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Robert Emmetts Club Notes January 2017

Review of the year
2016 proved to be a year to remember for the club. When we got back training early in the year we did so with the confidence of being the defending London champions, but also knowing that every other team would do their best to take that title from us. We welcomed some new players into our ranks and, for the first time in a few years, fielded a team in the intermediate grade as well as our seniors. We moved to Colindale for training as Greenford underwent preparation to host the main summer matches while the Ruislip redevelopment was underway. Kevin McMullan and Mark Traynor were able to call on most of the 2015 panel but also had to contend with injuries to some key players early in the year. 

Both senior and intermediate teams got off to flying starts, enjoying wins over Cú Chulainns and Kilburn, respectively. As the cup and league competitions heated up our intermediates had further excellent wins over St Declan's and Granuaile in addition to an exciting rematch with Kilburn that went right to the wire. However, when championship arrived in the summer we were unfortunately unable to overcome Thomas McCurtains and eventual winners Fr Murphys, and exited the competition in the group stages.

The seniors couldn't have asked for a better start to the year and went on a long unbeaten run that stretched all the way into August. This saw us qualify for finals in both the Ryan and Collins Cups, as well as keeping us top of the Division 1 League. However, we were conscious of the fact that these results would soon be forgotten if we lost our championship crown. Our rivals St Gabriel's and Kilburn were nipping at our heels and Sean Treacys were putting in consistently strong performances and would be a danger. We were soon brought down to earth when St Gabriel's put four goals past us in Round 2 of the SHC in East Lane to beat us by 11 points. This seemed to be the wake-up call we needed though, and the lads responded by closing out the rest of the group games with victories over Cú Chulainns, Fulham Irish and a battling win over Kilburn Gaels to secure a semi-final spot against Sean Treacys. Our forwards were on fire in the semi-final as we scored six goals to win and set up a rematch with St Gabriel's in the final.

The final itself proved to be a tense and stop-start affair and we had Eoin Chawke and Tomás Lawrence to thank for keeping our scoreboard ticking over early in the first half. St Gabriel's were taking their points well, but two excellent goals - one from Daryl Roberts after a massive Padge Buckley free, the other from Eoin Chawke after an assist from Richie Murphy - meant we kept our noses in front at the break. In the second half, with the wind at our backs, we managed to settle a bit more and the points soon started to come. Eoin and Daryl got a couple of early points while Denis O'Regan drove one over from centre field to give us some breathing space. Our backs were putting in an excellent performance with Steven Griffey, Paul Horkan and captain Tadhg Healy in particular leading by example. St Gabriel's did manage to steal a goal back late in the half, but we kept our cool as Cathal Kehoe and Kieran Morrissey knocked over instant replies and ensure that Tadhg lifted the Harrell Cup. 

Finally, in a hectic finish to the London hurling year, we added both cups and the league title to our collection and cap a fantastic year. 

Congratulations
We were very proud as a club to see our own Fergus McMahon lead the London hurlers into action as manager for another season. The team performed very consistently in the league and had a notable victories over Carlow, Derry and Antrim. While London eventually lost out on a place in the semi-final of the Christy Ring Cup, we can also be proud of the fact that another Emmetts man, Tomás Lawrence, was subsequently named on the team of the tournament for the quality of his performances. Finally, well done to Mick O'Dea, who refereed the intermediate championship final between Brothers Pearse and Fr Murphys and did an excellent job in a very exciting and closely-contested game.

Thank You
Robert Emmetts GAA Club would like to sincerely thank all of those who supported us in 2016, whether through direct sponsorship or taking part in one of our fundraising events. We are particularly grateful to our main sponsors, Ampsail Ltd., who came on board at the start of the year. We are also extremely thankful to have had the support of Kelly Communications, Brogan Group and Champion Build. 

All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Championship
We are just a couple of weeks into 2017 but we already have the luxury of looking forward to an All-Ireland quarter final against Ulster champions St Brigids, of Cloughmills, Co. Antrim. It will be a huge task for us as St Brigids have stormed through their county and provincial championships to get to this stage. However,  our management team have left no stone unturned and the lads have responded with great enthusiasm for the challenge by working particularly hard over the winter months. Come along and support us in Greenford on the 14th (throw-in is 1 pm)!