Hastings Cup Win for Leitrim Following Tremendous Second Half Performance
Leitrim 3-10 Laois 1-14
It certainly didn’t look likely after 11 minutes of this Hastings Cup Under 21 Round 3 match in Portarlington yesterday that there would be joy for the young Leitrim players on their homeward journey as the Laois men stormed into a six point to no score advantage. However, once they got going, and particularly in the second half, it would have been a travesty had their efforts been thwarted. As it was, the match ended in controversial circumstances as a late Laois free, the last kick of the game ended up in the net, but was ultimately disallowed by the match referee for a square infringement. So it was the Leitrim lads who took the spoils to record their first victory in this year’s competition, and given that they lost last week’s match to a free in the dying seconds, it was fitting that they held on this occasion.
Two points each by Tom Shields and Adam Farrelly and a point each by Evan Keane and James Moore had the home side in total control as described. Conor Gaffney with goal and Nicholas Moore with a point stopped the rot as Laois added further scores through Keane and Dean Mahon to lead by double scores. That a goal is sometimes worth more than three points was surely demonstrated in this match as influential substitute Gary Plunkett found the net for Leitrim and these majors were certainly keeping the visitors in touch. As it was Moore and Keane added further points for the home side as Conor Gaffney responded for Leitrim and the teams entered the changing rooms the Leitrim lads were only two behind.
Half time: Laois 0-10 Leitrim 2-2
nÓgel Murphy and Keane with points doubled the Laois lead on the resumption but Leitrim’s response was immense. Another substitute, Oisin MaddenÓgoaled and Plunkett pointed to level matters for the first time. Donal Wrynne, with a point, gave Leitrim the lead and James Rooney added to this slender advantage with a further point. Laois were not finished yet and struck with a goal of their own to wrestle back the lead courtesy of Niall Mullins. Plunkett equalised and this game was really in the melting point. An exchange of points from Leitrim’s Daire Farrell and Laois’s Evan Keane had matters tied up again before Leitrim stretched for home. A brace of points from Plunkett and pointed free from Wrynne to which Owen Beggy replied had Leitrim two up facing into the last kick of the match as described earlier.
So, all in all, an excellent win for young Leitrim men following their second visit in a week to Portarlington, albeit the Laois side of the Barrow this time and maintains the sides interest in the destination of the 2015 Hastings Cup.
Leitrim: Diarmuid McKiernan, James Mitchell, Enda Fowley, Keelan McHugh, Michael Clancy, Gary Butler, Jack de Lacy, Declan Daly, Felim McHugh, Daire Farrell (0-1), Nicholas Moore (0-1), James Rooney (0-1), Kevin Shanley, Donal Wrynne (0-2), Conor Gaffney (1-1). Subs used: Gary Plunkett (1-4), Dean McGovern, Oisin Madden (1-0), Kenny Cox, Darragh Gordon.
Laois: Aiden O Reilly, Ciaran Duff, Conor Dunne, Darragh McCauley, Adrian Campbell, Ciaran Lennon, Owen Buggy (0-1), Adam Farrelly (0-3), Dean Mahon (0-1), nÓgel Murphy (0-1), Niall Mullins (1-0), Tom Shields (0-2), James Moore (0-2), Evan Keane (0-4).
18-Jan-15 by Declan Bohan – PRO