A personal haul of 2-8 from former Leitrim star Conor Beirne was not enough for a hard-working Eslin team to avoid defeat at the hands of Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher in Drumshanbo on Saturday.
This Group 3 game entertained right from throw-in with both teams serving up an enthralling game of football. Level at half-time, both teams went all out attack in the second period.
A goal from each side set up an edgy finish which saw Eslin pushing for a goal in the dying moments but despite plenty of possession, they couldn’t turn the screw against a resilient Glenfarne.
Beirne & Glenfarne’s Padraig Sweeney swapped early points before the north Leitrim men captured the lead for the first time on six minutes when Diarmuid Clancy was fouled 35 metres from the target.
James Murray kicked over the first of his seven points but Eslin had to rely on the quick reactions of their goalkeeper Enda Turbitt seconds later when Dermot Reynolds spilled Diarmuid Clancy’s cross-field ball, an alert Turbitt punching the ball to safety .
Glenfarne burst into a four point lead courtesy of scores from Sweeney, Michael McGuire and James Murray before Dermot O’Rourke upended Conor Beirne inside the square. Referee Martin Kelly immediately awarded the penalty and Beirne sent Daragh Keaney the wrong way to peg Glenfarne back to a one point lead at 0-6 to 1-2.
The next two scores came from corner backs as Glenfarne’s Stephen Sweeney pointed on 14 minutes before a hanging ball from Tomas Beirne was punched over by Dermot McLoughlin. James Murray converted his 19th minute free to give his side a two point lead moments before a slick passing move from Eslin produced Shane Beirne’s first point of the game. Eslin levelled proceedings and leapt into a two point lead with three more Conor Beirne white flags.
There was an element of a luck about Glenfarne’s next score as Enda Turbitt hesitated to claim Dermot O’Rourke’s shot, the ball bouncing over the Eslin keeper. Eslin levelled the game on the stroke of Martin Kelly’s half-time whistle courtesy of a point from Shane Beirne to leave the score at 0-9 to 1-6 at the break.
Glenfarne started with points from Murray & Diarmuid Clancy before Conor Beirne pegged the deficit back to one with an impressive score from 40 metres.
Beirne hit over-drive with two points to put Eslin one point clear but the North Leitrim side then took the lead with a neat finish from James Murray after he was played in by Enda Gallagher.
Murray and Gallagher were responsible for Glenfarne’s next two points but Beirne shook off his marker and buried the ball low and hard past Daragh Keaney for his second green flag of the match.
Glenfarne’s lead was now cut to one point but Clancy & Murray added a point each while Conor Beirne’s one man show continued with another impressive point.
James Murray scored Glenfarne’s final point of the game with three minutes remaining to leave three points in the game at 1-17 to 2-11. Eslin looked to long balls from Tomas Beirne and John O’Flynn in search of a vital goal, but it wasn’t to be as some brave defending from Glenfarne saw them over the line.
Daragh Keaney, Stephen Sweeney (0-1), Ciaran Clancy, Conor O’Rourke, Ronan McGowan, Sean McLoughlin, Robert Broughton, Niall Clancy, Dermot O’Rourke (0-1), Diarmuid Clancy (0-1), Michael McGuire (0-1), Patrick Kilkenny (0-2), Padraig Sweeney (0-2), Enda Gallagher (0-2), James Murray (1-7). Subs: John Sheerin for C Clancy (52 mins), Michael Ferguson (for Kilkenny (47 mins)
Enda Turbitt, Dermot McLoughlin (0-1), Ronan Reynolds, Barry Bohan, Padraic McNulty, Dermot Reynolds, Cormac Duignan, Tomas Beirne, John O’Flynn, Paul Kilcrann, Brian Higgins, Barry McLoughlin, Emmett Higgins, Shane Beirne (0-2), Conor Beirne (2-8)
Referee: Martin Kelly.