AUSTRALASIAN GAELIC FOOTBALL &  HURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
OFFICIAL RESULTS

TUE 30/9

 
     

South Australia

2 , 13 (19)
def
New South Wales 0 , 2 (2) (M/F)

Victoria

2 , 5 (11)
def
Western Australia 1 , 6 (9) (S/F)

Queensland

13 , 15 (54)
def
Auckland 0 , 0 (0) (W/F)

New South Wales

5 , 12 (27)
def
South Australia 0 , 2 (2) (W/F)

Western Australia

3 , 3 (12)
def
Queensland 2 , 5 (11) (M/F)

South Australia

1 , 11 (14)
def
New South Wales 0 , 12 (12) (S/F)

Auckland

2 , 5 (11)
def
South Australia 0 , 5 (5) (M/F)

Western Australia

5 , 14 (29)
def
Victoria 0 , 1 (1) (W/F)

WED 1/10

 
     

New South Wales

0 , 7 (7)
def
Queensland 1 , 3 (6) (M/F)

Auckland

3 , 9 (18)
def
Western Australia 3 , 4 (13) (M/F)

Queensland

1 , 6 (9)
def
New South Wales 2 , 2 (8) (W/F)

South Australia

2 , 11 (17)
def
Western Australia 1 , 6 (9) (S/F)

Victoria

3 , 8 (17)
def
Auckland 2 , 7 (13) (W/F)

New South Australia

0 , 13 (13)
def
Victoria 0 , 8 (8) (S/F)

Western Australia

1 , 6 (9)
def
South Australia 1 , 2 (5) (W/F)

Auckland

2 , 8 (14)
def
New South Wales 0 , 4 (4) (M/F)

South Australia

0 , 9 (9)
def
Western Australia 1 , 3 (6) (M/F)

THUR 2/10

 
     

Auckland

5 , 7 (22)
def
Queensland 0 , 4 (4) (M/F)

New South Wales

0 , 16 (16)
def
Western Australia 2 , 6 (12) (SF)

South Australia

3 , 6 (15)
def
Auckland 1 , 1 (4) (W/F)

Victoria

1 , 11 (14)
def
South Australia 2 , 5 (11) (SF)

Westrern Australia

1 , 8 (11)
def
New South Wales 1 , 5 (8) (M/F)

Queensland

2 , 6 (12)
def
Western Australia 2 , 0 (6) (W/F)

New South Wales

3 , 11 (20)
def
Victoria 0 , 3 (3) (W/F)

South Ausralia

1 , 7 (10)
def
Queensland 1 , 4 (7) (M/F)

SAT 4/10

 
     

NSW City

1 , 13 (16)
def
NSW Country 2 , 7 (13) (H)

South Australia

2 , 6 (12)
def
Western Australia 1 , 8 (11) (SF)  SEMI FINAL

Queensland

8 , 8 (32)
def
South Australia 0 , 0 (0) (W/F) SEMI FINAL

Auckland

4 , 6 (18)
def
New South Wales 0 , 3 (3) (M/F) SEMI FINAL

NSW Coast

1 , 12 (15)
def
NSW City 1 , 7 (10) (H)

Victoria

1 , 9 (12)
def
Auckland 1, 5 (8) (W/F)

South Australia

3 , 8 (17)
def
Western Australia 3 , 7 (16) (M/F)  SEMI FINAL

New South Wales

1 , 4 (7)
def
Victoria 0 , 4 (4) (S/F) SEMI FINAL

NSW Coast

2 , 10 (16)
def
NSW Country 1 , 7 (10) (H)

New South Wales

1 , 5 (8)
def
Western Australia 1 , 3 (6) (W/F)  SEMI FINAL

SUN 5/10

 
     

MINOR FOOTBALL FINAL

     
South Australia 3 , 7 (16)
def
Auckland 2 , 5 (11)  

HURLING FINAL

 
     
NSW Coast 4 , 14 (26)
def
NSW City 0 , 8 (8)  

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL FINAL

     
New South Wales
(after extra time)
1 , 7 (10)
def
Queensland 1 , 6 (9)  

