St Gerald's, Castlebar 1-12
Summerhill, Sligo 0-6
St Gerald's College, Castlebar claimed their fourth ever Connacht Colleges Senior A title in empathic style on Saturday afternoon in Charlestown, where they tore apart the challenge of Summerhill College, Sligo with ease. Man of the match Cillian O'Connor kicked ten points over the hour and was by far and away the stand out player on the field. Both sides had to change into their county colours for the day, due to a clash of colours and the young Ballintubber man who was a star of last years Mayo minor side which reached the All Ireland final, showed once again in green and red why he is going to a star player in those colours for many years to come. While O'Connor was the stand out man, he was ably assisted by Danny Kirby whose dominated the midfield all day long and Fergal Durcan whose constant running and physicality ran Summerhill ragged from the outset.
The game as a contest was done and dusted at the break with the Castlebar school leading by 1-8 to 0-0 and the second half was a mere formality, as they just kicked four more scores over the last half hour.
Gerald's could have and should have been even moer a head at the break as they kicked wide after wide early on, six inside the opening 12 minutes and against better opposition that kind of wide count could cost them dear in the All Ireland stages of the competition. Fergal Durcan had a great goal chance after only three minutes, when he got in on the end of a move involving Danny Geraghty and O'Connor but he just lost control of the ball at the crucial moment. But a few seconds later they did open their account through O'Connor who popped over the first of his ten points for the day and his first of six frees. He doubled the advantage from the right hand side with another placed ball four minutes later after Cian Costello was hauled to the ground. With ten minutes on the clock the only goal of the game arrived when Summerhill failed to clear the ball, David Stenson picked up the possession and slipped the ball to O'Connor. While he had a chance to pop it over the bar, O'Connor showed great awareness to realise that a goal chance would be on and he waited a second before playing a deft hand pass into the path of Cian Costello who was breaking from deep and the Castlebar Mitchels man lashed it to the back of the net. The goal was quickly followed up by another O'Connor point to leave Gerald's cruising by 1-3 to 0-0 after 11 minutes. The rest of the half was more of the same with O'Connor popping the ball over the bar when the chance's appeared, he slotted over five more minors before the break including a sweetly struck 45'. The only down side for Geralds was an injury picked up by Cian Costello which forced him from the field. The Sligo outfit had no answer to Gerald's and break couldn't come soon enough for them.
Summerhill finally got on the scoreboard after the restart when Michael O'Hehir pointed from distance, they followed up that score with another from a Niall Colleary placed ball two minutes later, but it was mearly adding a cosmetic touch to an already terminal outcome for the Sligo school. It took St Gerald's all of eight minutes to open their account for the second half which came from the boot of Danny Kirby who drove a 45' straight over the bar. David Stenson added another point for his side a minute later stroking the ball between the uprights with ease. To give credit where it's due, Summerhill never threw in the towel and they did keep plugging away till the end and Donal Brady landed their third score of the day. The game went through a long spell with out anyone managing to hit the target until O'Connor pointed from a free in the 48th minute. As St Gerald's began to take their foot off the gas even more and run the bench, a bit more respectability was put on the final score with points a brace of points from Niall Colleary and one from Donal Brady rounding off the half dozen for Summerhill. But the final word on the game was left to O'Connor who three minutes into injury time signed off for the day with a free from out on the right hand side.
While St Gerald's will savor this win, they know a lot tougher tests are waiting around the corner.
St Gerald's: F Walsh; J Cotter, N McCarney, J Redmond; M Regan, D Geraghty, J McHale; D Kirby (0-1 ), C Mulgrew; F Durcan, C O'Connor(0-10, 6f, 1 45' ), T Gibbons; D Stenson (0-1 ), C Costello (1-0 ) , C O'Shea. Subs: P Collins, P Regan, S Irwin, M English, N O'Malley, R Byrne.
Summerhill:V Cadden; E Flanagan, D Burke, D McCormack; D Brady (0-2 ), K Sweeney, G Feeney; J McGowan, B Monghan; M O'Hehir (0-1 ), N Murphy, D McConnon; P Logan, P Heraghty, N Colleary (0-3, 1f ). Subs: S Peyton, N McManus, A Kelly, C Conway, C Finneran.
Ref: D Hunt (Roscommon )