for Loonam who made no mistake in burying the ball in the top right corner to tie proceedings at 2-07 a piece at the death.

As extra time loomed, Manager O’Halloran was able to take his player’s aside and reaffirm the sense of calm and belief into the Gaels, which bellied all their positive periods in the game. Having been restored to their full repertoire of players for the extended period of play, the Gaels made no mistake in exerting an almost insouciant dominance on the game, by kicking four points from play in as many minutes in the first period of extra time.

With their advantage now decidedly re-established, the Regina men were able to utilise the likes of Basedon, White, and Cunningham to maintain their stranglehold on the game and firmly shut the door on a RedBridge comeback  and players such as Doyle, O’Reilly, Murray, Coldrick, McCrum, Stang, and Maguiness all played their parts in the championship by winning their respective battles.

Regina Gaels: Mark Dunleavy, Redie Basedon, Mike Stadnyk (0-1), Chris Cunningham, Ronan Flanagan, Mike Boyle, Justin White (0-1), Keith O'Brien (0-1), Zac MacPherson, Peter McGloin (0-1). William O'Shaughnessy (0-4), Brian O'Connor, William Doyle. Colan McCrum, Seamus Warde, Gary Loonam (1-1), Peter Maguire (1-2), Glenn O'Reilly, John Coldrick, Neil Stang, Kealan Murray, Hugo Maguiness

Man of the Match: Peter McGloin