Leitrim's Rachele Reynolds is tackled by two Longford players. Photo Syl Healy
The old cliché ‘goals win games’ was true on Sunday afternoon as Leitrim stormed into the All-Ireland B Final when they overcame neighbours Longford in Mullahoran.
LEITRIM 7-6 LONGFORD 4-10
Leitrim scored five of their goals in the first half and despite Longford battling back and levelling the game twice in the second half Muireann Devaney got two goals in the 49th and 50th minutes.
The Glencar/Manorhamilton player would score four goals in all and once again proved to be the inspiration for a talented Leitrim team who now face into the All-Ireland Final on the first weekend of July where they will face the winners of the Armagh and Limerick semi-final.
Longford just couldn’t recover from those blows and while it was tough on Longford, the difference was Leitrim’s forwards took their chances and when Longford tried to get back into the game in the second half Leitrim’s defence were solid and held them out.
The first time Longford were ahead in this game was the second minute when Grace Shannon pointed a free. Devaney (free) levelled for Leitrim before they got their first goal in the 12th minute.
One minute later they got a second and despite Longford getting a point in the 14th minute through Molly Mulvihill, Leitrim replied with a third goal in the 12th minute through Devaney.
A nice point from Lauren McGuire was followed by Longford’s first goal through Katelyn McKeon to cut the gap to four but Leitrim hit back with a fourth goal in the 21st minute. It was game on when Longford scored two quick goals to cut the deficit to just one point in the 24th minute.
Down the other end the scoring didn’t end and Leitrim got a fifth two minutes later when Sarah Reynolds low shot came off the butt of the post and crossed the line.
Longford ended the half well and points from Mulvihill, Kamille Burke (free) and Shannon saw them trail by just a point at the break; 5-1 to 3-6.
Leitrim started the second half brightly and kicked over two early points. In the 39th minute Longford were awarded a penalty after McGuire was taken down and Melissa O’Kane tucked away the spot-kick to level the game.
Anna Hazlett edged Leitrim ahead again the 41st minute but O’Kane drew Longford level again in the 47th minute.
That, though was to be the end of Longford’s fightback as a combination of poor decision making and the concession of two goals, both scored by Muireann Devaney, saw Leitrim go six points ahead in the 50th minute.
Mairéad Clancy was sin-binned for Leitrim in the 52nd minute. Burke hit over free but once again Leitrim responded with two points to keep their comfortable lead.
Teni Alaba was sin-binned for Longford in stoppage time before McGuire (free) got the final score of the game as Leitrim secured a five point victory.
Given the form they have shown this year, Leitrim will be more than confident of adding the B title to the U14 C title they won last year.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Muireann Devaney 4-1,1f; Anna Hazlett 1-2; Olwyn Moore & Sarah Reynolds 1-0; Shauna McManus 0-2; Celine Short 0-1
Team: Niamh McDonagh; Emma Honeyman, Mairéad Clancy, Rachel Reynolds; Karen Drugen, Emma O’Connell, Niamh Morahan; Siomha Quinn, Molly Murphy; Shaylyn Ward, Riona McKeon, Anna Hazlett; Olwyn Moore, Muireann Devaney, Sarah Reynolds. Subs: Roisin Bohan for N McDonagh (29), Shauna McManus for Drugan (HT), Celine Shortt for Moore (34), Lauren McKeon for S Reynolds (48)
Scorers: Melissa O’Kane 2-2, 1 pen; Kamille Burke 1-1, 2f; Lauren McGuire 0-3, 2f; Katelyn McKeon 1-0; Molly Mulvihill & Grace Shannon (f) 0-2 each
Team: Riane McGrath; Zara Mulvihill, Casey McNamara, Ava Shannon; Grace Kenny, Teni Alaba, Aoife Donnelly; Grace Shannon, Lauren McGuire; Eabha Healy, Kamille Burke, Melissa O’Kane; Katelyn McKeon, Molly Mulvihill, Caoimhe McCormack. Subs: Orlaith McGauran for Healy (17); Laura Valentine for A Shannon (23); Emma McCord for Z Mulvihill (48); Michelle Laffan for Valentine (60); Alanna Flood for M Mulvihill (64)
Referee: Declan Callaghan (Donegal)