SENIOR FOOTBALL FINAL

     
New South Wales 0 , 14 (14)
def
South Australia 0 , 6 (6)  

M/F = MINOR FOOTBALL       W/F = WOMEN’S FOOTBALL      S/F = SENIOR FOOTBALL       H = HURLING


NEWS FROM THE 2003 CHAMPIONSHIPS
SYDNEY RAIN SEES THE END OF THE REIGN OF ALL THE 2002 CHAMPIONS

The 2003 Australasian Gaelic Football & Hurling Championships were held in Sydney at Princes Park, Auburn from 30 September to 5 October with be 17 teams competing in the various codes.

Undoubtedly, these were one of the most closely contested Championships ever as can be seen from the results. Whereas in most other years many games were very lopsided this year we only saw this happen in a couple of the women’s games. The “Visa Rule” which restricted to 12 the number of players permitted in men’s and women’s teams appeared to be justified and played no small part in the closeness of games. There was no need for a “Visa Rule” in minor football as all but one of the players from the five teams were either Australians or Kiwis which was a credit to the team mentors.

Tuesday
Minor Football

New South Wales first appearance for a number of years saw them being competitive but no match for a more skilful South Australian team. One of the first day’s best games was between Western Australia and Queensland. Only a point blank save with the last kick of the game by goalkeeper Alex Beilby from W.A. allowed the West to win by one point. S. Australia’s confidence after winning their first game was dented when they lost by two goals in the late game to Auckland who had won the title the previous three years. Two goals scored by Auckland in the first 10 minutes ended up being the difference between the teams.

Senior Football
Both games saw winning margins of two points for Victoria over Western Australia and South Australia over New South Wales. This was to set the trend of close games in senior football over the next four days. No doubt the worried look on the face of NSW coach Joe Middleton was etched on the mentors of other teams officials, as they knew they would have a battle to get through to the final.

Women’s Football
The first game of the women’s tournament produced the biggest winning margin in Australasian history with reigning champions Queensland beating Auckland 13-15 to 0-0. Late withdrawals from the Auckland team depleted their squad and it would be interesting to see how such a heavy defeat impacted on them over the rest of the week. New South Wales were equally impressive against South Australia winning by five goals. Their skills and fitness were far superior against an SA team that didn’t play anywhere near their potential. Western Australia continued the trend of the first day with a 5-14 to 0-1 win over Victoria. Anna Haynes was the star up forward for the West scoring 1-6.

Wednesday
Minor Football

New South Wales who were not expected to win a game provided a huge shock when they beat Queensland by one point who had also lost the previous day by the same margin. Coach Gerry Roper from NSW couldn’t contain his delight at the end of the game. Auckland continued on their winning ways but were made to fight all the way by Western Australia before prevailing by five points. Later In a highly entertaining match South Australia beat Western Australia by a margin of three points. SA playing without their captain Tim Williams who had sustained a shoulder injury on the first day had Tom Greenshilelds and Ciaran O’Hagan starring.

Despite losing to tournament favourites Auckland by 10 points in the last game, NSW were well pleased with their day’s efforts and had placed themselves in contention for a semi final spot.

Senior Football
South Australia continued their excellent form from day one with a comprehensive eight points win over Western Australia. Deadly shooting from Kyle Reeves and Jason Fay was the key to their win over the West who once again had Keiron Burke amongst their best players. Smiles and frowns returned to the face of Joe Middleton. Smiles firstly with a five point win over the arch-enemy Victoria and frowns with the knowledge that an injury to one of his best players, Conor Daly, meant he would be without him for the remainder of the tournament.

