John O'Keeffe, Daryl Flynn and Damien Coleman won county titles over the weekend.
# Grassroots
New champions emerge, joyous scenes, mass brawl - 5 talking points after Sunday's club action
Castlerahan, Clonoulty-Rossmore, Naomh Eanna and Crossmaglen were some of the teams to lift titles yesterday.

1. Fourth time lucky for new Cavan champions

AFTER LOSING THE last three finals, not many in Cavan would have begrudged Castlerahan their maiden senior football success yesterday. The Ballyjamesduff outfit lost by a point to Kingscourt Stars in the 2015 decider, by two points after a replay to Ramor United in 2016, while Cavan Gaels defeated them by five in last year’s final.

And another defeat looked to be on the cards when they trailed a young Crosserlough side by six points after 45 minutes on Sunday. But this time, Castlerahan refused to be beaten and they powered to victory down the home straight in front of a bumper crowd of 8,469.

Crosserlough have a very young team with an average age of just 21.5, so they’ll draw comfort in the fact they have a bright future ahead of them. But this was Castlerahan’s day. A first crack at the Ulster club championship awaits for them.

2. Another mass brawl mars club game

Video footage of mass brawls at GAA club games have become an almost weekly occurrence. After various scraps took place in Tyrone, Derry and Down over the last few weeks, this time Kerry was the venue for unsavoury scenes in senior football semi-final replay between East Kerry and Dingle.

Three goals from Paul Geaney helped Dingle to an easier than expected win, but the main talking point was the all-out melee that broke out early in the second period. It involved both teams and management officials, leaving some players lying on the turf after receiving blows.

Kerry GAA have said they’ll wait until the referee’s report before they proceed with disciplinary proceedings. Until heavy bans are handed for those involved – without an option to appeal – this problem won’t go away. 

3. Magic of club game still alive 

Clonoulty-Rossmore emerged as unlikely Tipperary champions on Sunday, helping themselves to their first senior crown since 1997. Former Premier panellist Timmy Hammersley scored 0-12 for the underdogs in their win over Nenagh Eire Og and afterwards gave a brilliant interview, highlighting the importance of GAA in rural communities.

John Devane celebrates with his players Ken Sutton / INPHO John Devane celebrates with his Clonoulty-Rossmore players. Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

“It just means so much to the people of Clonoulty and Rossmore,” he told RTÉ Radio 1. “I didn’t want to win it for myself. It’s for the people you grow up with. Rural Ireland has got a lot of bad coverage over the past while, jobs and so on, but you just want to give people something to be happy about.

“You can’t beat your parish and your club and your community. It’s the lifeblood of the whole of Ireland really. What separates Ireland from other countries is the GAA. It’s such a unique thing that brings people together.”

And there were joyous scenes in Gorey last night after Naomh Eanna claimed the first ever Wexford senior hurling title in their history, just six years after they were competing in junior ranks. 

Meanwhile in Kildare, Moorefield lost lifelong supporter and club member Ross Cummins during the summer. The Newbridge club honoured his memory by bringing his young son Harry up to lift the Dermot Burke Cup after their Kildare SFC victory over Athy on Sunday.

4. Mayo parish claim titles in both codes

Cora Staunton grew up playing underage football with Alan Dillon and over the weekend both players were crowned senior champions in Mayo. It was quite the weekend for the parish of Burriscarra as Carnacon and Ballintubber collected the ladies and men’s titles respectively.

Damien Coleman lifts the Paddy Moclair Cup Tommy Grealy / INPHO Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

Carnacon shrugged off a difficult few months of controversy with a 33-point victory against Knockmore, while Ballintubber needed some late heroics from Diarmuid O’Connor to help them over the line in the one-point defeat of Breaffy on Saturday night.

It was Ballintubber’s fourth crown since 2010 and they’ll be targetting a strong performance in Connacht after falling short in the provincial competition in the past.

5. Crossmaglen end famine in Armagh

For a club that won 18 out of 19 county titles between 1996 and 2015, Crossmaglen were conspicuous in their absence from the Armagh roll of honour for the past two seasons. But natural order was restored when Cross regained their crown with a 0-24 to 1-15 victory over Ballymacnab.

Crossmaglen now have 44 titles to their name, a whopping 30 ahead of their nearest rivals Armagh Harps. Incredibly, Cross have won the last 22 Armagh finals they’ve appeared in. Their last defeat in a decider was a 0-6 to 0-4 reverse to Carrickcruppen way back in 1982. Serial winners indeed.

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