Tuesday 24 October 2017

McElroy proves hero for Emmetts

Lisnaskea Emmetts 1-16
St James' 0-15
All-Ireland Club IFC Final

Lisnaskea Emmetts became the first Fermanagh club team to win an All-Ireland title when they beat St James' of Galway in the decider on Saturday night at Croke Park.

It was a fairly epic victory, too, as they came from three points down to force extra-time with a last-gasp free and then cut loose in the second period to send their large contingent of fans into rapture.

It was an engrossing match that swung this way and that from first whistle until last, and St James' deserve praise, too, for their contribution to 80 minutes of highly entertaining football.

They went home to Galway feeling hard done by because they were adamant that Paul Conroy's free late in normal-time, which was waved wide, was actually a point. It was certainly a very marginal call.

Lisnaskea went straight down the field after that reprieve to win the injury-time free that brought the match into extra-time, so you could understand if the St James' players felt aggrieved.

Nothing should take away from Lisnaskea's achievement though. They played some wonderful attacking football at times and displayed real character to somehow find the late charge that brought the match into extra-time.

In the first half, it didn't look like they would need such last-gasp heroics because they were playing the better football and looked a more well-balanced team than St James'.

Their full-forward line of Shane Ingram, Paul Curran and Daniel Kille were a real threat and all three got on the scoreboard to help the Fermanagh team into a 0-6 to 0-4 half-time lead.

St James' enjoyed their best spell of the match in the first 15 minutes of the second half when they scored five unanswered points to go three ahead and with nine minutes of normal-time remaining, they still led by 0-10 to 0-7.

Lisnaskea dug deep, though, and after Ingram gave them hope, Kille held his nerve to knock over two late frees that brought the match into extra-time.

And in the first period of extra-time, Lisnaskea went three ahead only to be pegged back, before they finally shook off the St James' challenge in the second period of extra-time when a goal from Niall McElroy secured a famous victory.

Scorers -- Lisnaskea Emmetts: D Kille 0-8 (5f), N McElroy 1-0, S Ingram 0-2, M Smyth, J Woods, B Og Maguire, M Little, S Carters, P Curran 0-1 each. St James': S Donnellan 0-4, E Concannon 0-4 (2f), P Conroy 0-3 (2f), J Duane ('45'), R O'Connell, A O'Donnell, D O'Connell 0-1 each.

Lisnaskea Emmetts -- B McGoldrick; M Smyth, P Collins, K Curran; J Woods, M McKenna, N McElroy; B Og Maguire, C Curran; M Little, S Carters, A Little; S Ingram, P Curran, D Kille. Subs: R Glancy for A Little (53), D Graham for M Smyth (64), P Connolly for P Curran (74).

St James' -- J Egan; S Coughlan, A Deacy, C Glynn; J M Burke, J Duane, T Walsh; P Conroy, M Kelly; M Elwood, E Concannon, S Donnellan; R O'Connell, A O'Donnell, B Dooney. Subs: S Boyle for C Glynn (18), D O'Connell for M Elwood (43), M McCormack for B Dooney (66).

REF -- P O'Sullivan (Kerry).

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport