Manhattan Gaels reversed the result from the championship proper with a three-point win over Longford in the Junior B league final.
In just their first year in the championship they had man of the match Damien McCaughey to thank. The midfielder had five points over the hour in the 13 a side competition and did tremendous work in open play also.
The Gaels raced into an early lead and within seven minutes were 1-4 to no score ahead of Longford. The goal came from Timothy Spellman, starting his first ever game of Gaelic football, and he added a point and an assist to his tally by the end of the half.
Longford replied with a goal of their own after nine minutes. Timothy Dolan fielded a high ball and laid it off for onrushing Ryan Clarke to slot past the Gaels keeper.
The Gaels took control of the remainder of the half with further scores coming from Hickey, McCaughey and Varley and another well worked goal this time from Mick Moroney.
Longford could only manage points from former Longford Ireland player Kevin Smith, Clarke and a well-taken effort from Dolan. They had a lot of work to do with Manhattan leading at the break 2-8 to 1-3.
With a stiff breeze at their backs Longford took the momentum in the second half and within a minute of the new half had a point on the board. They added a second point five minutes before they were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute which Dolan duly dispatched into the bottom right corner of Mickey Riordan’s net.
Longford were unlucky not to have a second goal when Paul O’Hare bore down on goals in the 43rd minute, but his shot grazed the post and went narrowly wide. Further scores from Smith and Clarke before a response from the Gaels full forward line left two points between the teams with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Longford even managed to level the game courtesy of the performance of Dolan who almost single handedly carried the game to the Gaels.
With two minutes on the clock and the scores level Manhattan won a kickout in the center of the field. Leo Quigley laid the ball off for Damien McCaughey who scythed through the Longford defense and struck the match winner from 30 yards out from a tight angle with his right boot.
Longford still had enough time on the clock to equalize and managed to work the ball to within 25 yards of the Gaels net, but a great intercept from the Gaels defense managed to close the game out for the city slickers and bring some silverware to the club in their first year.
Manhattan Gaels: 1 Maurice Barron, 2 Paul Stanton, 3 Paddy McGuinness, 4 Sean Harrington, 5 Leo Quigley, 6 David Varley (0-2), 7 John Connelly, 8 Damien McCaughey (0-5), 9 Kevin Lamont, 10 Conor Hickey, 11 Tim Spellman (1-1), 12 Mick Moroney (1-3), 13 Rob Spellman. Subs: Keith Pyke (0-1), Brendan Lowe, Nevin Higgins, Michael Diamond, David Keller, Brian Whelan, Lar O Fhaoiline (0-1) Mickey Regan.
Longford: 1 Ryan Kinley, 2 Val Delaney, 3 Michael Quinn, 4 John Mc Corey, 5 Brendan O’Donoghue, 6 Darren Lynch, 7 Kevin Smith (0-4), 8 Paul O’Hare, 9 Mel McConville, 10 Ryan Rogan (0-2), 11 Timothy Dolan (1-5), 12 Ryan Clarke (1-0), 13 Mick O’Connell (0-1).
Man of the match: Damien McCaughey (Manhattan Gaels).
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