This could be the last time that these sides clash on a Wednesday afternoon when the budget cutbacks in education kick into life in January and for the first 30 minutes of the contest, it looked like it might be no bad thing. But once the second half threw in a completely different contest emerged as both sides went at each other once the silverware was up for grabs.
The game as a contest swung on a penalty claim that wasn’t given and the ball ending up in the back of the net at the other end of the field. With the game evenly poised at 1-8 to 1-7 in favour of the Tuam men and five minutes left on the clock Cillian O’Connor was put in on goal and looked to have been taken down as he went to shoot. St Geralds ended up getting a 45 from the move, which dropped short. From the resulting play Jarlath’s cut a thrust down field and Cíaran Canney fired the ball to the back of the Geralds net after being played in by Thomas Fahy to seal the deal for the men from Galway.
While the second half was an enjoyable encounter the first was far from edge of your seat stuff, the opening exchanges were littered with sloppy passing from both sides and poor shooting, especially from the Tuam men. Jarlath’s full back Cathal Silke was the main man in the first half as he put in an outstanding display, commanding his area with poise and intelligence. The Castlebar side went in at half time leading by 0-4 to 0-2 with O’Connor scoring a brace and the other points coming from Darragh Somerville and Seamus Staunton. Jarlaths took 15 minutes to get on the board through Darragh Maille and took another 12 minutes before they scored again through Michael Kelly, and sandwiched between these scores were six efforts that flew wide.
Whatever was said at half time worked for the Tuam men as they blitzed St Geralds early on in the second half, until the introduction of injured minor star Aidan Walsh to supplement Aidan O’Shea at midfield stemmed the tide. Twelve minutes in Geralds found themselves 0-4 to 1-6 down with the goal coming from Michael Kelly after he was set up by Niall Quinn. Within minutes of his introduction Walsh had an immediate impact, his side were trailing by six points until they got a very fortunate penalty which Walsh converted with ease to close the gap to three. This was followed by scores from Somerville and O’Shea which closed the gap to a single minor only for the game to turn away from them when the second penalty decision didn’t go their way.
St Jarlaths: T Healy; R Kelly, C Silke, P Collins; J Craven, D Langan, J Killilea; T Fahy, R Stead; D Maille, N Quinn, C Canney; C O’Donovan, M Kelly, E Cavanagh. Subs: P Healy, J O’Sullivan, M Canney, A Daly, R Monahan
St Geralds: F Walsh; F Durcan, D Kirby, M Towey, B Docherty, D Gavin, N McCormack; D Somerville, A O’Shea; P Lynch, S Staunton, M Clarke; C Costello, C O’Connor, S Moran. Subs: P Moylette, A Walsh, M Regan, D Stenson