St Pauls (Oughterard )1-15
St Louis (Kiltimagh ) 0-8
The Richie Bell Cup will be resting on it's laurels in Galway for the next twelve months thanks to a wondrous display of football from throw in to final whistle by St Paul's Oughterard in Flanagan Park Ballinrobe on Sunday. The Galway sides win was propelled by mercurial centre half forward Patrick Sweeney who put vivid display of forward play over the sixty minutes, kicking seven points and running the play book for his side. The Killanian man hit St Louis Kiltimagh for five minors inside the opening 15 minutes to which the east Mayo men had no reply. It took St Louis 24 minutes to get on the scoreboard in fact and when Ciaran Charlton raised the white flag for the first time for his side, they were already trailing by 1-7 to 0-1 and the game was already up.
While Sweeney was the star of the game, it was a team victory for St Paul's were not afraid to mix it up physically right from the off and caught St Louis off guard with their physicality and played the game right on the edge in the early stages, suffocating any ideas Louis had of attacking.
Sweeney opened the scoring from a placed ball after only 45 seconds after Niall Walsh was fouled as he went to claim a dropping ball. Five minutes later he repeated the trick from another free on six minutes. But it wasn't only from dead balls that Sweeney showed his proficiency on ten minutes he slalomed down the left flank, before cutting inside and struck a fine left footed shot on the run to open up a three point gap.
Louis were unable to string much together in the ways of an attack threat as the St Pauls defense swarmed around any potential attacker once the managed to cross the half way line and when the defense emerged with the ball as was the norm in the opening stages, Sweeney hit their opponents hard on the scoreboard. Sweeney landed two more points from dead balls on 12 and 14 minutes and shortly after his fifth point his side came close to crashing home a major. Cathal Sweeney bore down on goal cutting in from the left hand side after getting on a ball in form the centre forward, his shot got a slight deflection to take it just past the right hand post and out for a 50. Louis breathed a sigh of relief only but it didn't last long. From the resulted 50 the ball was dropped into the box and Iarla Carty failed to gather the ball after going high to claim it, the size five dropped loose in the danger area and Shane Molloy picked up the bouncing ball and ducked and dived his way to a yard of space before he lashed it low to the net to leave the score 1-5 to 0-0.
St Paul's were no cruising and Louis were on the ropes looking to avoid the knock out blow, 17 minutes in they should have been a glimmer of hope after a neat combination. Stephen Kilkenny won a high ball into the danger area and fed Keith Cassidy who hit the break line at pace and burst through on goal. As he went to pull the trigger Jordan Walker bundled him over, but no penalty was given to the astonishment of the crowd. This was to be Cassidy's last action in the game as the incident led to him needing to be substituted due to an injury picked during the passage of play. It was back to normal service after the brief threat from the Kiltimagh men and Aaron Coady got his sides sixth point with a neat score on the turn, which was added to by Cathal Sweeney who boomed over a fine score from the left hand side. With six minutes left in the half Ciaran Charlton finally got Louis on the board form a free 14 yards out, but there was not going to be any great inroads made in the St Paul's lead with Patrick Sweeney landing two more points before Charlton could add his sides second score leaving the score 1-9 to 0-2 at the break.
The second half had to get better for the Kiltimagh men and although they did manage to keep check with St Paul's the scoreboard each adding six points to their total in the second half the damage had been done in the opening 30 minutes. Edwin Murray hit three points for St Pauls from wing back in the second half, as Sweeney took a back seat and the Galway men took their foot off the gas as the game wound down. Charlton added three more points to his tally for the day for the vanquished side, but the lack of more players of the quality of last years Mayo minor star cost the side managed by former Mayo star Maurice Sheridan and Ballintubber's Tony Duffy dear on the day. St Paul's dominated the game when they needed to and when the final whistle was blown, they were deserved winners on the day.
St Paul's: Peter Feeney; David Wallace, Stuart Upton, Conor Carey; Joe Shaughnessy, Liam Moran, Edwin Murray; Damien Carter, David Walsh; Jordan Walker, Patrick Sweeney, Aaron Coady; Shane Molloy, Niall Walsh, Cathal Sweeney. Subs: Patrick Walsh for Jordan Walker (37 mins ), Patrick Gibbons for Aaron Coady (58 mins )
St Louis: Arainn Prendergast; Brendan Harrison, Joe Mulhern, Michael Caulfield; Andrew Carroll, Iarla Carty, Mathew Cummins; Sean Boyle, Enda Sweeney; Thomas Keegan, Ciaran Charlton, Keith Cassidy; David Lydon, Stephen Kilkenny, Sean Kelly. Subs: Vincent Glynn for Keith Cassidy (24 mins ) Brendan Walsh for Andrew Caroll (37 mins ), Vincent McKeown for Stephen Kilkenny (39 mins )