A Cinderella story… from out of nowhere… the orange-clad, former ‘bad news bears’ expansion squad of the Indy Hurling League now sits atop the standings midway through the 2010 season… all by themselves. Could Cinderella have gotten to the ball without ‘pumpkin power’… I think not!
In true fairy-tale style, the Claddagh Irish Pub slayed the reigning league champ Connor’s Pub at Riverside Park on Sunday, June 6, by a final tally of 5-7, 3-8. It was just three weeks ago when Connor’s Grapes of Wrath squeezed the Citrus Squad by one goal in a juicy contest that promptly put the Violent Violet into first place and dropped the Angry Oranges into the proverbial cellar. But then a fairy godmother must have waved her wand because now Claddagh is riding its own pumpkin carriage on a three-game winning streak.
So call them what you will… Creamcicles, Orange Cones, Crossing Guards, Tangelos, Cheesy Poofs, Smashing Pumpkins, Candy Corns, Orange Julius, Carrot Cakes… regardless of the moniker, the Agents of Orange have served notice to the league that this Cinderella team has more than just a powerful color scheme driving its success.
On Sunday, one might have expected Connor’s Purple Pointers to be worn out after a hard-fought, come-from-behind stomping of Pat Flynn’s Mean Green in an epic fruit-of-the-loom battle proving purple grapes are better than green grapes. But Connor’s bench runneth over with so many Pesky Prunes, the subs were regular all game long.
Claddagh’s Orange Crush was able to take some fizz out of the Grape Nehis with multiple goals by Chris Hazel “Nuts About Hurling” and Jody “Yes That’s Really My Name” Peacock, with additional points coming from Kyle “I’ve Never Won a Bar Contest” Griffith and Travis Parker “I Hardly Know Her.”
Connor’s Sugar Plums got three goals from Matt “Live Free or Die” Hardwick and five points from Rudy Nehrling, which coincidently (or not) is an anagram for “Nerdy Hurling.” “Nerdy” would’ve inevitably added to his tally had it not been for the fierce “I-own-you-and-your-whole-family” defense by Susan “Blame It On The” Beaurain. Connor’s also got points from Tim Boyll “Spill,” Stephen “If You Can’t Get It Up, Just Pull” Cox and Tim “The Trouble With Mr.” Cabeen.
Now if you didn’t believe in fairy godmothers before… prior to Sunday’s game, the entire Indy Hurling League must have felt a disturbance in the force when mythical co-captain for Claddagh – Paul “The Helmet Virgin” Kennedy – magically appeared out of nowhere. Previously thought to only be an imaginary friend of Captain Creamsicle Kyle Griffith, this Croke Park veteran has won 10 county titles and seven All Ireland Medals with various Galway and Roscommon teams since he was a wee lad – and now here he is, captain of the 1st place team in the Indy Hurling League, surely the highlight of his career. Apparently the reason for his absence in the past six weeks was that he had been paddling a rowboat over from Ireland with his hurley, arriving just in time to don his first helmet ever for Sunday’s game. From the start, his long balls down the field drew oohs and ahhs and, despite his inexperience with head coverings, he was able to penetrate Connor’s defense for a monumental strike in the second half.
On this day, Claddagh’s shirts might as well have been signs for “Warning: Men at Work” with the workman-like efforts by “America Runs On” Duncan McCabe, Nate “The Almost Great Pirate” Roberts, Jonathan “Stomp On Your Big” Tobin and Mike “The Octopus Wrestler” Jamieson. Newcomers Jared “Don’t Gimme No Hassle” Hoff and Martin “The Virus” McAfee continued to be difference-makers while protecting their claims to having never lost a game in the Indy Hurling League. And despite being hampered by a horde of serious injuries from playing Wii, talking and chewing gum, Matt “Still A Small Stream In Ireland” Glasheen was stellar in goal for yet another week.
So for now, the fairy tale continues for Claddagh but the question remains… will the clock strike midnight anytime soon for the Creamsicle crew? With the win, Claddagh moved to 4-2 on the season while Connor’s fell to 3-3. Claddagh will play Goose the Market on June 13 at Riverside Park following a matchup between Connor’s and Brockway Public House. The day kicks off with Goose vs. Pat Flynn’s at 10 a.m.