It all comes down to this.
The Indy GAA Summer Hurling League comes to an exciting conclusion this week, as 4 teams prepare to go to battle for the right to take home the Quigley Cup on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Shield trophy will be up for grabs in the penultimate game of the season.
Quigley Cup Finals
This weekend's Final Four is comprised of Pogue's, Goose, Claddagh, and Good Earth. Ranked #1 going into the post-season was Pogue's, based on their scoring differential throughout the season in order to break the 3-way tie by records. This is the undisputed best method for determining rank in such a situation.* Pogue's was also the most effective scorer in the regular season, averaging a total of 29.9 per game. On the other end of the spectrum, Good Earth played a defensive strategy and held their opponents to a league-low 15.2 points per game. Goose and Claddagh were numbers 2 and 3 in offense, and 3 and 2 in defense, respectively, showing a more balanced approach than the other two finalists.
So what will be the story of 2012? Is it the offensive juggernauts who will claim the ultimate prize? Or does defense win championships? Will the hurling gods favor a symmetric technique?
History hangs in the balance.
If Claddagh can continue it's run, this could be the third year in a row the Orangemen take home the cup. It would mean Claddagh has won the championship every year that it existed. This would be a monumental achievement, as no other team has even won this league more than twice. We may all be wearing orange next year.**
Goose is also no stranger to success. Winners of the 2008 league, in the long-long-ago, before there was such a thing as a Quigley Cup, Goose has been a perennial contender for the title. The angry birds have fallen a bit short on a few occasions, but have probably built the strongest blue team yet in 2012. And they look hungry.
In their second year in existence, Good Earth is two wins away from its first championship. Last year the Earthlings finished in second place to Claddagh, after eliminating Goose in the semifinals. This team feels like the job is not done.
The other grocery store in the Finals, Pogue's has not won a championship in it's two year's in the league. (Remember, Pogue's was not an expansion team, but is the reincarnation of last year's Renner's, which was. I know, it's confusing.) However, since losing to Flynn's for the Shield Trophy, and then re-establishing itself with its new identity, Pogue's has sailed to the top of the league and seems unstoppable on offense.
Goose and Claddagh face off on Field A, while Pogue's hosts Good Earth on Field B. The semifinal games start at 10am, and the winners will clash ash at high noon.
It's not easy to wiggle through these playoff brackets to find yourself playing for the Shield trophy two years in a row, but Flynn's has managed to do just that. Last year, it took a miracle as the Green Team lost the first 13 games of the season, including the first playoff game, then nailed two wins in a row to bring home the cup. This year, Flynn's is defending their title against a dangerous Connor's team. Former league darling Connor's may have not won last year's inaugural Shield championship, but it is the only one of the two teams to have a league championship under its belt.
The two teams represent the two oldest sponsors for Indy Hurling. They will face off at 11am on Field A.
It's been a great year of competition in this league, and the outcome of this day promises to be impossible to predict! (Feel free to predict the outcome to the right.)
Let's hope for great weather, great play, and a great exhibition of the world's fastest game on grass.
*You read right, Fagan.
10 am, Field A - Semi-final - Goose v. Claddagh
10 am, Field B - Semi-final - Pogue's v. Good Earth
11am, Field A - Shield Final - Flynn's v. Connor's
12pm, Field A - Quigley Cup Final
Eugene Burns Park
5602 Glenn Road