Ballinaglera's Padraig Cornyn raises the Division 2 trophy.
Ballinaglera were crowned Leitrim Division Two League champions in Ballinamore on Saturday evening after a titanic struggle with Leitrim Gales that was eventually decided by a single point as Ballinaglera ended a 21 year wait for silverware.
Ten minutes of additional time were played at the end of the second half following a long and length delay which occurred after the Leitrim Gael’s Full Back, James Flynn picked up a serious looking injury in an incident that occurred close to the side-line in an action packed and sometimes controversial ending to a keenly contested contest.
Ballinaglera laid their foundations for the win in the opening half, and by the time the short whistle had sounded from match referee Kevin Mallon, James Wynne’s side had established a 0-8 to 0-2 lead.
Ballinaglera had the advantage of the elements in the first half, and by the end of the opening quarter they had raced into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. Enda McGuire, Seamus McMorrow, Padraig Cornyn and Thomas Cornyn all raised white flags in a very productive spell. McMorrow’s effort was converted from a free while the other three points were scored from play as the Ballinaglera team adapted better to the stormy conditions and established some early rhythm.
Leitrim Gales were still perhaps suffering a hangover from their recent Intermediate final defeat, and their preparations received a blow prior to throw in when Paddy Flynn was injured in the warm up and was replaced by Ryan Goldrick.
The Leitrim village side were restricted to a handful of chances early on but two Eunan Tracey frees inside the opening quarter had them nicely poised to seriously challenge for the reminder of the contest.
When it comes to an overall analysis of the match, two goal chances that fell to Conor Guckian and Liam Moreton in the first half could be identified as key moments. The Ballinaglera keeper, Conor O’Brien saved the first and a timely intervention by Ryan Crawford prevented the second from finding the target.
These near misses seemed to inspire the men in Red and they outscored Leitrim Gaels by 0-4 to 0-0 in third quarter.
Enda McGourty scored from play after twenty three minutes to signal the start of the purple patch, and right throughout the first half Fergal Wynne was the go-to forward for Ballinalgera and he was an ever present danger to Leitrim Gaels.
The close attention paid to Wynne perhaps allowed for Wayne Reynolds and Seamus McGovern to score two further points from play, while a foul on the aforementioned Wynne presented Seamie McMorrow with the opportunity to convert an additional free which helped establish that six point interval lead.
During the course of the opening half Mick McWeeney was introduced for Brian Treacy for Leitrim Gaels and four points in the opening twelve minutes of the second half had Mal Guckian’s men right back in the mix.
Corner Forward Michael McManus had pointed after just thirty seconds of the restart, and with Colm Moreton giving an exhibition of long range shooting right throughout the second half, the 2017 beaten Intermediate finalists were slowly but surely going about their business in a very efficient fashion.
For Ballinaglera the second half was always going to be a rear-guard action, two breaches in discipline allowed Eunan Tracey convert vital frees and entering into the final quarter the Ballinaglera lead was reduced to 0-8 to 0-6.
Leitrim Gales had invested huge energy into trying to restore parity and every point from Ballinaglera was always going to be crucial.
Barry Gilmartin got the perfect tonic for his side with a score on the counter attack after forty six minutes, and when Gerard Clarke capitalized on some good fortune around the Leitrim Gaels goalmouth with nine minutes remaining to score their tenth and final point Ballinaglera could sense that this was to be their day.
Time was the main enemy for the South Leitrim side. Colm Morton landed three huge monster scores in the closing 15 minutes that were worth the admission fee alone, however the long delay with the James Flynn incident was one of a number of factors that interrupted the Gaels momentum and ultimately helped hand the league title to Ballinaglera.
Game at a Glance
Fergal Wynne was a vital forward for Ballinaglera throughout and his contribution was a big part in their hard earned win.
The James Flynn injury that was sustained in the closing stages of the contest.
The missed goal chances for Leitrim Gaels in the first half against the wind proved to be costly for this year's beaten Intermediate Championship finalists.
Kevin Mallon had a good game in difficult conditions. He allowed the match to flow the best he could and referred with common sense.
The Long range scores from Colm Moreton in the second half.
The injury sustained by James Flynn in the closing stages of the final cast a shadow over the concluding stages of the contest.