2015 Under 21 Hastings Cup Semi Final
Galway 0-15 Leitrim 1-11 (After extra time)
Leitrim bowed out of this year’s Hastings Cup Competition after an absorbing contest with provincial rivals Galway in Oliver Lynch GAA Park, Abbeylara, yesterday afternoon. It was a game which had everything, heart, skill, endeavour and as close at all changeovers as you could wish for. Unfortunately, from Leitrim a perspective it was the men in maroon who took the spoils with a point from ace full forward Gary Kelly two minutes into extra time added time and they will progress to a meeting with Roscommon in this year’s final. The sides were level at full time, half time extra time and indeed with ten minutes of the second half extra time played and surely nobody would have begrudged the players who contributed handsomely to this match another day out to separate them.
Galway were quick into their stride from the off and two points from Eamonn BrannÓgan and Paul Mannion had them into an early lead. However two pointed Donal Wrynne frees restored parity. Barry McHugh restored Galway’s advantage with a brace of pointed frees from out on the right and to best illustrate the ultimate end to end nature of this match throughout, Leitrim responded with pointed frees from Wrynne and Conor Gaffney. Gary Plunkett had the final say of the half with Leitrim’s first point from play to give his team the slenderest of interval leads.
The second half commenced with a Galway onslaught. Three points from full forward Gary Kelly and one from wingback Kieran Molloy had the Tribesmen three to the good before Conor Gaffney got Leitrim’s second half account moving with a point. Kelly with a fisted point restored Galway’s three point lead before Felim McHugh with a huge score reduced the deficit and set up a purple patch for his team. With momentum having swung his teams way Donal Wrynn finished to the net and Gaffney pointed again to open up a two point lead with five minutes remaining. However Galway were not be outdone and points from Joe Donnellan and BrannÓgan sent the tie to extra time.
Gaffney, from play, and Wrynne with a 45 set Leitrim up early in the first period of extra time. Donnellan and Ger Gibbons responded similarly as two earnest and energetic teams tried to grab a stranglehold on the contest. Level again after the first period of extra time!
It was anybody’s game at this stage and as respective managements introduced new energy into the contest in order to try claim the ultimate advantage and the match swung from end to end. Kelly from play stuck Galway’s nose ahead with three to play but Wrynne with a pointed levelled again with a free and time was up. There was however another play and that man Kelly proved the hero for Galway and there was time for no more.
So the Hastings Cup campaign for Leitrim is over and as Shane Ward and his management team reflect, they will know that they have a squad of competitive, energetic and skilful players to work over the next six weeks as we look forward to the Connacht Under 21 Championship match with Mayo in Castlebar on Wednesday March 11th.
Leitrim: Diarmuid McKiernan, Enda Fowley, Gary Butler, Keelan McHugh, Michael Clancy, Jack De Lacy, Oisin Madden, Felim McHugh (0-1), Mark Plunkett, James Rooney, Conor Gaffney (0-3), Nicholas Moore, Niall Brady, Donal Wrynne (1-6), Gary Plunkett (0-1). Subs used: Dean McGovern, Aaron McLoughlin, Luke Murphy, StephenÓgilheaney, Gary Fowley.
Galway: Tadhg O Malley, Darren Moran Jack Wyndam, Luke Burke, Adrian Nolan, Brian Shaughnessy, Kieran Molloy (0-1), Michael Daly, Eoghan Stenson, Joe Donnellan (0-2), Eamonn BrannÓgan (0-1), Colin Brady, Barry McHugh (0-3), Gary Kelly (0-6), Paul Mannion (0-1). Subs used: Enda Walshe, Eoghan Kerin, Paddy Kitt, Ger Gibbons (0-1), Niall Lee, James Kennedy, Noel McDonagh.
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford)
25-Jan-15 by Declan Bohan – PRO