Castlebar college tipped for Connacht GAA glory
CASTLEBAR nursery St. Gerald's College are on the brink of further provincial success.
The school's senior football team face Coláiste Bhaile Chláir of Galway in the big decider, a game pencilled in for 2 p.m. in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, Bekan, tomorrow.
It's a first Connacht GAA Post-Primary Schools Senior A final for St. Gerald’s since 2020, and their place in it was secured with a tough semi-final win by 1-9 to 0-9 over Summerhill College of Sligo.
St. Gerald's were supreme in the first half of that encounter, but the second half was a different story.
The game was, in fairness, impacted by the wet and windy weather at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, and St. Gerald's managed the conditions that bit better than Summerhill.
On the day, full-forward Ryan Gibbons was the standout performer, providing a focal point for attacks and kicking an impressive 1-3 from play.
Not only that, but two frees, one against a strong breeze in the second half, proving crucial. Gibbons wasn't the only man to impress, however, as Gavin Forry, Yousif Coghill, Cian Walsh and Cathal Keaveney all excelled, and St. Gerald's will look to these players, and many more besides, for inspiration on Sunday.
Under the tutelage of Kilmeena coach Eoin Sweeney and Mayo star Diarmuid O’Connor, the seven-time Connacht champions look well-drilled and are not shy of hard work.
And they will need all their battling qualities against the Claregalway boys.
With Maurice Sheridan providing his considerable coaching skills to Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, they are a fine side – as demonstrated by their 0-13 to 1-6 semi-final victory over Rice College, Westport (a result that ruled out an all-Mayo senior A final this year).
Their swashbuckling centre-forward, Eanna Monaghan, produced a fabulous performance on the day, and was deadly accurate from the placed ball. St. Gerald's will do well not to give up scoring chances to him in the Connacht final.
Coláiste Bhaile Chláir had the upperhand when the teams met in the round robin phase of the championship, securing a 2-8 to 1-8 victory over St. Gerald's, but the Castlebar students look well prepared to reverse that on Sunday.
A mouthwatering final is in prospect, with St. Gerald's just given the nod to make it a Mayo success over Galway opponents.
Verdict: St. Gerald's