Leitrim's Jack Hughes solos clear of a Longford player in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park. Photo by Syl Healy
An injury time goal from Diarmuid Kelleher saw Leitrim’s U16 footballers grab a place in the Fr Manning Cup Plate Final when they snatched victory from Longford’s grasp.
Longford, who finished pointless at the bottom of their group, looked on course to reach the final against Louth in last Saturday’s Semi-Final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park but just the home county suffered a shattering blow in the first minute of stoppage time when Kelleher pounced on the breaking ball to snatch a late, late winning goal for Leitrim.
Longford were left to rue a number of missed chances in the second half with Reece Reilly having a point-blank strike saved by keeper Sean Reynolds in the 34th minute while in another clear-cut goal attempt in the 40th minute Jordan Martin shot narrowly off target.
Trailing by 1-4 to 0-6 at the break with Diarmuid Kellegher getting the Leitrim goal midway through the first half, Longford dominated the third quarter to hit the front following four points from frees converted by Keelin McGann, Reece Reilly (2) and substitute Cian Dooner.
Dooner fired a close range kick over the bar in the 46th minute but Longford, leading by 0-10 to 1-4, failed to register another score during the remainder of the match as they allowed Leitrim back into contention.
Full-forward Jamie Quinn landed a brace of frees in the 47th and 50th minutes to close the gap to the minimum of margins and after Diarmuid Kellegher had shots saved by Longford keeper Sean O’Sullivan, he eventually got his second goal to settle the issue.
A high ball in from Tom Prior broke kindly for Kellegher who found the back of the net as Longford failed to clear the danger in crashing to a disappointing defeat.
It was looking like a different story in the first half when Leitrim were trailing 0-4 to 0-2, although the visitors were very unlucky not to score a goal when a shot from Oisin Bohan hit the crossbar in the 13th minute.
Keelin McGann accounted for two of the Longford points with Eoghan McCormack and Jordan Martin also on target while Jamie Quinn (two frees) replied for Leitrim who took the lead when Diarmuid Kellegher blasted a close range shot to the back of the net in the 15th minute.
Jamie Quinn kicked a terrific point from play as Leitrim extended their advantage but they had a very lucky escape when commanding full-back Donal Casey cleared the ball off the line after keeper Sean Reynolds produced a fine save from a McGann shot.
Longford levelled matters with a point apiece from Jordan Martin and McGann and the Kenagh lad was narrowly off target with a goal attempt from a very tight angle in the 30th minute.
Jamie Quinn fired over a free in first half stoppage time to leave Leitrim leading by a point at the break and in a tough second half of fairly high intensity Longford were outscored 1-2 to 0-4.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Jamie Quinn 0-6, 5f; Diarmuid Kelleher 2-0
Team: Sean Reynolds (St Mary’s); Tom McKeon (Fenagh), Donal Casey (Leitrim Village), Shane McGloin (Melvin Gaels); Oisin Niblock (Rinn Gaels), Eoin McLoughlin (Fenagh), Francis McGovern (Ballinamore); Jack Hughes (Annaduff), Colin Moran (Allen Gaels); Daniel Maguire (Drumkeerin), Caolan Clancy (Melvin Gaels), Tom Prior (Ballinamore); Oisin Bohan (St Mary’s), Jamie Quinn (Rinn Gaels, 0-6, five frees), Diarmuid Kellegher (St Mary’s, 2-0). Subs: Shafik Oubihi (St Joseph's) for O Bohan (33); Niall Keegan (Mohill) for Niblock (48); Conal McGovern (Fenagh) for D Maguire (55)
Scorers: Keelin McGann 0-4, 2f; Reece Reilly (2f) & Jordan Martin (50) 0-2 each, Cian Dooner & Eoghan McCormack 0-1 each
Team: Sean O’Sullivan; Darren Moffatt, Jonathan Borland, Peter Dempsey; Cian Nolan, Jake Donnelly, James Moran; Richard Prior, Tadhg McNiven; Euan Finneran, Jordan Martin 0-2, 1 ‘45), Eoghan McCormack; Reece Leonard, Reece Reilly, Keelin McGann. Subs: Cian Dooner & Conor Farley for Leonard & Dempsey (HT); Dylan Reilly for J Donnelly (49); Daniel Reynolds for E McCormack (59)
Referee: Jimmy Donoghue (Roscommon)