(Aidan Brady Commercial Director of Roscommon GAA – Club Rossie celebrating as his native club Elphin GAA win the shield final in Mervue)

One thing is for certain: Darragh Frain smiled down from above on Saturday. His brother Tom remained the coolest man in Mervue, a love for football and St James’ always evident. This was another day of sport and celebration. From early morning preparations commenced. Every duty was carried out with good humour, Seán O’Toole and David Henry got the fixtures moving. The officials, who generously gave up their time, let the games flow and the action moved along at a decent clip. Darragh Frain’s contribution hasn’t been forgotten and as emerging footballers from across the country demonstrated their skill, he’d have admired the fact that the past, present, and future connected.

(Members of the Elphin Ballinameen club with their sliverware before they made the journey back to Roscommon on the Club Rossie bus).

Three generations of different families watched on, excited about the progress and potential. Glorious days await. It was a tournament when there simply was something for everyone. The Allianz Football League’s record scorer, David Tubridy, guided Doonbeg to some silverware. During 15 years with Clare, Tubridy scored 22-421 in the competition, he is now giving something back to Doonbeg, helping a talented crop of players. That was just one small sub plot at the event. Corofin brought trademark class and left with a trophy. Milltown were spirited and stylish, with former Galway and Kildare footballer James Kavanagh lending his considerable expertise on the line.

(Corofin defeated St. James’ to prevent the hosts from winning the title for 4 years in a row).

Fr Griffins/Éire Óg’s encouraging underage revival is noteworthy too. Griffins versus Corofin in one fixture would have delighted Mick Dolan and others, who kept the flame lit in the proud city club. Times were tough for a while, but hope is returning. Another town team, St Michael’s, were admirably defiant. Brilliant scores landed and decent victories registered. Maigh Cuilinn, the current standard bearers in the Galway senior game, were typically courageous. Clubs travelled from elsewhere in Ireland which remains part of this tournament. Some Enniscorthy players and mentors left Wexford at 6am, but their attitude and spirited approach impressed many.


(David O’Reilly of FGEO on the move against Soni Fifita of St. James’ GAA).

Elphin/Ballinameen departed with silverware too. Aidan Brady, who has made a significant contribution to the GAA in the west, danced a jig of delight following a win. Undoubtedly there was football and fun. The coaches match on Thursday evening set the tone and relaunched a few comebacks. James’ stalwarts, who have provided distinguished service, enjoyed monitoring the U11s. Some had trained teams for the Darragh Frain tournament previously, others have managed for decades. The current panel, under the guidance of Kevin Curran, Seán O’Dowd, Shane Igoe, Justin Moorehouse, Emmet Lee, Alan Wall and John Quirke are busy preparing for the challenges ahead. Valuable lessons were learned during a memorable few hours.

(Members of the St. Michael’s GAA club flying the Roscommon flag high).