McGoldrick strikes late to fire Killoe to summit
Longford SHC final: Killoe Emmet Óg 0-12 Longford Slashers 0-11
"To be honest, I'm still a bit stunned," admitted Ronan McGoldrick, the injury-time hero who fisted Killoe Emmet Óg back to the Longford football summit at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park yesterday.
Dazed in a delirious kind of way, because there is surely no sweeter route to win a county final than with the final attack, with the clock telling you that the four minutes of allotted stoppage-time have just elapsed.
Killoe, warm pre-match favourites to claim a 12th senior crown and their first since 2015, would have offered up a very different dictionary definition of 'stunned' if they had failed to deliver the knock-out blow to Longford Slashers.
Based on most metrics, they were the better team here. Eleven of their 12 points came from open play, compared to just two out of 11 from the opposition. They only trailed for a fleeting three-minute window late in the first half.
And they created more chances, including two goal openings in the first half - a speculative piledriver by Simon Kiernan that was deflected for a '45', and a Daniel Mimnagh opportunity that veered wide of the left upright at the end of a spectacular run from midfield.
The latter miss came soon after Slashers had edged one ahead. Unperturbed, the workaholic Mimnagh hit an excellent equaliser from the right wing before Kiernan's booming effort under pressure edged Emmet Óg back in front at the interval, 0-5 to 0-4.
Mimnagh had been Killoe's best player before the break and would maintain that gold standard on the resumption; his second point had them three up within five minutes of the restart.
But Slashers, for all their callow youth and relative inexperience, refused to buy into the pre-ordained script that would have seen them fall away.
The busy Peter Foy gave them hope with a rare point from play and, as excitement levels grew, they edged ever closer through a combination of deadball scores from goalkeeper Colm Farrell, Robbie Clarke and Andrew Kelly.
Finally, in the 57th minute, a Farrell free from distance had them level and dreaming of the perfectly-timed ambush.
But then, in the first minute of injury-time, Gerard Flynn was penalised in possession near the right touchline when Slashers were calling for a free-in instead. Killoe countered and Mimnagh finished off the move with his third point.
There was still time for Clarke to win a tap-over free converted by Kelly ... but just enough time for Mimnagh (Man of the Match by a distance) to tee up McGoldrick for the winner.
"I was hoping it wouldn't go down to the wire like that," the match-winner said after Seán McCormack had lifted the Connolly Cup.
"We were probably playing poorly, had a lot of bad wides. We really didn't get into our flow. And when we went into injury-time," McGoldrick added, "we had made a commitment ourselves all year that we'd continue to chase lost causes, no matter whether we were up by five points or down by five points. Thankfully we were still in it and came out the right side."
SCORERS - Killoe: D Mimnagh, S McCormack (1f) 0-3 each, R McGoldrick 0-2, M Hughes, S Kiernan, D McGoldrick, C Farrelly 0-1 each. Slashers: A Kelly 0-5f, R Clarke 0-3 (2f), C Farrell 0-2 (1 '45', 1f), P Foy 0-1.
KILLOE EMMET ÓG - S Fitzpatrick; L Hughes, P McCormack, G Hughes; N Farrelly, M Quinn, R Moffett; D Mimnagh, S Kiernan; D McGoldrick, S McCormack, E Keogh; M Hughes, R McGoldrick, C Farrelly. Subs: C Dooner for Hughes (40), P Thompson for Kiernan (56), E Clarke for D McGoldrick (56), J Donnelly for Keogh (57).
LONGFORD SLASHERS - C Farrell; R Kenny, B Gilleran, P Duggan; P Foy, D Brady, S Clarke; G Flynn, N Mulligan; R O'Connell, A Dalton, A Kelly; Ruairí Clarke, Robbie Clarke, C Clarke. Subs: P Lynn for Mulligan (37), C Kavanagh for R O'Connell (40), D O'Connell for Ruairí Clarke (60), D O'Brien for Foy (61), B Walsh for C Clarke (64).
REF - P Maguire (Granard)