GAA Connacht Gold Leitrim SFC

Lucky Fenagh leave it late to break Drumreilly hearts


John Connolly


John Connolly


Leitrim GAA

Fenagh St Caillin's recorded their first win of the Connacht Gold Leitrim Senior Championship on Friday night in Cloone but not without a large slice of luck and a disastrous own goal that got them back into this game.

Ryan O'Rourke's winning free nearly six minutes into added time saw them pip Drumreilly in an exciting contest played in difficult conditions on Friday night but it was Fenagh's goal midway through the second half that proved the match winning score.

At that stage, Drumreilly had recovered from a two point deficit to lead by four points after Nigel Maguire slammed home a penalty that came after a foul on James Holohan just four minutes into the second half.

A wasteful Drumreilly managed to extend their lead with points from keeper Damon Maguire, Mick and Jimmy Holohan as they seemed in complete control, Declan Maxwell rolling back the years in the middle of the park against a younger and up and coming Fenagh St Caillin's.

But disaster befell Drumreilly when Maxwell collected a high ball and opted to pass the back to keeper Damon Maguire. I don't know if the keeper wasn't expecting the pass or momentarily distracted but what I do know is the ball passed through his hands and over his head and into the net, Maxwell slumping to the ground in despair with his own hands over his head.

It was the lifeline Fenagh needed and cometh the hour, cometh the man as Oisin McLoughlin burst into life with two points, the first a brilliant point from a free almost on the sideline and the second a wonder score from play. Riordan O'Rourke edged his side in front, Nigel Maguire levelled. Ryan O'Rourke did the same before Mick Holohan scored a great point from play as the game ticked into four minutes of added time.

Drumreilly had a chance to go ahead but Damon Maguire's fifty fell short and the winning score came, I felt, a bit softly. Ryan O'Rourke started behind a defender as the ball broke off to the wing, he drew level and may have even gone together when there was a coming together.

From this writer's perspective, it didn't look like a foul but granted referee Ray McBrien was much closer, the free was awarded and Ryan popped over the winner to Fenagh's immense relief.

The first half was a tense and tight affair - both team's opening points should have been goaled, James Holohan doing well to point after his first shot was saved by Kyle McNabola while Martin Dolan blazed over after a brilliant move put him through on goal.

After that, it was the Ryan & Riordan show for Fenagh as the O'Rourke cousins were the cutting edge of Fenagh's efforts. Ryan swapped frees with Ray Fee before two good Ryan points opened a gap. Riordan O'Rourke extended the lead to three but out of the blue, a struggling Drumreilly found their form with points from Fee and Conor Gaffney.

The half would ended with Ryan and Riordan both scoring good points to stretch the lead back to three but a point apiece from Nigel Maguire (free) and James Holohan, after a brilliant flick from Conor Gaffney, cut the lead back to a point, leaving the halftime score at 0-7 to 0-6 in favour of Fenagh.

Ryan O'Rourke extended the gap with a lovely point early in the second half but then missed a great goal chance, Damon Maguire making a good save. The game changed with Nigel Maguire's deftly taken spot kicked and changed back again with Maxwell's unfortunate goal.

In truth, the draw would have been the fairest result and few would have quibbled had Ray McBrien, albeit he played the correct amount of added time, had blown for full time with the scores all level.

Drumreilly now have two very tough games to come against Glencar/Manorhamilton and Mohill while Fenagh can see some hope with games against Melvin Gaels and Gortletteragh, two teams that are now below them in the table. Wins over both those teams would be enough to secure them a place in the Quarter-Finals but both teams will be fighting for their lives.