Monday, November 16, 2009


Gaels March On! 2009

In a brilliant display of offensive football, the Queen’s Gaels outlasted the University of Western Ontario Mustangs 43-39 to win the Yates Cup last Saturday.

The Yates Cup is the oldest football trophy in the history of the sport. The Gaels will keep possession of the trophy this year, relieving the Mustangs of the burden. It rested in London for the past two years.

Dr. Henry Brydges Yates first presented the Cup in 1893, as a McGill medical graduate. He later served as a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War. While overseas, he fell ill with bronchitis, and died in Europe in 1915.

In the victory presentation, it was announced that it has been thirty-one years since Queen’s had won the trophy. That year, 1978, the Gaels went on to win the National Championship and the Vanier Cup by defeating the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at Varsity Stadium 16-11.

Belleville’ Jimmy Allin was ecstatic after the game. “I can’t even begin to describe the feeling,” he told me. He acknowledged that Western quarterback Michael Faulds had played a great game. “We will savour this win tonight, but we will be back to work tomorrow.” The Gaels will host the Laval Rouge et Or in the Mitchell Bowl next Saturday, for the right to play in the Vanier Cup on November 28.

Somewhat disappointed, Allin elaborated: “I don’t think we played well defensively. The offense was great.” Smiling, he added, “Maybe we can pay them back for their efforts next week”. Allin is also the premier kick returner on the team, and was well contained by a swarming group of Mustangs on every return. He was chosen as a First Team OUA All star this year as a defensive cornerback.

Under a slight drizzle in the first half, Queen’s quarterback Danny Brannagan moved the offense well, completing important passes when necessary. The teams combined for an incredible 1 209 yards of offense in the game. Brannagan threw for 515 yards, Faulds for 509 yards. Faulds was the MVP for the league this year, while Brannagan copped the honour in the Yates Cup game.

The Queen’s victory was somewhat disappointing for Stangs’ coach Greg Marshall. He went into the game with an eighteen game winning streak in OUA playoffs this decade.

The Gaels had lost three post season games in a row. Coach Pat Sheahan spoke to Sun Media after the game: “This year was resolve right from the beginning. It was going to be Yates Cup or bust. (The Players) would not have looked at this season as a success if we didn’t win the Yates Cup.”

After the game, Brannagan spoke to me about the contribution of the home town crowd, announced at 7 253. “They were unbelievable. At the end of the game, they were so loud that they forced Western to take an offside penalty on their last drive. It made a difference”.

Injured during the last drive, Michael Faulds limped on to the field for the last Western play of the game. His desperation pass fell just short of receiver Zach Bull on the Queen’s three yard line with less than a minute left on the clock.

Game. Set. Match.

The stands will be packed for the game next Saturday. Queen’s will have the benefit of the “Thirteenth Man”. They will need it. Laval has a potent offense, and will be trying to hang on to the Vanier Cup for the third consecutive year.

Bonne chance, tout le monde!

James Hurst

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