GAA Connacht Senior Football Championship

BREAKING: Leitrim escape from New York with dramatic extra-time victory


John Connolly


John Connolly


BREAKING: Leitrim escape from New York with dramatic extra-time victory

Action at the throw-in from Gaelic Park

Leitrim produced a remarkable comeback that saw them score four unanswered points in the second period of extra-time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in New York on Sunday evening.

Sunday's Connacht Senior Football Championship clash was always pencilled in as a potential shock and it looked as if New York were going to snatch a famous first ever Provincial Championship win when they led 1-15 to 0-15 with five minutes of the second period of extra-time elapsed.

But cometh the hour, cometh the men as subs Aidan Flynn, Darragh Rooney and match winner Noel Plunkett all score dramatic late points to take the victory and set up a meeting with Roscommon on Saturday May 26, in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.

The game started in disastrous fashion for Leitrim as, after Keith Beirne opened the scoring with a free, New York dealt them a blow with a goal from New York born and raised Shane Horgan. The home team stretched their lead out to 1-4 to 0-1 as Leitrim looked in huge trouble.

But a point from Keith Beirne, two in a minute from Emlyn Mulligan and the arrival of sub Dean McGovern turned the game around as Leitrim went on a scoring spree, hitting nine points to one from New York to lead 0-9 to 1-5 at the break.

New York hit the first two points of the second half to go back in front but with Mulligan, Keith Beirne on target, Leitrim edged back in front. Jamie Clarke edged New York back in front as the game developed into a slug-fest with both teams striking blows and the other coming right back at them.

New York led by two points with but points from Mark Plunkett and Beirne had Leitrim back level. Shane Quinn then got up from defence to edge Leitrim in front as the game entered injury time but New York's Daniel McKenna scored a free to send the game to extra-time.

With two periods of extra-time, Leitrim dominated the early exchanges but had four wides and they looked in real trouble when Clarke and sub Kevin O'Grady hit late points to leave New York 1-14 to 0-5 ahead at halftime of extra-time.

And it looked very bad for Leitrim when O'Grady edged his team three in front with seven minutes left to play. But Leitrim dug incredibly deep with Aidan Flynn marking his Leitrim Championship debut with a vital point.

Darrgah Rooney, reintroduced after being taken off earlier in the game, made good use of his rest to score two wonderful points and with the game in injury time, Noel Plunkett etched his name into Leitrim folklore with a massive winning point that was greeted by wild celebrations.

New York had one last attack and came close to forcing a draw, a draw that would have caused immense problems for Conancht GAA, but the shot drifted wide to Leitrim's great relief.