Gerald’s claim Connacht u14 crown with assured display

St Gerald's, Castlebar 3

St Joseph's, Galway 0

By Colm Gannon in Milebush Park

St Gerald's College Castlebar cruised to an emphatic victory in the Connacht Schools u14 cup final in Milebush on Monday afternoon. The Castlebar school were far more clinical in front of goal than their Galway opponents who despite going in at the break trailing by 2-0 had a number of chances to grab a couple of goals of their own in the first half. However, the St Gerald's side were the better team on the day and were worthy winners of the provincial title. Captained by Noa Baba, the Castlebar team were full of industry and endeavour from the off, using their wingers Sam Hastings and Cathal Lisibach to good effect throughout. Baba's distribution from the middle of the park was one of the main reasons that St Gerald's were able to cause St Joseph's all manner of problems. Time after time Baba was able to use his strength and skill to create some space for himself in the middle of the park, before sweeping a raking pass in behind the full backs for his wingers to chase on to with glee. While he did not get on the score sheet, and at the end he took on a number of speculative shots from distance when there were better options open to him, Baba put in a real star turn in the middle of the park.

The first team to threaten to break the deadlock was the visitors on seven minutes when Joe Hynes got in behind the St Gerald's defence, but his shot was well saved by Paul Walsh in the St Gerald's goal. Five minutes later the scoring was opened by a Gary Walsh who drove the ball to the back of the net from the edge of the penalty area after some neat build up play out on the right flank. St Gerald's held on to the ball for long periods after the opening goal, but the Galway school’s defence just about held firm. With 20 minutes on the clock, St Joseph's had a chance to level it up when Conor Melody cut in from the right and arrowed a shot goal-wards which flashed just past the post. Three minutes before the break, St Gerald's got the second goal that their dominance of possession deserved. Stephen McDermott got the ball from Lisibach and managed to engineer himself some space under pressure from a number of defenders before drilling the ball to the back of the net to double his side’s advantage.

It was more of the same from kick off in the second half with St Gerald's dominating the ball for long periods, the tie was put out of doubt seven minutes into the second half when Sam Hastings tore in from the left wing before applying an inch perfect finish to put his side three goals to the good and seal the win. St Joseph's were never going to come back from three down and despite their best efforts they were not able to even pull back a consolation goal before the end.

St Gerald's: P Walsh; R Collins, J O'Malley, M Ruane, S Keaney; N Baba, C Lisibach, G Walsh, J McGinty, S McDermott, S Hastings. Subs: E Grady, M McDonnell, D Coll.

St Joseph's: S Conneely; J O'Grady, S Gillespie, B Keane, B Brennan; J Hynes, M Costello, C Morley, J Mosvesley, C McGrath, C Melody. Subs: S Holgraine, B Lee, R Keville.

Ref: M Walsh.

Mayo league kicks off with Charity Shield

The revamped Mayo league will kick off this Sunday with the Liam McEntee Charity Shield final in Milebush Park at 3pm. The match will pair last year’s Super League champions Ballina Town against Straide and Foxford. All proceeds from the game will go towards the Order of Malta in Castlebar. The league proper will kick off next weekend across the six reorganised divisions and is scheduled to come to a conclusion September 14 after 14 rounds of games in the top division.

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