Late, late drama as Granard snatch last gasp win

St. Mary's Granard player Derek Sheridan under pressure to break away from Mostrim opponents Sean Monaghan and Barry Noonan. The other Mostrim player in the picture is Cathal Smith. Action from the Senior Football Championship play-off at Lynch Park, Abbeylara on Sunday evening last. Photo: Declan Gilmore Photography
Trailing by five points with just two minutes of normal time remaining, it looked like St. Mary’s were going out of this year’s senior championship in the play-off at Lynch Park, Abbeylara on Sunday evening last.

Trailing by five points with just two minutes of normal time remaining, it looked like St. Mary’s were going out of this year’s senior championship in the play-off at Lynch Park, Abbeylara on Sunday evening last.

But the Granard side showed great character and played until the final whistle; getting a late goal to level matters and then a point with virtually the last kick of the game to win it.

The scenes at the end of the game showed how much this win meant to Granard as they now look forward to a quarter-final clash against neighbours Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s. It was tough luck on Mostrim who looked to have won this game after holding a commanding lead coming into the closing minutes.

Mostrim made a bright start to the game with Shane Kiernan (free) and Gerard Smith hitting over early points. Granard struggled a little and their first score did not come until the 15th minute when David Hynes hit over a nice point.

Granard had opportunities to level the game but gave the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions. Mostrim punished this by hitting over two more points through Cillian Lynn and Johnny Murphy.

The next point for Granard didn’t come until the 27th minute when Paul Smyth pointed. It was frustrating for Niall Sheridan to watch with the Granard manager getting quite animated on the sideline.

Before the break, Brian Farrell (’45) and Shane Kiernan got points to leave four between the sides, 0-6 to 0-2, and Mostrim were looking good for a place in the last eight at half-time.

Granard got their third point of the game one minute into the second half with Derek Sheridan on target. The corner-forward set up Stephen Lynch minutes later but Mostrim defended well in not allowing the St. Mary’s player to get a shot in.

Points were then traded between Brian Farrell (free) and David Hynes before Farrell got a point from play. Granard then hit two poor wides while Mostrim stretched their lead to five in the 51st minute with a Gerard Smith point.

Liam O’Rourke fired over a lovely point in the 52nd minute but soon after Mark Tully was black carded after he tripped up Shane Kiernan. Brian Farrell fired over the resulting free to restore Mostrim’s five point advantage but that was to be their final score of the game.

Just like their previous game against Ardagh, substitute Declan Hynes made a difference for Granard. In the 58th minute a Darren Gallagher fisted effort was deflected out for a ’45 which Hynes pointed and he followed that up with another ’45 to leave three between the sides.

With time running out Granard knew they needed a goal and in the 62nd minute Derek Sheridan found the back of the net to level the game and extra-time was looming.

But there was still time for more late drama. David Hynes was fouled, his brother Declan played a quick free to Paul Smyth and he landed the winning point with virtually the last kick of the game.

It was the first time Granard were ahead in the game and they were rewarded for a never-say-die attitude in making it through to the quarter-finals.

ST. MARY’S GRANARD: Gary Carroll; Jody Connolly, Thomas Gallagher, Vinny Nally; Mark Tully, Stephen Lynch, Brian Sheridan; Charlie Martin, Liam O’Rourke (0-1); Paul Smyth (0-2), Liam Sullivan, Eoin Higgins; David Hynes (0-2), Darren Gallagher, Derek Sheridan (1-1).

Subs:- David Blessington for C Martin (injured, 11 mins); Declan Hynes (0-2, 2 ‘45s) for E Higgins (45 mins); Timmy Jackson for L Sullivan (49 mins); Bernard Clyne for T Jackson (injured, 57 mins), Declan Murphy for M Tully (black card, 57 mins).

MOSTRIM: Ciaran Garvey; Damien Moran, Barry Noonan, Aaron Gallagher; Cathal Smith, Martin Coyle, Sean Monaghan; Fintan Coyle, Brian Farrell (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ‘45); Joe Dempsey, Cillian Lynn (0-1), Niall Quinn; Gerard Smith (0-2), Johnny Murphy (0-1), Shane Kiernan (0-2, 1 free).

Subs:- Michael Hussey for C Lynn (39 mins); Michael Kenny for B Noonan (48 mins).

Referee: Ger Carberry (Killoe Emmet Og).