Category: Archive

Power’s goal pushes Leitrim to victory

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Leitrim 1-13

Cavan 2-7

By Peter Nolan

Leitrim and Cavan followed Sunday’s Ulster Hurling Championship Semifinal with a rousing Senior A football match that saw Leitrim ride Aiden Power’s late goal to a 1-13 to 2-7 victory at Gaelic Park.

These two sides were each impressive in their opening matches, so an exciting game was expected and delivered. It looked like it might be a Cavan whitewash early, as the Breffni men jumped out to a two-goal lead. Center forward Eddie Reilly banged over the opening point and then sent John Fagan in for a quick Cavan goal before Leitrim could respond via an Andy O’Connor point.

Fagan was on the spot again, swooping in when two Leitrim defenders collided, leaving the ball behind them. Fagan snapped up the loose ball and banged it past a defenseless Mike McGinley in the Leitrim net.

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Cavan added a fine long-range point from midfielder Paul Galligan to stretch their advantage to 2-3 to 0-1, but there were still 45 minutes to play. Leitrim kept their heads, the sideline made no panicky moves and Alan McFadden led them on a steady comeback. The stylish center forward pointed a free to start Leitrim on the long road back. Then a McFadden flick put Tommy Gee in for a point.

Leitrim kept the pressure on as their massive midfield pair of Ken O’Connor and Larry Keenan began to wear down their opponents. Liam Coyle was an active forager and center back Pauric Flynn spearheaded several attacks from the Leitrim end, adding a good point.

Cavan could do nothing to stop the Leitrim onslaught, their only point after their bright opening coming from a Declan Martin free. Ken O’Connor and Tommy Gee each scored two and an on song McFadden led the way with four first-half points. When the horn sounded the midway point, Cavan’s lead had vanished and the two sides were level, Cavan’s 2-4 to Leitrim’s 0-10.

The second half was a much more physical and low-scoring affair as the two sides battled fiercely for supremacy. Leitrim were first on the scoreboard, with substitute Gerry McMahon giving the Connaght Club their first lead of the match.

Paddy Smith was quick to respond for Cavan, edging the blues back in front. James Smith went off injured for Cavan and was replaced by the ever-reliable Joe Cassidy. Leitrim nosed ahead through a Larry Keenan point and Cavan responded with Shane Russell’s equalizer. McFadden curled over a free from a difficult angle and Leitrim were one point to the good with 16 minutes to play. The tackling was getting rougher as the time ticked off the clock.

Cavan’s No. 11, Eddie O’Reilly, brought the sides level one more time with 10 minutes to play. A draw seemed a good possibility, but with eight minutes remaining, Leitrim landed the crushing blow when Aiden Power got in alone on goal and made no mistake, blasting home the match-winning goal.

There was still time for Cavan to come back, but the last minutes of this match degenerated into a series of fights and near fights, something that is becoming a bit too common at Gaelic Park in recent weeks and should be addressed.

Man of the match: Alan McFadden.

Leitrim: Mike McGinley, Jim Donoghue, John Walsh, Danny Downey, Pa Murphy, Pauric Flynn (0-1), John Donaghue, Ken O’Connor (0-2), Larry Keenan (0-1), Liam Coyle, Alan McFadden (0-5), Dan O’Sullivan, Aiden Power (1-0), Tommy Gee (0-2), Andy O’Connor (0-1). Sub: Gerry McMahon (0-1).

Cavan: Paul O’Dowd,Kevin Shalvey, Eugene O’Hagan, Barney Brady, Francie Sheridan, Paddy Sloan, James Smith, Gary McDermott, Paul Galligan (0-1), Declan Martin (0-2), Ed O’Reilly (0-2), Shane Russell (0-1), Paddy Smith (0-1), Kieran Fern, John Fagan (2-0). Sub: Joe Cassidy.

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