Late goals clinch a surprise win for St. Vincent’s

Two late goals from substitute Dean Cosgrave put St. Vincent’s into the Minor Football Championship Final at the expense of the title holders Northern Gaels who suffered a surprise defeat at Maguire Park in Ballinalee on Saturday last.

The Longford Town U-19 soccer player made a huge difference when introduced and the matchwinner Cosgrave took both his goals well. The first came in the 56th minute and he grabbed his second one minute into additional time.

It was no more than the Drumlish/Ballinamuck side deserved because they completely outplayed the Abbeylara/Mullinalaghta amalgamation in the second half of the semi-final. It was the proverbial game of two halves; Northern Gaels looked good in the first half and went in at the break 3 points in front but on the changeover there was only one team in it and St. Vincent’s went on to claim the win.

St. Vincent’s opened the scoring in the 1st minute with a well-taken point by Gary Connell but then Northern Gaels took control. Anthony Reilly got their first score and then a point from a Rian Brady free put them ahead in the 6th minute.

Conor Berry curled over a nice point in the 9th minute before Aidan McElligott found the range with an excellent score one minute later. In the 13th minute they opened up a four point lead with another free converted by Rian Brady.

St. Vincent’s got their second point in the 15th minute through a Martin Cassidy free. They had enough possession to register scores but the strong wind didn’t help their cause. Northern Gaels four point advantage was restored in the 19th minute when Nigel Rabbitte played a perfect ball into Rian Brady who shot over the bar.

In the 29th minute a nice point from Neil Connolly put three between the sides going in at the break, 0-6 to 0-3. Northern Gaels started the second half well and were in front by four again inside the opening minute; David McGivney with the point. Mark Breslin responded with an excellent point for St. Vincent’s before Northern Gaels took over again.

Three points from Rian Brady (two frees) stretched their lead to six points in the 39th minute but Northern Gaels then had to endure a very barren spell as St. Vincent’s came storming back to change the course of the game.

Emmet Noonan was a real threat for them and Northern Gaels just could not handle him. They constantly fouled in a bid to stop him and Martin Cassidy duly pointed the resulting frees; two in a row to cut the gap to four in the 42nd minute.

It was down to two points in the 50th minute after Gary Connell and Anthony Kane got scores. The momentum was now with St. Vincent’s and Dean Cosgrave made it a one point game in the 51st minute before Cassidy fired them in front after converting another two frees.

In the 56th minute Cosgrave grabbed a crucial goal for St. Vincent’s and Northern Gaels could only reply with a point from a free converted by Aidan McElligott. A lovely point from Martin Cassidy put St. Vincent’s back in front by four in the 60th minute before Dean Cosgrave sealed the surprise win with a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and crossed the line.

Aidan McElligott got a consolation point for the losers in the third minute of stoppage time as the 2011 minor champions were dethroned by the 2010 Harte Cup winners.

ST. VINCENT’S: Michael Heslin; Ruairi Carthy, Daniel Gorman, Gavin Quinn; Nigel Kiernan, Mike Kiernan, Paul Hughes; Gary Connell (0-2), Mark Breslin (0-1); Anthony Kane (0-1), Emmet Noonan, Neil Connolly (0-1); Martin Cassidy (0-6, five frees), Scott Howe, Ronan Corr.

Subs:- Dean Cosgrave (2-1) for N Connolly (45 mins); Paul Donnelly for S Howe (45 mins).

NORTHERN GAELS: Luke Meehan; James Mooney, Aaron Earley, David Kane; Anthony Reilly (0-1), Aidan McElligott (0-3, one free), Michael Cunningham; David McGivney (0-1), Jason Earley; Conor Berry (0-1), Anthony McBrien, Nigel Rabbitte; Brendan Fox, Colin Sheridan, Rian Brady (0-6, four frees).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).