Defender Plunkett unlikely Leitrim hero in victory over New York

Defender Plunkett unlikely Leitrim hero in victory over New York
Noel Plunkett of Leitrim celebrates his side's victory over New York in their Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match at Gaelic Park in New York yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

By John Fallon

Defender Noel Plunkett told a Leitrim team meeting at the weekend that they needed to show composure against New York and always make sure they got the ball to a key forward rather than shooting wildly for scores — but then he popped up and landed the decisive score in the in the dying seconds having never kicked a winning score in his life!

Plunkett, who celebrated his 25th birthday in New York on Friday, was the unlikely hero for Leitrim when his kick in stoppage time at the end of the second period of extra-time secured a 0-19 to 1-15 in a dramatic Connacht SFC clash at Gaelic Park in the Bronx.

The Aughawillian man kicked the winning score after Shane Quinn had tied the sides as Leitrim came from three points down in the closing five minutes to break New York’s hearts.

“No, I have never done anything like that before. I don’t think I eveR kicked a score that one a match," he said.

“We need the score and it was do or die and the opportunity came and I just took it and hoped for the best. I was looking at went over the bar and that's it.”

Selector and former Leitrim, Mayo and Galway manager John O’Mahony revealed afterwards that Plunkett had said in a team meeting how players needed to be composed and not do crazy things and that they needed to find the recognized forwards rather than going for wild scores.

“And then he comes along and kicks the winner when none of us expected it. Fair play to him for having a go,” said O’Mahony.

Plunkett, who younger brother Mark was in midfield, played down his hero role and said he was just in the right place at the right time.

"I didn't know it went over but I just looked around and heard the crowd shouting and that was it."

Tony Donnelly of New York in action against Noel Plunkett of Leitrim during their Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match at Gaelic Park in New York yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Tony Donnelly of New York in action against Noel Plunkett of Leitrim during their Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match at Gaelic Park in New York yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“That was a very good New York team and at the end of the day we worked hard and that group of players out there never give in full stop we always believe in each other and the management believed in us.

“It was hard work and we never give in and at the end of the day that's all that counts.

"We got over this game now so our minds will be totally focused on the next two weeks now and hopefully we can bring a good performance against Roscommon again at Park Sean

“I knew this team would never lie down, that's what we're made of,” he added.

More in this Section

Ferguson steps in after Everton give Silva bulletFerguson steps in after Everton give Silva bullet

Arsenal’s winless streak continues as Brighton pull off stunning winArsenal’s winless streak continues as Brighton pull off stunning win

Chubby champ Andy Ruiz a 21st century Cinderella ManChubby champ Andy Ruiz a 21st century Cinderella Man

Paudie Murray backs new rules but says ending league semi-finals a ‘joke’Paudie Murray backs new rules but says ending league semi-finals a ‘joke’


Lifestyle

Sating the festive appetite is what Christmas is all about, here Joe McNamee takes us through the best culinary delights that are produced right here on our doorstep.Want to give local this Christmas? Joe McNamee rounds up the the country's very best food produce

Architect and artist Harry Wallace tells Eve Kelliher how his style has evolved.How a lifetime as an architect has inspired Cork artist Harry Wallace

Don’t let present stress ruin your run-up to Christmas. Pat Fitzpatrick has done all the hard work with this tongue-in-cheek gift guide for every budget, so you can tick everyone off your list and get down to enjoying yourself for the festive season.Gift stressbuster: We sort out who gets what and why

It’s not what you have that makes you happy, it’s what you do. And what better time to be proactive than during the season of goodwill, says Margaret Jennings.Joy to the world: Strategies to increase your happiness during the season of goodwill

More From The Irish Examiner