The footballers of Clonbur wrote and their club into the history books of the GAA last weekend when they became the first Connacht team to win the All-Ireland junior title after an exciting contest with Derrytresk from Tyrone.
The fact that the Naomh Pádraig club which has been ravaged by emigration over the past two decades only won by the narrowest of margins, 1-08 to 1-07, and only went ahead for the first time in the last two minutes of the tie, made the victory all the sweeter for the players and their loyal supporters.
Stephen Joyce’s men left their bolt for victory very late in the race and they were behind for all but seven of the 60 minutes of game time.
Nevertheless when the game was there to be won, it was the Connemara men who came through. They held the Ulster champions scoreless for the entire last quarter and managed to hit the front with only two minutes of normal time remaining.
It had taken Naomh Pádraig a long time to get into their stride, but unlike their opposition they spread their scorers throughout the afternoon — half a dozen in total — and they looked the superior and fitter side in the last 20 minutes.
Derrytresk hit the front early and were 0-3 to 0-1 up when they were awarded two penalties – one for a foul by Liam Diskin and the other for an indiscretion by goalkeeper Paraic Walsh.
Less than two minutes separated the incidents. Derrytresk scored the first one, but the second was brilliantly saved by Walsh and it was a key moment in the game. Had that penalty been a goal, it would have been difficult for the Galway men to have pulled back the deficit.
Instead Clonbur were only four down at the break, and they received a superb boost when Alan Kyne latched on to a dropping ball to emphatically finish to the net.
Derrytresk hit back with three points in a row to go four to the good again after 43 minutes, but the men from Clonbur battened down the hatches and Derrytresk would not score again as the momentum shifted permanently in favour of the Galway champions.
Naomh Pádraig chipped away at the lead and finally went one to the good for the first time with 85 seconds of normal time left.
The Ulster men had one last chance to bring the game to extra time, but their late free drifted wide and that miss signalled an outburst of joy and emotion as the men from An Fháirche knew that the All-Ireland title was going west for the first time.
Naomh Padraig: P Walsh; L Diskin, D Kyne, S Holleran; D Wallis 0-1, T Lydon 0-1, F Kinneavy, A Kyne (1-0 ), E O Cuiv 0-1, L Kearney 0-1, P Lambe, W Holleran, G Kyne, B Keane, E Joyce, cpt (0-4,4fs ).