Wins by St Gerald’s College, Castlebar and St Colman’s College, Claremorris on Friday night in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence has set up and all Mayo final in the Connacht PPS Senior A Football Championship.
St Colman’s ditched defending champions Rice College, Westport out of the competition in the first game of the evening with Seamus Curry and Padraic Breathnach’s side running out 3-8 to 1-12 winners.
The south Mayo side lead at the break 2-5 to 0-7 with their goals coming from a penalty by Conor McGuinness after Steven Nyland was fouled 13 minutes in - that score putting St Colman’s into 1-2 to 0-2 lead. They had earlier notched up points from a McGuinness free and Niall Tracey effort from play.
Rice College responded through a fine point from Patrick Chambers to add to earlier scores from Conor Calvey and Jack Carney, but with 13 minutes to go in the half St Colman’s struck their second goal of the evening.
Liam Og Horkan fielded a ball dropped in on his own full back line and then took of down the field starting a move that he got involved in later on again, before the ball was finally fed to Padraig Cummins who drove it to the back of the net to put St Colman’s 2-2 to 0-3 clear.
McGuinness added two more points from frees with Ethan Henry also getting one for the Claremorris outfit, while Rice College tagged on points from Stephen Loftus, Chambers and two from Cillian Heaney to send them in trailing four at the break.
Rice College came out a different side in the second half and they reeled off four points on the bounce inside the opening 11 minutes to pull themselves level - Heaney hit three of the scores with Mark Moran grabbing the other to really make a game of it.
St Colman’s showed great composure to not panic after Rice’s fight back and a huge point from out the park by Hession edged them back in front with 15 minutes to go, that was quickly followed up by a Matt Saunders point to have them two clear - and six minutes from time they plundered their third goal when James Jennings who had only come on a short time earlier reacted quickest to slot the ball home after Sean Grimes in the Westport goal had saved a blistering effort from Saunders - McGuinness kicked an other pointed free a minute later and the south Mayo men looked home and hosed.
Rice did keep plugging away and a late, late Stephen Loftus goal gave them some hope - but Colman’s were able to see out the remaining time on the clock and book their place in the final.
Waiting for them in the final is Castlebar outfit St Gerald’s College, who already won the senior league this season defeating St Colman’s in the final of that competition.
They dismantled their challenge of the most storied team in all schools football St Jaralth’s with very professional and accomplished performance in the second game of the evening.
The Castlebar outfit did the damage in the first half leading 1-8 to 0-4 with 25 minutes gone on the clock. Ronan Reilly got things going for Daniel Forde’s side on the scoreboard inside the opening minute - that was quickly followed by points from Ultan Reilly and Padraig Beirne.
Tony Gill got St Jarlath’s moving on the scoreboard and then the game was halted for a short while as Jarlath’s went and changed out of their blue kit into a Galway kit - as it was clashing with St Geralds navy strip.
Twelve minutes in Geralds hit the back of the net within Dara Ludden’s effort came back off the upright and Ciaran Mylett was the right man in the right place to force it home and have St Gearld’s leading 1-3 to 0-1.
Over the next 15 minutes Geralds’s outscored Jarlath’s 0-5 to 0-3 with Ruairi Burke, Padraig Beirne (2 ), Dara Ludden and Ciaran Mylett getting the scores for their side, with a brace of Gill points and a effort from Dylan Brady coming in response for the Tuam men.
Gearld’s would add on two more points before the break through wing-back Burke and full forward Ultan Reilly, while Gill would chip in with two more for his side along with a effort from Ian Cullen that was deflected off the line and over the bar by St Gerald’s defender Aaron Moran.
Leading by six at the break it was all about keeping things calm and composed for St Gerald’s in the second half and they did that with relative ease. Jaralth’s were unable to covert their majority of the possession they had into enough scores with both sides only adding four points each over the final 30 or so minutes and Jack Livingstone’s goal going relatively untested by the Tuam attackers.
With St Gerald’s running out 1-14 to 0-11 winners at the full time whistle.