Gloucestershire claim their first-ever Junior Provincial Football title

Updated: November 4, 2015
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Cardiff was the setting on Sunday last for a truly historic day in the annals of Gloucestershire GAA as St. Colmcilles hosted the All Britain Junior Football Final. The boys from Wales & West had taken the long road through the back door to the final, playing what was their 5th game of the championship. On the other hand Warwickshire entered the final without playing a game after a series of walkovers in previous rounds. In fact the Warwickshire side looked not too eager to enter the championship themselves as they took to the field 25 minutes after the scheduled start.

When the game did commence Gloucestershire had the brightest of beginnings with Timmy O’Loughlin dominant in midfield kicking 3 early points. Warwickshire kept in touch with a few scores of their own to leave the half time score at 6 points to 4 in favour of Gloucestershire. In the second half St. Nicks Noel Roche pointed from several close range frees as Gloucestershire dominated. Western Gaels Aussie Phil Brash played his role at centre forward and victory was sealed when substitute Keiran O’Connor fisted a long range free into the net. After the goal the Warwickshire heads dropped and Gloucestershire comfortably saw out the game.

The Cardiff lads again played there part with Rowley scoring another well taken point, Murphy pointed and came into the game as he ventured out the field to win numerous balls, Merthyr lad Josh Long worked tirelessly at wing forward. In the backs, Des Gilleran saw his final cut short by injury, while Doyler now at full back and Fergus O’Neill in goals enjoyed a relatively quiet outing as the game was closed out. The final score ended Gloucestershire 1-12 Warwickshire 0-7.

Amongst triumphant scenes Brian McCarthy of West Cork had the honour to be the first Gloucestershire Captain to lift aloft The Sam Maguire Cup aloft in victory, pleasing those in attendance with an cúpla focal. As part of his thanks he gave special consideration to those who have put the work and effort into the county in years gone by and for keeping the county alive during the hard days. Today was also there day. Amongst them were Cardiff’s Mick Power who noted that during his 45 years as a player and administrator for St. Colmcilles and Gloucestershire he thought he would never see the day when Gloucestershire would take the provincial title.

It was indeed a proud day for a small county who upset the odds. They now await the winners of Dublin or Meath in the All Ireland series, with Gloucestershire having home advantage. This does truly provide the Wales and West region with a fantastic opportunity to utilise this event for promotion of gaelic games in Britain outside of the established London and Birmingham strongholds. 

In such a small county many of the gaels wear two hats and none so prevalent as the men who led the team to victory during their first year in charge. Manager ‘Small Phil’ O’Connor is also the county GDA and coach Ryan O’Neill is the current county chairman. These two men have provided the platform for this success. In some respects the size of the county with only 3 senior teams has aided the closeness within the squad.

Surely a great league and Championship season is ahead now within the county as the hunger for further success will continue in the season ahead. There will be a county board meeting in the next few days to establish revised league fixtures and hopefully those games will get off the ground as soon as possible.

– Shane Galvin

Date Added: 27th June 2008

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