Congratulations to both teams who reached the 13-a-side league final and who provided us with a very exciting and one to remember game last Wednesday evening in Leitrim Gaels Community Field.
It was agreed after a request was made that the final be played as an 11-a-side final as a result of injuries to two players from Garadice Gaels Mark Plunkett and Dylan Mimna and the first half with the wind at their backs saw Garadice Gaels the stronger of the two teams. Conor Gaffney was excellent in attack while Declan Flanagan and Fergal McTague played crucial roles in ensuring Garadice Gaels took full advantage of the wind as they opened up an eight point lead.
Garadice Gaels took the lead in the fourth minute with a point from Conor Gaffney after good play from Declan Flanagan. They went on to get another point when a free taken by Gaffney broke to Fergal McTague who ensured them of a point. Their third point was scored when Declan Flanagan made a great catch in midfield before driving forward to score the point himself.
St Francis struggled in the early stages of the game and their first point was scored when Diarmuid McKiernan converted a free but Garadice Gaels went on to score the first goal of the game by Conor Gaffney. However St Francis hit back with two points from Wayne Reynolds and John Crawford. However, the final ten minutes of the half was dominated by Garadice Gaels who looked more eager and took advantage of the wind when points were scored by Michael Prior followed by three converted points by Conor Gaffney and then went on to score an excellent point to give his side a 1-8 to 0-3 half-time lead.
With an eight point lead it seemed an impossible task for St Francis but as the second half progressed St Francis went up a gear and the first point of the half was scored by Shane Walsh and that was quickly followed by a Diarmuid McKiernan free. With six points still between the teams and 15 minutes left on the clock it seemed it was going to be Garadice Gaels final especially whenÓgoalkeeper Darragh McNiff made an outstanding save to deny McKiernan a goal after great play from Niall Sorohan and Wayne Reynolds.
St Francis reduced the lead to 5 five points with 10 minutes of the game remaining after Diarmuid McKiernan converted a free and within two minutes Wayne Reynolds and Diarmuid McKiernan scored two more points which meant that only a goal separated the teams with eight minutes to go. In the sixth minute of injury time St Francis were awarded a penalty which Diarmuid McKiernan scored which levelled the game. St Francis launched one final attack resulting in Diarmuid McKiernan being fouled by Rory McTague who was then issued with his second yellow card. Diarmuid McKiernan went on to convert the free which was the last score of the game and it ensured their one point lead. Final score was St Francis 1-9, Garadice Gaels 1-8.
Kevin Moran, Padraig Clarke, Kevin Moran, Kyle Flynn, Shane Walsh (0-1), Alan McTigue, Brian Moran, John Crawford (0-1), Niall Sorohan, Wayne Reynolds (0-2), Diarmuid McKiernan (1-5),
Sub: Luke Bradley for McTigue (48 mins)
Darragh McNiff, Donal McCabe, Pierce Dolan, Killian Lavin, Ronan Maxwell, Rory McTague, Fergal McTague (0-1), Ciaran O’Hehir, Declan Flanagan (0-1), Micheal Prior (0-1), Conor Gaffney (1-5),
Sub: Adam Kearns for O’Hehir (49 mins)
Referee: Michael Clancy
13-May-13 by Gerri Mulhern – PRO – Coiste na nÓg