Lorcán Daly of Pádraig Pearses holds the cup aloft during the celebrations after his side's victory in the AIB Connacht GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Heroic Padraig Pearses are Connacht champions

Padraig Pearses took an historic Connacht football title this afternoon narrowly overcoming Mayo champions Knockmore at James Stephens Park, Ballina.

A pulsating second half on a crisp afternoon saw Pearses open up a six-point lead at one stage and holding off a Knockmore fightback to secure the win by two points – 1-11 to 1-13.

Padraig Pearses' goal was the very first score of the game as Hubert Darcy scored from the penalty spot. Having taken that early lead, they never relinquished it and at the end of a cagey first half they were 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.

The Roscommon champions were reduced to 14 men for the final 10 minutes of the first half as goalkeeper Paul Whelan was flashed a black card for a hand trip on Orme. Crucially, they only conceded two points during that period of numerical disadvantage while scoring one of their own through the inspirational Paul Carey, the game's outstanding player and scorer of eight points for the new Connacht champions.

Carey's influence grew as the game went on and he landed some superb second-half points as the Roscommon champions kept Knockmore at arm's length and never panicked when the fightbacks were staged.

The Knockmore goal midway through that second half was a tale of two substitutes as Darren McHale – unable to start due to injury – sent a ball towards goal that Charlie Bourke, a first-half replacement for the injured Kieran King, pounced on to reduce the deficit to two points, 1-7 to 1-9.

Pearses went on another burst to land three in a row before Knockmore staged another fightback, again reducing the gap to two – 1-10 to 1-12 – before Tom Butler made it a three-point game again.

With no choice but to go for goal, Knockmore engineered a late chance but Aiden Orme, their top performer on the day, drove the ball just over rather than under the bar, and the final whistle sounded following the resultant kick-out, signalling a 1-13 to 1-11 win for the Woodmount men.