Duggan hits home run as Banner fly highest in Boston
Peter Duggan stole the show in Fenway Park last night as Boston's iconic home of the Boston Red Sox hosted its second hurling tournament in three years.
Clare won the AIG Fenway Classic by beating Galway by 50 points to 33 in front of a crowd of 27,862 on a crisp Boston Sunday afternoon.
The locals 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the array of saves pulled off by the likes of Colm Callanan and Donal Touhey over the course of the day while Jason Flynn's penchant for scoring spectacular goals also went down a treat.
And mostly, the competition was well-received in a city renowned for its population's devotion to their major sports teams. Some of the revised rules worked well, too.
The tap-and-go free meant the pace of the game never lulled, although the atmosphere regularly did in the longer scoreless passages.
A luminous yellow sliotar was also used to improve visibility, something the GAA are actively considering making permanent. Others, like the hockey-style short corner brought in to replace the '65, didn't work.
Duggan, however, took to the game with ease. In Clare's victory over Tipperary in a far more exciting semi-final played earlier in the day, Duggan hit 25 points, made up of five goals from outside the 20-metre line worth five points each. In the final, he scored 27.
Before we the final's first score, we had the first scuffle. Jack Browne and Eanna Burke were sin-binned for their part in what was a cagier game than either of the semi-finals, as both teams figured out the intricacies of defending in the goals-only, 11-a-side format.
Earlier in the day, Galway had beaten Dublin in what was Pat Gilroy's first match as Dublin's manager. Danny Sutcliffe made his inter-county hurling comeback after a two-year absence and captained a hugely inexperienced Dublin team who, according to Gilroy, have "a mountain ahead of us," to get back to contending for titles.
"Where we are at the moment, we are quite low down in the pecking order," he admitted. "I don't think, for all of the hurling going on in Dublin for the last 15 years, the standard we are at, we should be better than (that).
"The only way we can get there is through hard work and we have a busy schedule ahead of us. We will take it one game at a time because we have to. We are a team that needs to learn how to be consistent because some of the performances in the last three years have been very good too.
"We have had some great results but we need to have that consistency to become a top-four team."
Final scorers - Clare: P Duggan 27, C O'Connell, J Conlon 6 each, D McInerney 5, D Correy, J Browne 3 each. Galway: C Cooney 13, J Flynn 6, E Burke 5, Whelan, P Flaherty, S Maloney 3 each.
CLARE - D Touhy, P O'Connor, J Browne, D McInerney, C Malone, D Fitzgerald, P Collins, T Kelly, C O'Connell, S O'Donnell, P Duggan. Subs: O O'Brien, J Conlon, C McGrath, A Fahy, E Quirke, D Reidy, G O'Connell, R Hayes, I Galvin, D Cory, P Kelly.
GALWAY - C Callanan; A Touhey, J Hanbury, J Coen, Daithí Burke, E Burke, C Mannion, J Cooney, J Flynn, C Whelan, C Cooney. Subs: C Donnellan, David Burke, D Glennon, G McInerney, J Flynn, J Glynn, M Donohue, N Burke, P Breheny, P Flaherty, R Burke, S Loftus, S Moloney.
REF - D Kirwan (Cork)
GALWAY 55 DUBLIN 39
SCORERS - Galway: J Flynn 20, C Cooney 10, P Breheny 9, S Maloney, D Glennon 5 each, J Coen, J Cooney 3 each. Dublin: D Sutcliffe, J Hetherton 8 each, P Winters, P Crummey, J Madden, F Whitely, D Burke, E McKenna, C O'Sullivan 3 each.
DUBLIN - J Tracey, P Smyth, S Barrett, S O'Connor, J Madden, K Hetherton, F Whitely, G Whelan, D Sutcliffe, J Hetherton, T Connolly. Subs: P Winters, E Boland, P Crummey, D Burke, D Gormley, R Hayes, S Chester, D Kelly, C Costello, D Gray, N McMorrow, A Moore, E McKenna, C O'Sullivan, C MacGabhann.
GALWAY - C Callanan, C Whelan, P Mannion, A Tuohey, B Molloy, C Cooney, E Burke, J Hanbury, J Coen, Joseph Cooney, Martin Dolphin. Subs: C Mannion, C Donnellan, David Burke, Daithi Burke, D Glennon, G McInerney, J Flynn, J Glynn, M Donohue, N Burke, P Breheny, P Flaherty, R Burke, S Loftus, S Moloney.
REF - J Ryan (Tipperary)
CLARE 50 TIPPERARY 45
SCORERS - Clare: P Duggan 25, T Kelly 8, C McGrath 6, I Galvin 5, D Fitzgerald, D Corry 3 each. Tipperary: J McGrath 16, N McGrath 10, C Kenny 6, J O'Dwyer, G Browne 5 each, S Curran 3.
CLARE - D Tuohey, P O'Connor, J Browne, D McInerney, C Malone, D Fitzgerald, P Collins, T Kelly, C O'Connell, S O'Donnell, P Duggan. Subs: O O'Brien, J Conlon, C McGrath, B Duggan, A Fahy, E Quirke, D Reidy, G O'Connell, R Hayes, I Galvin, D Cory, P Kelly.
TIPPERARY - Paul Maher, Patrick Maher, J O'Dwyer, D McCormack, D Maher, M Kehoe, M Breen, S Curran, T Hamill, T Fox, C Kenny. Subs: D Mooney, A Flynn, P Shanahan, B Maher, G Browne, J McGrath, N McGrath, S Callanan, B Hogan, P Maher, S O'Brien, C Darcy.
REF - A Kelly (Galway)