The Galway Garda are kingpins of interfirms GAA once again.
Seamus McDonnell’s charges secured their third All Ireland senior football interfirms crown in succession when defeating an Analogue/Stryker/ Gencell amalgamation from Limerick in Monday evening’s final in Corofin by 1-19 to 104.
Although the final scoreline may have flattered Galway, they were the superior and more accomplished on the day.
Once again Cormac Bane played a captain’s role with a personal tally of 1-10, but this final was far from a one-man show. Anthony Pender worked hard in defence and covered a lot of ground, while attacking wingbacks Pat Casey and Padraic O’Connor scored three points between them. Don Connellan had an excellent game at midfield, while, in a lively forward line, Mark Walkin helped himself to four points.
The Garda started brightly when Pat Casey cut through the heart of the Analogue defence before been fouled in the opening minute, and the ever dependable Cormac Bane pointed the resultant free.
Limerick, however, settled quickly and found the back of the net five minutes later when Maurice Fitzgerald picked out Mark Dalton who turned and slotted past Shane Nallen in the Galway goal.
Rocked by this early setback the Garda came fighting back. A Cormac Bane free reduced the arrears four minutes later before Emmett Rocke intercepted a quick kickout and fed Bane who made no mistake. Two minutes later Bane found space before being fouled and converted the resultant free to edge the Garda in front.
Limerick, playing a direct style of football, levelled the contest when Mark Dalton fired over before Bane punished another indiscretion in the Analogue defence, Brian Meaney fired over a point after a good move involving Pauric O’Connor, Don Connellan and Mark Walkin.
Brendan O Hannadh reduced the arrears for Limerick from a free, but Galway took control with three quickfire points from Bane (2 ) and Walkin to go four clear.
Brendan O Hannadh fired over with the goal at his mercy, but another Bane free and a Walkin point gave the Garda a five-point lead at the break, 0-11 to 1-03.
The Garda stretched their advantage in the opening minute when Walkin made no mistake from close range, and thereafter the Limerick men tried hard to get back into the match. They had Garda under pressure but were unable to find the range, and the siege was lifted when Pauric O Connor counterattacked from deep and landed a fine score to open up an unassailable seven-point lead.
There was no way back for the Limerick men as the Garda built up a nine-point lead and, although Analogue finally broke their second-half duck with a 38th minute free, the Garda closed out the contest with Mark Caffery, Pat Casey and Mark Walkin all on target, and Cormac Bane adding the icing on the cake with a goal in injury time before thanking sponsors, The Front Door, St Paul’s and St Raphael’s Garda Credit Unions in his acceptance speech.
Galway Garda: S Nallon, S Pender, Padraig Kelly, S Durcan, P Casey (0-1 ), R Molloy, P O’Connor (0-2 ), S Fitzmaurice, D Connellan, E Rocke, M Caffrey (0-1 ), S Prendergast, C Bane (1-10 ), M Walkin (0-4 ), B Meane (0-1 ). Subs: N Delaney, P Moran, J Gallagher, J Kelly, D Fawl.