'Glory days' as Chorca Dhuibhne seal double
Pobalscoil CD1-12 Roscommon CBS 2-5 Masita Hogan Cup Final
Two clubs, two Hogan Cups and, at last count, 222 boys in the school. Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne aren't just punching above their weight in schools football, they are producing teams of the highest calibre.
It wasn't until the 54th-minute introduction of Lispole's Ryan O Mainnin that a club other than An Ghaeltacht and Dingle was represented on the field. It was also the period of the game where PCD took control, rattling off the last five points of the game to run out deserved winners in a cagey and tactical affair.
It was by no means straightforward for the defending champions. Conor Shanagher's 52nd-minute goal put Roscommon a point to the good and their willingness to get bodies behind the ball had frustrated the Kerry school to the point where they hit 14 wides over the hour.
PCD seemed to have the better of things for most of the afternoon though they could never put any real daylight between themselves and Roscommon CBS.
They had led by four points at one stage in the first half after Sean O Gairbhia goaled but Roscommon recovered and worked a major of their own. While Roscommon put numbers behind the ball, they also attacked in waves and worked a goal through Kilbride youngster Shanagher to leave it 1-3 each at the break.
It had been a forgettable half of football which had followed the recent 'safety first' trend. But as the second half wore on gaps began to appear.
Noel Gately operated alone up front for Roscommon for large parts of the game and he worked a goal chance only to shoot wide shortly after the restart.
PCD dominated possession but they couldn't stretch the gap to more than two points and when Shanagher grabbed his second, it looked like they would be left to rue those wides.
But the Kerry boys had already been through the mill in this campaign. They won a replay to collect a fourth consecutive Corn Ui Mhuiri earlier this year while they also got through the All-Ireland semi-final after extra-time.
And when cool heads were needed, Cathal O Bambaire, O Muircheartaigh (twice), O Geibheannaigh and O Brosnachain all rattled off scores to see them run out winners.
"We were under pressure after the second goal," PCD manager Ciaran O Morain agreed afterwards. "Was it gone? I don't know. We've been there before this year. These guys have a habit of not doing stuff the easy way. There was no panic setting in, we just had to steady it down and we needed to get a score to get level.
"These guys are experienced, they are around a while and they have a lot of experience of tight games as well and it stood to them.
"We had the drawn game in the Corn Ui Mhuiri, extra-time in the semi-final and then that there. How could you ask for any more battle-hardened than that? It stood to them."
Roscommon had come with a plan. Their previous three outings had seen them concede an average of less than eight points a game and while it wasn't pretty, it almost yielded the ultimate prize.
If they had won, it would have been a remarkable story in itself. They had only opted up to 'A' this year, despite not having won as a group at 'B' level. It was a calculated gamble that at least would have exposed their players to a higher standard of football. They fell short by only a few minutes.
Instead it was Kerry who collected another All-Ireland. A handful of the PCD players have now won a minor All-Ireland with Kerry sandwiched between two Hogan cups.
Captain Marc O Conchuir was one of those but insisted there'd be no celebrations as he leads out the Kingdom minors against Clare on Wednesday.
O Morain admitted afterwards that, given their numbers, these days couldn't last for the west Kerry outfit. And suggested that down the line perhaps their success would be counted by the number of players who play for the Kerry seniors.
For now, though, he was happy to bask in these "glory days."
"The numbers are small but what we have are obviously good footballers and great clubs feeding into us and great support from the community.
"These are glory days, hopefully they last forever. They are fantastic days for these guys.
"These guys must feel like the Queen of England where everything smells of paint or something. They have an awful lot of silverware collected over the last few years.
"Some of them are starting out in Croke Park, some of them have played here once or twice. My only wish is that they will all play here again at a higher level."
Scorers - PS Chorca Dhuibhne: C O Geibheannaigh 0-5 (3f), S O Muircheartaigh 0-2 (2f), S O Gairbhia 1-1, M O Gormain, B O Beaghlaoich, G O Brosnachain, C O Bambaire 0-1 each.
Roscommon CBS: C Shanagher 2-0, R Hughes 0-3 (2f), N Gately 0-2 (1f).
PS Chorca Dhuibhne - L De Bhailis; C O Suilleabhain, Tomas O Suilleabhain, C O Murchu; A Conchuir, B O Beaghlaoich, Tom O Suilleabhain; Marc O Conchuir, P Mac a'tSithigh; M O Gormain, S O Gairbhia, PJ MacLaimh; C O Bambaire, S O Muircheartaigh, C O Geibheannaigh. Subs: G O Brosnachain for MacLaimh (h-t), R O Mainnin for Mac a'tSithigh (54).
Roscommon CBS - J Fetherstone; S Casey, E Concar, A Whyte; B Mullen, A Duignan, R Hughes; G Keenan, D Cunniffee; A Lyons, J Casey, B Cleary; K Whyte, C Shanagher, N Gately. Subs: R Horan for Concar (h-t), J Brennan for Cleary (41), J McDonald for Cunniffe (48), D Foley for Lyons (55).
Ref - A Nolan (Wicklow)