Longford Intermediate Football Championship: Dramatic finish as Sean Connolly's come out on top against Cashel

Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final Replay

Deniese O'Flaherty

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Deniese O'Flaherty

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Sean Connolly's v Cashel IFC semi-final

Dessie Reynolds on the ball for Sean Connolly's in getting the better of Cashel opponents Aidan Rowan (No 14) and Andrew Farrell. Action from the Intermediate FC semi-final replay. Photo: Syl Healy

Late goals from Paddy McDonnell and Eugene Murtagh saw Sean Connolly’s overcome Cashel in a thrilling finish to the semi-final replay at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last as the Ballinalee side made it through to the Intermediate Football Championship decider they last contested in 2014.

Sean Connolly’s . . . 4-7   Cashel . . . 2-7

It was sweet revenge for Connolly’s, who lost out to Cashel at the penultimate stage last year, and they will now take on Rathcline in the county final on Sunday 24 September in their quest to capture the Gerry Hennessy Cup.

After finding themselves six points down in the 41st minute, Cashel worked hard to get back into the game. When Gerard Dennigan pointed in the 59th minute there was three between the sides with three minutes of additional time to be played. Then in the 60th minute Andrew Farrell found the back of the net to leave the sides all square.

Direct from the kick-out Connolly’s launched an immediate counter-attack with Paddy McDonnell blasting the ball to the net. In the aftermath of that goal Cashel’s Enda Kenny was sent-off for remonstrating with the referee.

Things got worse for Cashel in the fourth minute of stoppage time when substitute Eugene Murtagh grabbed a fourth goal for Connolly’s to put the issue beyond all doubt.

Cashel will rue not taking their chances throughout this game. They felt aggrieved with some decisions but ultimately they had enough possession and were wasteful.

Connolly’s had good performers throughout with their full-back-line snuffing out the Cashel threat. Dessie Reynolds was lively while Joe Heaney had an excellent game and the Cashel defence found him hard to handle with the forward ending the game with 2-2.

Donal Ledwith’s side made a bright start with Heaney and Reynolds scoring fine points before Ronan Healy replied for Cashel. Frees from Dessie Reynolds and Stephen Lynch put three between the sides by the 19th minute. After going 17 minutes without a score Gavin Kelly was on target for Cashel.

One minute later Andrew Farrell hit the post with his effort. In first half stoppage time Connolly’s were awarded a penalty after Joe Heaney was fouled but Stephen Lynch blasted the kick wide.

Sean Kenny kicked over a point to put Connolly’s in front by three going in at the break; 0-5 to 0-2.

Two minutes into the second half Cashel were level when Padraig Farrell got a vital touch to direct the ball to the net. Connolly’s went back ahead three minutes later when Dessie Reynolds cut through and laid the ball off to Joe Heaney who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

Ronan Healy saw his effort come off the bar in the 37th minute as Cashel went close and four minutes later Heaney got his second goal to put Connolly’s in front by six points. Credit to Cashel who fought back and cut the deficit to just two by the 47th minute.

Substitute Adrian Dalton pointed to put Connolly’s in front by three in the 51st minute and in the 56th minute Gavin Kelly was unlucky to see his low shot hit the butt of the post.

With three points between the sides approaching stoppage time Andrew Farrell dramatically levelled matters with a goal but there was still time for more drama as Connolly’s scored two further goals to book their place in the Intermediate final against Rathcline.

 SEAN CONNOLLY’S:  Stephen Murtagh; Thomas Keogh, Ciaran McEoin, John McKenna; Daire Duggan, Michael McGlynn, Gregory Masterson; Stephen Lynch (0-1, f), Frank Reynolds; Sean Kenny (0-1), Andy McNamee, Paddy O’Neill; Dessie Reynolds (0-2, 1f), Paddy McDonnell (1-0), Joe Heaney (2-2).

Subs:- Adrian Dalton (0-1) for F Reynolds (36 mins); Trevor Murtagh for S Kenny (47 mins);  Eugene Murtagh (1-0) for A McNamee (51 mins), Brendan Treacy for G Masterson (two minutes into stoppage time).

CASHEL:  Shane Bannon; Michael Burke, Mel Farrell, Ciaran Killian; Conor Farrell, Padraig Farrell (1-0), Conor Flood; Gerard Dennigan (0-3, 2f), James Rowan; Ronan Farrell, Andrew Farrell (1-1), Ronan Healy (0-1); Gavin Kelly (0-2, 2f), Aidan Rowan, Enda Kenny.

Sub:- Kevin Farrell for R Farrell (three minutes into stoppage time).

Referee: Patrick Maguire (St Mary’s Granard).