Resilient Ronan’s aim to scale Clif(den)

AIB Connacht Club Junior FC Final:
St Ronan’s v Clifden on Saturday in Dr Hyde Park at 1.30 pm

It has been a year to remember for St Ronan’s – and it’s not over yet. The Roscommon junior county finalists have another chance of glory in 2022 when they take on Galway champions Clifden at Dr Hyde Park this Saturday in the provincial final. It will not be an easy assignment, as the west Galway side caused a considerable upset when they defeated fancied Mayo kingpins Islandeady in the semi-final.

St Ronan’s are representing Roscommon in Connacht as junior title winners Padraig Pearses aren’t eligible to play provincially as they are the second team of their club.

Seamus Sheeran (joint team manager with Declan Noone) has reported that the squad is fully fit, with no significant injury concerns.

Seamus says St Ronan’s will have the utmost respect for Clifden.

“We will certainly be going into the game as underdogs, but we have had a great year so far. We have won five and drawn one out of the eight championship games we have played.

“We have a good team and subs and we will give it everything. We have shown great heart and determination this year so far and will bring that to the table on Saturday. We love playing in Dr Hyde Park. It’s such a historic old venue and we are very proud that we are representing Roscommon. We intend to leave it all out on the field and see where that takes us”.

Clifden’s star man in the semi-final was Enda Conneely, who scored the all-important goal in a 1-10 to 0-11 victory. Their talisman is Ger Gibbons, who is also a well-known rugby player.

St Ronan’s are clearly in bonus territory here. A team with great spirit, they will be backboned by the likes of Enda Flynn, Eddie Noone, Tadhg Guihen, Thomas McManus, Alan Benson, John Keavney, Ronan Kelly and Gary O’Daly. Mark Healy has been tremendous this year and Martin Gaffney, Finnian Travers and Kevin Healy are all fine players too.

A win on Saturday would constitute the biggest day in the history of the St Ronan’s GAA Club. Clifden will be strong favourites, but St Ronan’s should take a leaf out of Strokestown’s book, and be inspired by their refusal to follow the narrative that they didn’t have a chance against Moycullen. As we know, anything can happen in sport. It would be the story of the year in Roscommon football if Ronan’s were to do it. The whole county will be behind them.

Prediction: Clifden.