The James Connolly Albany Rebels pulled away from the Syracuse Gaels in the second half for a convincing 4-16 (28 points) to 2-8 (14 points) win in their home opener on Saturday at Elm Avenue Park in Delmar.
Albany held a slim lead at halftime, thanks in part to 1-2 from Mike Lee and a late penalty converted by Mark Adam.
The second half was a different story as the Rebels took control of the game. They repeatedly attacked Syracuse with midfielders and forwards taking on defenders, working the ball up the field and forcing turnovers on kickouts.
“The Rebels really kicked into gear after the halftime break,” said player/coach Cillian Flavin. “Our forwards started to defend from the front allowing a very swift transition to attacking their goals once we had won the ball.”
Albany received multi-point games from a number of players, including Adam, Lee, Ian Maher, Ryan Moloney, Cillian Flavin and Connor Stark.
“It was particularly pleasing to see our lads willing to take responsibility and shoot when in good positions,” Flavin said. “Connor Stark was impressive today scoring at times when the team needed it. Brendan Rock also continued to impress up top, and Ian Maher has been a huge addition to the team this year driving the team forward. Ian’s partnership with Mark Adam in the middle of the park looks pretty formidable and they can only get better the more they play together.”
As is the tradition with Rebels home games, they hosted the opponent for a postgame meal and drinks at the new Pearl St. Pub in Albany. During the social, Albany defender Tucker Conklin was thanked for his service as this was his last home game for the Rebels.
“The Conklins are a Rebels institution,” Flavin said. “They represent so much of what we are. People who with no prior exposure to the game who wholeheartedly embrace the sport and improve consistently. Tucker is a dogged competitor and it is very much our loss that he is moving to Montreal. We look forward to facing him when he transfers there. We wish him the best in his new adventure.”