The title holders Northern Gaels survived a scare against Longford Slashers at Devine Park on Saturday last to book their place in this year’s Minor ‘A’ Football Championship Final against Clonguish Og.
10 minutes into the second half of the semi-final, Slashers were in front by two points, thanks to a goal by Robbie Clarke, but the introduction of Conor Berry and the performance of the influential David McGivney changed the game in favour of Northern Gaels.
Slashers cut the gap to two by the 47th minute but the Abbeylara/Mullinalaghta amalgamation replied with a goal from Aidan McElligott in the 52nd minute and they finished the game strong for a comfortable win in the finish.
Straight from the throw-in, Northern Gaels opened the scoring with Aaron Earley getting a point with a free by Daniel Kirby leaving the sides level in the 8th minute before Northern Gaels hit back with points from Jayson Matthews (2) and Earley.
Slashers replied with three points in a row but ended up trailing by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break as Northern Gaels got back on top.
A nice point from Rian Brady early in the second half extended the Gaels advantage but Slashers got right back into contention with a goal from Robbie Clarke and points followed from Daniel Kirby (free) and Sean Costello.
But Northern Gaels came storming back to fire over five points in a row through Jayson Matthews (2), Aidan McElligott and substitute Conor Berry as they eventually asserted their superiority.
A Cian Finnan free cut the gap to two in the 47th minute but Northern Gaels then struck the killer blow with a crucial goal from Aidan McElligott and pulled right away to win by nine points in the end with their other scores coming from Rian Brady (2), Ultan O’Hara and a brace of excellent efforts from David McGivney.
NORTHERN GAELS: Tom Meehan; James Mooney, Luke Meehan, Cian Brady; Killian Gallagher, David McGivney (0-3, 1 free), Russell Brady; Barry McKiernan (0-1), Cathal Lynch; Ultan O’Hara (0-1), Aaron Earley (0-2), Nigel Rabbitte (0-1); Rian Brady (0-4), Aidan McElligott (1-1), Jayson Matthews (0-3).
Subs:- Conor Berry (0-2) for K Gallagher (37 mins); Fergal Lynch for N Rabbitte (57 mins).
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Daniel Doherty; Ryan Mangan, Paddy Duggan, Jack McNevin; Eoin Bartley, Liam Barry, Ben Ryan (0-1); Cian Kavanagh, Hugo Carey; Robbie Clarke (1-1), Daniel Kirby (0-4, 3 frees), Cian Finnan (0-1); Robbie O’Connell, Sean Costello (0-1), Rory O’Brien.
Subs:- Daniel Smith for R O’Brien (47 mins); Nathan Steele (0-1, free) for R Mangan (52 mins); Ciaran Earley for C Finnan (injured, 58 mins)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).