Thursday 23 November 2017

Lee Keegan leads Westport to All Ireland glory in dramatic battle

Westport 2-12 St Colmcille’s 3-8

Lee Keegan of St. Patrick's Westport celebrates with Phil Keegan
Lee Keegan of St. Patrick's Westport celebrates with Phil Keegan

Francis Mooney

A gripping All-Ireland Club IFC final saw Westport cling on to become the first Mayo club to win the title.

They led by six points going into the final five minutes, but had to survive a late St Colmcille’s barrage in a pulsating finish.

Graham Reilly’s early point sparked the Mayo men into furious action, and they reeled off the next eight points to take a firm grip on the contest.

Shane Scott was imperious at midfield, Lee Keegan ran the show from central defence and attacker Colm Moran tormented St Colmcille’s.

Moran’s pace and trickery saw him slip his marker time and again to slot through four scores, and by the 26th minute Westport led by 0-8 to 0-1.

St Colmcille’s desperately needed something to kick-start their challenge, and they got it in the 28th minute when Meath captain Reilly powered through the defence to send James Conlon in for a goal.

Brian McDermott of St. Patrick's Westport in the presence of Paddy Whyte, Head of AIB Cavan/Monaghan/Louth, after the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Intermediate club championship final match between St. Colmcille's and St. Patrick's Westport at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Brian McDermott of St. Patrick's Westport in the presence of Paddy Whyte, Head of AIB Cavan/Monaghan/Louth, after the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Intermediate club championship final match between St. Colmcille's and St. Patrick's Westport at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

However, the joy was short-lived, for less than a minute later Oisín McLoughlin capped a 50-metre dash with a goal off a post.

Cathal Hillard and Reilly hit points for the Meath men, but at the break they trailed by 1-9 to 1-3.

Ben Brennan smashed home a 43rd-minute goal to bring the Bettystown club right back into it, but McLoughlin punched home his second from Moran’s cross to open up a six-point lead.

Soon the comeback was on, sparked by a Jack Reynolds penalty, slotted past substitute keeper Aaron Dunne after Patrick O’Malley was black-carded.

Eoin Woods and Brennan tagged on points, but time ran out for the resurgent Meath men.

Scorers – Westport: O McLoughlin 2-0, C Moran 0-4, S Scott, F McDonagh (2f) 0-3 each, P O’Malley (’45), P Keegan 0-1 each.

St Colmcille’s: B Brennan 1-2, J Reynolds (pen), J Conlon 1-0 each, G Reilly 0-3 (1f), C Hillard, E Woods, C Kelly (f) 0-1 each.

Westport: P O’Malley 6; N McManamon 6, K Keane 4, K Dever 7, B McDermott 8, L Keegan 8, J Walsh 6; B O’Malley 7, S Scott 8; F McDonagh 7, P Keegan 7, L Staunton 6; C Moran 7, P Lambert 5, O McLoughlin 8. Subs: D Horan 6 for Keane (10), A Dunne 4 for P O’Malley (BC 55)

St Colmcille’s: J Brown 6; A Lynch 7, J McDonnell 6, C Ward 8; E Woods 7, I Mullen 7, J Sweeney 5; D Sheeran 7, R McCloskey 8; C Hillard 6, B Brennan 7, D O’Byrne 5; G Reilly 8, N Ronan 7, J Conlon 7. Subs: C O’Byrne 6 for Sweeney (40), J Reynolds 5 for D O’Byrne (40), C Kelly 5 for Ronan (44), J Kavanagh 4 for McDonnell (52), Ronan for Hillard (63)           

Ref: N Cullen (Fermanagh).

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