Two well worked goals in the first half, 2–6 to 0–4 lead at the break and a commanding display in the last 10 minutes sent us on our way to win the West Board U21 B championship final against Oughterard by 3–9 to 1–9 at Moycullen on Sunday last. It was a well deserved win as we dominated the game except for third quarter when, after a point by Kevin McNamara, Oughterard scored 1–3 without reply to reduce our lead to 3 points and put us under pressure in the face of the strong wind. Spurred on by goal line saves from Barry Donovan and Padraig O’Connell, Claregalway responded to the demands of the occasion with a convincing team display inspired by the efforts of Anthony Monaghan at mid field who used possession to good effect and fired over two points to restore our superiority. His all round contribution when most needed was in a man of the match category, closely followed by Kenny Watson’s dashing performance at corner back. We had our hands on the cup once Damien Fahy grabbed our third goal 3 minutes from time following hard won possession by sub Robert McNamara at top of the right.
The first half was equally enjoyable. A brace of points in the first 5 minutes by Damien Fahy and Niall McGovern was mixed with a series of mixed chances while Oughterard accepted theirs and scored 3 points in the first quarter before Damien Fahy again pointed to level the scores. Our first big breakthrough came in the 20th minute when Anthony Monaghan fielded a high ball outfield and passed to Niall McGovern who had begun his run on the left to shoot a fine goal. Points by Kevin McNamara, Damien Fahy and Brian Holland were followed by a crashing goal near half time by Kevin McNamara from a long clearance by Patrick Stephens touched on by Brian Day. Oughterard scored only one further point in this half.
In our backline Kenny Watson was superb while Padraig Walsh,Sean Campbell, Patrick Stephens and Ronnie Walsh performed with distinction especially when Oughterard piled on the pressure after half time. The Des Joyce cup was presented to team captain Padraig Walsh by Paddy Sweeney, Chairman, West Board. It is ourfirst U21 trophy and we convey congrats to the team and express thanks and appreciation to team managers Fergus Madden and P.J. McGovern on this notable championship success and to Sean Dunleavy and Gary Watson for generous financial sponsorship. It is satisfying to report that all the players have come up through the Juvenile ranks of the club, pointing to promising possibilities for the future.
Team: B. Donovan, K. Watson, P. Walsh, S. Campbell, P.O’ Connell, P. Stephens, R. Walsh, A. Monaghan (0–2), B. Day, A. Moran, K.McNamara (1–2), N. McGovern (1–1), B. Holland (0–1), P. Higgins, D. Fahy (1–3). Subs: B. Cullinane, R. McNamara.
Seán O’ Flannagáin