Attracta’s fall at final hurdle

Attracta’s fall at final hurdle

St Attracta’s 0-8 St Colman’s 2-8

Cathal Mullaney

St Attracta’s bid for a historic first ever Connacht Post Primary Senior ‘A’ Championship title came unstuck last Saturday afternoon, when St Colman’s of Claremorris claimed the honours in an eventful final played at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis.

In front of a huge crowd at the Mayo venue, St Attracta’s never quite reached the heights of their displays in the lead up to the provincial decider, and indeed struggled for large periods against a St Colman’s side intent on overturning their league final defeat to the same opposition.

Despite a tremendous opening quarter, after which they held a 0-5 to 0-0 lead, Colm McGee’s side were second best for large periods of the game, though the tie remained in the melting pot up until Stephen McGreal lashed home St Colman’s second goal to extend their lead to five points in the final minute of normal time.

Oisin Higgins’ dismissal for a second yellow card after 41 minutes proved to be a real blow to St Attracta’s – they never recovered from this setback – and despite their best efforts in the closing stages, St Colman’s were, on the balance of the full hour, deserving winners.

That said St Attracta’s looked to be on course for another Connacht title after a dream start, which included five points in the first 16 minutes.

Red Óg Murphy delivered the opening two scores for St Attracta’s – one of which was a marvellous 45’ – while Paul Towey, Conan Marren and Conall Ryan all raised white flags to leave their side in a comfortable-looking position midway through the opening period.

However, St Colman’s started to dominate the middle third from this juncture and James Jennings followed a point in the 22nd with a fine goal three minutes later to reduce arrears to a single point.

Evan Ronane and Conall Ryan exchanged points prior to the break to leave St Attracta’s in a 0-6 to 1-2 half-time lead, but St Colman’s took over after the interval.

Conan Marren’s free extended St Attracta’s lead briefly to two points, but St Colman’s then registered four points on the spin to hit the front for the first time.

Evan Ronane (2), the outstanding Conor Diskin and Finnian Brady all hit scores in this period, while Oisin Higgins’ sending off further derailed St Attracta’s challenge in the 41st minute.

The Tubbercurry school bridged a 21-minute spell without scoring when Red Óg Murphy fired over a free to reduce the gap to one, 1-6 to 0-8, but in the frantic closing exchanges St Colman’s effectively sealed the title with a goal from Stephen McGreal in the final minute of normal time.

There was a 15-minute stoppage following this score due to an injury to St Attracta’s player Joe Moran, but following the resumption McGreal popped up again for the game’s final point to further extend his side’s advantage, as St Attracta’s courageous challenge fell short.

St Attracta’s: A Broe; J Moran, E Gorman, K Reilly; C Surlis, M Burke, O Higgins; A Frain, R Óg Murphy (0-3, 2fs, 1 45’); L Kerrigan, L Gilmartin, B Gorman; C Ryan (0-2), C Marren (0-2, 2fs), P Towey (0-1). Subs used: D Brennan for E Gorman (42), C Doddy for Reilly (49, BC), S Ó Baoighill for Kerrigan (49), T Henry for Moran (61), K O’Kennedy for Surlis (61)

St Colman’s: B McGuinness; K Fahey, K Lydon, B Hughes; D Gannon, P Barry, B Quinn; C Diskin (0-1), C Golding (0-1); S McGreal (1-1, 1f), J Ronayne, E Hession; J Jennings (1-1), L Óg Horkan, E Ronane (0-3, 3fs). Subs used: F Brady (0-1) for Ronayne (44, Blood Sub) D Trench for Gannon (49), B O’Reilly for Jennings (62), T Morris for Golding (76)

Referee: E O’Grady (Leitrim)

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