For the first time in 62 years Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s will be appearing in the Longford Senior Football Championship Final and it is a wonderful achievement for the small half parish that borders Gowna in Co Cavan.
Team manager Gerry Lynn deserves a lot of credit for guiding St. Columba’s to the promised land but the Mostrim clubman had to sweat it out in the tense and exciting closing stages as Clonguish staged a determined comeback in the semi-final showdown at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday evening last.
In a dramatic finish to the first half, goals in quick succession from Aidan McElligott and James McGivney left Mullinalaghta leading by 2-3 to 1-1 at the break in a bizarre game, considering that the underdogs had to wait until the 23rd minute for their opening score.
And the north Longford side appeared to be in cruise control when they extended their advantage to a commanding eight points, 2-7 to 1-2, with six minutes gone in the second half.
But Mullinalaghta only managed to register two more scores during the remainder of the match whereas revitalised Clonguish clocked up 1-6 in storming right back into contention, inspired by a goal from substitute Kevin Burke in the 39th minute.
While Clonguish had a few chances to snatch a draw in a frantic finish, St. Columba’s held out for a famous victory and will now confront Killoe Emmet Og in the eagerly awaited county final on Sunday October 5th.
Every man, woman and child in Mullinalaghta will now believe that the senior championship title can be won for the first time since 1950 and the club certainly have the talented players in the bid to make the big breakthrough.
Winning the Leader Cup last season for the first time since 1951 was a big step in the right direction and the hunger is there for further glory in the quest to capture the major prize in Longford club football - the coveted Connolly Cup.
All involved with the St. Columba’s club can now savour the excitement of the build up buzz to the county final and it will be much the same scenario out in Killoe with Emmet Og looking forward to another big occasion after winning the senior championship title in 2012.