Champions Glencar/ Manorhamilton were made to fight every inch of the way by Carrigallen at Pairc Sean MhicDiarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, yesterday in one of the most entertaining and well-attended Leitrim finals in years.
It was a cruel end to Carrigallens dreams of lifting the title for the first time in 66 years, as they fell short by the narrowest of margins in a game that for long periods looked like going their way.
They got off to a dream start when Andrew McManus had the ball in the Glencar/Manor net after just 35 seconds with further points from Ciaran Flynn and Noel Doonan, before Adrian Croal opened the champions account in the eighth minute.
Two Benny ORourke pointed- frees put Carrigallen 1-4 to 0-1 ahead by the 20th minute, but the remainder of the half was all Glencar/Manor, who scored five points without reply to reduce the arrears at half-time, 1-4 to 0-6 in favour of Carrigallen.
A Benny ORourke pointed-free on the resumption extended the Carrigallen lead, but two James Glancy points from play levelled matters and further points from Anthony McDonald and Adrian Croal in the 38th and 39th minute put the defending champions in front for the first time.
But Carrigallen, showing tremendous character and resilience, took the game once more to Glencar/Manor with points from Ciaran Flynn and Gary Reynolds restoring parity going into the final quarter.
Then, with nine minutes remaining, Carrigallen substitute Brian Doyle bundled the ball into the Glencar/Manor net following a period of pressure and a shock looked on the cards.
But that was to be the challengers swansong and three points without reply from Brian McDonald, Gary Hickey and Adrian Croal, coupled with superb defending from a back-line led by man of the match Paddy Maguire, in a frenetic finale, broke Carrigallens hearts to leave the title in North Leitrim for another year.
ScórERS — Glencar/Manorhamilton: J Glancy 0-5 (0-3f), A Croal 0-4, A Hickey, G Hickey, A McDonald, B McDonald, F McGourty 0-1 each. Carrigallen: A McManus, B Doyle 1-0 each, B ORourke 0-3 (0-3f), C Flynn 0-2 (0-1f), N Doonan, G Reynolds 0-1 each.
GLENCAR/MANORHAMILTON — S Sweeney; T McDonald, A OFlynn, P Maguire; S Loughlin, P Gilmartin, D Poinaird; D Sweeney, A Hickey; D Kelly (Capt), C Ryan, B McDonald; A Croal, F McGourty, J Glancy. Subs: J OBrien for S Loughlin, B McDonald for D Kelly, G Hickey for a Hickey, A Sweeney for A McDonald.
CARRIGALLEN— E Lyons; B Reilly, D Flynn, K Ward; T Reynolds, N Doonan (Capt), J P McManus; G Reynolds, C Richardson; M Dolan, E Ward, A McManus; B ORourke, C Flynn, E OMalley. Subs: K Ward for E OMalley, B Doyle for K Ward, M Kerrigan for E Ward.
REF — E OGrady (Drumkeerin).
28-Sep-09 by Irish Independant.ie