No prizes to the men at the top table from Ballintubber (Mayo ) who decided to play in the Mayo away strip in last Sunday’s clash with Killererin.
The clash of colours between the two teams was one of the worst I have seen and, if both clubs had been allowed play in their usual strip, it would have been much easier on the eye.
That said, Killererin will not mind as they qualified narrowly for a home Connacht final against St Brigid’s (Roscommon ) on Sunday week, despite the absence of Padraic Joyce who was out of the country on his honeymoon.
Their victory was based on a defiant, brave and resourceful second-half performance when they played into the wind and rain and yet outscored their opponents by 0-3 to 0-1.
Killererin had some brilliant displays in that second half.
They gave a masterclass in ball retention - there is no better club in the county at keeping ball - and defended with cuteness and courage. The players showed guts and pride and it was those commodities that won the day.
Both Colin Forde and Daniel Mannion had fine games at full-back and centre-back, with Tomás Fahy exceptional in the second half. The Dangan man won the world of breaks and had one of his best games in a while.
At midfield Thomas Hughes was tremendous and showed terrific conviction and leadership to shoot two fantastic points - his second was a critical score and was a major factor in his side winning. He fully deserved his man-of-the-match award and will definitely be given a run by the Galway management team in the new year, or when Killererin’s run comes to an end.
Player-manager Tommie Joyce controlled the flow of the game in the second half and seemed to take more free kicks than Ronan O’Gara would for Munster on a good day.
Up front Nicky Joyce kicked 0-5 (4fs ) and young Michéal Boyle was always available and caused consternation when he ran at the Ballintubber defence.
Tomas Flynn did some mighty grafting too and who better than Tommie Wilson to come on and link up a bit of play.
Goalkeeper Alan Keane got in on the act too, and kicked a phenomenal 45 over the bar at a crucial stage. William Tell would not have been more accurate and true.
It must be said that Ballintubber were truly shocking in that second half. Some of their wides were inexplicable, with former All Star Alan Dillon guilty of one particularly ghastly effort.
Their tactics were a bit daft too and, despite being practically incapable of scoring, they insisted on playing an extra man at the back even when the game was going away from them and they needed to find an equaliser from somewhere.
Any team that only scores one point in almost 40 minutes of football can have no complaints when they are beaten.
The game was there for them at half-time. They were a point up, had the wind at their backs, and yet they never looked like a team that believed it could go on and beat the home side.
Tommie Joyce, who also has been ratified as the Galway minor manager for next year, said he had been in long-distance contact with Padraic Joyce for most of the week.
“He has been on the phone so many times - ‘do this and do that’. He was there in spirit and we got over the line. We focused hard in the second half and got a few vital scores from Alan [Keane] and Thomas [Hughes] that made the difference.”
The final is in Tuam Stadium in 10 days’ time and with Padraic back after two weeks of rest for that one, and a superb spirit in the camp, who would bet against them winning their first Connacht title since 1978?
Killererin: Alan Keane (0-1 a 45 ); Damien Flaherty, Colin Forde, Declan Kelly (Cpt ); Ian Reddington, Daniel Manion, Tomás Fahy; Tommie Joyce, Thomas Hughes (0-2 ); Tomas Flynn, Nicky Joyce (0-5, four frees ), Jonathan Keane; Michéal Boyle, James Hughes, Ger Butler (0-1 ). Subs: Tommie Wilson for J Hughes (37 mins ).