Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

Kilmacud Crokes 1-6 - 1-8 Mullinalaghta St Columba's

With a population of less than 450 in the north-east of Longford, the Mullinalaghta St Columba's club have done the unthinkable on an incredible afternoon in Tullamore by claiming the AIB Leinster club SFC title.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

Mickey Graham's side were given no chance against four-time winners Kilmacud from south Dublin but turned in a remarkable display to steal the title.

They were already the first ever Longford club to compete in the final and are now in the history books as provincial winners.

They'll meet another Crokes in the All-Ireland semi-finals on February 16, Dr Crokes from Killarney, though it'll take some time simply to digest this landmark win.

It was achieved with a late scoring siege of 1-2 at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park having trailed by three points with 56 minutes on the clock.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

At that stage, when favourites Kilmacud led by 1-6 to 0-6, it looked all set for a predictable fifth title success for the side jointly managed by Johnny Magee and Robbie Brennan.

But Mullinalaghta, managed by new Cavan chief Mickey Graham, simply refused to lose and David McGivney cut the deficit to two with a point.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

Then Dublin star Cian O'Sullivan fould Aidan McElligott for a penalty that Gary Rogers dispatched in the 59th minute, the decisive score.

The goal sparked joyous scenes among Mullinalaghta fans in the 3,510 crowd and they won the resulting kick-out and worked the ball to McElligott who clipped over the insurance score.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

A terrible day for Crokes and O'Sullivan in particular ended with a second yellow card and stoppage time dismissal for the six-time All-Ireland winner while Mullinalaghta's James McGivney also walked late on.

Rian Brady hit four points for three-in-a-row Longford champions Mullinalaghta though defender Patrick Fox, who held back to back All-Star Paul Mannion scoreless from play, won the Man of the Match award.

Mullinalaghta's brave bid for a long odds 5/1 win began as well as they could have hoped with the sides still level at half-time.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

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 interval.

Crokes 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 and 2009 All-Ireland winners didn't score from open play again until the 39th minute.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

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.

Mannion came into contest under pressure to perform after returning a 3-17 tally in his previous three games.

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

Craig Dias pointed in the 39th minute to put Crokes ahead again and with the strong wind now behind them they retained that lead until late on.

Crokes will kick themselves for not holding on after moving three clear but didn't score again after Burke's 51st minute point which had put them 1-6 to 0-6 ahead.

Mullinalaghta claim fairytale Leinster title by beating Kilmacud Crokes

Mullinalaghta St Columba's scorers: R. Brady (0-4, 1 free); G. Rogers (1-0, pen); D. McGivney (0-2, 2 frees); A. McElligott and D. McElligott (0-1 each).

Kilmacud Crokes scorers: P. Burke (1-1); P. Mannion (2 frees) and C. Pearson (0-2 each); C. Dias (0-1).

Mullinalaghta St Columba's: P. Rogers; S. Cadam, P. Fox, C. Brady; D. McElligott, S. Mulligan, F. Mulligan; A. McElligott, J. Keegan; G. Rogers, J. McGivney, B. Fox; D. McGivney, R. Brady, J. Matthews.

Subs: M. Cunningham for F. Mulligan (48).

Kilmacud Crokes: D. Nestor; L. Flatman, R. McGowan, A. McGowan; C. O'Connor, C. O'Shea, C. O'Sullivan; C. Dias, C. Casey; S. Horan, S. Williams, S. Cunningham; P. Burke, P. Mannion, C. Pearson.

Subs: A. Jones for Flatman (18, black card); K. Dyas for Williams (48); M. Vaughan for Pearson (56); N. Nolan for R. McGowan (66).

Referee: D. Gough (Meath).

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