Clonguish overcome Colmcille to win the Longford Under 21 Football Championship title for the first time in 17 years

The Rustic Inn Under 21 ‘A’ Football Championship Final

Padraic O'Brien

Reporter:

Padraic O'Brien

Email:

padraig.obrien@longford-leader.ie

U-21 Football Championship

Mostrim clubman John Coyle presenting the Kevin Hughes Memorial Cup to a jubilant Peter Hanley, captain of the Clonguish U-21 team, with County Board Chairman Eamon Reilly also in the picture.

Clonguish won the U-21 Championship title for the first time since 2000 when their current crop of young footballers showed fierce desire to emerge victorious in coming from behind to beat Colmcille in the ‘A’ final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.

Clonguish . . . 2-10     Colmcille . . . 1-9

Trailing by 0-6 to 0-3 in the closing stages of the first half, Clonguish came storming back to score 1-3 before the break with Packie Molloy finishing off a brilliant move for the crucial goal in the 30th minute while the points were fired over by Alan Gregg (free), Liam Sheridan and Colin Farrell (free).

And it got even better for Collie Clarke’s charges, leading by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break, when Chris Gordon scored a second goal from a penalty with a couple of minutes gone on the changeover and the advantage was extended to a commanding seven points soon after when Peter Hanley shot over the bar.

That was really putting it up to Colmcille who battled back and after going close to scoring a goal with Clonguish keeper Declan McKenna producing a great save to keep out a close range shot from Rory Hawkins they got  a point  when Ronan Williams flicked the ball over the bar.

Williams then scored a cracking goal for Colmcille in the 39th minute to close the gap and just two points (2-7 to 1-8) separated the sides when Paul Farley shot over the bar in the 49th minute.

But after losing to Killoe in last year’s U-21 ‘A’ final Clonguish (without the long term injured Ronan Sweeney on Sunday) were determined not to let the county title slip from their grasp and consolidated their grip on the game with three points in a row - a brace of excellent efforts from chief marksman Alan Gregg (from play and a stoppage time long range free) with Colin Farrell (free) also on target.

Colmcille had ran completely out of ideas in their endeavour to find a way through the so resolute Clonguish defence for a badly needed second goal and it never looked like materialising.

The best they could do was a consolation point from substitute Shane Gray in the third minute of stoppage time as Clonguish celebrated a terrific triumph in a big boost for the club.

While influential forward Alan Gregg collected the man of the match award (Jimmy Tully memorial trophy), this was a very resilient all round performance from the better balanced Clonguish team and credit also to their manager Collie Clarke.  

Cathal Reilly done his best at centrefield for Colmcille who were looking good when they led by 0-6 to 0-3 in the first half following a brace of points apiece from Paul Farley, Cathal McCabe and wing back Ciaran McKeon and squandered a very good chance of a goal when Rory Hawkins had a point-blank shot blocked on the line in the 22nd minute.

The first three Clonguish scores, all well-taken from play, were registered by Colin Farrell, Chris Gordon and Alan Gregg and it was Farrell who provided the perfect final pass to set up Packie Molloy for the game changing goal just before the break with Gregg and Michael Corcoran also involved in this sweet attack.

That was a significant setback for Colmcille who were really shattered when Chris Gordon got the second goal for Clonguish in the early stages of the second half, converting a penalty after he was fouled in collecting a high ball in from Liam Sheridan, and victory was now in sight.

 CLONGUISH: Declan McKenna; Neil Devlin, Darragh McLoughlin, Alan Sorohan; Kevin O’Boyle, Michael Corcoran, Ronan Duffy; Peter Hanley (0-1), Packie Molloy (1-0); Colin Clarke, Chris Gordon (1-1, goal from penalty), Francie Molloy; Liam Sheridan (0-1), Colin Farrell (0-3, two frees), Alan Gregg (0-4, two frees).

Subs:- Michael McCann for L Sheridan (47 mins); Andrew Allen for C Clarke (52 mins); Aaron Griffin for M Corcoran (53 mins).

COLMCILLE: Colm Kilbride; Colin Farley, Daryl Sexton, Cathal Macken; Conor Grant, Alan McKeon, Ciaran McKeon (0-2); Cathal Reilly, Enda Macken; Philip McKeon, Paul Farley (0-3), Ruairi Harkin; Ronan Williams (1-1), Cathal McCabe (0-2), Rory Hawkins.

Subs:- Shane Gray (0-1) for R Hawkins (44 mins); Colin Sexton for D Sexton (55 mins); Eoin Hawkins for C McKeon (60 mins).

 Referee: Gerry Carberry (Killoe Emmet Og).