A sunny season opener for Gaels small ball teams
As far as April days are concerned, the weather for the first games for the Gaels' hurling and camogie squads was as close to perfect as you can hope—sunny and upper 60s. On April 30, the club's two small ball teams headed down to Richmond for the first games of the season against Richmond and COVA.
Camogie came first, with a DC side with some new players getting their first foray into the games against a team of mostly Richmond, with some COVA players as well. The short, even grass on the pitch gave a nice surface for newer players to get some practice roll lifting, and gave more experienced players one less variable to worry about to keep the game moving. The women gave several excellent displays of defensive work in hooking and blocking, and strung together several crisp passing plays, but ultimately came up short of victory on the scoreboard. Regardless, the game was a great chance for newer players to test their mettle and gave more experienced players crucial field time to hone skills for the coming season.
Next up, the hurlers took the pitch against the home Richmond squad. The game was a good chance for new hurlers to test themselves against a local rival—everyone can remember how different their first game felt from all the time spent at training. Several new members of the hurling squad got a chance to stretch the legs and practice passing and striking in a game setting, backed up by a squad of the more experienced Gaels. Over the past year or so, Richmond's squad have developed into a more cohesive team, and while the game was a bit one-sided, the home side has certainly improved as a team.
The final game of the day for the Gaels was between the men's hurling squad and COVA. From the throw-in, the match was hell for leather stuff, with no quarter given, and none asked. COVA's strong defensive lineout stymied a few early DC attempts on goal, but good passing and accurate puckouts from Paddy McCabe saw a rake of points sent over the crossbar by the midfielders. A free near the COVA net was also converted by Niall Creedon for a goal to set the Gaels just a few points at the halftime. In the second half, experienced heads prevailed with Colm Everard and Ed Duignan working several shots past the COVA netminder to give a more comfortable finish to the game. The game was a good, competitive opener to the season for the hurlers, and hopefully a sign of more good competitive games to come.
Camogie: DC v. Richmond/COVA
0-0 to 3-5
Hurling: DC v. Richmond
7-17 to 1-1
Hurling: DC v. COVA
4-10 to 2-6
Many thanks as usual to the inimitable Gary Dize for taking photos of the games. A full album of the men's hurling games can be found here, and a full album of the women's camogie game can be found here.