|Áth Leathan Abú||
The word on the street all week was that something was going down this weekend. From Ahaclare to Barbane; from Violet Hill to Gort na gCloch; the sense of expectation was palpable and the talk across schoolyards and farmyards alike was of nothing but scores to settle and points to win.
So, as the lads from Clonlara rolled in to town on Sunday morning with Torpeys, Cannings and Walshes shrouded with the damp air catching and glistening in the pale autumn sun, the street in Broadford quickly cleared as everyone made their way to the stand for the oncoming spectacle.
With the street below now emptied and even the sizzling pans of sweet smelling bacon falling silent in the Country Store and lighting of the pizza oven in Moloney’s deffered, the Clonlara lads were the first on to the pitch and were met with the roar of their supporters who had made their way deep in to hurling country for a clash of the ash that was never so important to two outstanding teams.
The Broadford lads quickly followed suit, ready to mark out their territory, to the fervour and delight of the good people of Áth Leathan.
The scene was set, seats were taken and battle commenced.
Clonlara went on the immediate offensive and within the first ten minutes scored two quick goals and a point with just one point in response for Broadford from Denis Fahy. With the score standing at Broadford 0-01 to Clonlara 2-01, thoughts went back to Clonlara’s visit to Broadford earlier in the competition when they stole a convincing win over Broadford – was this going to be a disappointing repeat?
Finding their form and realising the pressure was on, Connor O’Donnell achieved the first goal for Broadford. This was quickly followed by a second after Eoin McNamara took a free from in front of the stand and dropped the ball to the side of Clonara square. Niall O’Farrell swept in to the resulting ruck to clean up the ball and smash it to the back of the net. Balance was restored and Broadford was well and truly back in the game with the scores now even by the end of the first quarter of play.
With strong defensive play in the back lines from Eoghan Gunning, Sam Cooper, Dillion Gunning, James Gunning and Eoin McNamara helping to keep Clonlara at bay, the game ebbed and flowed until almost the end of the first-half. In a sudden blow though, and in to extra time, Clonara took their third goal which was awarded after initially being disputed as a square ball, the ball being dropped and played in to goal from close around the left goal post. That was not end of it though and in the heat of the excitement, a free awarded to Clonlara in the dying seconds of the first-half put Clonlara ahead by three points. Broadford 2-03 Clonlara 3-03.
In to the second-half a point from a free and another point from play soon put Clonara ahead by a further two points but from then on, despite a tremendous display of skill and spirit from Clonlara, the rest of the second half belonged to Broadford. With hurleys blazing Peter O’Farrell and Jake Slattery each scored a goal each and five minutes in and now one point up again, Broadford went on the rampage. Seven unanswered points over the remainder of the match (0-3 Niall O’Farrell, 0-1 Denis Fahy, 0-1 Cormac O’Brien, 0-2 Jake Slattery) helped deliver a well-deserved win for Broadford. Clonlara were fighting hard though with every win of the ball and towards the end of the match at least one more goal for the visitors seemed inevitable. Just feet in front of the goal and going one to one with Broadford goalie Harry Cooper, under pressure he deflected a direct shot back in to the square. Not to let anyone get one over his brother, Sam Cooper covered the far side of the goal to protect against the returning ball and deny the much needed goal. The game finally ended Broadford 4-11 Clonlara 3-05.
This was a game of immense skill and determination from both sides. Clonlara have proven themselves the worthiest of opponents in this competition and other under-age matches this season. The win was Broadford’s on this occasion thanks to terrific teamwork from everyone on the panel.
Broadford travelled to Bodyke to play Bodyke/O’Callaghan’s Mills in the U-13 Semi-Final on Sunday. This was an epic match that went down to the wire with a truly nail-biting finish after an outstanding performance from this team of young lads possessed of much talent.
Bodyke/Mills came out of the gate with gusto and took four straight points from play. Nial O’Farrell put Broadford back in the game with a point from a free and a point from play but Boyke/Mills delivered what seemed a crushing blow in response - two lightening quick goals 15 minutes in to the match - Bodyke Mills 2-04 Broadford 0-02.
The boys rallied though and guts and determination became the order of the day which were served up in double portions delivering seven more points (0-1 Connor O’Donnell, 0-3 Niall O’Farrell, 1-0 Cormac O’Brien) without reply and the first half ended with Broadford just one point down.
