Gortletteragh and Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher both qualified from Group 3 of the GWP Leitrim Intermediate Football Championship despite a late John Reynolds point which saw the South Leitrim side complete a clean sweep of their pool, with three wins from three.
Both sides came into the game safe in the knowledge that progression to the quarter finals had already been secured, although it certainly wasn’t a case of going through the motions for either club,as they served up a thoroughly entertaining game, with Gortletteragh pipping their opponents to the post late on with a 1-13 to 1-12 win in Ballinamore on Saturday.
County goalkeeper Cathal McCrann took his place in the half forward line for Gortletteragh and opened the scoring in the first minute from a free from 14 metres before James Murray’s close range effort hit the woodwork. Michael McGuire leapt highest to claim the breaking ball in front of goal and sent it between Conan Clarke’s posts to tie the game.
Kevin McGrath was responsible for Gortletteragh’s first of four first half wides on four minutes after he dodged a Ciaran Clancy tackle, but failed to steady himself in front of goal. Enda Gallagher made no such mistake two minutes later when Diarmuid and Niall Clancy combined to to find the centre forward for his first of two scores of the evening, Glenfarne leading by a point with six minutes elapsed.
John Stewart’s men then opened up a two point lead on eight minutes as Stephen McManus, a late change for corner forward Padraig Sweeney extended his side’s lead with a clever turn and shot which sailed between the posts.
The teams exchanged points over the next ten minutes to leave Gortletteragh in the ascendancy with a 0-6 to 0-5 advantage. The lead didn’t last long however, as Murray restored parity on 23 minutes with his second score of the game from a free. Gortletteragh then recaptured the lead courtesy of another McGrath point seconds after Gerard Campbell went close to producing the game’s first green flag.
The next four minutes bore four more wides, three for Glenfarne and one for Gortletteragh but McGuire provided some relief for the crowd two minutes into injury time when he scored a hat-trick of points in injury time to put Glenfarne into a two point lead at the break.
Beginning the second period with a two point deficit to make up, Sean Hynes’ troops took the game by the horns and a blistering start to the second half produced an unanswered tally of four points without reply courtesy of three Darren Duignan scores and one from the boot of Mark Duignan.
Not to be out done, Glenfarne rallied and levelled the game at 11 points each with an 41st minute free from McGuire and a point from left half-forward Patrick Kilkenny.
Kilkenny then forced the first green flag of the game mid-way through the second half as his close range shot looped over Glenfarne ‘keeper Clarke to hand his team a three point lead at 1-11 to 0-11. Darren Duignan then teed up Reynolds for his second point of the game on 47 minutes, the men from south Leitrim extending their lead to four points at 1-12 to 0-11.
Gortletteragh then had Conan Clarke to thank with ten minutes to play when he dived bravely in front of Kilkenny’s shot to deflect the ball away from goal. The ball landed back at the feet of Kilkenny who put the ball back in the square, but Mark Mitchell was on hand to clear the danger. Clarke had to be alert again three minutes later when he got a hand to Padraig Sweeney’s low drive.
Glenfarne brought the deficit back to just a goal on the stroke of full time as Gallagher sent over his second score of the game and a gallant effort produced the equaliser two minutes into stoppage time.
Hard work from Niall Clancy and Padraig Sweeney resulted in Kilkenny sending the ball high into Gortletteragh goal. This joy was short lived however as substitute John Reynolds sent the ball over the crossbar from distance to reward Gortletteragh with the slenderest of victories at 1-13 to 1-12.
Conan Clarke; Niall Duffy, Seamus Prunty, Mark Mitchell; Simon Egan (0-1), Eamonn Reynolds, Peader Cassells; Mark Duignan (0-1), Niall Woods; Colm Duffy, Cathal McCrann (0-2), Gerard Campbell (0-1); Seamus Quinn (1-0), Darren Duignan (0-4), Kevin McGrath (0-1). Subs: Conor Reynolds (0-2) for Duffy (40 mins), John Reynolds (0-1) for Egan (39 mins), Padraig McGarry for Duignan (54 mins), Cathal Quinn for C. Reynolds (54 mins), Gavin Mitchell for Quinn (58 mins).
Daragh Keaney; Stephen Sweeney, Ciaran Clancy, Conor O’Rourke; Ronan McGowan, Sean McLoughlin, John Sheerin; Niall Clancy, Dermot O’Rourke; Diarmuid Clancy (0-1), Michael McGuire (0-5), Patrick KIlkenny (1-1); Stephen McManus (0-1), Enda Gallagher (0-2), James Muray (0-2). Subs: Michael Ferguson for D. Clancy (40 mins), Daire Clancy for Murray (56 mins).
Referee: Gerry Spellman.