Tourlestrane of Sligo had a fine 0-16 to 1-11 victory over Galway outfit Killannin last night in the Final of the Leo Kenny Cup at the Connacht GAA Centre in Bekan. In a thoroughly enjoyable game that flowed from end to end throughout, ultimately it was the Sligo men’s more clinical shooting and composure at the end that settled it in their favour. However, the game would have gone to extra time if it wasn’t for the heroics of Tourlestrane goalkeeper Padraig McVeigh who acrobatically tipped Patrick Sweeney’s fisted effort over the bar for a point right at the death.
Tourlestrane opened the scoring with a John Kelly effort from a narrow angle on the left wing with his left foot in the fifth minute, but it was then Killannin who seized the early inititative, surging into a 4 points to 1 lead half way through the half, on the back of the some fine scores most notably from sharp shooting inside forwards Patrick Sweeney and Enda Kelly, with county stars Johnny Heaney and Cathal Sweeney also very influential around the middle third in the opening stages. Tourlestrane then thundered into the game, aided by fine scores from Cathal Henry, Liam Gaughan and John Kelly. The half time score was 0-7 to 0-6 to the Sligo men, reflecting what had been a hugely competitive contest.
Tourlestrane then came out and dominated almost from the first whistle of the second half, roaring into a commanding 0-13 to 0-7 lead after 45 minutes of action, even missing a penalty in that period also with Liam Gaughans effort being well saved by Killannin captain Shane Sheridan. This seemed to galvanise his team and they began to eat into the Tourlestrane advantage and when Patrick Sweeney scored a fantastic goal after fielding a long ball into the full forward line, it looked like the comeback was on. Pat Harte was then dismissed for Tourlestrane for a second yellow card and the Galway men pulled level with the momentum having swung to their favour. Tourlestrane weren’t about to give up though and showed great determination to fashion the winning scores, substitute Shane Dunne converting a fine effort to put them a point up from the right wing after patient build up play involving wing back Oisín Kennedy and Brian Egan, who came in at half time and had an enormous impact on the game. Tourlestrane were then able to hold on for a famous victory, despite getting a scare with Sweeneys effort being saved by McVeigh in the last play of the day. On this showing both teams can look forward to their county championship campaigns with great optimisim.
Tourlestrane: P McVeigh, D Leonard, B Kennedy, B Walsh, O Kennedy (0-1), A McIntyre, J Leonard, S Henry, K Gavaghan, C Henry (0-5, 2fs) N Gaughan, G Gaughan, L Gaughan(0-3), P Harte(0-1), J Kelly (0-2) SUBS J Quinn S Dunne (0-1) J Carr, B Egan (0-1) C Marren
Killanin: S Sheridan, D Kelly, E Murray, T McAndrew, C Roche, D Walsh (0-1), R Caldwell, S Thornton, G Heffernan, C Sweeney, N Walsh (0-2), J Heaney (0-1 45), D Walsh (0-1), P Sweeney (1-2), E Kelly (0-4, 3fs) SUBS A O’Neill, A Kelly