Carrickedmond captured the Intermediate Football Championship title for the fourth time when they pipped Sean Connolly’s at the post in the final replay at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening last - Patrick Farrell cutting in from the left to fist the ball over the bar in stoppage time.
In a dramatic finish to another poor game, Connolly’s squandered a glorious chance of emerging victorious when Trevor Murtagh (after receiving the perfect pass from Dessie Reynolds) blasted the ball over the bar with the goals at his mercy.
The point from Murtagh in the 58th minute left the sides all square and the Ballinalee outfit had another opportunity to hit the front moments later, only for a difficult free from Reynolds to drop short and the danger was eventually cleared.
Another draw looked certain at this late stage and extra-time was looming before Jonathan Keegan sent Patrick Farrell racing through and he kept his composure to register the winning score as Carrickedmond regained the Gerry Hennessy Cup that they last won in 2010.
Eugene McCormack was the successful manager four years ago and while he was in charge again on this occasion he must have been completely frustrated with some terrible finishing that almost cost the south Longford club the county title.
Just as they had done in the drawn encounter the previous week, Carrickedmond were guilty of kicking several bad wides - a total of 15 as compared to just 5 for Connolly’s. Thus they will need to improve greatly if they hope to make an impact in the Leinster Club competition which starts with a first round tie at home to the Carlow champions on Sunday October 19th.
Having said that, Connolly’s (badly hit by the absence of injured duo Paddy O’Neill and Adrian Dalton) had the clear-cut goal chances to win the replay as apart from the Trevor Murtagh miss late in the game it took a couple of great saves from the Carrick keeper Garret Higgins to twice deny the dangerman Dessie Reynolds.
The first stop in the 6th minute of the first half was top class as Higgins somehow managed to keep his net intact and he came to the rescue again in the 21st minute when getting a vital touch to deflect a close range shot from Reynolds out for a ‘45’.
Higgins received the man of the match award for his outstanding performance and while Marty Mulvey wasted some great scoring chances he must be commended on shooting four vital points from play in the first half.
Cathal Pearse Belton was also to the fore up front for Carrickedmond, firing over three scores, and while the prominent Barry O’Farrell was generally the dominant figure at centrefield for the eventual winners, Stephen Lynch did win a fair amount of possession for Connolly’s in supplying the direct ball into the impressive Dessie Reynolds.
Ciaran MacEoin played a real captain’s part with a commanding display at full-back for the gallant losers who, at least, have the consolation of representing Longford in the Leinster Junior Club competition and are away to the Kildare champions Straffan in the first round on Sunday October 26th.
Scores were scarce in the final replay with Dessie Reynolds firing over a fine lead point for Connolly’s in the 3rd minute before a couple of scores in quick succession from Marty Mulvey and Cathal Pearse Belton (the latter with a goal chance) gave Carrickedmond the lead by the 9th minute.
It remained a tight contest from there until half-time with Carrick holding a slender 0-5 to 0-4 advantage at the break with their other three excellent scores all coming from the boot of Marty Mulvey but the nine wides they kicked was a real cause for concern.
Connolly’s remained in contention thanks to a brace of points from Stephen Lynch (a free along with a great strike from play) while Trevor Murtagh landed a terrific long range effort but they had a lucky escape in the opening minute of the second half when Patrick Farrell missed a goal chance for Carrickedmond.
A point apiece were then exchanged between Cathal Pearse Belton and Dessie Reynolds (another gem) before the bang-in-form Belton slotted over a fine score in the 38th minute to leave his side leading by 0-7 to 0-5.
But Connolly’s have been so resolute throughout this championship campaign and after Reynolds fired over another cracking point, a free converted by Stephen Lynch levelled matters yet again in the 46th minute.
Padraig O’Shea just about managed to put Carrickedmond back in front (0-8 to 0-7) when his dipping free was parried over the bar by the opposing keeper Keith Molihan in the 49th minute and they then squandered several chances in failing to finish off Connolly’s.
After a vital block by Carrick defender Oisin Farrell broke up a promising attack, Trevor Murtagh was unable to find the back of the net from point-blank range in having to settle for the equalising point with time running out.
But Carrickedmond were not going to be denied and Patrick Farrell proved to be the hero as he snatched the late, late winning point in a very tense finish to the 2014 Intermediate title decider.
CARRICKEDMOND: Garret Higgins; Johnny Gerety, Oisin Farrell, Rioch Farrell; Padraig McGrath, James Murray, Niall O’Farrell; John O’Shea, Barry O’Farrell; Marty Mulvey (0-4), Padraig O’Shea (0-1, free), Cathal Pearse Belton (0-3); Patrick Farrell (0-1), Mark McDonnell, Jonathan Keegan.
Sub:- Padraig Conway for P O’Shea (56 mins).
SEAN CONNOLLY’S: Keith Molihan; Andy McNamee, Ciaran MacEoin, Thomas Keogh; Dominic Watters, Michael McGlynn, Daniel Collum; Stephen Lynch (0-3, two frees), Frank Reynolds; Padraig Brady, Gregory Masterson, Trevor Murtagh (0-2); Dessie Reynolds (0-3), Eugene Murtagh, John McKenna.
Subs:- Brendan Treacy for D Watters (22 mins); Joe Heaney for J McKenna (37 mins); David Brady for E Murtagh (53 mins).
Referee: John Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og).