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Gaelic Football: Marian power to title at death

A nerveless Michael Power point a full seven minutes into injury-time completed the most remarkable of comebacks in a breathless encounter on a blustery afternoon at Leixlip GAA Club last Saturday.

Power's kick, his third score of the day, sparked scenes of jubilation among team-mates and supporters alike as the corner- forward helped the Dublin school overturn a seemingly insurmountable 1-6 to 0-2 half-time deficit to be crowned champions.

Indeed, the men from Ballsbridge's victory was achieved by virtue of the fact they managed to make better use of an almighty prevailing headwind in the second period by a solitary score more than their talented opponents had done in the opening half.

St Fintina's may probably feel that they should have held on for victory but, with the wind in their sails, Power and co were not to be denied clocking up five late, late unanswered points to seal the triumph.

Both sides were full of gusto themselves in the early exchanges, though neither could establish a stranglehold until a Francis Doran effort got the ball rolling in the 12th minute.

Ryan Keenan got himself in on the act two minutes later as he doubled his team's advantage, and the electric Adam Gannon then looked as though he was about to score the game's opening goal on 16 minutes but shot too high and had to settle for a point.

Goalkeeper Michael Kilroy was being kept busy early on and had to be alert to tip a dipping Coran Byrne 45 over as St Fintina's swept in to a four-point lead.

Captain Lee Harrison struck the eventual winners' opener on 21 minutes.


Not that the men from Longwood were unduly concerned, however, as Gannon firstly unleashed a blistering right-foot finish for the day's first goal a minute later and then turned free-taker to increase his team's lead yet further.

Power was next to strike to reduce the arrears but Gannon replied with another accurate free on the stroke of half-time.

A Kenneth Lyons free on 31 minutes and a scrambled David Smyth goal two minutes later got the second half off to the perfect start for Marian College, and when midfielder Robert Lacey added a second goal the comeback was, on the face of it, complete as the Dubliners drew level.

But a clinically dispatched penalty from the lively Keenan and a fine Adrian Boland point on 51 minutes appeared to suggest that the tie had swung back in favour of the pupils from the Royal County.

Nothing could be taken for granted in this game, however, and the comeback began again on 54 minutes with another Lyon's free; a stylish Paul Healy effort on 56 minutes and substitute Shane Joyce's strong run and score meant that it was a one-point game entering the final minute of play.

Power's next act was to level the score, capitalising on some hesitant defending, and then, into an incredible seventh minute of injury-time, the Clanna Gael Fontenoy man struck an authoritative winner to settle matters.

Scorers - Marian College: D Smyth, R Lacey 1-0, M Power 0-3 (1f), K Lyons 0-2 (2f), L Harrison, P Healy, S Joyce 0-1 each.

St Fintina's Longwood/Coláiste Pobail Rathcairn: A Gannon 1-3 (2f), R Keenan 1-1 (1 penalty), A Boland, F Doran, C Byrne (1 '45) 0-1 each.

Marian College: M Kilroy; R Kiernon, A Bolton, J McDonagh; D Iannelli, J Barnes, P Healy; R Lacey, S Flood; D Smyth, L Harrison, S Lynch; M Power, A Coffey, K Lyons. Subs: J McCarthy for McDonagh (29), S Joyce for Smyth (48), D Nangle for Lyons (59).

St Fintina's Longwood/Col Pobail Rathcairn: D Fagan; A Burke, T Raleigh, C Fitzsimons; C Cusack, C Lynch, C ó Conaighle; J Dowdall, S Sheridan; J Ryan, A Boland, F Doran; R Keenan, C Byrne, A Gannon. Subs: D Healy for Cusack (35).

Referee: Alan Lagrue.