There is no more imposing name in college football than that of St Jarlath’s College, Tuam. The most famous nursery of schools’ football in the country has 48 Connacht Colleges title to its name, dating back to 1932, from its first right up to the last two championships. In the process of collecting those 48 titles Jarlath’s has also put 12 Hogan Cups on the sideboard, establishing it as the best of the best in schools’ football.
Their opponents on Saturday, St Gerald’s College Castlebar, have only four, their last in 2010 to go with their back to back wins in 1996 and 1997, and their first way back in 1929, before even Jarlath’s started picking up titles.
Gerald’s booked their place in Saturday’s Connacht final on the back of a strong first half performance against St Colman’s College, Claremorris, two weeks ago in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, where they ran out 2-7 to 0-9 winners having gone in leading by 2-5 to 0-2 at the break. The goals come from Michael Plunkett and Adam Murphy early in the first half, but Daniel Forde’s side were made to sweat in the second half when the Claremorris side pegged them back and Gerald’s looked like they could throw away their lead. But a late Plunkett point kept his side’s nose in front by more than just a goal to calm the nerves.
That semi-final came on the back of an emphatic win over St Muredach’s, Ballina, by 1-17 to 1-5 at the start of February, where they laid down a serious marker of intent following victories in the Connacht League and the Flanagan Cup over the winter. Jarlath’s booked their place in the final with a 3-7 to 0-10 win over Summerhill College in Ballyhaunis 10 days ago. The Tuam school bagged two of their goals from Joseph O’Donnell and Conor Marsden in the first half to set up the win. The game will throw in on Saturday at 1.30pm in Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe.