Rovers On A Roll
The tournament, or "blitz" as it is called, was held by the NY Minor Board, the governing body of all Metropolitan Area Gaelic games, and was played at historic Gaelic Park on Sunday, October 27th. Gaelic Park, revered for its Irish heritage, is located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
The newly founded Rovers squad played in a bracket loaded with very experienced clubs from Rockland County, the city of Yonkers and the Woodlawn section of the Bronx.
The Rockaway footballers once again showed that they will stand toeto toe with anyone, losing the championship game by one point to the Sperrin Og club from Yonkers, NY. Although the Rovers seemingly outplayed them on the field, the referee of the match had failed to record one of the Rovers second half goals on his scorecard. The mishap turned a Rockaway two point win into a stunning and saddening one point loss. Although the players disagreed with the ref's decision, they held their heads high and showed what sportsmanship is about. They accepted the ruling with the graciousness that most athletes, and many adults, could learn from.
The runner-up finish concluded a wonderful season for the Rovers. After opening the season on the south side of another one point championship loss in the St. Barnabas Tournament, they brought home the Liam and Margaret Feeney Memorial Cup as victors of the Shannon Gaels Blitz. The team's recent success and increased popularity contributed to this weekend's large turnout of players and fans.
Newcomers James Johnson, Joe Jenkusky, Charlie Kinzie, Robbie McKnight and Danielle Shea played tremendously for the Rovers and added some much needed depth at every position. Mid-fielders Henry McNamara, Matt Murray and John Leahy controlled the pace of the game while defenders Matt Glynn, Petey "Peanut" Glynn, Aidan O'Sullivan and Tommy Leahy were stalwarts on the defensive line. Goalkeeper Bridget Leahy was knocked around several times as the play got rough, but kept showing why she is "Rockaway Strong", refusing to stay down. Sammie Murray played the game with her normal unbridled enthusiasm and Julia Israel created several scoring opportunities for herself throughout the day. Forward Joe Foye was a spark at the forward position, finishing off several scoring opportunities his teammates set up.
The U8 season is over but the youngsters from Rockaway are not finished yet. They will be moving up and playing in a U10 tournament on Saturday, November 16th at Gaelic Park. Although they will be playing above their age group, they are looking forward to the challenge as this will get them ready to start the U10 season in the Spring. The club is proudly sponsored by Division 21 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (A.O.H.).
Gaelic Kickers: After the tournament, the Shannon Gaels Club invited members of the Rovers to join them for the NY Minor Board Hurling Tournament. Sammie Murray, Matt Murray, Joe Foye, John Leahy and Bridget Leahy seized the opportunity to try their hand at another Celtic game and were instrumental in helping the Gaels win the hurling championship.