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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019
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Mullinalaghta pull off seismic shock and stun Kilmacud in Leinster football final

They became the first Longford team in history to lift the Leinster club SFC title.

Mullinalaghta 1-8

Kilmacud Crokes 1-6

Kevin O’Brien reports from Bord na Mona O’Connor Park

IT’LL BE SOME Christmas in Mullinalaghta.

Aidan Jones with Jayson Matthews Aidan Jones is challenged by Jayson Matthews. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The half-parish from Longford looked dead and buried when they trailed by three points with four minutes to go, but Mullinalaghta pulled off a comeback of epic proportions to stun Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster club SFC final. 

The Dublin champions were 1-6 to 0-6 ahead on 55 minutes, but Mullinalaghta scored 1-2 in the next five minutes to claim a famous victory.

David McGivney kicked a huge score from distance and then a flowing move saw Aidan McElligot fouled by Cian O’Sullivan in the area. Gary Rogers stepped up and slotted home the pressure kick past David Nestor, who saved a penalty in similar circumstances in Kilmacud’s semi-final win over Portlaoise.

Aidan McElligott tagged on the insurance score from the next kick-out and, with the momentum behind them, the Longford kingpins held firm in the closing stages.

The two-point victory in front of 3,510 means Mullinalaghta, with 155 club members, are the first side from the county to win the Leinster club football title.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

They now have an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry champions Dr Crokes to look forward to in the New Year and it will mean a headache for manager Mickey Graham, who was recently appointed as Cavan boss.

This was proper December football – hard hitting stuff with scores at a premium. All-Star Paul Mannion had another quiet afternoon, scored just two points – both frees – and hit three wides.

Mullinalaghta battled gamely and went into the break level, but they struggled against the breeze in the second-half. The sort of space that James McGivney and Rian Brady enjoyed in the first period was shut down in the third quarter as Crokes started to win their individual match-ups at the back.

The Longford champions failed to score between the 20th and 50th minute and they went 37 minutes without a score from play. But they saved their best punch for last and won it with a devastating 1-2 in the closing stages.

Kilmacud arrived into this game as red-hot favourites but it was never going to be easy against a side who dumped out Rhode in the quarter-final and hammered Carlow’s Eire Og by 18 points in the last four.

Mullinalaghta played man-on-man in defence, with wing-forward David McGivney dropping into a role as a third midfielder. Crokes alternated their two full-forwards, but it was Mannion and Pat Burke who mainly played inside.

Kilmacud were without full-forward Dara Mullin, who scored 1-2 from play against Portlaoise the last day out.  They played Williams out around the half-forward line and it meant the middle third was extremely crowded. 

Shane Cunningham with Donal McElligott Shane Cunningham chases after Donal McElligott. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Crokes had the perfect start, racing in front after Burke’s goal inside five minutes. Centre-forward Callum Pearson clipped over their first point from play seven minutes later, but Kilmacud would fail to score from play for the remainder of the half. 

Mullinalaghta’s superior tackling in the middle third gave them a platform to attack and three scores in as many minutes from Rian Brady, Donal McElligott and David McGivney left the underdogs one in front.

After hitting two wides earlier in the half, Mannion finally got his name on the scoreboard with a 13m free to leave the sides level at 0-5 to 1-2 at the interval. 

Kilmacud’s shooting improved from there and Craig Dias, Pearson and Mannion (free) clipped over scores to push them two in front. Brady converted a free for Mullinalaghta’s first score in a half hour, but Burke responded immediately from a tight angle at the far end.

Crokes looked set for victory, but Mullinalaghta powered clear and scored 1-2 with the finish line in sight. O’Sullivan was dismissed for two yellows, as was James McGivney on the opposition.

Kilmacud failed to engineer a chance from their last attack and Shane Cunningham shot harmlessly wide with the last kick. The final whistle went, and mayhem ensued.

Scorers for Mullinalaghta: Rian Brady 0-4 (0-1f), Gray Rogers 1-0 (1-0 pen), David McGivney 0-2 (0-1f), Donal McElligot 0-1, Aidan McElligot 0-1.

Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Pat Burke 1-1, Paul Mannion 0-2 (0-2f), Callum Pearson 0-2, Craig Dias 0-1.

Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s

1. Patrick Rogers

2. Simon Cadam
3. Patrick Fox
4. Conan Brady

6. Shane Mulligan
7. Donal McElligott
5. Francis Mulligan

15. Aidan McElligott
9. John Keegan

8. David McGivney

10. Gary Rogers
11. James McGivney
12. Brendan Fox

13. Jayson Matthews
14. Rian Brady

Subs

18. Michael Cunningham for Francis Mulligan (48) 

Kilmacud Crokes

1. David Nestor

2. Liam Flatman
3. Andrew McGowan
7. Ross McGowan

5. Cian O’Connor
6. Cillian O’Shea
4. Cian O’Sullivan

8. Craig Dias
9. Conor Casey

12. Shane Horan
15. Callum Pearson
10. Shane Cunningham

25. Stephen Williams

13. Pat Burke
11. Paul Mannion

Subs

17. Aidan Jones for Flatman (black card, 18)
27. Kevin Dyas for Williams (48)
22. Nathan Nolan for Ross McGowan (65)

Referee: David Gough (Meath)

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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