This was Colemanstown’s last game of the season but the result didn’t matter an ounce as they were crowned champions last weekend but it is always nice to finish on a winning note. They started with a reshuffled team with Conor Feeney, Squelchy, Ronnie Geraghty, Niall Gelston & Garry O Grady in the starting IX as the Pearses hurlers apart from Flan & Gary Lally got a bit of a break. These lads knew from the start they wouldn’t have it easy against a West Utd side who were chasing second place position. 2-1 it finished as West inflicted the first home defeat of the league and this win earns them a play-off with Salthill for 2nd place promotion spot. Colemanstown made an early breakthrough on 16mins as Squelchy crossed from the left corner to Ray Moran who slotted neatly to the left of the keeper. 2 mins later Moran’s effort was driven over the bar from 30yards after good work from Conor Feeney & Paddy Mullins. Squelchy’s attempted chip of the keeper moments later was just over the bar while Flan had the ball in the net on 20mins but was adjudged to be offside. On 26mins Colemanstown custodian Niall Gelston was adjudged to have taken down the impending striker but the resultant spot kick was driven wildly over the bar to a great roar from the Colemanstown contingent. Immediately up the other end a fast taken free kick from the half way line by Tom Flan was spilled by the West keeper and Squlechy missed his opportunity to follow up from close range as the keeper was stranded. At this stage it was Colemanstown who were doing most of the pressing with rare chances falling to West Utd. Then against the run of play on 39mins a long ball into the danger area evaded everyone and the striker outwitted his marker and got his boot to it to blast to the left of Gelston. That goal ignited West and so it wasn’t surprising to see them grow in stature as Colemanstown had a let off on 41mins with a close range effort which hit the post as Niall Gelston was well beaten. 1-1 it remained at half time. West then came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second period as an early free kick whizzed over the crossbar. Seconds later another threat from West as a high ball into the box was headed over the bar. At this stage Niall Gelston was redeployed outfield as Alan Junior Finn was introduced to goal and was immediately called into action in a close range shot as he stretched well to mind his net and the resultant rebounded effort was struck wide. Squelchy squandered another chance 18mins after the restart after a good cross field ball from Niall Gelston. At this stage the’ new look’ Johnny Lally was introduced for Jayo Finn and Damo Wynne was introduced for Gary Lally so that all could tarry on the turf they graced so well all season. A glancing header from West a half hour into the second half was just wide and as the game wore on it was West who looked like the side more likely to score the games third goal. With 5mins left a free kick from the edge of the box from West evaded everyone leaving Junior rooted to the spot as the ball found the top right corner. Colemanstown had a late chance to level matters with Tom Flan’s free kick but the wall did it’s job and the resultant corner yielded nothing. An exceptional save from Junior late in the game with a difficult ball to hold ensured a 2-1 win to West but it mattered little to our boys as the hard work was done all season. It mightn’t have been the most memorable of league games ever for Colemanstown but fair play to West they probably deserved the 3 points. One would have to pay tribute to this talented bunch of players. Many of these lads played for Pearses yesterday and were like 100metre sprinters participating in the Olympics. What a match that was, probably the best ever Pearses performance and a pleasure to watch.
Although this team were crowned champions last weekend, they had to wait for Pat McCann of the Galway FA to present the silverware today. Captain Ollie Crowe failed to lift the cup alone without the ‘real’ captain Richie Lally and with a handle a-piece the cup was held aloft. Captains’ speeches normally start with ‘I don’t really have anything prepared…’ but in truth Ollie Crowe’s passionate but yet spontaneous speech was pondered about 5 months ago on a bike! His speech was as good as you would hear in the Aviva or Croke Park but in Colemanstown stadium it went down a treat as he paid tribute to the club committee who in their hard work keep the club alive, he thanked Garry O’ Grady, one of the greatest ever servants of the club and predecessor to current manager Gerry Moran. Presentations were made on behalf of the ‘A’ Team to Bernie Burke for her finest hospitality in recent weeks and for Burke’s sponsorship of the club in general, to Martina Donnellan for her efforts in raising the profile of the club, to ‘gaffer’ Gerry Moran whose tactics always reap dividends and his sidekick Liam Mullins who had his priorities right and had gone for a pre-rush pint! and to PJ Finnerty for his loyalty to the club and long term faithful following. Although Crowe himself, couldn’t play today due to a knee injury it is a testament to the lad himself, who has kept himself in such fine shape at the tender age of 40 and was pivotal to the team throughout the season with the finest defending when it mattered most and to top it all, he is a modest model of integrity himself.
Crowe nailed it in his speech, for it is difficult to imagine, what if anything else Gerry Moran could have extracted from this remarkably talented bunch of players who played all games this season to an almost professional standard. Lads trying to juggle other sports, change work shifts to accommodate matches, deferring work start times etc. But it all paid off and what’s more, we’ve had some fantastic memorable games and goals this season and I’m damn certain a memorable night too! The last word would have to go to Gerry Moran, not alone have Hatman been a great sponsor but what a manager, what a relationship he has with this squad, he should be knighted for his services to the game and to Colemanstown United in general. Thanks too to all the loyal supporters who have supported this team all season. Photos compliments of Alicia Flannery & Cora Clancy will be uploaded in the next few days.