'No one gave us a chance' - Mullinalaghta miracle as tiny Longford club topple Kilmacud Crokes to take Leinster crown
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.
Check out the full-time highlights from the Leinster Club Football Final between Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) and Mullinalaghta St. Columba's (Longford) here! pic.twitter.com/7VnMMMXmbh— The GAA (@officialgaa) December 9, 2018
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.
"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."
What a win for Mullinalaghta and all Longford GAA. There will be a bit of a party there tonight I’d say. You have to love the club championship— Kieran Donaghy (@starryboy14) December 9, 2018
Mickey Graham is going to be the busiest man in football during the next couple of month as he double jobs with Cavan and Mullinalaghta. Remarkable win for the Longford half parish in Leinster final #GAA— Sean McGoldrick (@SeanMcGoldrick1) December 9, 2018
Well that is a genuine shock, and a huge achievement for a tiny village in Longford! Well done Mullinalaghta! https://t.co/sw4xn5HcBo— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) December 9, 2018
The year of the Underdog!! Some result in Leinster. Dr Crokes and Corofin will be rubbing their hands but the great thing about our game is that you just never know!!!— Kevin Cassidy (@KCASS7) December 9, 2018