St. Kerrill’s N.S., Gurteen 6-7; St. Catherine’s N.S., Aughrim 0-5: Report by Martina Donnellan. St. Kerrill’s N.S. claimed their 4th success in a row and for the 2nd successive year over St. Catherine’s N.S. Aughrim in the Cumann na mBunscol 7-a-side football which the Gurteen boys won in true style in Claregalway this morning. Winning county titles at any level, in any age group, is always an achievement to be celebrated. Back to back titles call for double celebrations as they can be the most difficult ones to win. However, Gurteen relied on raw goal power to put them in cruise control.
Talented full-forward Harry Mitchell almost single handedly destroyed Aughrim’s hopes with a stunning hat-trick of first half goals and four in total. The Pearses clubman’s heroics helped propel Gurteen into a 10 point interval lead and there looked to be no way back for the opposition.
Harry had Gurteen off the mark within a minute with a pointed effort which took a deflection off the post and over. Ronan Hynes tagged on a point as he fetched the resultant kick out and burst forward before easily finding the target. Aughrim scored their first point when a goal looked ominous only for the vigilance and timely intervention of Ronan Hynes.
Aughrim levelled matters from play 5mins into the game and that was as tight as the game would get. Harry scored the first of his 4 goals with a bulleted effort; the move instigated by Jonah Donnellan and Ronan Hynes. Mitchell tagged on a free and then his goal bound effort was well stopped by the Aughrim goalie and the ball was deflected over the crossbar to put Gurteen 1-4 to 0-2 in charge.
Aughrim pointed a free which was short lived as the resultant play saw Paddy Kenny’s goal effort saved but Mitch was well positioned to make no mistake as the rebound fell nicely for him. Gurteen received a let-off on 14mins as a dangerous ball went right across the face of goal much to the relief of the sizeable Gurteen supporters. Harry scored his hat-trick right on the stroke of half time after the hard working Conor Walsh spotted Mitchell lurking on the edge of the square.
The 2nd half continued in the same vein. Jonah Donnellan got on the end of a loose ball at midfield and kick passed to Harry who scored his 4th goal before 10.30am and steer Gurteen into a 4-4 to 0-3 lead. Young Conor Walsh was rewarded for his industrious work as he volleyed a long clearance from Conor Kelly over the bar. Harry tapped over his 2nd point from play 6mins into the 2nd half after a move involving Paddy Kenny and Jonah Donnellan.
Aughrim pointed a free but Gurteen took charge again as Harry Mitchell’s quickly taken free found the inrushing Paddy Kenny whose unstoppable effort was drilled past the hapless goalie. The teams traded scores as Harry pointed from play and Aughrim converted their 2nd point of the half from play as Ross Lally was introduced for Paddy Kenny. A quickly taken sideline from Jonah Donnellan to Ronan Hynes and back to Donnellan led to the next score as Jonah was rewarded for his morning’s efforts with a neat point.
Jonah Donnellan then had a thunderous burst through the middle of the field before hand passing to Ronan Hynes and he showed no signs of the hayfever he complained about before the game as his piledriver rattled the net. At this stage Cathal Hynes, Ciárán Hogan, Diarmuid Ryan and Keith Kitt all got a taste of the action as Gurteen saw out the game in the sweltering heat on a scoreline: St. Kerrill’s N.S., Gurteen 6-7; St. Catherine’s N.S., Aughrim 0-5. The entire team played as a unit and put in a solid performance from the outset as David Walsh in goal was rarely troubled.
Captain Conor Kelly accepted the cup from Mr. Noel Treacy who complimented both teams on the standard of football served up. Conor was sweet and to the point in his concise few words as he thanked Mr. Seamus Walsh for training the team all year and thanked the parents for bringing the players to all the matches.
So onwards goes Gurteen’s dream campaign as they bid to add the hurling title to the football on June 14th when they will strive to claim a 4th hurling title in 5 years.
Panel: David Walsh, Conor Kelly, Ronan Hynes, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Harry Mitchell, Conor Walsh, Ross Lally, Cathal Hynes, Ciárán Hogan, Diarmuid Ryan and Keith Kitt.