Senior Football League Division One Semi Finals
Mount Leinster Rangers 1-7
Old Leighlin 3-8
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
Mount Leinster Rangers and Old Leighlin will contest the 2015 Carlow Senior Football League Division 1 Final. An impressive second half from MLR which saw Palatine remain scoreless was enough for them to overturn a four point half time deficit. Old Leighlin kept Rathvilly scoreless in the first half and amassed an eleven point lead by half time, Rathvilly mounted a second half comeback of sorts in the early going to bring them back to within six but Old Leighlin responded well and won by ten points.
Conditions were particularly bad for the first semi final, the tie between Palatine and Rathvilly. A gusting wind and a driving rain met the two teams as they took their positions for the first half. David Reid pointed for Palatine early on; Gary Kelly cancelled it out with a point for MLR. John Reid, Jason Farrell and Brian Kelly edged Palatine into a three point lead by the seventh minute. Eoin Doyle fisted the ball over the bar after pressurising the goalkeeper to get MLR’s second score.
Thomas Brennan pulled off an important save in the MLR goal when he prevented Brian Kelly’s shot from hitting the back of the net on twelve minutes. Conor Fenlon had got MLR’s third point but they wouldn’t score again in the first half. Jason Farrell, Tomas Kenny and Mark Rennick put Palatine into a commanding four point lead as halftime approached. MLR can thank Thomas Brennan for keeping the Palatine lead down to four points as on the cusp of halftime he plucked a ball off the cross bar to prevent the score.
MLR started the second half brightly and Eddie Byrne was unlucky to see his shot towards goal denied by Palatine goalkeeper Colm Heneghan. MLR would get their chance a few minutes later when a Conor Fenlon ball drifted towards goal and hit off the inside of the post. The umpires waved the green flag and MLR trailed by just a point with twenty five minutes still to play.
Jack Murphy levelled the sides on forty three minutes. Eoin Doyle put MLR into the lead for the first time on forty nine minutes with a converted free. Doyle added another on fifty four minutes and again on fifty eight minutes to give MLR a three point lead. Despite being held scoreless for the second half, Palatine only needed a goal to level it. MLR can once again thank Thomas Brennan in the goal for dealing with a difficult shot from Jamie Kenny. MLR will be very happy with the 1-7 to 0-7 victory.
Colm Heneghan, Thomas Murphy, Conor Lawlor, Chris Parle, Mark Rennick 0-1 , Adam Murphy, David Kinsella, Jason Kane, David Reid 0-1, Jason Farrell 0-2 , Tomas Kenny 0-1 , John Reid 0-1 , Darragh Moran, Brian Kelly 0-1, Jamie Kenny Subs: Shane O’ Neill (in for Darragh Moran 41 mins), Niall Reid (in for Darren Reid 44 mins), Lee Gordan (in for Tomas Kenny 57 mins),
Thomas Brennan, Padraig Bambrick, Padraig Nolan, Brian Nolan, Michael Malone, John Coady, Gary Kelly 0-1 , David Phelan, Conor Fenlon 1-1, Derek Byrne, Willie Hickey, Denis Roche, Jack Murphy 0-1 , Eoin Doyle 0-4 3f , Chris Nolan Subs: Eddie Byrne ( in for Michael Malone 30 mins), Kevin McDonald ( in for Denis Roche 50 mins), Ted Joyce ( in for Conor Fenlon 58 mins), James Kelly ( in for Derek Byrne 62 mins)
By the time the second semi final began the weather had somewhat subsided. It was an energetic start to the game albeit a scoreless one. Robbie Molloy saved a shot from David Bambrick to prevent a goal in the early going. It wasn’t until the tenth minute that either side got a score. Old Leighlin opened the scoring with a Willie Minchin point. Seamus Kinsella got in on goal but Robbie Molloy denied him too by preventing the shot. Cathal Coughlin got Old Leighlin’s second score on fourteen minutes and Rathvilly were finding it hard to hold onto possession. Old Leighlin got in on goal once more, David Bambrick sprinted towards Robbie Molloy’s goal and Sean Bambrick just couldn’t get a clean catch despite an acrobatic effort to retrieve the ball. The danger signs were there. Two minutes later, in the twentieth minute Seamus Kinsella applied the finishing touch to a selfless Sean Bambrick pass. Old Leighlin led 1-3 to no score.
The momentum was well and truly with the Old Leighlin men and two minutes later Seamus Kinsella returned the favour and passed to Sean Bambrick who got the goal. Kinsella had retrieved the ball from a long range delivery from Michael Meaney . Seamus Kinsella converted a free as did Cathal Coughlin to close out a very strong half for Old Leighlin. They led 2-5 to 0-0 at half time.
Rathvilly started well with an Ed Finnegan point after just a minute of the second half. Danny Molloy added one too shortly after. Alan Kelly kept Rathvilly’s comeback effort going with a point , Danny Molloy got his second point and Ed Finnegan pointed from out near the sideline from about thirty five metres. Rathvilly had scored five points in six minutes to bring them back within six points. Colin Byrne had evaded a few tackles in the first half and he resumed this in the second half when he got past his man and headed towards goal. He passed the ball to Conor Owens who saw his effort saved strongly by James Clarke. It quelled the Rathvilly momentum and minutes later Seamus Kinsella and Sean Bambrick combined once again and Bambrick got his second goal to put Old Leighlin nine clear.
Brian Murphy would add two more scores but Old Leighlin reclaimed control of the game with Willie Minchin, Cathal Coughlin and Seamus Kinsella closing out the tie with scores to give Old Leighlin a 3-8 to 0-7 victory.
James Clarke, Declan Kelly, John Hayden, Eamon Fitzgerald, Barry Hayes, Michael Meaney, Richie Burke, Hughie Gahan, David Bambrick 0-1 , Mark Brennan, Willie Minchin 0-2 , Michael Meaney, Cathal Coughlin 0-3, 1f , Seamus Kinsella 1-2, 2f , Sean Bambrick 2-0 Subs : Aaron Amond ( in for Meaney 52 mins), David Dowling (in for Burke 52 mins), Paddy Deevy ( in for Brennan 56 mins)
Robbie Molloy, Denis Kelly, Kevin Byrne, Jamie Byrne, Colin Byrne, Keith Curran, Denis Kelly, Patrick Byrne, Ken Doyle, Alan Kelly 0-1 , Danny Molloy 0-2 , Ed Finnegan 0-2 , Conor Owens, Gary Dempsey, Brian Murphy 0-2 Subs : Conor O’ Brien ( in for Kevin Byrne 30 mins: Black Card), Bolger ( in for Kelly 54 mins), Smith ( in for Dempsey 54 mins) , Robbie Ryan ( in for Byrne 54 mins)