Reflecting upon forty years of football at St. Peter’s FC

The coronavirus pandemic has halted all sporting action leaving St. Peters having to wait another day to try and lift the Roscommon League Premier Division title.

The league decider against Castlerea Celtic at McCarthy Park in early March was postponed as everyday life generally came to a halt.

The Saints were looking to celebrate forty years in existence as a club by collecting more silverware. Padraig Moran’s men were docked four points for allegedly fielding an illegal player and, as a result, it saw them slip back into second spot behind Castlerea.

Celtic had benefited by the league’s decision as the original point gained for a draw against the Saints now became three. It was the only time Peters had dropped points all season as Castlerea had also remained unbeaten to date.

A win over Kilkerrin in a game postponed a number of times set the Saints up for a winner take all contest. A draw would suffice for Castlerea but, on home soil, the Saints were fancied to win out. It would have capped a remarkable season for the boys in Green as little had been expected when action got underway back in September. There was even a doubt about the Saints participation in the league as they suffered from losing a number of key players during the close season.

Moran though assembled a squad but consolidation appeared to be the order of the day rather than the pursuit of silverware. The campaign started with a single goal victory over Kilkerrin. Next up was the visit of Ballinasloe and, in what was an early turning point of the season, the Saints fought back to win by the odd goal in five. The rout of Skyvalley Rovers kept the momentum going as confidence quickly came back into the Saints ranks.

An early exit from the FAI Junior Cup at the hands of Ballinasloe was one of the few setbacks in an otherwise fine season. The winning streak continued in October with the last game of the month again proving crucial. The Saints fought back to share the spoils with Castlerea in a six goal thriller. It has been nip and tuck since then between the top two and, with just one game needed to settle the title race, it is hoped that the season can eventually be concluded.

The Saints are relative newcomers to the Roscommon League having previously plied their trade in the Connacht League and the Combined Counties League. A move across the Shannon in 2017 was an instant success with the league being won under Philip Coffey in their first season. A scoreless draw in Castlerea done the job as the Saints suffered just a single defeat in their inaugural season in Roscommon.

Prior to this, the McCarty Park outfit had enjoyed considerable success in the Combined Counties league. For much of the time from the mid-2000s, it was a battle royal between the Saints and Willow Park for supremacy. On no less than four occasions, Peters had finished as runners up to their great Athlone rivals. Victories in the 2006 and 2010 Counties Cup finals was some consolation but the Saints then signed off on their tenure with two league wins in a row.

The title was lifted in 2016 and 2017 as the Saints then headed West for a new challenge. Nationally, the club had shone with an appearance in the FAI Junior Cup final in 2009. It was a great achievement to reach the decider and unfortunately it was not capped by a win as Ballymun lifted the cup in Tolka Park. The Saints came close to again making the decider in 2016 but fell to Pike Rovers at the semi-final stage. Internationally, Niall Scullion, Gary Stephens, David Donohoe and Mark Sherlock have all been honoured when wearing the Green and White.

After their formation, the Saints had quickly made their mark when in a very competitive Connacht Senior league, a Millennium Cup win over Salthill Devon being one of the highlights during the team’s formative years in the senior ranks.

 

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