Leitrim captain Declan Molloy celebrates with the Lory Meagher Cup after victory over Lancashire.
Leitrim captain Declan Molloy celebrates with the Lory Meagher Cup after victory over Lancashire. 

Leitrim win Lory Meagher Cup Final

Lory Meagher Cup Final


By John Harrington at Croke Park

Leitrim won the Lory Meagher Cup Final today in Croke Park in dramatic fashion.

That looked an unlikely outcome when they trailed by four points near the end of normal time against a Lancashire team that had dominated the second-half.

But an injury-time goal by centre-back James Glancy took the game to extra-time and Leitrim were the better team in those additional 20 minutes.

The game ended in a welter of excitement, but it took some time for it to really warm up.

Lancashire’s decision to use number 14 Justin Cleere as a sweeper meant both teams had an extra man in defence which made life difficult for both sets of forwards.

Leitrim were that bit more economical in the early stages, opening up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after nine minutes, and looking dangerous whenever they got the ball into their inside forwards.

Lancashire hit some poor wides, but when they eventually settled they began to find their range and points from the Crowley brothers and Trevor Lee had them 0-4 to 0-3 ahead by the 13th minute.

The balance of power then shifted though when Leitrim scored the first goal of the match.

Their big centre-forward, Colm Moreton, had moved into the full-forward line by now and did really well to dispossess Lancashire goalkeeper Ronan McAteer before lashing a ground-stroke to the net.

A couple of minutes later he showed great strength to bustle his way towards goal again and fire over a point that put Leitrim 1-5 to 0-5 ahead.

They had stretched that advantage to four points before Lancashire generated some badly needed momentum by scoring a goal of their own.

Danger-man Ronan Crowley did well to claim a high delivery into the Leitrim square and then even better to get a shot off under pressure that Declan Molloy couldn’t stop.

Leitrim reacted well to that set-back though, out-scoring Lancashire by three points to one over the remainder of the half to take a 1-10 to 1-7 lead into the dressing-room.

Adam Byrne stretched Leitrim’s lead to four points early in the second half, but they wouldn’t score again for another 20 minutes.

In the interim, Lancashire really grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

Led by centre-back Greg Jacob, their defence thundered into the match and began providing their forwards with a steady supply of quality ball.

Ronan Crowley, Darren Crowley and Edmond Kenny were making the most of it, and seven unanswered points had Lancashire 1-15 to 1-12 ahead by the 57th minute.

Colm Moreton finally stopped the rot for Leitrim with a really classy score from the left-wing, but as the game wound down Lancashire looked like they would ease to victory.

They were ahead by four points with just three minutes of normal time remaining, but then Leitrim came with a dramatic late charge.

A couple of frees from Gavin O’Hagan left just a score between the teams, and then in the fourth minute of extra-time Leitrim fashioned the equalising goal they needed.

Sub Zak Moradi did really well to pick out centre-back James Glancy’s run from deep, and his fiercely driven shot took a deflection on the way past Ronan McAteer.

The teams were deadlocked 2-16 to 1-19 now, and two ten minute periods of extra-time would be required to separate them.

Buoyed by their late equaliser, Leitrim put their best foot forward in the first of those periods. Points from Colm Moreton, Zak Moradi, and Gavin O’Hagan (two frees) had them ahead by 2-20 to 1-20 by the end of it.

Leitirm looked like they might win comfortably when points from O’Hagan and Clement Cunnife pushed them 2-23 to 1-21 ahead with time almost up.

Lancashire didn’t die without a fight though, and an injury-time goal from Patrick Duggan left just the minimum between the teams.

They ran out of time though, and Leitrim just about held on for a famous victory.

Scorers for Leitrim: Gavin O’Hagan 0-9 (6f, 1 pen), Colm Moreton 1-4, James Glancy 1-0, Glement Cunniffe 0-3, Adam Byrne 0-2, Zak Moradi 0-1, Ben Murray 0-1, Liam Moreton 0-1, Karl McDermott 0-1, Enda Moreton 0-1     

Scorers for Lancashire: Ronan Crowley 1-9 (4f), Patrick Duggan 1-1, Darren Crowley 0-4, Edmond Kenny 0-2, Trevor Lee 0-2, Tommy Maher 0-2, Conor Duggan 0-1, JJ Dunphy 0-1

LEITRIM: Declan Molloy; Paul Earley, David McGovern, Niall McLoughlin Fergal Earley, James Glancy, Enda Moreton; Liam Moreton, Karl McDermott; Ben Murray, Colm Moreton, Adam Byrne; Gavin O’Hagan, Clement Cunniffe, Cathal O’Donovan. Subs: Stephen Goldrick for Adam Byrne (60), Declan Ryan for Paul Earley (61), Zak Moradi for Karl McDermott (62), Kevin McGrath for Niall McLoughlin (70)

LANCASHIRE: Ronan McAteer; Liam Knocker, Colm Larkin, Shane Maloney; David Power, Greg Jacob, Trevor Lee; Colm Doherty, Tommy Maher; Daarren Crowley, Daire Maskey, JJ Dunphy; Edmond Kenny, Justin Cleere, Ronan Crowley. Subs: Conor Duggan for Daire Maskey (41), Oisin McMahon for Liam Knocker (58), Patrick Duggan for Tommy Maher (65), Eoghan Kelly for David Power (70), Shane Dunne for Darren Crowley (75), Simon Wallace for Justin Cleere (76)

Ref: Kevin Brady (Louth)