A crucial goal from influential substitute Dylan Murray in the 52nd minute gave Longford Slashers the edge over Killoe Og in the U-14 ‘A’ Football Championship Final at Pearse Park on Saturday last.
Murray found the back of the net after getting a vital flick to a direct ball in from Robbie O’Connell, leaving Slashers leading by 2-3 to 2-1, and they went on to extend their advantage with a brace of points from Paddy Duggan (a fine effort) and Darragh Conroy, the latter converting a free following a foul on Murray.
Killoe, to their credit, tried hard to rescue the situation in a tense finish and were given a glorious chance of closing the gap to just a single point when referee Patrick Maguire awarded a penalty in the 60th minute after ruling that full-forward Paddy Collum was fouled. But a badly needed goal failed to materialise as Collum drove the penalty wide and in an immediate counter-attack Slashers wrapped up the title triumph when Dylan Gilna finished the ball to the net at the second attempt after his initial effort was saved by Killoe keeper Brian Carr.
While Slashers were unquestionably the superior side they almost pressed the self destruct button in squandering several chances, including a total of eight wides in the first half alone.
Killoe were also guilty of some poor finishing and ended up leading by 2-0 to 1-1 at the break with their goals coming from Ronan Hughes (22 mins) and Paddy Collum (28 mins). Slashers got their opening score in the 18th minute when a dipping shot from Nathan O’Toole ended up in the back of the net while Sean Creevy fired over a point.
Further scores followed from impressive midfielder Robbie O’Connell and Darragh Conroy (free) early in the second half while Killoe replied with a well struck effort from Euan Finneran in the 36th minute. But that proved to be their last score of the game as Slashers finished strongly in adding another 2-2 to their tally.
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Dylan Smith; Frank McKiernan, William Tunstead, Owen Gray; Adam Phillips, Luke Reilly, Daire O’Brien; Robbie O’Connell (0-1), Nathan O’Toole (1-0); Darragh Conroy (0-2, frees), Paddy Duggan (0-1), Gerard Flynn; Dylan Gilna (1-0), Sean Creevy (0-1), Jack Mangan.
Subs:- Diarmuid Sheehan for O Gray (38 mins); Dylan Murray (1-0) for J Mangan (48 mins).
KILLOE OG: Brian Carr; Paul Brady, Gavin Hughes, Jack Sorohan; Eamon Keogh, Liam Harte, Evan Farrelly; Ronan Moffett, Niall Farrelly; Conor Gilna, Ronan Hughes (1-0), Shane McManus; Niall Finneran, Paddy Collum (1-0), Euan Finneran (0-1). Subs:- Enda Bracken for C Gilna (27 mins); Jake Donnelly for E Bracken (55 mins).
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Granard).