Carrigallen went some way towards making up for the disappointment of missing out on the senior championship crown last month when they overcame the challenge of Dromahair in the Shield A Final in Leitrim Village on Saturday afternoon last.
SHIELD A FINAL
With Carrigallens Enda Lyons, Gary Reynolds and Noel Doonan and Dromahairs Paddy McGowan all ineligible to play due to their involvement with the Leitrim senior team this year there was a chance for other players to help their side to victory.
WIth John Evans and Kevin Conlan also unavailable for Dromahair, Carrigallen made the brighter start to the game in conditions which were better than many championship games during the summer.
With Terence Reynolds dominating at midfield and enjoying the advantage of a strong wind, which subsequently faded away, Carrigallen opened the Scóring through Ciaran Flynn in the fourth minute when his expertly flighted free from near the right hand side line sailed between the uprights.
Dromahair equalised within a minute when a fine passing move which began with corner-back Ronan Fowley ended up with Alan Harvey being found in space and he duly converted.
Carrigallen were however, the better side at this stage of the game and their dominance was rewarded when Ciaran Flynn, who has enjoyed an excellent year for Carrigallen scored a goal of real quality.
Having been picked out by Benny ORourke, Flynn looked as though he was going to slot the ball over the bar from close range. However, with goalkeeper Padraig Flanagan off his line, Flynn seized his opportunity and delivered a clever lob over the goalkeepers head and into the Dromahair goal.
A Terence Reynolds point from a 45 a minute later increased the Carrigallen lead to four points and it was beginning to look ominous for Dromahair.
With Carrigallen applying most of the pressure two further efforts went abegging with one of those being a goal chance for Benny ORourke.
The most worrying aspect for Dromahair would no doubt have been the dominance of the Carrigallen midfield as they seemed to win every kickout and were generally better in terms of winning breaking balls, with the powerful Clifford Richardson particularly effective.
Ciaran Flynn and Alan Harvey exchanged pointed frees to keep Carrigallens lead at four points.
Both sides were guilty of poor finishing and decision making in the period that followed with Carrigallen kicking four wides which would have helped open up a healthy lead. Although another Ciaran Flynn free did open up a five point lead, Dromahair were still very much in contention.
Having been outplayed for the best part of 20 minutes, the Dromahair players burst into life when Stephen Smith did very well to pick out Shane Fowley who accurately struck for Dromahairs third point.
That seemed to instil some belief into the Dromahair players and they had further reason to celebrate six minutes before the interval when Declan Fowley struck for a fine individual goal.
The younger of the Fowley brothers beat four Carrigallen opponents before delivering a shot past Rory Harte. The appeals from the Carrigallen players that Fowley had over carried the ball were waved away by referee Gerry Spellman.
Three minutes before the break Dromahair were level when Shane Fowley struck from an acute angle.
Having led for most of the half and enjoyed most of the possession Carrigallen must have been frustrated to lose their lead. However they didnt let that show as they responded well to being reeled in.
Four unanswered points in the closing minutes of the half, two from Benny ORourke, one from a free and one apiece from Andrew McManus and Derek Reilly ensured Carrigallen held a deserved 1-8 to 1-4 lead at the interval.The opening period of the second half was dominated by a period of both sets of players becoming frustrated by some refereeing decisions. That frustration arguably affected the Dromahair players more as Carrigallen again scored four unanswered points through Kevin Davey, two from Ciaran Flynn (one free) and Martin Dolan to increase their lead to eight point.
With such a comprehensive lead and with only 12 minutes remaining Carrigallen seemed on course for a deserved victory. However, playing in their third final of the year (Celebrity Bainisteoir and Division 2 being the others) the Dromahair players refused to lie down without a fight and they dominated the remainder of the game.
Substitute Jamie Conlan pointed 18 minutes into the second half for Dromahairs first score of the half and this was followed by an Alan Harvey free to reduce the deficit to nine points.
It still seemed as though it was a case of damage limitation for Dromahair but with Alan Harvey becoming more influential in midfield the pressure was now all on the Carrigallen defence.
Four successive Dromahair wides led to growing frustration among the supporters of the north Leitrim side while there were being plenty of questions asked by the Carrigallen defenders as to how Dromahair were being allowed back into the game.
Christy McGowan was presented with a goal chance five minutes from time by Adrian Fowley but his powerfully struck shot went over the crossbar.
As the pressure grew CarrigallenÓgifted Alan Harvey another point and with the deficit now down to four points with three minutes remaining belief was beginning to grow among the Dromahair players that a comeback was still very much a possibility.
If ever Carrigallen needed one of their forwards to relieve the pressure, now was the time and Ciaran Flynn duly took responsibility as he won possession before striking for a fine point.
Dromahair kept battling right until the final whistle and although converted a free and a 45 in the closing stages, Carrigallen held on for what was a deserved victory.
Rory Harte, Barry Reilly, David Flynn, Karl Ward, Terence Reynolds (0-1), JP McManus, Derek Reilly (0-1), Clifford Richardson, Kevin Davey (0-1), Martin Dolan, Martin Dolan (0-1), Eoin Ward, Andrew McManus, Benny ORourke (0-2), Ciaran Flynn (1-7), Eamonn OMalley. Subs: Mark Kerrigan for E Ward (HT), Cillian Ward for OMalley (45 mins), Ciaran Reilly for A McManus, Brian Doyle for Davey (58 mins), Liam ORourke for Dolan (60 mins)
Padraig Flanagan, Brian McMorrow, Barry Loughlin, Ronan Fowley, Fergus Meehan, Kenny Casey, Kieran Meehan, Camillus McMorrow, Alan Harvey (0-7), Stephen Smith, Shane Fowley (0-1), Declan Fowley (1-0), Keith Carty, Christy McGowan (0-1), Adrian Fowley. Subs: Jamie Conlon (0-1) for Carty (38 mins), Terry Leyden for Smith (48 mins), Martin Clancy for B McMorrow (50 mins).
Referee: Gerry Spellman
05-Nov-09 by Philip Rooney – LeitrimObserver.ie