Leinster win Boston Interpro duel

Connacht 2-11 Leinster 2-14, Canton

Connacht 2-11 Leinster 2-14, Canton

Leinster are out on their own as the most successful side in the M Donnelly International football championship after beating Connacht 2-14 to 2-11 in a tight final in Boston tonight.

Val Andrews' men secured Leinster's 28th title win - they also won last year, getting the better of Ulster, who have 27 titles, at Parnell Park.

Meath forward Joe Sheridan was the hero as he shot home a late goal at Boston's Canton GAA club to agonisingly end Connacht's bid for their first final victory since 1969.

The westerners, managed by John O'Mahony, got the perfect start when Galway attacker Derek Savage burst through for a sixth-minute goal.

However Connacht, who had hurler and former dual star Alan Kerins in their line-up, waited close to 30 minutes before adding to their early 1-1 tally as Leinster responded in some style.

Just moments after Savage's strike, Carlow's Mark Carpenter reacted quickest, after a shot from Laois midfielder Padraig Clancy had bounced back off the crossbar, to slam home Leinster's first goal.

Some excellent point-taking from the Leinster forwards, with Sheridan, Dublin's Conal Keaney and Kildare man Johnny Doyle particularly prominent, roared the title holders into a commanding 1-9 to 1-3 half-time lead.

Their advantage would have been more but for a couple of late points from Mayo duo Alan Dillon and Conor Mortimer, but Connacht were struggling to find their form in open play with all three of their first half points coming from frees.

Obviously bolstered by O'Mahony's interval team talk, Connacht hit overdrive on the restart and points from Dillon, Mortimer and substitute Karl Mannion got them back to within three.

Keaney rubbed out a '45' from Michael Meehan with a free of his own, though Connacht were on song now and cut the gap to a single point by the 50-minute mark - scores from Mortimer and Mayo captain David Heaney, who burst forward from his corner back station, made it 1-10 to 1-9.

Galway tyro Meehan then looked to have won it for his side when he planted a goal past Gary Connaughton, beating the Westmeath stopper with a low shot to his left, ten minutes from the end. The excellent Mannion threaded a superb pass through to Meehan in the lead-up.

However Leinster had the last laugh when a 68th-minute long ball from Keaney picked out Sheridan and the Seneschalstown full-forward turned to blast past the stranded David Clarke for a sucker-punch goal.

LEINSTER: G Connaughton; A Fennelly, B Cahill, M Ennis; C King, C Moran, K Slattery; B Quigley, P Clancy (0-1); D Lally, J Doyle (0-3 (1f)), M Carpenter (1-2); C Keaney (0-4 (3f)), J Sheridan (1-2), B Kavanagh (0-1).

Subs used: A Mangan for Kavanagh, T Walsh for Clancy, D Clarke (0-1) for Lally

CONNACHT: D Clarke; D Heaney (0-1), F Hanley, D Burke; S Daly, D Blake, S McDermott; P Harte, D Brady; A Kerins, G Brady, A Dillon (0-2 (1f)); C Mortimer (0-5 (4f)), M Meehan (1-1 (1 '45')), D Savage (1-0).

Subs used: K Mannion (0-1) for G Brady, S Davey for Harte, K O'Neill (0-1) for Kerins.

Referee: Aidan Mangan (Kerry).

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