Two Mayo schools will be looking to bring Connacht colleges glory in Charlestown on Saturday. In the showpiece game St Gerald’s Castlebar will be looking to go one better than they did last year when they lost out to St Coleman’s Claremorris at this stage of the competition. This year they will have to face the challenge of Summerhill College in the Aonghus Murphy Cup decider as they go looking for their fourth senior A Connacht Colleges title, their first since 1996.
Gerald’s, who have John Maughan on board this year as part of their management team, got partial revenge for their loss in last year’s final when they saw off St Coleman’s in the semi-final a fortnight ago, but it will be a whole new challenge for them on Sunday against the men from Yeats County. So far the Sligo men have seen off the challenge of the former great nursery of the game in the province, St Jarlath’s Tuam, in the preliminary round and then took the scalp of the league champions St Muredach’s in the last four clash after extra time.
Gerald’s will go into the game as slight favourites even though they failed to really shine in their five point win over Coleman’s in the semi-final. At the back Niall McCarney put in a man of the match display in the number three jersey, while Danny Kirby, who offers a huge physical presence in the middle of the field, once he got to grips with the game put in a very strong performance, the like of which will be needed again on Sunday. In the forward division, Cillian O’Connor is the start man and the young Ballintubber player will be the man that Gerald’s look to to drive them on to success, while Fergal Durcan, who was a powerhouse midfielder for the Mayo minors last year, will be expected to get through a lot of work to drive the team on. The Sligo outfit will be no pushovers and with Niall McManus bagging two goals in their semi-final win over St Muredach’s he will need to be watched.
In the B final, St Louis of Kiltimagh, much like St Gerald’s, will be looking to put to bed last year’s disappointment in the final where they were well beaten by St Paul’s, Oughterard. This year they will also be lining up against Sligo opposition in the shape of St Attracta’s, Tubbercurry. Tony Duffy and Maurice Sheridan are over the east Mayo school and their combined experience and knowledge of the game will be crucial if they are to win on Saturday. The key man on the field will be last year’s Mayo minor star Ciaran Charlton, who will be expected to do the business once the ball is thrown in. Charlton was also a key man on the Kiltimagh side who lost the All-Ireland junior final in Croke Park recently and he will be ably backed up by the likes of Sean Kelly, Shane Gallagher and Keith Cassidy, who will all need to be in top form if they are to take the title on Saturday.
Connacht Colleges A Final
St Gerald’s v Summerhill
March 13 in Charlestown at 2.30pm
Connacht Colleges B Final
St Louis v St Attracta’s
March 13 in Charlestown at 1pm.