Colman's get it right at fourth time of asking

Connacht Colleges A Senior Football Final

Captain fantastic: St Colman's captain Shane Nally led his side to their first Connacht Colleges A title in over twenty five years. Photo: Sportsfile

Captain fantastic: St Colman's captain Shane Nally led his side to their first Connacht Colleges A title in over twenty five years. Photo: Sportsfile

St Colman's (Claremorris ) 0-13

St Geralds (Castlebar ) 1-7

St Colman's, Claremorris finally got it right in the Connacht Colleges A final in Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe on Sunday, the south Mayo nursery were contesting their fourth final this decade and when captain Shane Nally lifted the Aonghus Murphy in front of his sides jubelint supporters the memories of all those defeats were wiped away in one instant. The Garrymore man who captained the Mayo minor side that went so close last summer, put in a star performance for the men in red who were far more economical in front of goal compared to the Castlebar side. Gerald's who came into the game after shooting over 20 wides in their semi-final win over St Jarlath's a week earlier, will once again be ruing the number of wides they kicked in the Ballinorbe sunshine. They kicked 12 in total with eight of them coming in the first half, while the victors only missed the target once when offered the chance to shoot at it in the opening half.

While most of the talk before hand was on the clash of Nally and Aidan O'Shea in midfield, it was the Colman's man who along with his midfield partner Ian Costello who were the dominate pairing on the score board in the first half both finishing up with two points each from placed balls. While O'Shea finished the half with a solitary point from a magnificent effort on the from tight to the right hand sideline close to the end line, but he also had four wides marked against him in the opening period.

The Claremorris side raced into an early two point lead through Brian Walsh and Costello, while Gerald's hit a could of wides before Aidan Walsh cut the gap to one on five minutes. Geralds were on top in the possession stakes on the field but were not able to convert it to points on the board and a duo of points from Costello and Nally from dead balls kept the Colman's faithfully happy as the first quarter of the game passed, before O'Shea hit his score. Another Nally point extended the gap to a major with a free from in front of the post on 17 minutes. Gerald's were still very much in the contest and six minutes before the turn around the game was leveled up through the only goal in the game. Cillian O'Connor hit a shot goal-wards, which came back into the danger area off the upright and Peter Dravins contested well to win the ball and hand-passed into the unmarked Cian Costello who slotted the ball under the advancing David Grant from close range to the joy of the Castlebar supporters. Geralds then put themselves into the lead for the only time in the game when the ever dangerous Aidan Walsh slotted over a free from 30 yards out. The action in the opening half was concluded with a point from the impressive Alan Healy who was set up from a Ian Costello free.

With the game evenly poised at the turn around, Colman's had the advantage of playing with a healthy breeze in the second half but they had to thank custodian Grant that they didn't find themselves three points behind early in the second half. Cillian O'Connor hoisted a ball high across the Colman's full back line which was grabbed by Peter Dravins who shook off the challenge of a defender only to see his off balance shot saved well by Grant with his foot. Colman's took the lead again three minutes in when Healy slotted the size five between the posts after some neat build up play involving Darren Coen and Nally which concluded with Healy stepping one way then the other before popping it over Francis Walsh's bar. Aidan Walsh evened up the contest again with a huge free against the wind from forty yards out. But if Walsh's score was impressive, it was dwarfed by Shane Nally's next point. The Colman's captain launched a pile driver from well over fifty yards that carried on the breeze straight over the black spot to the joy of those in red and white in the stand. Both sides went toe to toe for the following ten minutes with Colman's greater accuracy putting themselves into a two point lead thanks Darren Coen sniping point as he cut across the 21 yard line. As both sets of supporters began to find their voice, Aidan O'Shea cut the gap to a single point after a typical rampaging run through the Claremorris defense. Geralds were piling on the pressure but they couldn't find a way through the teak tough Claremorris back line and with a couple of minutes left on the clock Liam Kearns knocked over a score to leave the tie at 0-11 to 1-6 in favor of Colman's with time ticking down. O'Shea once again cut the gap to the minimum with a point from a placed ball with two minutes left on the clock, but it was to be his sides last score as late goal chance from Cillian O'Connor which hit the net on the wrong side was followed up by points from Barry Healy and Barry Walsh to put three between the sides and sent the Aonghus Murphy cup back home through the gates of St Colman's for the firs time in over a quarter of a century.

St Colman's: David Grant; Nicky Pilbrow, Caolan Crowe, John Broderick; Simon Hession, Jonathan Clarke, Richard Bell; Ian Costello, Shane Nally; Barry Healy, Liam Kearns, Kevin Walsh; Darren Coen, Alan Healy, Brian Walsh. Subs: John Heneghan for Kevin Walsh (44 mins ).

St Gerald's: Francis Walsh, Fergal Durcan, Danny Geraghty, Mark Towey; David Gavin, Niall McCarney, Niall McCormack; Danny Kirby, Aidan O'Shea; Daire Sumerville, Aidan Walsh, Seamus Staunton; Cian Costello, Peter Dravins, Cillian O'Connor. Subs: Patrick Lynch for Stanton (40 mins ), Shane Moran for Summerville (52 mins ), Conor O'Shea for Costello (60 mins )


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