Steady Cosgrove scores historic winner for Garrycastle

Garrycastle 1-8 St Brigid's 0-10

Garrycastle 1-8 St Brigid's 0-10

Conor Cosgrove delivered the winning free for Garrycastle this afternoon as they became the first Westmeath club to claim the AIB Leinster Senior Club Football title.

Garrycastle held a commanding 0-6 to 0-1 interval advantage at O'Connor Park in Tullamore, and led by 1-7 to 0-2 eight minutes into the second half.

Dublin champions St. Brigid's responded in terrific fashion with seven unanswered points, including five from the boot of Paddy Andrews, to cut the deficit to the minimum with nine minutes remaining.

Substitute Gavin McIntyre levelled the tie for St. Brigid's on the stroke of the 60th minute, but substitute Cosgrove landed the winning score to secure the silverware and a first ever defeat in the Leinster Championship for St Brigid's.

Four points from Dessie Dolan powered Garrycastle into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes, with St Brigid's lone score during this spell coming from a third minute free from Ken Darcy.

Garrycastle could afford three wides during this period, while there were also two yellow cards as defenders Doron Harte and Karl Henson both entered the notebook of referee Syl Doyle.

St Brigid's were wasteful with their limited possession during this spell with Ken Kilmurray blazing an effort wide of the posts, while Paddy Andrews had his 11th minute chance finish in the hands of Garrycastle goalkeeper Cathal Mullin.

The midlanders opened up a five-point lead after 19 minutes with Henson and forward Gary Dolan both on target.

Anthony Cunningham's charges put the St Brigid's defence under pressure throughout, while at the opposite end players like their team captain John Gaffey led by example, making an excellent block on Andrews following a goal chance in the 18th minute.

Both sides had plenty of scoring chances in the final 11 minutes of the half. Tom McHugh brought Garrycastle's wides tally to four, before Darcy sent an effort wide of the posts after an initial goal opportunity for semi-final goal scorer Philly Ryan.

Both Dessie Dolan and Mark Cahill missed chances in the closing stages, with Garrycastle taking a five-point advantage into the break.

St Brigid's failed to score from play in the opening half but made amends within three minutes of the restart. Paddy Andrews rifled over before Dessie Dolan answered back in the 35th minute with his fifth point.

Dessie was again involved for the game's only goal, sending the ball through to James Duignan who bore down on the St. Brigid's goalmouth. Gary Dolan was lurking with intent and got the vital pass from Duignan before slotting the ball past Shane Supple to push Garrycastle into an eight-point lead in the 39th minute.

St. Brigid's hit back with points from Darcy and John O'Loughlin to make the scoreline 1-7 to 0-4 with 18 minutes remaining.

Following an off-the-ball incident, both Garrycastle's James Dolan and Barry Cahill of St Brigid's were shown yellow cards as the intensity increased with each passing minute.

Andrews cut the deficit to a goal thanks to a trio of unanswered scores in a two-and-a-half minute spell.

A minute later Andrews had a fisted effort which TV pictures showed was wide, but the score stood as St.Brigid's cut the deficit to two points.

O'Loughlin fired over St Brigid's seventh unanswered point with Garrycastle holding onto a slender 1-7 to 0-8 lead with just over nine minutes left on the clock.

Garrycastle pressed hard for scores at the opposite end but were met by a resolute St Brigid's defence. Cahill had a 54th minute chance to tie the game for the second time, but fluffed his effort in front of the posts.

McIntyre delivered an equaliser for St Brigid's right on the hour mark, with at least a minute of additional time still to follow.

But, with a minute and 40 seconds on the clock, substitute Cosgrove decisively converted the pressure kick to send the Garrycastle supporters into raptures.

After the game Garrycastle captain John Gaffey accepted the cup from Leinster GAA Chairman Martin Skelly. This victory now ensures an all-Athlone All-Ireland semi-final in February with Garrycastle set to face their rivals on the Connacht side of the Shannon, St Brigid's of Roscommon.

GARRYCASTLE: C Mullin; T McHugh, J Gaffey, M McCallon; K Henson (0-1), D Harte, E Mulvihill; S O'Donoghue, D O'Shaughnessy; J Duignan, G Dolan (1-1), R McGowan; P Mulvihill, J Dolan, D Dolan (0-5, 0-1f).

Subs used: A Fox for McHugh (45 mins), A Browne for Duignan (51), C Cosgrove (0-1) for P Mulvihill (54), A Daly for McGowan (54).

ST. BRIGID'S: S Supple; G Norton, Martin Cahill, G Kane; A Daly, S Murray, D Plunkett; B Cahill, J O'Loughlin (0-2); C Mullins, P Andrews (0-5, 0-1f), K Kilmurray; P Ryan, K Darcy (0-2, 0-2f), Mark Cahill.

Subs used: G McIntyre (0-1) for Mark Cahill (42 mins), L McCarthy for Ryan (46), O McCann for Mullins (59).

Referee: Syl Doyle (Wexford)

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