Women’s Football
Unlike the first day, all the women’s games were closely contested and the results could have gone either way. Two of the favourites, New South Wales and Queensland provided the crowd with a nail biter. New South Wales got off to a good start but as the match wore on Queensland’s fitness won the day for them by one point. Angie Doyle from Queensland and Edel O’Gorman had an absorbing battle around midfield and two excellent defences including the best goalkeeper of the tournament Orla Harrell from NSW meant scores were very hard to come by. Victoria was expected to defeat Auckland in the next match as they had some players in their team from the 2002 winning World Cup squad. They led at half time however brilliant performances from Auckland’s Kristy Hill and 16-year-old Johanna Fox saw the game swing in their favour. With five minutes left they led by a point but not to be outdone Victoria stormed back and 1-1 from Julia Boyle gave them a hard earned win. Western Australia were not expected to have much trouble accounting for South Australia but they had their good start to thank for a four point win. Indeed if it had not been for early tardiness and an inability to control the West’s Renae Campbell for much of the game, South Australia could have won. Best players for SA were Amanda Biggs, Sarah Sutton and Michelle Thompson.

Thursday
Going into the last day of preliminary matches every ladder position in the three codes was up for grabs.

Minor Football
Auckland made it four wins from four games beating Queensland comprehensively. Superbly marshalled in defence by Donald David and John McGrinder they repelled most of Queensland’s attacks. Brendan McKeown at full forward for the winners was in unstoppable form. Western Australia who had played steady football since Tuesday had to call on all their guile to beat the improving New South Wales by three points. A bad injury to one of New South Wale’s best players Tim Petrie robbed them of his presence for the remainder of the Championships. Goalkeeper Alex Beilby and Paul Paggi helped the West to an important win. Queensland went into their last preliminary game against South Australia knowing they had to win to make the semi-finals. Very few gave them much of a chance against SA who were firming as one of the tournament favourites. As with many previous matches form didn’t count much and Queensland could count themselves unlucky to lose by three points. Sven Roskovich and Goran Mikic in defence denied SA many scoring opportunities however their lack of finishing power counted against them. Sam Vosnakis and the ever-reliable duo of Tom Greenshields and Ciaran O’Hagan helped SA finish in second position at the end of the preliminary matches.

Senior Football
At the start of the day it was between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales as to who would finish top and earn the right to play the fourth placed team in the semi-finals.

First up New South Wales beat Western Australia 0-16 to 2-6. In the three matches they had played NSW did not score a goal but forwards such as Declan Rooney and Liam Faherty ensured that the numerous points they scored won out on the day. WA once again had gone very close and it was hard to believe watching how well they played under coach Tony Reilly that they were winless. Robbie O’Callaghan in defence was once again outstanding for them. South Australia who incidentally had all Australians in their team went into their game against Victoria believing that on their day they could beat anyone. In an exciting first half there were many early lead changes before Victoria went in at half-time leading 1-7 to 1-3. The Victorian defence led by Chris Woods at full-back and James Kingston at half-back in the second half closed the much vaunted SA attack down and with seconds remaining led 1-11 to 1-5. With their last attack SA were awarded a penalty by Irish referee Dickie Murphy which Jason Fay coolly placed in the back of the net. This was the last score and proved to be very important as SA finished top of the group with a one point better score differential than NSW. They would meet Western Australia in the first semi-final on Saturday with NSW to play Victoria in the other.

Women’s Football
Each of the three early favourites in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia had an opportunity to top the group and be rewarded with a match against the fourth ranked team in the semi finals. South Australia knew that a win and a loss by Victoria would give them a semi-final slot. Knowing this, SA started in whirlwind fashion against Auckland and by half time where leading 2-3 to 0-1. Michelle Thompson from SA was in brilliant form in attack. Despite better play in the second half from Auckland who again were well led by Kristy Hill, SA ran out winners by 11 points. SA mentors Mary O’Hagan and Maureen Lawlor had to wait until later in the day hoping that NSW would beat Victoria thereby giving SA their first semi final place since 2000. Western Australia started in whirlwind fashion against Queensland having two goals on the board including one from the penalty spot in the first ten minutes. Unfortunately for them and coach Fred McCormack, that was to be the last time they scored. The problems that they had in attack the previous day against SA resurfaced. Queensland on the other hand showed their never-say-die attitude and just ground down the opposition. In the last 25 minutes they would have been in their opponents half for ninety per cent of the time, much of this prompted by the running from defence of Tertia Dex, Melissa Lee and Angie Doyle. Only brilliant displays in defence by Cathy Stewart and Gemma De Knock plus the outstanding skills of Renae Campbell prevented WA losing by a greater margin. In the final game New South Wales did SA the favour they wanted by easily accounting for Victoria 3-11 to 0-3. Kirsten Bourke was easily Victoria’s best player whilst Anne-Marie “Dynamo” Dargan, Anna Gong, Katie McDermott and Wenona McBride were outstanding for the winners.

