WATCH | Mullinalaghta make history to claim Leinster SFC title

WATCH | Mullinalaghta make history to claim Leinster SFC title
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Mullinalaghta have beaten Kilmacrud Crokes by 1-08 to 1-06 to become the Leinster Senior Football champions.

The Longford champions overturned a three point deficit late in the match to become the first club from the county to win a Leinster SFC title.

Cian O’Sullivan conceded a late penalty and was sent off for the Dublin champions at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park. Mullinalaghta’s James McGivney was also dismissed for two yellows in the dying minutes.

It was the underdogs – playing with a strong wind – who registered the first point of the game through Rian Brady, but Crokes found the net in just the fifth minute, with Pat Burke applying a clinical finish to a good team move.

Callum Pearson added a point from play in the 12th minute, before three successive Mullinalaghta points from Brady, Donal McElligott and David McGivney.

Dublin forward Paul Mannion, who was closely guarded by man of the match Patrick Fox, kicked two early wides, but drew Crokes level with a free (1-02 v 0-05) before the interval.

Kilmacud improved with the wind at their backs in the second half, and Mullinalaghta failed to register a score for 30 minutes.

Craig Dias, Pearson, and Mannion fired the favourites three points in front, before Brady clipped over a free in response.

Burke extended Crokes’ lead to three once again with a point from play with just five minutes remaining, but the Longford half-parish pulled off a stunning comeback in the last five minutes.

David McGivney’s brilliant point reduced Crokes’ advantage to two, before Cian O’Sullivan foul Aidan McElligot inside the area.

Gary Rogers kept a cool head to convert the penalty past Dasvid Nestor, and McElligot pointed from Nestor’s resulting kickout.

Mickey Graham’s side saw out the last few minutes – with both sides reduced to 14 men – to seal a famous and historic victory in Offaly.

Mullinalaghta have won three consecutive county titles under Graham, and the talented manager will leave his role at the end of the season to become Cavan’s next manager.

“It’s unbelievable,” he told TG4 after the historic win.

“I’m lost for words. What they have done out there today is phenomenal.

“Nobody gave us a chance coming in here today, everyone wrote us off bar the lads and boy did they deliver in spades.

“It hasn’t sunk in. I’m totally shocked. It just shows you that with hard work, small teams, if they have a panel of players willing to make the sacrifice, can achieve things like this.”

Mullinalaghtawill now face Kerry champions Dr Crokes in Febuary.

Mullinalaghta St Columba’s: Patrick Rogers; Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Conan Brady; Donal McElligott, Shane Mulligan, Francis Mulligan; Aidan McElligott, John Keegan; Gary Rogers, James McGivney, Brendan Fox; David McGivney, Rian Brady, Jayson Matthews. Subs: Michael Cunningham for Francis Mulligan (48).

Kilmacud Crokes: David Nestor; Liam Flatman, Ross McGowan, Andrew McGowan; Cian O’Connor, Cillian O’Shea, Cian O’Sullivan; Craig Dias, Conor Casey; Shane Horan, Stephen Williams, Shane Cunningham; Pat Burke, Paul Mannion, Callum Pearson. Subs: Aidan Jones for Flatman (18, black card), Kevin Dyas for Williams (48), Mark Vaughan for Pearson (56), Nathan Nolan for Ross McGowan (66).

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