Michael Lyng Senior Football Championship Semi Final
Old Leighlin 0-14
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
Old Leighlin will join Palatine in the 2015 Michael Lyng Senior Football Championship final. With the exception of 2012 Old Leighlin will now have contended six out of the last seven finals, both teams have won four county titles each so the upcoming final will see one team climb up the roll of honour.
Old Leighlin overcame last year’s county champions Rathvilly to book their place in the final and despite playing Mount Leinster Rangers on Tuesday night they looked well rested and sharp. Old Leighlin were behind on the scoreboard for only one minute in this game and despite some sublime scores from Rathvilly they were dominant.
Seamus Kinsella got his first score of the day on five minutes with a converted free. Frees would be the order of the day with Old Leighlin winning some twenty four frees. They would directly score 0-6 from frees. Rathvilly won eleven frees and only managed 0-3 from those. Gary Dempsey had a good game and he got off the mark shortly after Kinsella’s free. A lofty ball was returned to James Clarke from his kick out, James Dempsey got between his man and Clarke to attempt to palm the ball passed Clarke but he dealt with it calmly. Old Leighlin mounted a counter attack and the end result was a Hugh Gahan point, a sequence of events that perhaps summed up Rathvilly’s evening.
Dempsey levelled the sides with a free on twelve minutes before Sean Bambrick applied the finishing touch on another Old Leighlin breakaway attack. JJ Smith levelled the sides once more before Alan Kelly got a wonder score from close to the forty five metre line. It was the only time Rathvilly would lead in the match and it only lasted a minute.
Seamus Kinsella converted another free, swiftly followed by a Declan Kelly point to give the Old Leighlin men a two point lead going into the last ten minutes of the half. Gary Dempsey kept his impressive form up with a fantastic piece of fielding where he soared into the air and caught the ball. He held onto the ball and unleashed a shot with the outside of his boot from around thirty five metres and it sailed between the posts. Sean Bambrick reclaimed the lead for Old Leighlin as the game headed for half time with Old Leighlin winning 0-6 to 0-5.
The second half got off to a slow start and an off the ball incident saw Andrew Bolger see the line. Old Leighlin continued to be on top and Sean Bambrick and Hugh Gahan edged them three clear on forty two minutes. Gary Dempsey got Rathvilly’s first point of the half before Cathal Coughlan and Sean Bambrick responded with a point each.
Brian Murphy converted a free but Old Leighlin ensured Rathvilly wouldn’t build any momentum, Cathal Coughlan scored twice in quick succession to give them a five point lead with five minutes left. Brian Murphy tried to keep Rathvilly alive with another free followed by a Wayne O’Donoghue point but a second red card for Rathvilly (Ed Finnegan) really made the odds insurmountable.
Seamus Kinsella and Cathal Coughlan scores saw Old Leighlin see out the game. Old Leighlin will play Palatine in the County Final on October 11th.
Robbie Molloy, Keith Curran, Conor O’Brien, B.J. Molloy, Andrew Bolger, Wayne O’Donoghue(0-1), Colin Byrne, Ed Finnegan, Ken Doyle, Alan Kelly(0-1), Danny Molloy, Patrick Byrne, Brian Murphy(0-2, 2fs), Gary Dempsey(0-4, 1f), J.J. Smith (0-1)SUBS: Darragh Donnolly, Brendan Murphy( in for P Byrne H/T), Jeffrey O’Donoghue, Andrew Sibbald, Robbie Ryan(in for K Doyle 44 mins), Diarmuid Cronin ( in for D Molloy 52 mins), Brian Smith( in for A Kelly 58 mins), Paul Curran, Conor Owens, Kevin McCall, Ger Kavanagh, Jeff Werth, Tony Bolger ( in for A Sibbald 50 mins)
James Clarke, Ger Hickey, John Hayden, Eamon Fitzgerald, Richie Burke, Declan Kelly(0-1), Sean Bambrick(0-4), Hughie Gahan(0-2), Mark Brennan, David Bambrick, Pat Hickey, Michael Meaney(MM), Cathal Coughlan(0-4, 3fs), Seamus Kinsella(0-3, 3fs), Willie Minchin SUBS: Tom Lynch, Davy Dowling, Michael Meaney( BB), Ian Atkinson, Niall Roche( in for E Fitzgerald 45 mins), Paraic Coughlan( in for R Burke 61 mins), Barry Hayes, Paddy Deevey, David Gahan, Sean Whelan, Gearoid Foley, Liam Coughlan, Declan Gough, Brendan Kinsella, Kevin Carpenter, Darren O’Neill, Brian Roche, Tadhg Carpenter, Michael Whelan, Roy Sheehy, John Amond, Eamon Tobin