St Manchan’s crowned league champions after hard fought final

They may have been hot favourites for last Sunday’s Minor League 15-a-side final but St Manchan’s were made to work very hard for their victory against a well organised and very determined Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on Sunday last.

They may have been hot favourites for last Sunday’s Minor League 15-a-side final but St Manchan’s were made to work very hard for their victory against a well organised and very determined Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on Sunday last.

They may have been hot favourites for last Sunday’s Minor League 15-a-side final but St Manchan’s were made to work very hard for their victory against a well organised and very determined Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on Sunday last.

MINOR LEAGUE 15-A-SIDE

ST MANCHAN’S 2-9

BALLINAMORE SEAN O’HESLIN’S 2-6

By Philip Rooney

This action packed game started in dramatic style as St Manchans were awarded a penalty after just 18 seconds of play and it continued in that vein for much of the encounter.

With 10 minutes of the contest remaining Ballinamore trailed by six points but a spirited revival saw them close the deficit to a solitary point before St Manchans regained the initiative in the closing stages to secure victory.

The game couldn’t have had a more dramatic beginning as St Manchan’s were awarded a penalty within seconds of the throw-in. Shane Quinn won possession of the throw-in and embarked on one his trademark runs.

After exchanging passes with Cillian Canning, Quinn found Alan McLoughlin who was fouled, leaving referee Ray McBrien with no option but to award a penalty.

Shane Quinn took responsibility for the penalty but Ballinamore goalkeeper Eoin McHugh was equal to the effort as he made a fine save with an outstretched foot.

Another chance for St Manchan’s to open the scoring came and went as Darragh Gordon saw his free come back off the upright.

Having been let off the hook in the opening minutes it was almost inevitable that it would be Ballinamore who would open the scoring and they did just that when Stephen McTague converted a third minute free.

However, it was St Manchan’s who continued to look the more dangerous when attacking and they deservedly opened their account two minutes later with a Shane Quinn free.

Two minutes later, the penalty miss was all but forgotten by the Mohill and Eslin faithful as Darragh Gordon pounced on a loose ball to shoot first time to the Ballinamore goal to give his side a lead their early superiority merited.

The wind and rain on Sunday presented an extra challenge to the players but they certainly rose to the occasion.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.