Magical Murphy denied glory
THE Conlon Cup went unclaimed at Dr Cullen Park yesterday as Rathvilly and Old Leighlin drew a match that only sprang to life in the second half.
Overall, it was a mediocre final for the attendance of 3,500, with a draw a fair outcome as Old Leighlin staged a strong second-half comeback that could easily have earned them victory.
Brendan Murphy, a member of the Irish squad for the International Rules series, was the game's outstanding figure. The Rathvilly midfielder top-scored for his side with three superb points from play and his overall contribution was immense.
Rathvilly had the better of the first half to open up an 0-4 to 0-2 interval lead. Within five minutes of the restart, a brace of Old Leighlin points from Seamus Kinsella levelled matters.
Rathvilly dominated from the 43rd to the 50th minute as they fired over unanswered points from substitute Danny Molloy and two from Brendan Murphy to open up a three-point lead.
But Old Leighlin fought back and three Cathal Coughlan points levelled matters. In a hectic finish, Old Leighlin looked the more likely winners as Rathvilly hung on for the final whistle.
John Hayden, Patrick Hickey, Mark Brennan, Cathal Coughlan and Seamus Kinsella were Old Leighlin's top performers, while John Kehoe, Kevin Byrne, Tony Bolger and Alan Kelly gave best assistance to the outstanding Brendan Murphy for the champions.
Scorers -- Rathvilly: Brendan Murphy 0-3, A Kelly, E Finnegan, K Doyle, D Molloy 0-1 each. Old Leighlin: C Coughlan 0-5 (0-2f), S Kinsella 0-2 (0-1f).
Rathvilly -- R Molloy; J Kehoe, B Leonard, K Byrne; J O'Donoghue, S Murphy, T Bolger; K Doyle, Brendan Murphy; Brian Murphy, A Kelly, E Finnegan; D O'Brien, J J Smith, G Dempsey. Subs: S Kavanagh for S Murphy (h-t), B J Molloy for Leonard (38), D Byrne for Dempsey (39), D Molloy for Finnegan (42).
Old Leighlin -- J Clarke; R Burke, M Meaney, S Daly; D Dowling, J Hayden, G Hickey; P Hickey, M Brennan; Seán Kinsella, C Coughlan, H Gahan; B Lawlor, D Bambrick, Seamus Kinsella. Subs: B Hayes for Lawlor (38); J Nevin for Bambrick (43); D Kelly for Sean Kinsella (57).
Ref -- P O'Dwyer (Palatine).