This year’s finals were hosted by Cumann Séamus O’ Máille in Oughterard for the first time ever and it proved to be an excellent venue. In his opening address Cumann na mBunscol Chairperson Gerry Hussey complimented the host club on their excellent facilities and thanked Chairperson John Joe O’Reilly and the rest of the club executive for all their hard work and dedication in this regard. He paid tribute to the trojan work that Connemara teachers are putting in re the promotion, cultivation and preservation of gaelic football in their schools. He extended a special word of welcome to Connacht Council Co-Ordinator Tom McManus, Cumann na mBunscol Delegate to Central Council Richard Bowles, Oifigeach na Gaeilge on the Galway Ladies County Executive Geraldine Feerick and Gráinne Mhaols President Ann Flaherty. He concluded his address by reminding all present of the importance of sportsmanship and fair play among players and supporters alike and wished all the participating teams well in their respective finals.
There were ten finals in total down for decision and they were all marshalled superbly by official referees Brendan Kinneavy, Ian Thornton and Official Umpire John Francis Flaherty. In the Boys A final Tully NS from Renvyle were hoping to annex the Thomas Sailor Flaherty Cup for the seventh year in a row but were edged out by Rosmuc school, Turloch Beag, in a real thriller. Collinamuck had four points to spare over Letterfrack in the B decider but the most compelling final was at C level where Clonbur pulled out all the stops late on in the second period of extra time against Cashel to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Cloughbrack proved too strong for Leenane/Lettergesh in the D decider while the Shield hounours also went north after Tír na Cille upped the ante in the second half to surge past Leitir Mucú.
Cloughbrack girls secured a notable double for their school when they defeated Ballyconneely in the A decider. Tír na Cille girls did likewise when they won the B title with a comprehensive victory over Letterfrack while last year’s A Champions Clonbur had to settle for a C Championship this time round after overcoming Leenane/Lettergesh. History was made in the D final when Mary Aspell’s charges from Cleggan captured their school’s first ever championship title after a closely fought encounter with Cashel. Collinamuck defeated Tully in the Shield final to round off a memorable day for the East Connemara school.
The highlight of this year’s finals was the addition of Memorial Cups to the Aftermatch Presentations and in this regard Cumann na mBunscol would like to extend a special word of gratitude and appreciation to Julie Ann O’Flaherty, Micháel Canning, Sylvia Tynan, Winnie Joyce, Martin Joyce, Louis Ridge, Margaret Mortimer and Laurence Mullen for making themselves available to present the respective cups in memory of their beloved family members. Go ndéana Dia trocáire ar a nanam. The victorious schools were also presented with beautiful plaques which were produed by Liam Challoner. The official Photographer for the day was Tony O’Hehir and he would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers, managers, parents and players for their help and co-operation during the finals. Tony can be contacted at (087) 7944222 if anybody is interested in acquiring framed photographs from this year’s footballing feast.
Written by Paul Gannon.