Azalea Cup 2017
The oldest hurling tournament in the southeast had its 6th installment in 2017. The event took place at Patriots Park on Nov. 4. It was the first time back to the venue since the 2011 tournament. In the round-robin format, all three teams played each other.
The first match pitted Augusta against the Greenville Gaels who were participating for the 4th time, more than any other club. The game started out a tight one, but the experience of Greenville proved too much for Augusta to overcome. The Gaels cruised to a victory in the second half.
During the second match, Greenville played Azalea Cup newcomers, Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club. Again, Greenville's core of experienced players, coupled with their enthusiastic new recruits were able to hold off the Music City crew. The win gave Greenville sole ownership of the cup for the second time, having won it back in 2012.
In the day's final pairing, Augusta faced Nashville in a tightly contested match all the way to the final whistle. The lead rocked back and forth, but Augusta came out on top by a single goal.
After the final match, players and supporters traveled to Riverwatch Brewery in downtown Augusta, had a meal prepared by The Pot Smoker BBQ, listened to traditional Irish band De Ceadaoin, and shared stories of the day's events. As is the custom, the Azalea Cup boasts three first-time hurlers taking part in the tournament, two from Augusta, and one from Nashville. Three of Greenville's players were playing in matches for only the second time, and nearly half of Nashville's team had only started playing the game within the past year. Here's to the continued growth of hurling in the southeastern U.S., and congratulations to the Greenville Gaels on their win of the 2017 Azalea Cup.
Scores from Azalea Cup 2017