Retiring to the dug-outs for half-time, the talk from the Broadford mentors was calm and collected and delivered with the wisdom of experience that left the lads knowing they had a job to do and boy did they do it.
Bodyke/Mills took the first point but despite very intensive play across the entire pitch and facing an equally talented and perhaps stronger Bodyke/ Mills team, Broadford held their nerve and the lads extended their score to a four point lead by 15 minutes in to the second-half.
Bodyke/ Mills mounted several direct attacks around and in the Broadford square and a goal really seemed inevitable. The Broadford goalie and the backlines stayed in the thick of the action though and defended hard using there ground hurling skills to maximum effect to keep the green flag at bay, much to the relief of the Broadford supporters.
There was certainly no cause for complacency however and Bodyke/ Mills took four points in succession so by 28 minutes the scores were level 2-10 to 2-10.
With two minutes of extra time added Broadford scored the winning point. So just under four minutes to go there was still all to play for and they fought hard to the very end but with several wides apiece the final score stood at Bodyke/O’Callaghan’s Mills 2-10 Broadford 2-11.
What a win against truly worthy opponents.
A look back at the Broadford U-14's fantastic weekend at Féile 2017 back in June. It was a brilliant weekend for the lads, mentors, parents and supporters. The weekend was made even better by our hosts, St. Patrick's, Tullow.
At 35 minutes the video is a bit long but in years to come it might serve as 35 minutes of memories for a once in lifetime's experience.
Clareabbey was the venue for the Junior C Semi-Final on Saturday 23rd September. Despite the miserable conditions that faced the players and supporters alike, the match was entertaining to the end, even if the final result was a disappointing one for Broadford.
Down five points in the first ten minutes, Dara Skehan scored the first point for Broadford in the 11th minute but Clonbony responded with a further point and the first goal of the match to take an eight point lead. The next fifteen minutes belonged to Broadford who slogged their way back with an impressive straight run of nine points including the first of two goals in the first-half for Willie Wixted; the second coming after the ball was rebounded back in to play to the edge of the square by the Clonbony goalie defending a goal attempt seconds earlier. Broadford had come from behind and turned the tables briefly to go two points ahead but a goal in the 30th minute for Clonbony left the half-time score Clonbony 3-06 Broadford 2-08.
The second-half of the match was as entertaining as the first and an early Broadford goal from a penalty taken by Dara Skehan re-established a lead for Broadford. Clonbony worked hard though to fight back and three points from play put them ahead by one point again 12 minutes in. The game could have gone either way for the next ten minutes with Broadford holding Clonbony level twice and then going ahead by a point. Clonbony dug deep though and took the last four points – one from play, a free and two 65’s to finish the job in hand Clonbony 3-15 Broadford 3-11.
The Broadford U6 team made the short trip to Killaloe for the much anticipated match-up with Smith O'Briens on Saturday morning. This game was being touted as a classic even before the ball was thrown in with a large part of the week being spent by the management on examining video analysis of their Killaloe counterparts. No stone was left unturned with some of the players themselves formulating their own team formations and even puck-out strategies. The pre-match team talk cannot be published but needless to say the team was "firing on all cylinders" from minute 1.
Killaloe brought a competitive physicality from the start which kept Broadford under the kosh for the first quarter of the game. Were it not for the monumental defending of Séan Óg Reddan and Fionn Boland the game could have gone away from Broadford early. In fact it was when the young Séanie got a belt early and bravely came back on that Broadfords game started to turn. Croía Corcoran started to dominate midfield with the ever resourceful Micheál O' Connell in support. MJ Madigan started to cause the Killaloe forwards problems and Oisín Lovett could have been mistaken for Joe Canning in periods. The first half finished with Killaloe still shading it. There was even a few rumblings from the "hurlers on the ditch" that the management weren't up to the job. Little did they know.
