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Mullinalaghta St Columba's captain Shane Mulligan lifts the cup after victory over Kilmacud Crokes in the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final. 
Mullinalaghta St Columba's captain Shane Mulligan lifts the cup after victory over Kilmacud Crokes in the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final. 

Mullinalaghta crowned Leinster club champions

AIB Leinster club senior football championship final


By Paul Keane at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park, Tullamore

Tiny Mullinalaghta St Columba's, one of the smallest clubs in Longford, are AIB Leinster club SFC champions after coming out on top in a remarkable final in Tullamore.

Mickey Graham's side were considerable underdogs and trailed by three points with 56 minutes on the clock.

But in what will go down as one of the GAA's great David versus Goliath tales, Mullinalaghta outscored four-time winners Crokes by 1-2 to no score to become the first Longford team in history to win it.

David McGivney reduced the deficit to two before Gary Rogers fired the all important goal from a 59th minute penalty.

Mullinalaghta won possession from the kick-out and Aidan McElligott, who was fouled for the penalty, kicked the insurance point in a famous two-point win.

Rian Brady weighed in with four points also while full-back Patrick Fox won the Man of the Match award after a terrific man-marking job on Paul Mannion.

Mullinalaghta's reward is an AIB All-Ireland semi-final clash with Munster champions Dr Crokes on February 16.

Their brave bid for history began as well as they could have hoped with the sides still level at half-time despite Crokes coming into the tie as huge favourites.

In a low scoring game, dominated by a high wind in the underdogs' favour, they were tied at 0-5 to 1-2 at that stage.

It was Kilmacud that grabbed the goal after just five minutes when ex-Dublin and Clare forward Pat Burke finished from close range after a neat passing move.

Callum Pearson added a Crokes point in the 12th minute and they led 1-2 to 0-2.

But the red hot favourites, All-Ireland winners as recently as 2009, didn't score from open play again until the 39th minute.

Mullinalaghta responded to the Pearson point with three of their own, from Brady, Donal McElligott and David McGivney.

That McGivney score put them ahead at 0-4 to 1-1 between the 20th and 31st minutes until Mannion tied it up again from a free just before the break.

Back to back All-Star Mannion came into contest under pressure to perform after returning 1-6 and 2-6 tallies in the county final and the provincial win over Dunboyne.

He was quieter against Portlaoise in the semi-finals but still hit 0-5 in that game though blasted two early wides here and didn't score from play.

He started at centre-forward but moved in to the full-forward line soon after and was well marked throughout by Fox.

Mannion hit his third wide of the game early in the second-half but Craig Dias was more accurate and moved Crokes ahead again.

Crokes now had the stiff wind at their back and Pearson popped another over from nearly 45 metres to extend their lead.

They were three clear at 1-6 to 0-6 after a Burke point but didn't score again as Mullinalaghta pulled off that dramatic late scoring siege to etch their name in the history books.

Cian O'Sullivan was sent off at the death for Crokes for his second yellow card offence.

Scorers for Mullinalaghta St Columba's: Rian Brady 0-4 (0-1f), Gary Rogers 1-0, David McGivney 0-2 (0-1f), Aidan McElligott 0-1, Donal McElligott 0-1.

Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Pat Burke 1-1, Paul Mannion 0-2 (0-2f), Callum Pearson 0-2, Craig Dias 0-1.

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).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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