Colemanstown mathematically secured the Div1 title today at home against a strong Salthill Devon outfit with an injury time goal in atrocious weather conditions. Gerry Moran’s charges needed just a point from today’s game to claim the title with a game to spare. The words of ‘singing and dancing in the rain’ sung so profoundly by PJ Finnerty deep into injury time were so apt. Colemanstown went behind in the first half and soaked up a lot of pressure and it took them a while to settle and get the lions share of possession. The equaliser came in the 94th minute when a Jayo Finn effort took a deflection but it didn’t matter a jot whether Jayo got the credit or it was an OG, it was the point this team desperately required to finish off the maths to ensure Colemanstown would be crowned Div1 Champs. They may not have had that same stroke of fortune last week against Athenry (who were also crowned Premier league winners today) but they certainly got it today, and they certainly deserved it for giving it all. The spectators stood to applaud them and so too did Salthill Devon as they departed the pitch while just before that PJF broke into song as the all important equaliser found the net : ‘We’re singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, we’re happy again’. The true supporters could empathise so well with him. The words were so fitting and it summed up everyone’s feelings.
Colemanstown had a nervous enough opening as Salthill seemed intent on prolonging their wait for the title. The pace of the game was not as frenetic as some previous games but there were plenty of opportunities for both sides with two evenly matched sides paired up. Colemanstown’s first real chance came on 14mins when they capitalised on a poor kick out by the Salthill Devon keeper in a nice passage of play involving Tom Flan and Kegs who knocked the ball across to the better positioned Ray Moran whose piledriver from distance was well stopped by the Salthill No1. Colemanstown then had a frantic plea for a penalty which fell on deaf ears as Flan was taken down and on 36mins Flan again went near with a free kick which went agonisingly inches to the right of the post. Flan had another attempt minutes later with a low hard drive after an inch perfect pass from Ray Moran on the right side of the field. Colemanstown soaked up some great pressure by the Salthill strike force as our rearguard were put to the pin of their collars. Salthill had a few notable chances; one a powerful header just wide of the post. Stand in keeper Niall Gelston was called into action on a few occasions and stood the test extremely well with some prolific saves and showed true bravery, on one occasion coming well outside the box to even make a save with his head. Then kegs had a good chance when he connected to an Alan Finn free kick from his own half but the keeper stretched well to make a one handed save. On 43 mins a bit of a mix up in the Colemanstown defence resulted in Salthills goal; a goal which took a deflection off Damo Wynne’s knee. What a terrible time to concede a goal, just before half time. 1-0 at the interval. 10mins after the restart Gelston made a spectacular save with a splendid one handed effort showing great athleticism in the process. Then a pure ‘let off’ for Colemanstown as Salthill made the most of a fine move on the dugouts side of the field but failed to score from 8yards as the strikers effort flew over the bar. At this stage Kegs was redeployed in defence in place of the injured Alan Finn and Squelchy introduced up front. Tom Flan had a good chance with a free kick on the far side of the field but the keeper spilled the ball which was eventually cleared by the Salthill defence. Seconds later Richie Lally floated in a lovely cross but a rare poor header by Flan was well held by the keeper. At this stage Colemanstown were putting some good moves together as they frantically searched for the equaliser, but were met by a resolute Salthill defence. One wondered would that important goal come; it didn’t feel like it did in other games. Then the luck and good fortune came our way albeit late in the game – as Jayo Finn’s effort veered off a defender to find the net to great jubiliation and singing from the Colemanstown faithful followers. It was no more than they deserved. Salthill had the last passage of play but could do no more as PJ Finnerty’s chant began and the players soaked up the acclaim. Colemanstown had many inspirational figures today as Jayo Finn was outstanding, Richie & Ray did well in midfield, Tom Flan & Kegs had some great efforts but in truth this entire team deserves great mention as they now bask in Division 1 title glory. The open top bus ride awaits them….. well done lads and to manager Gerry Moran who seems to bring something extra special to management. These lads play West at home on Sunday next in their last game of the season where they will be presented with the Cup and this also brings the clubs soccer season to a close.