Quality shows as Gall’s a class apart

LET’S be blunt. Yesterday’s All-Ireland club final was a very disappointing affair with few positives for fans of the game of football.

The reason? An immense gulf in class and quality between new champions St Gall’s and their Clare opponents.

Despite Stephen Moloney’s expertly-taken early goal for Kilmurry, the writing was on the wall from early on for the Banner outfit. Even then it was obvious which side was going to collect the trophy.

Sometimes footballers and managers can delude themselves and say; “If we could only play them again tomorrow, or next Sunday, the result might be different?”.

In this contest, the result would remain the same.

Indeed if St. Gall’s were a bit more ruthless and went for goals instead of taking points on a few occasions, there could have been a greater margin between the sides at the final whistle.

The Clare man I would give most credit to yesterday was goalkeeper, Dermot O’Brien. He made a number of outstanding saves and was brave and quick thinking when called upon. Without his fantastic individual display, his side would have been on the end of a hammering.

The Antrim men are a very good club team and the pain of their defeat to Salthill in the final four years has driven them on to demand the best of themselves.

Also in Aodhán Gallagher they have a good inter-county midfielder, never mind a club one.

They are very accomplished footballers and for some of their scores, a Kilmurry-Ibrickane man did not even get close to laying his hand on the ball, or even getting a tackle on the opposition.

Their support play is marvellous and they build from the back at high speed, before trying to find the likes of CJ McGourty, Rory Gallagher and Kevin Niblock.

St Gall’s won the All-Ireland 7s competition in 2008 and you could see why yesterday. All their players from Ronan Gallagher up to Kieran McGourty are very comfortable in possession and they use it very well.

IT IS a credit to Kilmurry-Ibrickane’s battling qualities that they kept the difference at the final whistle to five points and that was due to a number of courageous individual efforts.

Despite being overrun from out the field, Martin McMahon tried manfully to keep CJ McGourty’s influence to a minimum. Enda Coughlan held the middle as well as he could, but when you are playing behind a beaten midfield that is never easy to do.

Paul O’ Connor and Peter O’Dwyer will be very disappointed with their displays yesterday and both the St. Gall’s midfielders scored from play.

Declan Callinan did make a few sallies up the field but not a lot came off them and Stephen Moloney was probably the pick of the forwards.

Johnny Daly did get on some ball, but his lack of genuine pace meant he was never a real threat to the Gall’s full-back line of Paul Veronica, Andrew McClean and team captain Colin Brady who were imperious throughout.

It is probably the end of the road for some of the Kilmurry players at this level and old warriors like Odhran O’Dwyer will find it a long road to try and keep playing senior football. He appeared to pull his hamstring at the finish yesterday and often the body will tell you what the heart does not want to hear.

Their eloquent manager Micheál McDermott is doing fabulous work with the Clare seniors at present too and they are unbeaten in Division Four of the National Football League.

It is unlikely that he will remain in a dual role for the coming season, so it will be interesting to see if either of his selectors Ger McCarthy or Martin Cahill take the job.

Defeat yesterday will have been a bitter pill for the Kilmurry players to take, however no more then Portumna in the hurling decider, sometimes you have to take it on the chin and accept that you were beaten by a better team on the day.

I have no doubt whatsoever but that St Gall’s are one of the better teams to win an All-Ireland club title and they look like a side who could come out of Ulster again and challenge for another Andy Merrigan or two.

Kilmurry have had a great run and there is no shame in trying your guts out and getting beaten by the better outfit.

It happens all the time.

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