The half-time team talk was hot and heavy. There was "words said" with both management and players voicing their opinions and boy did it change everything around. "We're a second-half team" was heard from 1 of the supporters in the stand. And as the crowd became more boisterous in support of Broadford so did our players. Zack Cosgrove was everywhere, his physicality and doggedness in full display. Players like Alex Maher stood up and were counted. Alex didn't give up on any ball. Fionn Boland and Micheál O'Connell were like two Goliaths in defence. The phrase "thou shalt not pass" came to mind. Séanie gave a mammoth display of side-line taking that will surely have the Clare senior management sitting up in their seats and on of the biggest cheers of the day came when Croía received a ball in midfield from the tireless work of MJ Madigan up front and "walloped" the ball the distance of the pitch into the Killaloe net (If there was 1). Oisín Lovett got the goal to draw the teams level with only minutes left in the game. And believe it or not, the game ended in a draw. There was a question over the score but we believe it was 4-18 to 3-21. Well done to the hordes of supporters that travelled, super morning out and the team did us proud.
Broadford play Whitegate and Scariff in the next round of the championship next Saturday morning, tough challenges but this team will be out on Tuesday night with the sandbags and kettlebells in preparation. Áth Leathan Abú !
Two semi-finals for Broadford hurlers this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, the Junior C Semi-Final sees Broadford meet Clonbony with throw-in at 3pm in Clareabbey.
Then on Sunday the U13's meet Bodyke/Callaghan's Mills in the B Shield Semi-Final. The match takes place in Bodyke with throw-in at 11:45am.
Best of luck to both teams.
Also, Broadford will be the venue for the Ogonnelloe v O'Callaghan's Mills Junior A Championship Quarter-Final on Saturday. This match takes place at 1pm.
Broadford will meet Tubber in the Championship quarter-final on Saturday 9th September.
The match takes place in Tulla with throw-in at 1pm.
All support welcome.
Good luck to the Broadford players, management and supporters.
After winning eight out of nine matches and achieving joint first place in Division 1B of the Clare Cup Division (along with Feakle) Broadford exited out of the competition on Saturday 2nd September.
Playing in Sixmilebridge against Cratloe in their quarter-final, Broadford got off to a great start with a goal in the first five minutes from Shane Taylor after Stiofain McMahon ran in and passed the ball on to Taylor from the 21-metre line. By the end of the first half Broadford, thanks to points from Donie Whelan, Diarmuid O’Brien, Padraig Hickey, Diarmuid Moloney, Darren Chaplin & Shane Taylor, were ahead six points on a score line of 1-09 to 0-06.
The second half took a very different turn however and Cratloe achieved a complete turnaround of the situation starting with their first goal in the first minute back on the field. This was the start of a rampage that Broadford were unable to hold back and with two more goals and five points in 17 minutes and before Broadford were able to rally to a response, Cratloe were now ahead by eight points (1-09 to 3-011).
Broadford, unable to overcome Cratloe’s dominance, did hold them back in the last quarter of the match and added a further three points to their score but the damage was done at this stage and Cratloe went on to win 1-12 to 3-13.
Broadford met Éire Óg in the Camogie Minor B Final in Clareabbey on Wednesday 30th August.
Two early goals from Éir Óg set the scene for what was going to be a tough match for Broadford against a very strong opposing team. Two goals and point down in to the 13th minute and a goal from Aoife O’Brien should have provided a much needed boost to the girls but the gaol was declared wide after the ball seemingly hit the left post and found its way through a gap in the net off the wrong side of the post. Broadford pressed on though and a later goal from Anna-Lee Marsh in the 19th minute helped to address the earlier disappointment. Points from Vanessa Kilnackey, Anna-Lee Marsh and Aoife Vaughan left Broadford five points down at half-time 1-04 to 2-06.
Broadford threw everything they had at Éire Óg in the second half and put their hearts and souls in to this match. Éire Óg took the first goal in under two minutes but this was quickly countered by a goal from Anna-Lee Marsh and a third Broadford goal in the ninth minute from Susan O’Shea, after winning a Broadford puck out, and after Éire Óg had added two more points to their tally helped reduce Broadford’s deficit to four points (3-04 to 3-08).
By the 27th minute, the gap had widened again however, despite three more points from Emma Hall, Aoife O’Brien and Aoife Vaughan. Broadford never lost their fight though and carried on to the very end and in a final act of defiance took their final score, a goal from Susan O’Shea in the 28th minute.
In the end Éire Óg won through but Broadford showed huge determination and spirit from every part of the field. With Aoife Boland successfully covering the goal, along with the rest of the backlines, ensuring fewer goals than might otherwise have been the case and the midfields regularly winning possession and driving the ball forward. A disappointing result but a performance to be proud of.
Final score 4-07 to 4-14