In the first of the ‘Magic Moments’ series, we look at the year gone by and the highlights from the world of GAA.
– St. Brigids’ All-Ireland Club success
2013 was the year for the Roscommon men to finally land their first All-Ireland club title. They were no strangers to success up to that point however, as they had been at the forefront of Roscommon football since the late nineties, and indeed they have won eight titles in recent years. They became the second club ever to claim three Connacht club titles in a row in 2012, and lost the final last year in their quest to win a fourth. But, when the final whistle was blown in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day, St. Brigid’s stood victorious. They started poorly on the day—down by eight points after ten minutes—as their opponents, Ballymun Kickhams started with an incredible intensity. Despite this, Senan Kilbride found the net after eleven minutes to kick-start their revival. Deep into added time, and with the teams level, Frankie Dolan found space to slot the winning scores.
– Colm ‘The Gooch’ Cooper
Journalists ran out of words after his display against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. While the game itself will be considered a classic for many years to come, the performance by Kerry’s number eleven is the highlight of the seventy-plus minutes. It is one thing to have vision on the field, but to have the skill to execute what’s seen, is quite another. Fans from all counties will remember Cooper’s dummy solo, step-back-and-pass manoeuvre, which bounced the ball neatly into Donnacha Walsh’s hands before James O’Donoghue applied the finishing touch. Minutes later, Cooper again found Walsh in space and Kerry had a second goal. But, Gooch was not content to be the provider, and he popped up all over the pitch that day, along with helping himself to four points. He ended the year with an All-Star award to add to his collection.
– Men of Monaghan
It was the 21st of July; the sun was shining, Clones was buzzing, and the vast majority of the crowd expected to see Donegal complete their three-in-a-row. Monaghan had other ideas. They tore into the defending champions from the start, scoring five points without reply. Donegal were shell-shocked—they scored their first point in the 32nd minute. The half-time break came and gave them a chance for a breather. Would they regroup in the second half and turn things around? They tried, but Monaghan refused to be pushed out of the way. They defended in a way more typical of Donegal, and it worked. Colm McFadden kept Donegal in it with his frees, but the sheer work rate and unwillingness to stop pushed Monaghan over the line. Captain Owen Lennon lifted the Anglo-Celt cup, the first time a Monaghan man has done it since 1988.
It has been said before, and will be said again, but Ireland’s loss is London’s gain. Emigration has helped to build the club football scene in London, and in 2013, this progress was shown with their inter-county side. Known as perennial strugglers, London bucked the trend in the Connacht quarter-final with a one point win over Sligo. Their next opponents, Leitrim, surely took notice. However, it did not work, as London pipped them in the final minutes to register a two point win and a date with Mayo in the provincial final. While the final did not go their way, London entered the fourth round of qualifiers and played Cavan in HQ. Up until the final quarter, London were well in it. A 20th minute goal from Paul Gerathy raised the minnows confidence, until Cavan eventually pulled away in the final minutes. Still, it was a fairy-tale ride for the Londoners, and it lit up the championship.
Pundit Arena, Eamonn Hickson.
Featured Image By Tom Marsh from Yorkshire (What a Game! Uploaded by Armbrust) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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