St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, qualified for the Connacht Colleges SFC semi-final following an impressive win over their Ballina rivals, St Muredach’s, at the Connacht Centre of Excellence, Bekan on Wednesday.
St Muredach’s were always under pressure and although they found the St Gerald’s net in the first half with a well taken goal by Matthew Cullen, this game was dominated by the Castlebar school who had the edge in class in most areas.
That goal was, in fact, the only score St Muredach’s could manage in the first half as St Gerald’s rattled off 0-11, all bar one coming from play.
St Gerald’s ability to use a strong wind in the first half stood them in good stead as impressive wing-back Patrick Durcan got the ball rolling with an early score from play. The points then flowed from Seán Colon, James Durcan and Ronan Carolan as St Gerald’s went four clear.
The goal reduced the gap to a point and brought a big cheer from the Ballina bench but it turned out to be a false dawn as St Gerald’s racked up the points. Patrick Durcan, his bother James coming in with one from play and from a free, to make it seven, and the half was brought to a close with four more, Jake Gannon, Carolan, and two on the bounce from Michael Plunkett extended the interval lead to eight points.
An early point from St Muredach’s best player, Seán Regan, never brought the expected revival. The Ballina school did pick up some good ball around the middle but Regan was on his own up front and St Gerald’s were really moving at a different level, attacking in numbers with plenty of support play and Carolan and James Durcan running the show.
St Gerald’s: D McHale, K Egan, M McHugh (0-1 ), K McNally, P Durcan (0-2 ), M Hall, C Dravins, M Ruane, R Coleman, S Conlon (0-1 ), M Plunkett (0-2 ), J Gannon (0-1 ), R Carolan (0-4 ), A Murphy (1-0 ), J Durcan. Subs: E Regan for Coleman, J Lydon for J Durcan (0-5 (1f ) ), S Kelly for Dravins, P Ruddy for Gannon, D Gibbons for R Carolan
St Muredach’s: R O’Hora, C Naylor, B Walkin, L Hogan, P McGarry, R Geraghty, P Judge, R Upton, C Bourke, O Kent, S Regan (0-5 (4f ) ), D Gibbons, S Ruttledge, M Cullen (1-0 ), B Keane. Subs: A Melvin for Hogan, K Treacy for Cullen, F Tully for Gibbons.