The spacious and idyllic GAA Grounds of Cumann Séamus Ó Máille Uachtar Ard were resplendent in summer sunshine for the annual Supermacs-sponsored Cumann na mBunscol, Connemara Divisional Finals on June 11.
While a festive atmosphere may have prevailed for the duration of the proceedings, it certainly didn’t detract from the intensely competitive nature of over 40 finals.
These featured a host of schools from the club jurisdictions of Renvyle, Gráinne Mhaols, Naomh Feichín, Carna-Cashel, Na Piarsaigh, Clonbur, Oughterard, Killannin and Moycullen.
In the Boys Division One competition, Clifden appeared on the verge of winning the Thomas Sailor Flaherty Memorial Cup for the very first time when they led Oughterard by two points entering the final minute.
The Corribsiders struck two goals, however, to wrestle victory from the jaws of defeat.
In the Girls equivalent, Roscahill proved too strong for Leenane/Eagles Nest in the Mary Canning Memorial Cup Final. John Connolly’s charges (who earlier this year also became the first Connemara school ever to win the Girls INTO/GAA County Mini Seven title) completed a notable double with a well-deserved 4-5 to 1-5 victory.
Elsewhere, throughout the other six divisions, there was a fair geographical spread of honours across the greater Connemara region and although some teams were ultimately destined to feel the acute pain of defeat, the overall collective sense of pride and passion in the Gaelic sporting experience was palpable, and the fantastic product that is Gaelic football was there for all to savour.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend a sincere word of thanks to Oughterard GAA executive committee, to Ollie Lee, pitch co-ordinator and his auxiliaries, to the women of Oughterard GAA who provided much needed refreshments, to the teachers and coaches who prepared their teams so diligently, to Emily Culhane (Supermacs), to the Cumann na mBunscol Conamara Sub-Committee (too many to mention) who will meet again in September to carry out a full review. Last, but certainly not least, thanks to the players themselves who displayed great spirit, discipline and no little skill in all their footballing endeavours.