AIB Leinster Senior Club Football Championship Final 2018
St. Columba’s Mullinalaghta (Longford) 1-08 Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1-06
By Kevin Dillon
St Columba’s Mullinalaghta, a tiny rural half-parish located eight kilometres north of Granard, with a population of just 447, wrote their name into the history books on Sunday, becoming the first ever Longford side to win a Leinster Senior Football Club Championship title with a shock two point win over Dublin side Kilmacud Crokes at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park.
An unbelievable fight from the Longford side saw them come from three points down with four minutes of normal time remaining to win by two points, setting up a semi-final clash against 2017 All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes of Kerry.
From the throw-in, Mullinalaghta won it through their midfield pairing of David McGivney and John Keegan, sending a quick ball up to full-forward Rian Brady, who slotted it over the bar to give the 9/2 underdogs the lead after just twelve seconds.
Crokes hit back though, and a lovely passing move up the field was finished to the net by former Clare forward Pat Burke, giving the Dublin champions a two point lead, 1-00 to 0-01, after just five minutes.
Kilmacud corner-forward Callum Pearson got his name on the scoresheet with a point just minutes later, but it was Mullinalaghta, aided by a strong breeze, who went on to dominate the rest of the opening half, with points from Brendan Fox, Brady again, Donal McElligott and David McGivney to give them a one point lead with the interval fast approaching, 0-05 to 1-01.
Four time All-Ireland winner Paul Mannion tied it up with a free in the twenty-eighth minute to leave the sides level at half-time, 1-02 to 0-05.
Mannion had a poor start to the second-half, hitting his third wide of the game, but midfielder Craig Dias pointed to give Crokes the lead, and points from Pearson and Mannion from a free gave them a three point lead with forty-eight minutes on the clock, 1-05 to 0-05.
Brady hit over his third point of the day, and Burke hit one over for Crokes to set up a fanatic finish, Crokes leading with just four minutes remaining, 1-06 to 0-06.
With four minutes of additional time left, Dublin corner-back Cian O’Sullivan fouled Aidan McElligott in the square, referee David Gough awarding a penalty to Mullinalaghta, Gary Rogers made no mistake from the spot, slotting it into the bottom left corner to level the game.
Brady pointed moment later to give Mullinalaghta the lead, and McGivney got his second point of the day to secure a famous win, it ended Mullinalaghta 1-08, Kilmacud Crokes 1-06.
St Columba’s Mullinlaghta – Patrick Rogers, Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Conan Brady, Francis Mulligan, Shane Mulligan, Donal McElligott (0-01), David McGivney (0-02, 0-01 f), John Keegan, Gary Rogers (1-00), James McGivney, Brendan Fox, Jayson Matthews, Rian Brady (0-04, 0-01 f), Aidan McElligott (0-01)
SUBS- Michael Cunningham for Francis Mulligan (48 mins)
Kilmacud Crokes – David Nestor, Liam Flatman, Ross McGowan, Andrew McGowan, Cian O’Connor, Cillian O’Shea, Cian O’Sullivan, Craig Dias (0-01), Conor Casey, Shane Horan, Stephen Williams, Shane Cunningham, Pat Burke (1-01), Paul Mannion (0-02 f), Callum Pearson (0-02)
SUBS- Aidan Jones for L Flatman (BLACK CARD) (18 mins), Kevin Dyas for S Williams (48 mins), Mark Vaughan for C Pearson (56 mins), Nathan Nolan for R McGowan (66 mins)
Referee- David Gough (Meath)