Five minutes into injury time at the end of last Saturday’s dramatic GWP Intermediate Championship semi-final Glenfarne/Kilty, who led for much of the game, looked to have secured victory when Michael McGuire showed great composure to effortlessly convert a 45. However the drama wasn’t over as is the seventh minute of injury time Cathal McCrann was equally impressive when he slotted a free between the uprights from over 45 metres.
McCrann’s free proved to be the final action of the game and a draw was, over the course of the game, a fair result. Glenfarne/Kilty will arguably feel more aggrieved than Gortletteragh with the result as they never found themselves in a losing position. Gortletteragh on the other hand will know they created more than enough chances to have won the game and will feel a draw is the least they deserved from a hard fought encounter.
Gortletteragh would arguably have been the happier of the teams with the draw purely for the reason that Glenfarne/Kilty suffered a number of injuries with Dermot and Conor O’Rourke and Diarmuid Clancy all being withdrawn with injuries which looked as though they may leave those players struggling to be fit for the replay.
The game began in an explosive manner with Diarmuid Clancy opening the scoring after just 25 seconds. Further chances were spurned to increase that lead before the evergreen Seamus Quinn registered a ninth minute point to level matters.
Gortletteragh began to impose themselves more on the game but were having difficulty getting the better of a hard working Glenfarne/Kilty defence. The manner in which they defended in number and then utilised the pace of forwards such as James Murray, Diarmuid Clancy and Patrick Kilkenny was something Gortletteragh struggled to contend with throughout the game.
Michael McGuire’s 45 was cancelled out by a Cathal McCrann point before Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher gave a prime example of their effectiveness when launching a quick counter-attack. Dermot O’Rourke showed great vision to find full-forward Enda Gallagher with a long ball. Gallagher in turn delivered a quick ball to James Murray who pointed to regain the lead for his side.
A Patrick Kilkenny point was cancelled out by a McCrann free nine minutes before the interval before Glenfarne/Kilty struck for the game’s opening goal. Niall Clancy surged forward from midfield and with support around him O’Rourke found Enda Gallagher. Gallagher had the option of finding another team mate but instead he turned Seamus Prunty before shooting low past keeper Conan Clarke.
A Cathal McCrann free left three between the sides and the deficit was further reduced in injury time at the end of the half when Eamon Reynolds pointed meaning Glenfarne/Kilty led 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval.
Having been withdrawn as a blood substitute shortly before the interval when he came off second best in a collision with the Glenfarne/Kilty post, Cathal McCrann returned for the second half and his side made a flying start as Gerard Campbell and Darren Duignan both pointed to level matters.
Having weathered the storm that Gortletteragh threw at them at the beginning of the half Glenfarne/Kilty registered their first point of the half courtesy of an excellent Padraig Sweeney strike eight minutes after the restart and a minute later they struck for their second goal whenJames Murray was on the end of a move involving which saw Michael McGuire & Padraig Sweeney combine to set up Murray who shot low past Clarke to re-establish Glenfarne/Kilty’s lead.
Despite plenty of Gortletteragh pressure, 11 minutes passed and the only addition to the scoreboard was as a result of a Murray free and with 10 minutes remaining Gortletteragh trailed by five points.
Having gone nearly 20 minutes without scoring Gortletteragh registered four in as many minutes, with two McCrann frees along with points from Niall Woods and Cathal Quinn bringing the south Leitrim men right back into contention.
But Glenfarne/Kilty proved to be excellent at lifting the pressure and after James Murray exchanged passes with JJ McDermott he pointed to once again leave two between the sides.
Knowing that there would be a considerable period of injury time the Gortletteragh players showed no sign of panic and points from Gerard Campbell and a Cathal McCrann free meant the sides were level after the first minute of injury time.
It had been indicated that there would be six minutes of injury time so there was still plenty of time to be played and Glenfarne/Kilty came agonisingly close to clinching victory. Diarmuid Clancy showed great determination and braveness to chase a long ball and get a fist to the ball ahead of Conan Clarke but his effort was inches away from finding the goal before it was cleared to safety.
The resulting 45 was clinically dispatched by Michael McGuire and it seemed as though Glenfarne/Kilty were on course to meet Dromahair in the final. However there was still time for one final twist as with the final kick of the game Cathal McCrann dispatched a free that seemed to have been harshly awarded to ensure the sides will have to meet again.
Conan Clarke, Niall Duffy, Seamus Prunty, Mark Mitchell, Colm Duffy, Ciaran Egan, James Campbell, Mark Duignan, Niall Woods (0-1), Eamon Reynolds (0-1), Cathal McCrann (0-7), Gerard Campbell (0-3), Seamus Quinn (0-1), Daren Duignan (0-1), Kevin McGrath. Subs: Cathal Quinn (0-1) for Reynolds (40 mins), Terry Kelleher for Duffy (47 mins), John Reynolds for M. Duignan (60 mins).
Daragh Keaney, Stephen Sweeney, Ciaran Clancy, Conor O’Rourke, Ronan McGowan, Sean McLoughlin, Robert Broughton, Niall Clancy, Dermot O’Rourke, Diarmuid Clancy (0-1), Michael McGuire (0-2), Patrick Kilkenny (0-1), Padraig Sweeney (0-2), Enda Gallagher (1-0), James Murray (1-3). Subs: JJ McDermott for D. O’Rourke (47 mins), John McManus for C. O’Rourke (53 mins), Stephen McManus for D. Clancy (60 mins).
Referee: Frank Flynn