Gerald's hold on to book final berth

Connacht Colleges A SFC Semi-Final

St Gerald's 2-7

St Colman's 0-9

St Gerald's College, Castlebar did just enough to hold on in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Baken and book their place in the final of the Connacht Colleges Senior A Championship. Five minutes before the break it looked like the Castlebar side had the game well sown when corner back Keith Egan popped up to score a point and put his side into a commanding 2-5 to 0-1 lead. St Colman's did manage to add on two points before the half time whistle to close the gap, but the eight point gap looked to be too much for them to bridge in the second half.

The Castlebar side hit the ground running in this lunch time throw in and were 1-1 to 0-0 up inside the first five minutes. James Durcan kicked the first point of the match after a flowing move that passed through the hands of Jake Gannon and Adam Murphy in the build up. The Castlebar corner forward was involved his his sides first goal four minutes later. Durcan had the ball out on the left hand side of the field and hit in an effort for a point that dropped short. Centre-half forward Michael Plunket had followed the shot in and punched the ball to the back of the net from close range.

Two quick fire points from Ronan Conlon and Patrick Durcan had Gerald's cruising and the potential of a route on the cards. The Castlebar schools forward line were moving well as a unit and exploiting the space given to them by a the Colman's defence who were standing off them to much. Adam Gallagher kicked the first point for the south Mayo men 13 minutes in to get his side off and running, but Gerald's hit straight back with Durcan kicking his second point of the afternoon to leave it 1-4 to 0-1 after 21 minutes. Two minutes later, Adam Murphy bagged his sides second goal, the dangerous Durcan cut in from his corner and launched a shot goal-wards which came back off the bar, in the scramble for possession Dean Conon had a shot that was well blocked away but the ball fell to Murphy who was able to finish to the net at the third time of asking for the Castlebar school. That goal was followed up by Egan's point to seemingly put the result beyond doubt. Gallagher kicked two points before the break to close the gap and give his side a glimmer of hope.

The half-time break did Colman's the world of good, while Gerald's came out and looked to believe the job was done and very nearly paid the price for it. If Colman's shooting had been better they would have won this game, over the course of the 60 minutes they kicked ten wides, most of those coming in the second half when they were very much on top.

Thomas Waldron and Kevin Lynch came into the game for Colman's after the break and they kicked

a brace of points each to cut the gap to four with a quarter of the game left to play. Colman's were running the show at this stage and Gerald\s were falling further back and back in defence to try and stem the tied. But when they won the ball back they had little options in the forward line to hit and turned the ball over time after time, the Colman's midfield had also gained the upper hand and were winning most of the battles for the ball. When Gerald's did get chances to reestablish their lead they fluffed the chances on two occasions Ronan Conlon missed good chances to keep Colman's at more than an arms length. Gearld's did finally land a relieving score on 54 minutes when Durcan kicked his third point, but the Claremorris school came straight back at them and Gallagher landed free to cut the gap to four again, then with two minutes left in normal time, the same player put only a goal between them with another pointed free. The south Mayo school peppered the Gerald's defence for the next few minutes but couldn't find the break through and Michael Plunket was able to kick his sides final point and put Gerald's through by four at the end of a serious battle.

Scores: St Gerald's: M Plunket (1-1 ), J Durcan (0-3 ), A Murphy (1-0 ), P Durcan (0-1 ), R Conlon (0-1 ). St Colman's: A Gallagher (0-4, 4f ), K Lynch (0-4 ), T Waldron (0-1 )

St Gerald's: D McHale; K McNally, M McMugh, K Egan; P Durcan, M Hall, C Dravins; R Coleman, E Regan; J Gannon, M Plunket, S Conlon; R Conlon, A Murphy, J Durcan. Subs: M Ruane for J Gannon (50 mins ), J Lydon for R Conlon (54 mins )

St Colman's: D Boyle; S Brennan, K Jordan, C Finn; R Finn, C Higgins, Aaron Higgns; S Coen, S Waldron; T Waldron, A Gallagher, A Peters; L Noone, K Lynch, B Walsh. Subs: D Kelly for T Waldron (54mins )

Ref: D Hunt (Roscommon )


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