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Tir Chonaill Gaels Seven-a-Side Tournament 2008

For the second time in three years a Galway side emerged victorious in the Tir Chonaill Gaels Easter Seven-a-Side tournament as Michael Breathnach’s braved the arctic-like conditions to bring home the trophy.

Despite travelling over with just eight players the Galway side proved too strong for Donegal’s Glenswilly in the final, prevailing by 1-6 to 0-4.

Heston Gaels and Tir Chonaill Gaels were the best performers from London, with both sides reaching the semi-finals. Round Towers also qualified from their group but were defeated in the quarter-finals.

The tightest group was Group B, where Saint Pauls, All Saints, Tir Chonaill Gaels and Saint Kiernans all finished on level points, with All Saints and Tir Chonaill progressing by virtue of a superior points difference.

Five teams in total made the journey over from Ireland, and they all qualified from their groups, with teams from the rest of Britain all falling at the first hurdle. Unfortunately the Irish sides brought the weather with them as hail and snow fell throughout the day.

“It really affected the attendance,” said Tir Chonaill’s PRO Stevie Keane. We’ve attracted big crowds over the last few years but this year it was well down. The pitches took a serious battering, and it was tough for the officials too.

“The best of all the London teams were Heston Gaels. They topped their group and also beat Michael Breathnach’s.”

Michael Breatnach’s exacted some revenge in the semi-final, beating Heston courtesy of a late goal, while Glenswilly looked set to bring the cup back to Donegal for the second year in a row after a convincing win over Tir Chonaill Gaels.

“I actually thought Glenswilly would have won it,” said Keane. “It was a bit of a surprise because Michael Breathnach’s only travelled over with eight players, and one of those was injured. He could only come on when one of the players needed a break, so that shows their strength.”

Joe Conroy of Michael Brethnach’s was awarded the player of the tournament, while Brian Keane, Gavin McEvoy and Shaun Burke also shone.

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