A flying Dean McGovern gathers the ball for Ballinamore Sean O'Heslin's ahead of Mohill duo Shane Quinn & Alan McLoughlin during Saturday's Connacht Gold Senior Championship clash. Photo James Molloy
When is a loss a win? The answer to that question is simple - Allen Gaels may have lost their final group game but a late, late goal was enough to see the Drumshanbo men into next weekend's Quarter-Finals.
With three games in three different venues, phones were no doubt going full time as it looked as if Drumshanbo were in danger of exiting the championship with Aughnasheelin the chief beneficiaries.
But that late goal for the Drumshanbo men meant that they didn't have to depend on scoring difference as their five point loss to Glencar/Manorhamilton, 0-16 to 1-8, ensured they had a better scoring difference than Aughnasheelin.
Their reward is a tilt against defending champions Mohill in the quarter-finals but the young Gaels have shown sparks of what they are capable of.
Glencar/Manor led 0-8 to 0-3 at the halftime interval but should have been out of sight as they missed a penalty while Evan Sweeney hit the crossbar when a goal seemed certain. Keeper Diarmuid McKiernan accounted for two of the Gaels tally of three points with successful fifties.
In the second half, the Drumshanbo men dug deep to ensure that they would be the team to advance to the quarter-finals and avoiding the relegation semi-finals.
The curtain raiser in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada saw a clash of the heavyweights as defending champions Mohill prevailed 0-14 to 1-7 against Ballinamore Sean O'Heslin's.
Mohill started like a train as they hit five points in the opening seven minutes to leave O'Heslin's bewildered. Gradually, the Ballinamore men settled and even thought Mohill extended the lead to six points midway through the half, Ballinamore finished the half strongest.
Three unanswered points were followed a goal from Brian Leydon just before halftime as the scores were tied 1-5 to 0-8 at the interval.
The game remained deadlocked until the 47th minute when Mohill edged back in front and three more points over the next five minutes saw the champions establish a match winning lead.
Ballinamore cut the lead back to two points six minutes from the end of normal time but Mohill showed their experience to close out the game with two points, dealing 0-14 to 1-8 victory and top spot in the group.
The results leaves teams with plenty of ponder as they face into this week's Quarter-Finals - we have two teams who lost their final round games facing teams who topped their groups and it all promises to be an exciting weekend of football for Leitrim fans.
Many still expect the big four from the two groups to emerge victorious but next weekend is the chance for clubs to write their name in Leitrim footballing lore and pull off a major shock.
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