VistaMed players celebrate their victory
VistaMed from Carrick-on-Shannon created history when they became the first Leitrim team to win a Connacht Inter Firms title in defeating AbbVie from Sligo at the Connacht Centre of Excellence.
In wind and rain swept conditions, both teams deserve credit for serving up an entertaining final with VistaMed having a bit to spare in the end. VistaMed were fully merited of their victory with Ballaghaderreen's Barry Regan contributing 1-8 of their tally.
They followed up their semi final victory with another determined and workman like performance. They dug deep in the first half when facing the elements and made great use of the advantage on the turnover.
AbbVie had Glenfarne/ Kiltyclogher's Enda Gallagher in their ranks but VistaMed featured three of Mohill's Senior team in Shane Quinn, Alan McLoughlin and Domhnaill Flynn, all of whom have lined out for Leitrim.
Former Leitrim player and Cloone clubman Gavin Reynolds lined out at centre-back with Fenagh St. Caillin's Diarmuid McHugh grabbing a goal as a sub late on. Drumkeerin's Declan Daly also lined out for the Carrick based company.
While the rain held off at the start of the contest, there was a swirling wind which both sides had to deal with. AbbVie had first use of the elements and powered into an early three point lead.
Eoin McCormack cut in from the left to fire over in the opening minute. A VistaMed attack was broken up minutes later as AbbVie broke with Neil Ewing increasing their advantage with a Michael Murphy free opening up an early advantage inside five minutes.
Even against the elements VistaMed kept battling away and Barry Regan opened his account after nine minutes. Another Ewing point restored the Sligo’s side three point advantage but with the rain now pelting down on a bitterly cold evening, conditions were unfavourable for good football.
Darragh Gallagher increased AbbVie’s lead to four but VistaMed were not going to let the match slip by. Playing in the second final in three years, they battled their way back into the game as a Regan free reduced the deficit after 20 minutes.
Two minutes later their determination was rewarded. Paul Cassidy and Gavin Tully combined to feed the inrushing Cian Brady who fired to the corner of the AbbVie net to level the contest.
VistaMed were playing the better football with some poor shooting letting them down. It was AbbVie who finished the half the stronger with late points from Michael Murphy and Eoin McCormack to go in two points up, 0-7 to 1-2.
VistaMed wasted little time in the second half, points from Shane Quinn and Barry Regan tying the scores inside 90 seconds of the second half.
VistaMed went ahead for the first time four minutes into the second half. A long delivery from Alan McLoughlin found Barry Regan, he shipped a hefty challenge before firing home to put VitaMed three clear.
A Dwayne Kelly point opened AbbVie’s second half account after 37 minutes but Shane Quinn's long range effort restored VistaMed’s advantage three minutes later.
However they were rocked back on their heels when Murphy found space to fire home and give AbbVie a lifeline after 42 minutes. This was to prove to be AbbVie’s final score of the contest.
Points from Paul Cassidy and Barry Regan (2) edged VistaMed three in front with 10 minutes remaining, Regan following up with another point.
Mohill’s Shane Quinn, with his third point of the match, stretched their advantage with two late Regan scores ensuring that VistaMed were not going to be caught.
Sub Diarmuid McHugh finished off the scoring in style when he chipped the keeper for goal number three for the Carrick side.
VistaMed now go on to represent Connacht in the All-Ireland semi final early in the New Year. They will be up against the Munster champions with home venue. After their impressive displays this season, VistaMed will be looking forward to a historic All Ireland tilt.
Scorers: B. Regan 1-8 5f; S. Quinn 0-3; C. Brady & D. McHugh 1-0 each; P. Cassidy 0-1
Team: C. Duffy (Kilglass), P. Flynn (St Faithleach's), P. Barden (Clonguish), E. Conboy (Kilglass), C. Brady (Abbeylara), G. Reynolds (Cloone), N. Coughlan (St Gabriel's, Galway), S. Quinn (Mohill, D. Daly (Drumkeerin), D. Walsh (St Barry’s), G. Tully (Kilglass), A. McLoughlin (Mohill), B. Neary (Elphin), P. Cassidy (Fr Manning Gaels), B. Regan (Ballaghaderreen). Subs: D. McHugh (Fenagh), D. Flynn (Mohill)
Scorers: M. Murphy 1-2, 2f; N. Ewing & E. McCormack 0-2 each; D. Gallagher & D. Kelly 0-1 each
Team: P. Clarke, J. Cassidy, M. Wynne, K. Gilligan, R. McManus, N. Ewing, J. Davey, TJ Byrne, D. McDermott, M. Murphy, D. Gallagher, D. Kelly, D. Lang, A. O’Dowd, E. McCormack. Subs: D. Barrett, E. Gallagher (Glenfarne Kiltyclogher), G. Blake, B. Commons
Referee: G. O Conamha (Galway)