Hastings Cup Shield Final
Longford 1 – 14
Leitrim 0 – 15
Despite putting in a massive effort Leitrim U21s came up short at the end of the recent hard fought Hastings Cup Shield final under lights in a rain soaked Drumlish where Longfords more clinical approached and killer instinct carried them to victory at the end.
Leitrim enjoyed a huge amount of dominance in this game but was never able to get sufficiently far ahead of Longford to put the game out of their opponents reach and retain the Hastings Cup Shield that they claimed with an extra time win over the Longford men twelve months ago in Ballymahon.
At different spells in the first half Leitrim opened up gaps of three and five points on Longford. Meanwhile in the second half after coming from behind Leitrim edged into a two points with ten minutes to but thenÓgot piped at the post by a more ruthless Longford at the end.
The Longford men drew first blood when Ronan McGoldrick fired over a 4th minute point. After that Leitrim seized the initiative over the next six minutes to claim a three points lead when Shane Moran hit the target twice with Eoin Ward and Conor Beirne adding a point each. James Noonan tapped over a 12th minute Longford free and Pádraig McCormack shot a point from play two minutes later to reduce Leitrims lead to the minimum. James Carroll received a yellow card in the 17th minute and over the next four minutes Leitrim upped their game again to go five points clear. In this period Kevin Conlan, after being fouled by James Carroll, shot over from a free and then pointed from play while Conor Beirne also converted a free and Philip McGourty found the range from play. In response Longford staged a rally in the final eight minutes of the half that reduced Leitrims advantage to two points by the interval. In this spell James Noonan tapped over two Longford frees and Pauric Gill added a point from play that gave a halftime score line of Leitrim 0 – 8 Longford 0 – 6.
Within 90 seconds of the throw-in Longford had a dream second half start when sub Marty Mulvey finished to the Leitrim net from close range after J. J. Mathews sent a ball across from the left wing into the goalmouth. Longford stretched their lead in the following minute after Diarmuid Cooney hit over a point from play. But the gap between the sides was down to a single point shortly afterwards when Conor Beirne replied with a Leitrim point after getting a pass from Aaron Hickey. Beirne was yellowed carded in the 36th minute and two minutes later J. J. Mathews shot a Longford point while Diarmuid Cooney was the recipient of another yellow card in the 40th minute. Three minutes later Leitrim ‘keeper Philip Farrelly denied a goal bound Longford effort that was shot by the lively J. J. Mathews. Leitrim regained the initiative and got back on level terms by the 46th minute after Kevin Conlan and Sean McNabola whipped over a point apiece during a period when Longfords Fergal Reilly saw yellow. Converted frees by Conor Beirne and Kevin Conlan edged Leitrim into a two points lead by the 49th minute. But after that Longford took the game by the scruff of the neck to level matters in the space of three more minutes and thenÓgrab a three points lead with five minutes remaining.
In this spell Pauric Gill initiated the Longford revival with three well-hit points on the trot while Colm P. Smyth also shot over from play and James Noonan tapped over a free. But Leitrim then came back to reduce Longfords lead to the minimum when Sean McNabola and Aaron Hickey hit over a point each in the 57th and 58th minutes. However Pauric Gill then made Longfords victory secure when he shot a point just before the game entered injury time, which lasted an extra two minutes.
Longford: Paddy Collum, James Carroll, Fergal Battrim, Aaron Quinn, Colm P. Smyth 0 – 1, Shane Mahon, Fergal Reilly, Conor Quaine, DarrenÓgallagher, Pádraig McCormack 0 – 1, Pauric Gill 0 – 5, Diarmuid Cooney, 0 – 1, Ronan McGoldrick 0 – 1, J. Noonan 0 – 4(4f.), J. J. Mathews 0 – 1. Sub Marty Mulvey 1 – 0 for Quaine (HT).
Leitrim: Philip Farrelly, Thomas Cornyn, Mark Beirne, Daragh Flynn, Jason Beirne, Sean McWeeney, Philip McGourty 0 – 1, Niall OConnor, Conor McWeeney, Aaron Hickey 0 – 1, Eoin Ward 0 – 1, Morgan Quinn, Shane Moran 0 – 2, Kevin Conlan 0 – 4(2f.), Conor Beirne 0 – 4(2f.). Subs James OBrien for Beirne (28 mins.), Sean McNabola 0 – 2 for OConnor (30 mins.), Aidan Flynn for McWeeney (55 mins.).
Referee: Ollie Kelly (Roscommon).
Match Report courtesty of PJ Leddy.
02-Mar-11 by Colette Fox – PRO