Garadice Gaels last Friday night completed the minor double when they beat St Manachans in the league final having already emerged victorious in the championship earlier in the season.
MINOR LEAGUE FINAL
GARADICE GAELS 1-11
ST MANACHANS 0-8
It was tough on St Manachans who had a bright start to the game but were dealt a cruel blow when two members of their half-back line, John Mulligan and Kevin Kilrane collided with one another while running to gather a loose ball.
Both players had to be substituted after the incident which left both players with nasty injuries.
Having to play without two of their most influential players for the remaining three quarters of the game was always going to be a tough challenge for the St Monichans players and while they gave their all, Garadice Gaels did enough to claim victory.
St Manachans had started the game impressively and opened up a two point lead inside the opening six minutes.
Conor Beirne opened the Scóring with a free and Shane Quinn doubled the advantage after winning possession himself and completing the job with a well taken point.
Although Brian Fee pulled a point back for Garadice Gaels St Monichans were the dominant force at this early stage of the game and opened up a three point lead after Mark Beirne and Domhnaill OFlynn pointed.
With the game being played at a good pace and with plenty of exciting football on display the contest was delicately poised.
Unfortunately for St Manachans they were dealt a cruel blow when John Mulligan and Kevin Kilrane collided with one another. Both players were fully committed to getting the ball and whether either of them was dazzled by the floodlights is unclear. What was clear was that they were both hurt to such an extent that they were unable to continue and an ambulance was called to further assist the injured players.
With the game being held up for some time, it was hardly surprising that when it restarted the game lacked the same intensity.
Shane Flanagan pointed and Conor Beirne exchanged pointed frees, but Garadice Gaels finished the half the stronger of the sides with Shane Flanagan Scóring three further points from frees.
St Manachans registered only one score during that period with Conor Beirne also on target from a free.
On the stroke of half-time, Garadice Gaels almost gave themselves a massive psychological boost but were denied what seemed a certainÓgoal whenÓgoalkeeper Emmet Higgins produced an outstanding save.
CiaranÓgilheany ran at the heart of the St Manachans defence before playing a perfectly timed pass towards Ryan Creamer. Creamer flicked the ball first time towards the goal with his palm and it seemed certain as though the games opening goal had been scored.
However, Higgins had other ideas and made a great save, diving to his left and pushing the ball on to the post.
The half-time whistle sounded shortly afterwards and no doubt both sets of players would have been happy with the chance to regroup and get some instructions from their mentors.
With the second half barely four minutes old, Garadice Gaels Dermot Holohan pointed from 40 meters to level the scores at six points apiece.
Having drawn level, Garadice Gaels came very close to taking the lead for the first time but were once again denied by a great save from Emmet Higgins.
Ronan McCartin turned and shot quickly and once again it seemed as though Garadice Gaels were destined to score a goal. However, once again Higgins was up to the task as he produced another outstanding save.
At the other end St Monichans Michael OConnor capitalised on a poor clearance by the Garadice Gaels goalkeeper Colin Maguire. OConnor claimed possession of the ball and his shot sailed between the uprights to restore the lead for St Monichans.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining St Manachans held a slender one point advantage but in those remaining 20 minutes the team from Drumreilly and Aughawillan were the stronger of the sides and stepped up the pace of the contest.
A Shane Flanagan free drew the sides level once again, before Flanagan scored an excellent individual point to give his side the lead for the first time.
A Ryan Creamer point extended Garadice Gaels lead and although St Monichans were only trailing by two points with 16 minutes of the game remaining, Garadice Gaels were beginning to look like a team who believed they were on course for victory.
St Manachans on the other hand were beginning to run out of ideas and fell further behind when Morgan Quinn pointed.
A Conor Beirne free with seven minutes remaining reduced the deficit to two points, but there was to be no grandstand finish as St Manachans failed to add to their tally while Garadice Gaels struck for a goal and a point.
After Brian Fee scored a very good point, Garadice Gaels made sure of victory when Shane Flanagan launched a dangerous high ball towards the St Monichans goal. Emmet Higgins did very well initially to deal with the testing ball, but the rebound fell kindly to Ciaran Gilheaney and from close range he made no mistake and duly scored the games only goal.
Whether or not the injuries to Kevin Kilrane and John Mulligan were what ultimately swung the game in favour of Garadice Gaels cannot be said definitively. What can be said is that in tough conditions and after a good game of football Garadice Gaels were the better side, but only just.
Colin Maguire, Anthony Holohan, Kevin McTague, Fionnbarr Quinn, Noel Plunkett, Dermot Holohan (0-1), Fergal Mitchell, Shane Flanagan (0-6), Morgan Quinn (0-1), Brian Fee (0-2), Sean Flanagan, Ronan McCartin, Aiden Dolan, CiaranÓgilheany, Ryan Creamer (0-1). Subs: Padraig Dolan for Dolan (53 mins), DamienÓgrimes for Fee (58 mins)
Emmet Higgins, Jonathan Beirne, Gabriel Egan, Mathew Bohan, John Mulligan, Kevin Kilrane, Michael OConnor (0-2), Mark Beirne (0-1), Niall Flynn, Shane Quinn (0-1), Niall OBrien, Domhnaill Flynn, Conor Beirne (0-4), Paul Reynolds, Conor Beirne. Subs: Alan Armstrong and Ronan Reynolds for Kilrane and Mulligan (15 mins), Lee Cassles for P Reynolds (45 mins), SeanÓgildea for Shane Quinn (53 mins).
Referee: Eamon OGrady
This full report is available thanks to Philip Rooney and the Leitrim Observer
– its available in this weeks
27-Nov-08 by Philip Rooney – LeitrimObserver.ie