Brave Ballygar effort just comes up short in final test

Scoil Pól Kilfinane 0-16

Coláiste Mhuire Ballygar 1-8

By Eanna O’Reillyin Tulla

A gallant effort from Evan Niland’s charges wasn’t quite enough on the day, as Coláiste Mhuire Ballygar came up short against Scoil Pól Kilfinane in the All-Ireland colleges senior C final on Friday afternoon in Tulla, with Kilfinane producing more overall quality in this final.

Despite playing against a strong wind in the opening half, the North Galway school made an excellent start. Cathal Maloney pointed a free from midfield after six minutes, before he made an excellent run and pass shortly after, to set up corner forward Harry O’Sullivan for a well-taken goal.

The Limerick side soon settled, however, and tallied the next five points without reply. Centre-back Shane Fitzgibbon (free), full-forward Kristian O’Gorman (0-2, 0-1 free), and the lively Darren Frewen (0-2) – who was a constant threat in the right corner – saw Kilfinane make the most of their purple patch in the first half to go ahead by 0-5 to 1-1.

Ballygar replied when a foul on the hard-working Luke Finnerty was converted by Joey Wallace, to level the game in the 22nd minute, but Kilfinane finished the first-half strongly with the final three points. Midfielder Colin Bresnihan, along with O’Gorman (free) and an impressively pointed line-ball from Frewen, saw the Limerick school take a 0-8 to 1-2 lead into the half time break.

Coláiste Mhuire started the second half with intent. An early attack saw O’Sullivan break inside the Kilfinane defence before passing to Harry Holmes, whose shot on goal was stopped by Kilfinane ‘keeper Cathal Dennehy.

At the other end, the Limerick side kept the scoreboard ticking. O’Gorman pointed two frees, either side of a good score from James O’Sullivan from the left wing. At 0-11 to 1-2 down, it was difficult to see a way back for the Galway side. However, Niland’s charges refused to fold and launched a tremendous comeback.

With the wind behind them, Ballygar outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-1 during the next ten minutes, to come roaring back into contention. Wallace pointed a free after drawing a foul himself before O’Gorman replied with his fifth free at the other end. Ballygar then struck four points on the spin.

Pictured: The Coláiste Mhuire, Ballygar squad that lost to Scoil Pól Kilfinane in the Senior C All Ireland final played in Tulla last Friday, Back row, from left: Ross Brennan, Matthew Beirne, Leo Flynn, Cathal Bury, Alan Kilcommins, Matthew Cunningham, Eoghan Naughton, Conor Kelly, Rory Coyle, Micheal Naughton, Cathal Maloney, Cian Downey, Adam Kenny, Harry O’Sullivan, Harry Holmes, Luke Fallon, and Gerard Healy. Front: Gavin Meares, Seán Scott, David Mannion, Micheal Dunning, Joey Wallace, Evan Doyle, Luke Finnerty, Ethan Kelly, Jamie Kelly, Oisin Finneran, Alex Kelly, Adam Beckett, and Adam Naughton. Photos: Mike O’Hehir.

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