Rebels Experience Highs and Lows at Early Season Tournaments
The James Connolly Albany Rebels opened their season with their annual tournaments at Hartford and Montreal in May. The Rebels showed improvement at the Hartford 7s Tournament compared to their winless outing in the same competition last year, finishing with a 1-3 record after two matches against both Hartford and St Patrick’s of Fairfield.
Despite the three losses, the team shook off the rust and improved throughout the day.
“I think the team was a bit anxious for our first match action of 2017 and it showed in the opening two games, as we lacked patience on both sides of the ball,” said player/selector Mike Lee. “But the team adjusted well and the scores in the second half of the tournament reflect that. I’m really proud of how the team responded after the first two games to finish the tournament in stronger fashion.”
The following week, the Rebels traveled to their neighbors in the North to compete in the Montreal Shamrocks GAC 9s Tournament for the third consecutive year. Applying lessons learned from the previous weekend in Hartford, the Rebels had a strong showing, winning all three matches in dominant fashion and were crowned champions of the Junior division.
The Rebels showed great teamwork enroute to the victory, but standout performances from Ian Maher, Connor Stark and rookie Stefano Sainato were difference makers.
"Ian and Connor controlled the midfield, breaking up possession, winning 50/50 balls and quickly initiating counter-attacks," Lee said. "And Stefano really impressed us in his first ever Gaelic football matches. His speed gives our attack a new dimension."