Hastings Cup Shield Final
Leitrim 1 – 15
Longford 1 – 12 (AET)
Leitrim scored a deserved extra-time win over Longford at the end of a very engaging Hasting Cup Shield Final in Leo Casey Park, Ballymahon on Saturday afternoon last 30/1/10.
Longford took the lead prior to the break and was still ahead as the game entered injury time at the end of normal time until Mark Beirne shot a levelling point for Leitrim, which sent the proceedings to extra-time.
Meanwhile Leitrim dominated the exchanges in the opening eighteen minutes when holding Longford scoreless and tacking on four unanswered points. In this period man-of-the-match, Adrian Croal put over two frees and pointed from play and Kevin Conlan also hit the target from play.
Longford, who were slow to get off the mark, opened their account with a 21st minute Pádraig Gill point from play. However over the next two minutes Longford deservedly got on top after Martin Brady fired over from play and J. J. Mathews rifled to the Leitrim net.
Responding Adrian Croal made it level pegging with a 26th minute point from play. Meanwhile Longford got their noses in front again when J. J. Mathews shot over on the stroke of half-time, to put his side ahead by 1 – 3 to 0 – 5 at the interval.
In the opening seven minutes of the second half Longford maintained their minimum margin advantage after Pádraig Gill and Brian Farrell each exchanged points with Leitrims Kevin Conlan and Brian Farrell.
A single point still separated the sides in the home-sides favour by the 42nd minute after Longfords Brian Farrell converted a well-taken free and Leitrims Shane Flanagan shot over from play.
But over the next four minutes after that Longford grabbed a four points lead thanks to two Brian Farrell points and one from David Faughnan. However Adrian Croal kept Leitrim in touch when he answered with a 48th minute point.
Meanwhile Longfords four points advantage was restored in the 52nd minute when J. J. Mathews found the range from a close-in free. But from there to the finish Leitrim dug deep and got on level terms to pull the game out of the fire.
The lion-hearted Adrian Croal reduced Longfords lead to a mere point by the 57th minute after firing over twice from play and slotting over a free. But still it appeared that Longford might hold on for the win, especially when Eoin Ward blazed a Leitrim goal chance wide in the following minute.
However Leitrim battled on with Adrian Croal working the ball to Mark Beirne in the 62nd minute for Beirne to blast a goal chance over the Longford crossbar and force extra time.
Leitrim got a tonic start just ten seconds after first period of extra time threw-in when Eoin Ward flicked a ball that was sent in from midfield into an unmarked Kevin Conlan, who coolly shot to the net.
Brian Farrell stretched Leitrims lead six minutes later when he hit over. But Fergal Battram answered with a similar score for Longford before the first extra-time period ended, which still left the visitors leading by 1 – 14 to 1 – 11 at the interval.
In the final period of extra-time Longford pounded the visitors posts after Martin Brady reduced Leitrims lead to two points when he converted an opening minute free. But Longford failed to add to their tally after that Leitrim held out for the win, which was made more secure on the stroke of full time with an Adrian Croal point.
Leitrim: Philip Farrelly, James OBrien, David Tiernan, Seán McWeeney, Morgan Quinn, Conor McCauley, Jason Byrne, Keith Moran, Niall OConnor, Eoin Ward, Mark Beirne 0 – 1, Emmet Mahon, Kevin Conlan 1 – 2, Shane Flanagan 0 – 1, Adrian Croal 0 – 9. Subs Brain Farrell 0 – 2 for Mahon (36 mins.), Aaron Hickey for McWeeney (49 mins.), Eamon Reynolds for Quinn (52 mins.).
Longford: Mikie McGuinness, Fergal Reilly, Kevin Diffley, Anthony Watters, Colm P. Smyth, David Faughnan, Fergal Battram, Shane Powell, Martin Brady, Pádraig Gill, John Sheridan, Paul McKeon, Ronan McIntyre, Brian Farrell, J. J. Mathews. Subs Denis McGoldrick for McIntyre (39 mins.), Bernard Sheridan for McKeon (41 mins), Paul Devine for Watters (44 mins.), Fiachra Byrne for Smyth (67 mins.), McKeon for Mathews (69 mins.).
Referee: Declan Hunt (Roscommon).
05-Feb-10 by Colette Fox – PRO