Saturday
The semi-finalists this year had the advantage for the first time of a rest day after the preliminary rounds.

Minor Football
Auckland reinforced their favouritism when they romped to a 4-6 to 0-3 victory over New South Wales. Without their star player Tim Petrie, NSW could not cope with the strong Auckland forwards of Martin Connelly, Arek Kulsick, and Brendan McKeown. Jimmy Connolly had once again coached the Auckland minors to what was their fourth straight Australasian final. South Australia were slight favourites in their semi-final against Western Australia. In the first half it was all Western Australia with Harry Backhouse, Steven Roche and Ryan Rawson to the fore. They were winning almost every position on the field and looked set for the final at half –time when they led 3-4 to 1-2.

SA Coach Tom Javor made many positional changes for the start of the second half which improved his team’s play yet with seven minutes remaining they were still seven points in arrears. It was then that a huge transformation came over the game. SA launched wave after wave of attacks that yielded 2-2 and when the final whistle went they had won by a point. The WA team had every right to feel devastated yet the SA team had to be complimented on never giving up and playing skilful team football to the end when the temptation must have been there to just kick long balls into the forward line. A very hoarse SA coach and team management were overjoyed at the conclusion of the game with both teams applauded from the ground.

Senior Football
Like their minor counterparts, South Australia were favoured to progress to the final. Western Australia may not have won a preliminary game however they had been very close in all of them. The first half was played at lightning pace with never more than one or two points between the two teams. WA had slightly more chances but two goals from SA saw them go in at half time only trailing 2-1 to 1-5. There were no further goals in the second half due to tremendous defensive work by both teams. Matthew Hill, Gavin O’Reilly and Darrian Bauer were outstanding for SA as were Robbie O’Callaghan, Paul Denton and Keiron Burke for WA. When the final whistle blew it was heartbreak for WA who like their minor team lost by one point.

The two sides that had met in more Australasian grand finals than any other teams had to settle for a semi-final meeting this year. Prior to the match Victorian mentor James Kingston looked more relaxed than his counterpart from New South Wales Joe Middleton. Joe had been on the receiving end as a coach/player against Victoria the previous two years and obviously didn’t want to make it a hat trick. The previous two finals had produced a total of 72 points yet this was a game that was to be dominated by two defences. At half-time scores were NSW 0-3 and Victoria 0-2. Victoria had only themselves to blame as they missed six of seven free kicks from the 13/20 metre lines. The second half was just as dour a struggle with the ball generally being between the respective 20 metre lines. The only score in the second half was a point from Victoria which forced the game into extra time. During the 20 minutes of extra time neither team looked capable of scoring mainly due to hard defensive play especially by Mick Whooley, Niall Douglas and Adrian McGoldrick from NSW and David Stynes and James Kingston from Victoria. In the last minute of play a high dropping ball into the Victorian defensive area saw a NSW forward outjump the defensie to fist the ball into the goal which resulted in the final whistle being blown. Not a classic match but the score kept the large crowd on the edge of their seats.

Women’s Football
Queensland were unbackable against South Australia to progress to the final to defend their trophy. A top team display by the maroons saw them dominate SA from start to finish running out winners 8-8 to 0-0. The second semi-final was totally different with two evenly matched teams giving their all. NSW were quickly out of the blocks and scored an early goal after which defences started to get on top. Orla Harrell in the NSW goal was catching everything and it was therefore a surprise to see her beaten by a high ball for Western Australia’s only score of the first half. At the break it was NSW ahead 1-3 to 1-0 and looking like potential winners.

The second half was a very exciting affair with Narelle Craig, Tiffany Hazelhurst, Lydia Padgett and the consistent Renae Campbell putting it right up to NSW. They outscored their opponent three points to two but when the final whistle went it was NSW prominently led by Orla Brennan, Orla Murtagh, Mandy Smith and Anne Donnelly who prevailed 1-5 to 1-3.

Hurling
NSW teams representing NSW City (Sydney Shamrocks), NSW City (Michael Cusacks) and NSW Coast (Central Coast) ensured that there were hurling championships games in 2003.
Each team played the other with the top two teams going through to Sunday’s final. Pre Tournament favourites were NSW City and they duly progressed to the final against the most impressive team NSW Coast.

At the end of the day one had to feel for all involved with Western Australia who had seen their minors, seniors and women lose by one point, one point and two points respectively in the three semi-finals they contested. The President of WA Sean O’Casey was trying to put a brave face on things although I think I noticed an extra crease or two on his face!!

Sunday – Finals Day
New South Wales brought home the silverware from this year's Australasian games, but not without a fight. In weather similar to an Irish winter's day, torrential rain lashed teams through the afternoon as men and women's and minor football finals and the hurling final between NSW Coast and NSW City took place.

In the minor football, South Australia took the honours after beating Auckland in a closely fought final, by 3-7 to 2-5. Auckland, the reigning champions for the past three years, were hot favourites going in, but it was South Australia, who hadn't won the minor trophy since 1987, who came home winners. The SA minors continually outplayed the New Zealanders in a very high standard game, where, probably for the first time ever, only one player from either side was Irish born.

In the Hurling, NSW Coast ran away winners by 4-14 to 0-8 to lift the Australasian Hurling Trophy. NSW Coast, represented by Central Coast, hammered the hotly tipped NSW City represented by Sydney Shamrocks. City never fired from the opening whistle, and despite some good individual performances, the team was soundly beaten in every position.

The women's football final was probably the game of the tournament, with two evenly matched teams forcing 20 minutes of extra time to decide on a winner. The match between NSW and Queensland played in atrocious conditions, finished 1-6 apiece at full time, with the low scores a testament to the conditions. Queensland got an early goal, which saw them lead 1-1 to no score for most of the first half, and at half time were leading by three points. Both teams found it hard to score in the second half in the tough conditions, though NSW managed the better of the two.
The turning point came after 20 mins of second half when Edel O'Gorman from NSW took the ball on a solo run from 50 metres out, beating numerous opponents, and unleashed a shot from 20 metres, which sailed into the top of the net. In extra time NSW scored a point early in the first half, and despite efforts from both teams there were no further scores. Both teams deserved medals for producing high quality play on a pitch that would have been declared unplayable except that it was the grand final.

In the men's football final, NSW won the points race over South Australia in a game that saw no goals from either team. The final score of 0-14 to 0-6 against the South Australians didn't do them justice as they fought to the bitter end against a stronger and more advanced Sydney outfit.

South Australia hadn't played in a senior grand final for twenty years and refused to lie down until the final whistle went. The first half saw end to end football with the lead changing on six occasions, at half time both teams were locked on six points each.
The second half an outstanding performances by Declan Rooney and Mick Whooley for NSW, which gradually ground down the SA opponents. The lethal combination helped keep SA scoreless in the second half, whilst NSW added eight points to their tally, to bring the silverware back to NSW for the first time in four years.

Over the Championships the highlights were:

The high standard of play, especially from Australian converts.

The quality of play in all the games, minor, women's and senior football. Whereas in previous years there were numerous lopsided games, this year most of the teams were very evenly matched.

Minor football was a pleasure to watch, and anyone seeing the women's football would quite easily understand why Australasia are the world cup champions.

South Australia in particular had improved greatly in recent times. They had a minor, women's and senior team which apart from one minor comprised totally of local born players.
The controversial "visa rule" was proved to be working in SA.

Auckland which promotes Gaelic games under very difficult circumstances, having two teams in Sydney.

The awards for best and fairest players went to: Paddy O'Dwyer from NSW Coast for hurling; Tom Petrie of NSW and Tom Greenshields of SA for minor football; Angie Doyle of Qld for women's football and the Declan Rooney of NSW for men's football.