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League Final Replay thriller

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-10

Old Leighlin 0-11

After Extra Time

Senior Football Division 1 Final Replay

At Netwatch Cullen Park

By John Whelan

Mount Leinster Rangers clinched the Division One League title in dramatic fashion. After 140 minutes of football the MLR men finally edged clear and in the extra time they kept Old Leighlin to only one score to secure a coveted piece of silverware.

In what was Old Leighlin’s only loss in their entire league campaign they totally dominated for most of the first half. MLR took the lead with two early points  but they would go twenty seven minutes without another. David Phelan had opened the scoring for MLR with a point after a laborious build up at the start of the game. MLR had won the ball from the throw-in and held onto it moving it slowly and calmly. After a period that lasted ninety seconds David Phelan popped it over the bar.

Old Leighlin dispelled any thoughts of this being a one sided affair when they replied with a blazing attack. Michael Meaney and Seamus Kinsella combined to break at speed and if it wasn’t for Thomas Brennan in the MLR goal Hugh Gahan would have scored a goal, Gahan received the rebound and shot again and Brennan stopped it again. Willie Hickey added a point for MLR on four minutes to give them a two point lead. Willie Minchin finally got Old Leighlin off the mark with two points within a minute of each other. MLR responded like Old Leighlin had earlier and drove towards goal and this time it was James Clarke pulling off the heroics in the goal when he saved from John Coady.

After a spritely opening ten minutes the game stagnated for a while. Seamus Kinsella put Old Leighlin in front for the first time on twenty minutes. He got his second on twenty six minutes. Willie Hickey got his second for MLR in injury time. Old Leighlin led 0-4 to 0-3 at half time.

Seamus Kinsella got his third and the first score of the second half when he converted an Old Leighlin free. Willie Hickey replied with a score and Chris Nolan who was playing his second game in twenty four hours, levelled the sides on thirty seven minutes. Seamus Kinsella edged Old Leighlin clear once more with a free. Cathal Coughlin was introduced on forty minutes and he got a chance to extend the lead to two and he made no mistake from a free. Chris Nolan brought the deficit back to one on forty seven minutes.

With ten minutes to go it looked increasingly unlikely that there would be a winner in normal time. With the good crowd in fine voice a loud cheer went up when MLR’s Ed Byrne stripped the ball off Michael Meaney as he surged into the MLR half. It only took a few seconds for another roar to go up from the crowd, this time from the Old Leighlin crowd as Richie Burke stole the ball from MLR. They worked the ball forward and Pat Hickey was denied a goal by Thomas Brennan. Willie Minchin would add a point in the aftermath to give Old Leighlin a two point lead with eight minutes to go.

When a Gary Kelly pass found David Phelan in the Old Leighlin half he had one thought on his mind and he blasted the ball past James Clarke to give MLR the lead. Seamus Kinsella and a Cathal Coughlin free looked like it might just be enough to finish off the MLR effort. Chris Nolan got what would go on to be the last score of normal time with four minutes left to bring the tie to extra time.

MLR showed their intent from the off in extra time when David Phelan pointed within the first twenty seconds. Before the first minute was out Seamus Kinsella had replied with a converted to level the sides once more. It would be Old Leighlin’s last score of the contest. Shortly after Chris Nolan had a chance to take the lead from a free but it went wide from a short distance. Nolan didn’t let it faze him and he took his chance on sixty six minutes and as the ball bounced of the inside of the post it fell down the right side and MLR had the lead. Old Leighlin were not going down without a fight and they worked the ball all the way in towards goal. Bambrick lost the ball in the square when Richard Coady dislodged it. At half time in extra time it was MLR 1-9 Old Leighlin 0-11.

Old Leighlin would have a goal chance denied on the seventy fourth minute when Padraig Bambrick was in the right place to intercept the pass to Cathal Coughlin in front of goal. A Willie Hickey point and a Jack Murphy goal saw MLR finish it off in style and hand them the League title. Next up for MLR senior footballers is Tinryland in the Championship and next up for Old Leighlin is Ballinabranna. If MLR and Old Leighlin are to meet again it will be in the knockout stages.


Thomas Brennan, Padraig Bambrick, Padraig Nolan, Brian Nolan, Richard Coady, John Coady, Gary Kelly, David Phelan (1-2), Eddie Byrne,  Derek Byrne, Willie Hickey(0-4) , Denis Roche, Paul Coady, Eoin Doyle, Chris Nolan(0-4, 1f)  Subs: Jack Murphy (1-0) ( In for D. Byrne 45 mins), Conor Fenlon ( in for Coady 40 mins), Luke Roche( in for Joyce 58 mins) , Michael Malone, Shane O’ Neill, Diarmuid Byrne( in for D Roche Half Time), James Kelly, Kevin McDonald( in for Diarmuid Byrne 74 mins) , Ted Joyce( in for P Coady 50 mins), M.J. Doran, Dean Grennan, Michael Doran, Niall Lynam, Daniel Ryan

Old Leighlin

James Clarke, Ger Hickey, John Hayden, Eamon Fitzgerald, Declan Kelly, Michael Meaney, David Dowling, Hugh Gahan, Michael Meaney, David Bambrick, Seamus Kinsella (0-6, 2f), Mark Brennan, Sean Bambrick, Willie Minchin( 0-3), Paddy Deevey Subs: Derek Mara, Barry Hayes( in for Sean Bambrick 55 mins), Richie Burke( in for Declan Kelly 12 mins) , Pauric Coughlan ( in for Meaney 65 mins), Aaron Amond, Ian Atkinson( in for Eamon Fitzgerald 64 mins) , Pat Hickey( in for Mark Brennan 35 mins) , Cathal Coughlan(0-2, 2fs)( in for Paddy Deevy 40 mins), Sean Whelan, Roy Sheehy, Gearoid Foley, Declan Gough, Liam Coughlan, Niall Roche( in for Meaney 58 mins), David Gahan, Eamon Tobin, Brendan Kinsella, Kevin Carpenter, Darren O’ Neill, Brian Roche, Tadhg Carpenter, Michael Whelan