Azalea Cup 2013
Hurlers from across the Southeastern U.S. gathered at Riverview Park in North Augusta on Saturday, December 7, 2013 for the 4th Annual Azalea Cup Hurling Invitational. For the third year now, the tournament was run in a round-robin, 10-a-side format. This also marked the first time the tournament has kicked things off with an opening ceremony. The traditional Irish band Anam Cara played the U.S. and Irish national anthems, and Augusta Gaelic Sports Club Secretary Chuck Renfro gave an invocation.
During the previous evening and occasionally during the day rain poured down, leaving standing water on much of the field. But that didn’t drench the spirits of the two clubs that once again travled from the state of South Carolina, including Charleston and the defending champion Greenville Gaels. The hosts, Augusta Gaelic Sports Club, included players who traveled from clubs in Raleigh, NC and Hampton Roads, VA to form a full squad.
In the first match of the day, Greenville jumped out to an early lead on the combined Augusta team. Though Augusta played hard, the Gaels’ skill was too much, and Greenville came away with a big win.
In the second match, Charleston took on the Augusta team whose members built on what they learned against Greenville. Augusta made adjustments to positions prior to lining out against Charleston, and played a much more cohesive match. But the fresh and youthful legs of the Holy City boys were also too much for the squad representing the Garden City.
That result set up a rematch of last year’s championship between Charleston and Greenville, the continuation of a friendly rivalry that has developed between the two South Carolina clubs over the past couple of years. The match was a tight, hard-fought one with several lead changes. At the final whistle, Charleston came away a four-point victor.
The Charleston hurlers celebrate their 2013 Azalea Cup victory.
The Holy City crew became the fourth club in as many years to win the Azalea Cup. Though no club has ever claimed the cup a second time, there are two players who have hoisted it twice. Brendan Dagg and Ryan Shrum of Charleston played for Augusta prior to the formation of their current club in 2011 when the cup remained in its hometown.
The tournament’s true measure of success, though, is that there were a total of 10 players from the three teams involved in their first-ever hurling matches, as well as a few others playing in matches for only the second time.
Scores from the
4th annual event.
Levi Nogues advances the sliotar against Greenville