AIB All-Ireland Club Football Final result:
AN GHAELTACHT (Kerry) 0-12, CALTRA (Galway) 0-13
Caltra have won their first AIB All-Ireland Club football title and a second ever for their county Galway, as the Meehan brothers, Michael, Noel and Declan scored all but one of their points in a 0-13 to 0-12 win over An Ghaeltacht at Croke Park.
It was man-of-the-match Michael Meehan who stole the show as his six points (5frees), added to his 4-13 in previous rounds, saw the Connacht champions victorious.
In front of an official attendance of 38,500, the Kingdom side looked shaky in the early exchanges hitting wides through Pol O Cuinn, Aodhan MacGearailt and Dara O Cinneide (2) before Caltra half back Declan Meehan meandered forward on 5 minutes to open the scoring.
His brother Michael pointed two frees on 8 and 11 minutes, with Robaird MacGearailt replying, as the Connacht men opened a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. An Ghaeltacht rallied with MacGearailt spotting Conal Crowley in space for the half forward to score.
Midfielder Dara O’Se stroked beautifully through the ball and over to level on 16 minutes.
Two frees from captain Noel Meehan (17, 26 minutes) added to his excellent 20th minute effort, when he ghosted inside Sean Sheehy, but Caltra should have ended the half bolstered by a goal, had Shane Hogan not blazed over from close range when the Galway side enjoyed a three-on-two overlap on 25 minutes.
Caltra half forward Brian Laffey also had a goal chance saved at point-blank range by Pat Healy three minutes later.
Both Daithi MacGearailt and Tomas O Se received yellow cards, but An Ghaeltacht ended the half in front, with seven of their players pointing – including Tomas Connor and half back Ronan Flaherty, as they reduced a 0-7 to 0-5 deficit into a 0-8 to 0-7 lead by the whistle, with Robaird MacGearailt’s second of the half in stoppage time.
O Cinneide had been wayward in the first half but scorched over a long-range effort a minute into the second period. Two Michael Meehan frees on 33 and 37 minutes, the second from a tight right angle, levelled up at 0-9 apiece.
Kevin Kilroy saved Aodhan MacGearailt’s goal shot on 41 minutes into his chest, and an opportunistic score from Noel Meehan put Caltra back in front with a quarter of an hour left.
Connor replied two minutes later with what would be An Ghaeltacht’s last score until the final minute.
Teenage forward Meehan hit back with a 45-metre free, and another on 54 minutes after Sheehy had fouled Noel Meehan, and the captain fisted over seconds later, with the aid of the post, to put a goal between the sides.
O Cinneide hit over a final two points, but it was too little, too late as the Andy Merrigan Cup was Galway-bound.
Scorers: An Ghaeltacht: D O Cinneide 0-4 (3f), R MacGearailt, T Connor 0-2 each, C Crowley, D O Se, A MacGearailt, R Flaherty 0-1 each
Caltra: M Meehan 0-6 (5f), N Meehan 0-5 (2f), D Meehan, S Hogan 0-1 each
An Ghaeltacht: P O hEalaithe; S MacSithigh, M O Se, D MacGearailt; R O Flatharta, T O Se, B Breathnach; D O Se, P O Cuinn; C O Dubhda, R MacGearailt, T O Conchuir; C O Cruadhlaoich, D O Cinneide, A MacGearailt.
Caltra: K Kilroy; J Murray, E Meehan, B Kilroy; D Meehan, K Galvin, O Kelly; T Meehan, D Cunniffe; B Laffey, J Galvin, M Killilea; M Meehan, N Meehan, S Hogan.