Gilleran applauds players after successful 2022
AIB Connacht Club IFC final
Dunmore MacHales 1-16 St Dominic’s 1-13
Dunmore’s ability to find scores a touch more easily than St Dominic’s could was the marginal difference that counted as the Roscommon champions came up just short in their quest for IFC provincial glory last weekend.
St Dominic’s’ manager Tomás Gilleran acknowledged that Dunmore MacHales had a slight edge in that key area. “We got some great scores, really stylish scores, but they were able to respond that little bit easier. They could always have an extra body to take the ball and get the scores they needed”.
Gilleran was brimful with pride over the performance of his team. “It was super to score 1-13 today. Dunmore have some excellent players but there were two good teams out there today. If we played them ten times it would probably end up at five wins each… we set out at the start of the year to win three trophies and while we fell short here today we have had a good year in 2022 and overall we are happy with that”.
Dunmore MacHales produced a storming final quarter display to sweep to the provincial title in impressive fashion in Kiltoom on Saturday.
It won’t be much consolation to the Roscommon champions, but they played their part in what was a thrilling final. When it came down to that vital final quarter, Dunmore just had that little bit extra up front and were able to get the match-winning scores when it mattered.
In a cracking atmosphere generated by a big crowd, there was some excellent football from both sides. Those lucky enough to be present witnessed a stunning display of high fielding from Keith Doyle. Time after time the young St Dominic’s man plucked the ball out of the sky in a manner that revived memories of the great Dermot Earley at his best. He didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. In truth, the Dominic’s attack never really got going and a lot of Doyle’s great work went unrewarded.
St Dominic’s were the better side in the opening stages, going 0-4 to 0-2 ahead, with Daire Keenan (2), Cian Kelly and Tommy Hurley scoring.
Dunmore always looked dangerous and in the 14th minute a sweeping move saw Shane McGrath being hauled to the ground by David Gately. McGrath put the resultant penalty beyond Mark Miley.
Keith Doyle levelled the scores immediately in what was now an absorbing battle. Mark Miley denied Conor Gleeson an almost certain goal. Dominic’s were down to 14 men for ten minutes when Kyran Dockery was black-carded in injury-time. It looked a harsh decision. Dunmore led 1-6 to 0-8 at the interval.
The third quarter was tense, points from Darren Donnelly (free) and Brendan O’Meara levelling the match at 0-10 to 1-7 after 44 minutes.
It was Dunmore who kicked on from there. Matthew Reddington, Thomas Gleeson and Padraig Costello were an increasing influence on the game as the Galway men made their decisive move. Costello kicked three points on the trot (including a free and a mark) and the gap was suddenly out to three by the 52nd minute.
The magnificent Doyle kept his side in it with a long-range point. Dominic’s were back to within a point (1-11 to 0-13) in the 55th minute (Darren Donnelly converting two frees). Points from Brendan Carr, Jake Slattery, Matthew Reddington and Thomas Gleeson saw the Galway side go five ahead going into injury-time.
Kyran Dockery received a second black card and was sent to the line when he was adjudged to have pulled back Conor Mitchell in the 57th minute.
All credit to Dominic’s as they never threw in the towel. In the second minute of time added on Cian Kelly blasted home a great goal through a forest of players to give his side hope, but Dunmore held on.
The winners had excellent performers in Thomas Gleeson, Matthew Reddington, Padraig Costello, Jake Slattery and Declan Rattigan.
For Dominic’s, for whom it has been a great season (and they have the players to make an impact at senior level), the aforementioned Keith Doyle was superb. If the new Roscommon manager was watching, Davy Burke will be looking forward to the prospect of working with Doyle in the future, as he looks a star in the making. Cian Kelly, who has had a superb year, also impressed, as did Jack Lohan, Daire Keenan and Tommy Hurley.