Dunmore MacHales claimed their first Connacht title when they overcame Roscommon's St Dominic's by 1-16 to 1-13 in Kiltoom on Saturday afternoon.
A club steeped in history, Dunmore MacHales's victory rounded off an exceptional Connacht campaign as they were head and shoulders above all their opponents in the competition.
The sign of this strength bodes well for them as they continue their journey into the All-Ireland series where they will face either Galbally or Corduff in the All-Ireland semi-final in early January. Those two two teams are still to meet in the Ulster final which will be played next week.
Dunmore MacHales' manager Gary Delaney has overseen unprecedented success for his team and will be well aware that the sky is the limit for this group of players after these most recent performances.
On an ideal day for football, Dunmore's captain Matthew Reddington yet again led his team by example, opening the scoring after just two minutes.
St Dominic’s responded well by claiming four of the next five points as they got on top of the Dunmore MacHales' kick-out, but after the first quarter, Dunmore MacHales' young forward Shane McGrath made a piercing run through the heart of the St Dominic’s defence before eventually being felled for a spot kick. After picking himself up, he buried the resulting penalty past St Dominic’s stopper Mark Miley.
The contest was finely balanced heading towards half-time as the sides traded blows, scoring four points each before the interval. Padraig Costello, Thomas Gleeson and Jake Slattery all got on the scoreboard for the Shafts.
With just a point between the sides and the interval moments away, St Dominic’s got themselves a black card as Kyle Dockery was punished, but even with a man advantage, Dunmore MacHales struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard with only a Jamie Coen point to show for it.
After Dockery’s return, the two point gap became level. First Darren Donnelly converted a free followed by Dockery assisting Brendan O’Meara to point the equaliser.
However, Padraig Costello decided to take matters into his own hands and inject some life back into Dunmore by kicking three successive points, with one coming from a placed ball. Dunmore MacHales never really looked back from this point, and in the last five minutes of normal time they produced a four point flurry from Brendan Carr, Jake Slattery, Matthew Reddington and Thomas Gleeson to emphasise their superiority. Only a late consolation goal from St Dominic’s substitute Cian Kelly was a blot on the Dunmore MacHales' card.
Clifden rounded off a historic weekend for Galway football by completing the clean sweep of Connacht titles for Galway as they overcame Roscommon’s St Ronan’s in the Connacht junior final.
Clifden had far too much firepower for St Ronan’s as they eased past them on a scoreline of 1-16 to 0-10. This is the first time that Galway have won all provincial titles in 17 years and certainly bodes well for the inter-county season ahead.