Sunday 16 June 2019

'No one gave us a chance' - Mullinalaghta miracle as tiny Longford club topple Kilmacud Crokes to take Leinster crown

9 December 2018; Patrick Fox of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Patrick Fox of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Mullinalaghta St Columba's substitutes and officials react at the final whistle after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Mullinalaghta St Columba's captain Shane Muligan waits to lift the cup after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Brendan Fox of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; John Keegan of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; John Keegan of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Rian Brady of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Patrick Fox of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; David McGivney of Mullinalaghta St Columba's celebrates with supporters after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Mullinalaghta St Columba's captain Shane Muligan lifts the cup after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Stephen Williams of Kilmacud Crokes in action against Aidan McElligot, left, and Simon Cadam of Mullinalaghta St Columba's during the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilmacud Crokes and Mullinalaghta St Columba's at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Mullinalaghta's historic run in the Leinster club championship got its fairytale finale today after a late penalty saw them defeat Dublin champions Kilmacud Crokes by 1-8 to 1-6 in O'Connor Park Tullamore.

They are the first ever Longford side to win the title.

The 2016 Census recorded a population of 305 in Mullinalaghta. Longford GAA records the local club, St Columba's, membership at 155 - of which 114 are adults. Their opponents today have 4,800 members.

The three-in-a-row Longford champs were written off by most people heading into today's encounter but the tiny club has created one of the best sport stories of 2018.

The underdogs trailled by three points with four minutes left on the clock but rallied in the final minutes with David McGiveney reducing the gap to two before Gary Rogers rifled home a 59th minute penalty.

Aidan McElligott added a final point in injury time to put the seal on the win.

Their manager Mickey Graham, who will be the Cavan football boss in 2019, told TG4 after the game: "It's unbelievable. I'm lost for words. What they have done out there today is phenomenal.

"Nobody gave us a chance coming in here today, everyone wrote us off bar the lads and boy did they deliver in spades.

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"It hasn't sunk in. I'm totally shocked. It just shows you that with hard work, small teams, if they have a panel of players willing to make the sacrifice, can achieve things like this."

Mullinalaghta's full-back Patrick Fox, who was marking Dublin star Paul Mannion, was named man of the match.

He told TG4: "There are no words to describe it. When Mickey Graham came three years ago we were just hoping to win one (Longford title). To be here wasn't in our wildest dreams.

"We've put in some work over the last three years. It's amazing. We always believed."

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