After a decisive opening victory against their Junior D rivals, the lads of Jersey Shore GAA’s men’s hurling team stepped up in division to face Philly’s Na Tóraidhe Hurling Club. This was no easy task, as Na Tóraidhe are not only in a higher division, but they also happen to be the 2019 USGAA Junior C national champions. Match day conditions were tough, as early cloud cover gave way to oppressive heat and humidity.
From the throw-in, it was a tough, physical match, and both teams took a couple moments to fall into rhythm. Unfortunately, it was Na Tóraidhe who settled down first, and began to put points over the bar and goals in the back of the net. The Pirates struggled to score early doors, but were determined to improve over the course of the match. They treated each 15-minute period as if it were a new contest, looking to simply improve bit-by-bit against an extremely talented, well-balanced opponent.
And they did just that. While the scoreboard tells one story, JSGAA indeed improved throughout the course of the game. Newcomers Sean McCarthy and Michael Dunne, Jr. were playing in just their second matches in as many weeks. Sean was a bright spot on defense, proving he could mark anyone he was assigned, consistently hassling the Philly forwards for possession. Mike Dunne’s speed proved he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, consistently moving the sliotar deep into enemy territory every time he lifted it to his hand. Joe Matarazzo, brother to midfield speed demon Milan, played in his first match and showed great tenacity in the back line, battling for possession and clearing several dangerous balls.
The forwards were also a highlight of the match. Even though they had less opportunities than they’d be used to, they took advantage of the sliotars that came their way with high-percentage scoring. Chris Moyer had a brilliant point over the bar after catching a high ball outside the square, and veteran Patrick McNelis contributed another 2 points. Tadhg O’Brien continued his scoring ways with 3 points.
When the final whistle blew, Jersey Shore found themselves bested by a score of 6-16 to 0-6. A tough result, but the Pirates look to better themselves in the coming weeks by focusing on their weak spots at training. As the club grows, we look forward to continually bridging the gap between the Junior D teams and Philly and Allentown, national stalwarts of hurling.
Na Píoráidí abú!