Old Leighlin 1-10
By Kieran Murphy
TWO goals in a four-minute spell between the 36th and the 40th minute sparked this senior football quarter-final into life at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday. The scores were almost identical and came from defensive errors. The first saw Tinryland lose possession around the 40m mark to Old Leighlin’s benefit. The recipients returned the favour four minutes later.
Up to that it had been a scrappy, low scoring game which gave supporters little to enthuse about.
A Diarmuid Walshe point opened the scoring but Seamus Kinsella equalised for Old Leighlin. Points on the trot from Willie Minchin and Hugh Gahan looked to be the spur for the former champions to push on. Tinryland dug in with Glen Doyle and Walshe replying in kind.
A great point from Cathal Coughlan was quickly followed by a similar effort from Matthew O’Toole for Tinryland. It looked as if the sides would go in level at the break but a surge from Old Leighlin in injury time opened up the Tinryland defence. Cathal Coughlan could have tried for goal but settled for a point. In the last play of the half Trevor O’Reilly saved from Sean Bambrick. Tinryland looked shaky as Old Leighlin led by 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.
Just as he did at the start, Walshe converted an early free to open the second half scoring for Tinryland.
Then came those moments of madness. As Tinryland tried to work the ball out of defence they lost possession. Sean Bambrick provided the scoring pass to Hugh Gahan who held his head to score an opportunist’s goal. A Coughlan free stretched the lead to four points and Old Leighlin looked to have taken a significant step to the semi-final.
Perhaps they relaxed. In any case pressure on their half-back line released Matthew O’Toole. From a narrow angle the Tinryland forward had it all to do but with an unstoppable shot he beat James Clarke with a shot to the top right-hand corner of the net. The game was back in the melting pot when Cathal O’Toole levelled.
From a stage in the first half where both sides struggled they now had a real go. A Cathal Coughlan point nudged Old Leighlin back in front. Glen Doyle levelled. Sean Kinsella and Hugh Gahan, the most effective player on the pitch, put Old Leighlin two points up. Tinryland worked hard to create space and they were rewarded with a point each from Walshe and Cian Moore.
There were audible gasps in the stand as five minutes extra-time was called out. Four of those had elapsed when Gahan burst through on the Tinryland goal. Matthew O’Toole had only one option. A black card ensued. Seamus Kinsella converted the resultant free. Tinryland never got a clear chance after that. Youthful vim was quenched. The old dogs for the hard road survived. It’s all to play for now.
Old Leighlin: James Clarke; Pauric Coughlan, Eamonn Fitzgerald, Ger Hickey; Declan Kelly, John Hayden, Niall Roche; Ian Atkinson, David Bambrick; Hugh Gahan (1-2), Michael Meaney (Moanmore), William Minchin (0-1); Cathal Coughlan (0-4, 2fs), Seamus Kinsella (0-2,1f), Sean Bambrick. Subs: Sean Kinsella (0-1) for Meaney (45 mins), Aaron Amond for Hayden (54 mins), Michael Meaney (Blackbush) for C Coughlan (black card 66 mins),
Tinryland: Trevor O’Reilly; Rory Doyle, Conor Byrne, Danny Moran; Cathal Gaffney, Cian Moore (0-1), Niall Lowry; Shane Redmond, Peter Hennessy; Matthew O’Toole (1-1), Mark Dempsey, Mark Lawlor; Diarmuid Walshe (0-4, 2fs), Paul Broderick, Cormac Walshe. Subs: Glen Doyle (0-2,1f) for Dempsey (16 mins), Shane Webb for Lawlor (h/t), Cathal O’Toole (0-1) for Hennessy (31 mins), Mark Lawlor for Broderick (40 mins), John Murphy for R. Doyle (54 mins).
Referee: David Hughes (Erin’s Own)