Pádraig Pearses (Roscommon) 1-13 Knockmore (Mayo) 1-11
Pádraig Pearses were crowned Connacht club senior football champions for the first time with a superb victory against Knockmore at James Stephens Park, Ballina.
Paul Carey was the winners' star man - the corner-forward hit 0-08 over the hour, including five magnificent points from play.
Knockmore, who hit 14 wides, never got into their stride, but their resilience ensured that they were pushing hard for an equaliser as the game ticked into injury time.
However Pearses deservedly held on to rewrite the history books and become the fifth Roscommon team to claim the crown, and the first since St Brigid’s in 2012.
The Roscommon champions enjoyed a dream start when a foul on Niall Carty resulted in a penalty, which was calmly converted by full forward Hubert Darcy.
Pearses were very comfortable during that opening quarter, with the Daly brothers prominent, whereas Knockmore's long-ball tactic clearly wasn’t reaping the desired dividend.
Paul Carey added to Pearses’ advantage with a neat point from play before Knockmore broke their duck through goalkeeper Colm Reape who took advantage of a quick ’45.
Conor Payne, brother of Republic of Ireland soccer international Heather, restored Pearses’ four-point advantage before the water break but there was a noticeable increase in Knockmore’s appetite and intensity on the resumption.
The impressive Aiden Orme converted a mark before Pearses were the authors of their own downfall when goalkeeper Paul Whelan picked up a black card, which resulted in Hubert Darcy going into goal.
Orme added another couple of frees before the break but another magnificent individual score from Carey left Pearses two points ahead, 1-3 to 0-4, at the break.
With Whelan back in goal for the second half, Pearses were superb for the bulk of the third quarter, opening up a 1-9 to 0-5 gap, with Carey hitting five points and Darcy, now back on the edge of the square, also joining in on the act.
Orme and Peter Naughton tagged on scores for Knockmore but when substitute Charlie Burke palmed Darren McHale’s effort from the left wing into the net, it was game on once again at the three-quarter stage.
Pearses needed a settling score and, fittingly, it was Carey who provided it. Joint captain Emmett Kelly marked his introduction with a long-range score before a brainstorming run by Ronan Daly was rewarded with another score as Pearses sensed victory.
To Knockmore’s credit, they never threw in the towel and Orme’s effort, which just whizzed over the crossbar deep into injury time, was as close as they came to an equaliser.
But Pearses held on to savour provincial glory for the first time and set up a date against Kilmacud Crokes in the All-Ireland semi-final at the end of January.
Pádraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Mark Richardson, Anthony Butler, Gavin Downey; Conor Lohan, Ronan Daly (0-01), David Murray; Niall Daly, Conor Daly; Lorcán Daly, Niall Carty, Shane Carty; Conor Payne (0-01), Hubert Darcy (1-01, 1-00 pen), Paul Carey (0-08, 0-03f).
Subs: Caelim Keogh for Downey (3), Tom Butler (0-01) for Lorcán Daly (42), Emmett Kelly (0-01) for Shane Carty (49), Seán Ryan for Keogh (57).
Knockmore: Colm Reape (0-01); Seán Holmes, Adam Naughton, David McHale; Conor Flynn, Kieran King, Marcus Park; Shane McHale, Nathan Armstrong; Connell Dempsey, Aiden Orme (0-05, 0-02f, 0-01m) Kevin McLoughlin; Pearse Ruttledge, James Ruddy, Peter Naughton (0-03).
Subs: Liam Durcan for Ruddy (21), Charlie Bourke (1-00) for King (29), Darren McHale for Park (42), Keith Ruttledge (0-02) for Durcan (57), Kieran Langan for Pearse Ruttledge (60).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway).