Leitrim Gaels's greater power all around the field saw them to victory in the Westlink Coaches U15 Championship 13-a-side Final but only after a massive battle from Mohill.
A physically imposing Gaels team appeared to hold all the aces against a much smaller and lighter Mohill team but the town team made them work all the way to the final whistle, so much so that the final scoreline was somewhat misleading.
In fairness, Mohill rode their luck at times with Leitrim Gaels missing two penalties in the first half while keeper Shane Moran was the outstanding player on the field with some brilliant saves and catches under pressure.
But ultimately they could not manage the power and presence Leitrim Gaels possessed in every sector of the field and it was utilised very well by a good Gaels outfit.
Mohill opened the scoring a monster Conor Quinn free but Leitrim Gaels were setting the pace and won a fourth minute penalty when Daniel O’Sullivan’s run was ended with a foul. Rian McCauley hit the spot-kick well but it struck the post, McCauley won the rebound only for keeper Shane Moran to make an excellent save.
Oisin Curley put over a long range effort with Cormac White replying with a Mohill free. However, the last line of defence for Mohill was breached when Shane Rynn ended a great run with a great goal on 11 minutes.
Keeper Shane Moran then defied the Gaels attack with a couple of saves before his Leitrim Gaels counterpart Michael Farrell did brilliantly to deflect a shot onto the post. Mohill, however, found some form and rattled off three points from White (2) and Aonghus McCrann to tie the scores.
Leitrim Gaels won a second penalty when Shane Rynn was fouled as he took a shot but Moran stood tall and stopped McCauley’s second spot-kick with some ease, Rynn pointing from the loose ball to give Leitrim Gaels a 1-3 to 0-5 halftime lead.
Rynn almost grabbed a second goal only for Moran to deny him, Rynn putting the ball over the bar but Mohill fought back with points from Sean Bohan and White after a Jim Cullen shot was held by Moran.
Leitrim Gaels stretched clear again with points from Curley and a fantastic effort from Jim Cullen on the run but Mohill hit back with points from White and Conor Quinn.
Another Shane Rynn effort flew over and from that kickout, Rian McCauley gained possession, surged through the heart of the Mohill defence before finding an unmarked Sean Nee for an easy goal.
Oisin Curley swapped frees with Conor Quinn before Quinn added as Mohill trailed by four with time running out. However, Leitrim Gaels made sure of the victory with a breakaway goal, Liam Chandler applying the finish.
There was still time for Shane Moran to make yet another good save from Shane Rynn as Leitrim Gaels celebrated the victory.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Main Man: Leitrim Gaels had a lot of power all over the field with Oisin Curley, Daniel O'Sullivan, Sean Nee, Oisin McCabe, Shane Rynn, Rian McCauley all standing out for the winners while Conor Quinn, Finn Cassells, Cormac White, James Murphy and Liam Ellis had their moments but the best player on display was an outstanding keeper in Mohill netminder Shane Moran.
Talking Point: Two points really - two of the bigger population centres in the county playing 13-a-side Finals carries a bit of concern for the future given the dropout rate and secondly, the lack of a match programme and even umpires for this match doesn't bring a lot of credit to Coiste na nOg and it could have led to some controversy in the event of a disputed score.
Turning Point: Leitrim Gaels' second goal from captain Sean Nee turned a game that was a bit of an arm wrestle into a much more comfortable evening, set up by Rian McCauley's blistering run through the centre of the Mohill defence.
Ref Watch: Kevin Mallon did a good job overall, was consistent in his application of the rules but could have been a little stricter on some persistent offenders.
Highlight: Mohill keeper Shane Moran gave a superb display between the sticks and was outstanding and his saves and fielding were top class. The hard running of Jim Cullen and Rian McCauley also stood out for the Gaels.
Lowlight: Some of the shooting, handling and passing skills on show, from both teams, will worry the discerning spectator with a view to the future of Leitrim football.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Shane Rynn 1-3; Oisin Curley 0-4; Liam Chandler & Sean Nee 1-0 each; Jim Cullen & Nathan Walsh 0-1 each
Team: Michael Farrell, Oisin McCabe, Aaron Aldridge, Rory Kelly, Sean Nee, Paddy Keane, Daniel O’Sullivan, Oisin Curley, Rian McCauley, Jim Cullen, Liam Chandler, Nathan Walsh, Shane Rynn. Subs: Brian Goldrick
Scorers: Cormac White 0-5; Conor Quinn 0-4; Aonghus McCrann & Sean Bohan 0-1 each
Team: Shane Moran, Gearoid Reynolds, Finn Cassells, Donal Duignan, Brian Donohue, Liam Ellis, Conor Quinn, James Foy, Niall McNabola, Cormac White, Aonghus McCrann, Keoghan Curran, Conor Macklin. Subs: James Murphy, Conor Keegan
Referee: Kevin Mallon
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