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Late drama sees Garrycastle crowned champions

Sunday, December 18, 2011

AIB GAA Leinster SFC Final Garrycastle (Westmeath) 1-8 St Brigid's (Dublin) 0-10 

A last minute free from second half substitute Conor Cosgrove crowned Garrycastle of Westmeath AIB GAA Leinster Senior Football champions for 2011.

St Brigid’s from Dublin must have felt that they were forcing extra time when a second half sub of their own, Gavin McIntyre, kicked a fine point from 20 yards to level the sides for only the second time in the match.

The Westmeath side went into an incredible 1-7 to 0-2 lead early in the second half with the help of a Gary Dolan goal and it looked like there would be only one winner but back came Brigid’s with the help of four points on the trot from Paddy Andrews and nearly pulled off an amazing comeback.

Garrycastle started the brighter of the two teams and used a strong breeze that was blowing in their favour to their full advantage. The vastly experienced Westmeath side were showing all their worth and none more so then centre forward Dessie Dolan.

Four points from the former All-Star, his first of the afternoon coming from a free, within the opening 15 minutes of the half showed that the Dublin side were just enable to contain the Westmeath intercounty star.

Brigid’s only scored once in the opening half scored by full forward Ken Darcy from a free after Darren Harte fouled Paddy Andrews while he made his way to goal along the by-line.

Both sides had their share of goal chances during the opening 30 minutes. Garrycastle’s came on 17 minutes when Gary Dolan managed to get on the end of a dangerous high ball but his effort went just wide.

The men from the capital almost undone all of the good work from the Garrycastle when Darcy forced his way through the defence on the 23 minute but his effort also went to the right and wide. It looked like one of those days for Brigid’s with Mark Cahill and Ken Darcy failing to take their chances from easy looking frees.

Brigid’s who were slight favourites going into the game struggled massively in the opening half with the likes of Darcy, Barry Cahill, Ken Kilmurray and Paddy Andrews not playing to their full potential and left a lot of work to do in the second half.

The second half combination of Darcy and Andrews, which Garrycastle failed to hold down ,kicked into gear when a long ball into the big target man was knocked down to the on rushing Andrews and he showed just how simple it was for the Dublin side to get back into this game.

Dessie Dolan managed to respond instantly for the Westmeath side two minutes later with a massive point from all of 35 yards to restore the five point lead.

Then on 38 minutes what proved vital for Garrycastle was the goal from Gary Dolan. Some fine work on the left hand side from James Duignan who cut through the Brigid’s defence and fired a low shot on goal only to see his effort flicked into the top corner of the net by Gary Dolan.

However, Brigid’s did manage to respond over the next 10 minutes with 0-2 from John O’Loughlin and 0-4 from Paddy Andrews to leave it with just a single point separating the sides.

McIntyre was introduced and looked to have tied up the game for the Dublin champions but a free deep into injury time from Cosgrove, the coolest man in the ground, stepped up to crown Garrycastle as new AIB Leinster Football champions.




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