A large Colemanstown contingent, still buzzing from the FAI Club of the Year accolade the night before, turned out to see our O35’s play Ballinasloe in the Masters League decider in Ballinasloe on Saturday evening. Children, parents and supporters provided plenty of vocal support as well as handmade banners to cheer on their Dads who simply required all 3 points to claim the title. Ballinasloe dominated the early possession but Colemanstown’s defence stood up to every wave of attack and on the rare chance they broke through, custodian Kevin Sayers did well having to stretch on a few occasions.
It was mid way through the 1st half before Colemanstown started to play some nice football with Sean Walsh and Garry O’Grady pulling the strings in midfield thereby creating a few chances for Gerry Grady but he was unable to capitalise. Padraig Quirke and Sean Walsh pushed forward on every opportunity but Ger Grady was unable to finish an opportune chance when he got on to a through ball, beat the keeper to it while Quirke narrowly missed the tap in at the butt of the post although the angle was quite difficult as the pace of the ball got away from him. Both sides went in at the break 0-0.
The 2nd half started with a high a tempo as Colemanstown tried to catch Ballinasloe on the hop but their No. 5 was on fire with an exceptional bicycle kick in defence at one stage. Then out of nowhere, the ever youthful Padraig Quirke who covered every inch of green blade on the pitch, had a speculative shot from midfield which went all the way to the net. Quirky will tell his kids he saw the keeper a few yards off his line, others will say it was pot luck, while some will say it was meant as a delivery but in essence, it matters least once it hit the net. He received a rapturous applause and was so deserving of the goal for his constant running, workrate and energy alone.
Colemanstown made a few changes after the goal to freshen the team. Kerrill Lally, Cian O’Toole, Andy Concannon & Niall Rohan were introduced. Ballinasloe upped their game and our backs were to the wall for the last 10 minutes with Stam, Kerrill Lally & Cian O’Toole powerful in defence. Cian O’Toole & Kerrill Lally whipped the ball off the goal line & Quirky hacked it away following a late Ballinasloe corner. The hosts hit the bar and the ball bounced on the line while the Ballinasloe boys were certain the ball crossed the line, the ref thankfully waved play on. Andy Concannon had a good chance from a free kick that fizzed past the post late on. Credit to the Colemanstown lads, they stayed calm and focused in a nervy final 5 minutes which saw the Ballinasloe keeper and a defender receive 2 red cards for abusive language.
In the end, Colemnastown held out but just about and in truth it was great to see how much this meant to the Colemanstown masters. Garry O’Grady who flew home from holidays especially for the match accepted the cup on behalf of his team mates and made a rousing speech, thanking the Roscommon District league for accepting them into the Masters League while he also thanked his own group of players and Colemanstown United Committee for their hard work on winning the Club of the Year award as the best grassroots team in the nation for 2019.
The O35’s had a welcome homecoming back to Burke’s alongside the Committee where bonfires were alight and the Masters sang to their hearts content until the early hours…. Quirky’s on fire… 5 Cups and Club of the Year in 2019. Not a bad season at all I must add…. The definition of ‘Pure’ happiness and it’s not a fairytale…..
Squad: Kevin Sayers, Peter Kelly, Gary Broderick, Adrian Burke, Ross Sullivan, Andy Concannonn, Paul O’Connor, Tommy Kelly, Eanna Daly, Cian O’Toole, Kenny Duane, Eoghan Barrett, Garry O’Grady, Barry Forde, Padraig Quirke, Aiden Corcoran, Niall Rohan, Ger Grady, Sean Walsh, Kerrill Lally, Alan Walsh.
Photos show jubilant Captain Garry O’Grady lifting the Masters Cup and manager Barry Forde with a good luck banner drawn up by his children. You can just about see Spiderman on the left of the poster; he did help out the lads on the day…..