Mullinalaghta prove size doesn't always matter to take historic Leinster title and set up All-Ireland semi against Kerry kingpins
Mullinalaghta 1-8 Kilmacud Crokes 1-6
The odds said it couldn’t be done but Mullinalaghta didn’t listen. And even when it looked as if their dream of becoming the first Longford club to win the Leinster club football title was fading late on they refused to accept that the title was heading back to Kilmacud for a fifth time.
Trailing by two points after 58 minutes, they struck for a goal from the penalty spot after Aidan McElligott was downed in the square. Gary Rogers faced the ultimate pressure kick and he held his nerve to beat Kilmacud goalkeeper, David Neston with a sweet strike.
McElligott added another point and while Kilmacud made a late bid to save the day in stoppage time the Mullinalaghta defence, which had been outstanding all day, held firm.
David Gough’s final whistle sparked remarkable scenes in O’Connor Park as Mullinalaghta supporters swarmed onto the pitch to celebrate a famous success.
It was the least they deserved on a day when Kilmacud never produced any of the fluency which took them past St.Peter’s Dunboyne and Portlaoise.
Still, it looked as if they might have done enough when they led by three points 1-6 to 0-6 after 50 minutes. They failed to score again and with Mullinalaghta gaining in power and confidence, the Dublin champions found themselves in a corner from which they couldn’t find an escape route.
Mullinalaghta sensed that something major was achievable and pressed on for a victory that takes them into an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Dr.Crokes (Kerry) in February to decide who play Corofin (Galway) or Ghaoth Dhobhar (Donegal) in the final on St.Patrick’s Day.
It was level at half-time (Kilmacud Crokes 1-2 Mullinalaghta 0-5) after an error-strewn first half during which neither side retained possession with anything like the precision expected at this level.
Kilmacud made an early break when Pat Burke pounced for a goal in the fifth minute but
Mullinalaghta, playing with the wind, responded positively and were the better side for long stages of the half.
Three points by Rian Brady helped them to a one-point lead after 20 minutes but Paul Mannion levelled it up with a pointed free in stoppage time.
Scorers: Mullinalaghta: R Brady 0-4 (1f), G Rogers 1-0 (pen), D McGivney 0-2, A McElligott, D McElligott 0-1 each.
Kilmacud Crokes: P Burke 1-1, C Pearson, P Mannion (2f) 0-2 each, C Dias 0-1.
Mullinalaghta: P Rogers; S Cadam, P Fox, C Brady; F Mulligan, S Mulligan, D McElligott;
A McElligott, J Keegan; G Rogers, J McGivney, B Fox; J Matthews, R Brady, D McGivney.
Subs: M Cunningham for F Mulligan (48).
Kilmacud Crokes: D Nestor; L Flatman, R McGowan, A McGowan; C O’Connor, C O’Shea, c O’Sullivan; C Dias, C Casey; S Horan, P Mannion,S Cunningham; P Burke, S Williams, C Pearson.
Subs: A Jones for Flatman (17 b/c), K Dyas for Wiliams (48), M Vaughan for Pearson (56), N Nolan for R McGowan (64).
Ref - D Gough (Meath)