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Westport GAA

All Ireland Intermediate Champions 2017

St Patrick’s Westport (Mayo) 2-12

St Colmcille’s (Meath) 3-8

Westport became the first ever club from Mayo to lift the All-Ireland intermediate title after a remarkable game of football.

The Mayo champions looked home and hosed when Oisin McLoughlin bagged his second goal on 51 minutes, but an unlikely St Colmcille’s fightback almost forced extra-time.

They hit 1-2 between the 57th and 65th minute, with former underage soccer star Jack Reynolds converting a penalty, as this dramatic encounter went right down to the final few seconds.

Ultimately though Westport pulled through by the skin of their teeth, and for once a Mayo team left an All-Ireland final in Croker the right side of a narrow result.

It was no more than the winners deserved. They lost county defender Kevin Keane to an injury after seven minutes, but rallied impressively and looked to be out of sight on a number of occasions.

Westport led by 0-8 to 0-1 points after 27 minutes but to their credit St Colmcille’s never lost their fight and, with Graham Reilly and Ben Brennan influential, they made their way back into the game.

Westport, who were relegated from senior ranks in 2014, boast a talented young side with four-time All-Star and 2016 Footballer of the Year Keegan their oldest player at just 27.

Leaving Cert students Colm Moran and Oisin McLoughlin did the damage in the full-forward line. Two-goal hero McLoughlin was a late replacement for Ronan Geraghty in attack and it proved an inspired decision by his manager Damien Loftus.

Moran, a Mayo minor in 2016, kicked 0-4 from play and looks like a promising attacking option for the county seniors. Stephen Rochford could do worse than taking a look at him in the coming league campaign.

Elsewhere for the winners, 25-year-old midfielder Shane Scott performed admirably on the big occasion, scoring four points, including three from play.

It’s the last game of football 34-year-old Niall Ronan will feature in for St Colmcille’s. The former flanker who managed over 100 appearances for Munster during his career, has been dogged by a persistent knee injury and went to great lengths to ensure his fitness for today.

The sides were level at 0-1 apiece after a cagey opening ten minutes, before Westport took control and kicked eight unanswered scores with Moran and Fionn McDonagh causing serious damage.

Reilly showed off his searing pace in the 28th minute when he raced through the heart of the Westport defence and gave a slick no-look pass to Cathal Hillard who finished to the net.

 

Westport led by 1-9 to 1-3 at the interval but the Meath men looked far sharper after the restart. Brennan and Reilly pulled back a score apiece before they combined for a three-pointer.

Lee Keegan was fortunate not to pick up a black card for pulling back Reilly, but St Colmcille’s were celebrating moments later as Reilly’s free hit the upright and bounced perfectly for Brennan to slot home.

Westport responded in the perfect manner, posting 1-2 in the next ten minutes with McLoughlin doubling his goal tally after great approach play from Moran.

The Mayo men looked to be out of sight, but a needless body check in the area by Patrick O’Malley on Robbie McCloskey gave St Colmcille’s a glimmer of light.

Another black card for a Mayo goalkeeper at HQ soon followed, and sub Arron Dunne was unable to stop a clinical finish from Reynolds.

Eoin Woods and Ben Brennan reduced the gap to one, but St Colmcille’s ran out of time and couldn’t find that equaliser.

Scorers for St Patrick’s Westport: Oisin McLoughlin 2-0, Shane Scott 0-4 (0-1f), Colm Moran 0-4, Fionn McDonagh 0-3 (0-2f), Phil Keegan 0-1.

Scorers for St Colmcille’s: Ben Brosnan 1-2, James Conlan 1-0, Jack Reynolds 1-0 (1-0 pen), Graham Reilly 0-3 (0-2f), Ciaran Kelly 0-1 (0-1f),