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John Whelan’s weekend picks 1

Old Leighlin 0-07

Mount Leinster Rangers 0-07

Michael Lyng Motors Senior Football Championship Quarter Final

At Netwatch Cullen Park

By John Whelan

The score line read 007 and with all the drama of a Bond thriller this match had it all. Where it lacked in scores it more than made up for it in the sheer chaos of the closing minutes. A draw was no surprise as the sides couldn’t be separated in the League Final earlier this year.

Conditions were less than ideal throughout the game with a deluge of rain that prevented the game from flowing. Cathal Coughlan opened the scoring after three minutes. Ed Byrne shot wide in reply for MLR. Seamus Kinsella got a shot away in front of goal but it went narrowly wide, Old Leighlin were in charge and Hugh Gahan slotted the ball over the bar on nine minutes after a fine cross field pass from David Bambrick.

Mark Brennan stole a ball from Denis Roche’s grasp to maintain Old Leighlin’s dominance. Padraig Bambrick came up with an impressive steal himself and MLR began to string a run of possession together. John Coady finally opened MLR’s account on sixteen minutes after Paul Coady spotted an unmarked John Coady thirty metres from goal. MLR did not take advantage of their possession and shot two more wides before Seamus Kinsella got Old Leighlin’s third point.

MLR didn’t register another score for ten minutes, Diarmuid Byrne got a fist on the end of a lofty ball that could have ended up in the back of the net. Hugh Gahan elected to fist the ball over the bar when he found himself running in on goal to give Old Leighlin a 0-4 to 0-2 point lead at half time.

Pat Hickey got Old Leighlin up and running shortly after the break when his shot went over the bar with the aid of the post. Scores were hard come by in this game and Willie Hickey got MLR’s third in thirty eight minutes of football. Vast periods passed between scores it seemed and Seamus Kinsella converted a free for what was Old Leighlin’s first score in seventeen minutes but it gave them a three point lead.

Despite the lack of scores for MLR the game was never out of their grasp and with five minutes of normal time remaining Ed Byrne started the comeback.  Shortly after Byrne’s score MLR had a goal chance but James Clarke denied David Phelan from close range. Ed Byrne continued his heroics as he converted a 45 with two minutes left of normal time. The lengthy stoppage due to Declan Kelly’s injury meant that it was unclear how much was left.

After Ed Byrne had edged MLR back into the game, Chris Nolan was the one to stand up. In an astounding few seconds from the young man he scored twice to sensationally give MLR the lead.  Old Leighlin were shaken but not stirred as they mounted an attack that ended with MLR coughing up possession three times inside their own goal area. On the last turnover an Old Leighlin player was fouled and a penalty was awarded. After leading for the entire game Old Leighlin had seen their lead evaporate and were now trailing in stoppage time. The penalty was a god send. Cathal Coughlan

stepped up and rattled the crossbar with his shot. The ball rebounded to Michael Meaney but a vital touch from a MLR man resulted in a 45 for Old Leighlin and another chance deep into stoppage time.

Up came James Clarke to take it but he couldn’t convert his effort and it went to the left but crucially it stayed in with an Old Leighlin man catching it, MLR broke the ball clear but Michael Meaney caught it and the referee awarded a free in. Seamus Kinsella made no mistake in converting the free and levelling the sides to send the game to a replay this Saturday at 5.30pm.

Old Leighlin

James Clarke, Ger Hickey, John Hayden, Eamon Fitzgerald, Richie Burke, Declan Kelly, Davy Dowling, Hughie Gahan(0-2), Mark Brennan, David Bambrick, Pat Hickey(0-1), Michael Meaney( Monemore), Cathal Coughlan(0-1,1f), Seamus Kinsella(0-3, 3f), Sean Bambrick SUBS: Tom Lynch, Michael Meaney (Blackbush), Willie Minchin(in for S Bambrick 40 mins), Ian Atkinson, Niall Roche( in for Declan Kelly 50 mins), Padraic Coughlan, Barry Hayes, Paddy Deevy, David Gahan, Aaron Amond, Sean Whelan, Gearoid Foley, Liam Coughlan, Declan Gough, Brendan Kinsella, Kevin Carpenter, Darren O’Neill, Brian Roche, Tadhg Carpenter, Michael Meaney, Roy Sheehy, John Almond, Eamon Tobin

Mount Leinster Rangers

Thomas Brennan, Padraig Bambrick, Brian Nolan, Richard Coady, John Coady(0-1), David Phelan, Kevin McDonald, Jack Murphy, Edward Byrne(0-2, 1f 1 45), Paul Coady, Willie Hickey(0-1), Derek Byrne, Diarmuid Byrne(0-1), Denis Roche, Chris Nolan (0-2) SUBS: Ted Joyce( in for D Byrne 55 mins), Michael Malone( in for  J Murphy 55 mins) , Conor Fenlon( in for K McDonald 67 mins), Luke Roche, Niall Lynam( in for P Coady 61 mins), James Kelly, Daniel Ryan, Dean Grennan, Padraig Nolan, Denis Murphy