Football

Mullinalaghta - What A Story!

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

09:27 10 Dec 2018


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No shop. The entire parish is three miles long with a population of 440 but they are Leinster club Senior Football Champions.

Mullinalaghta outscored four-time winners and Dublin representatives Kilmacud Crokes by 1-2 to no score in the final minutes of their provincial decider in Tullamore to become the first Longford team in history to win the Leinster crown.

In the end they emerged 1-8 to 1-6 winners.

Gary Rogers fired the all important goal from a 59th minute penalty, holding his nerve on what proved to be a crucial and match winning spot kick.

Miss and Mullinalaghta's dream was almost certainly shattered: score and the Leinster title was most likely heading to north Longford.

He was facing David Nestor, who had made a brilliant save from a Craig Rogers penalty late in the semi-final against Portlaoise two weeks earlier.

Would Nestor save a second penalty from a Rogers? Not this time. Gary held his nerve, sweeping a low shot to the net to give Mullinalaghta the lead and a route into a place in history as the first team to bring Leinster club glory to Longford.

"I just said 'I'll hit it as hard as I can and if he saves it, fair play to him'," said Rogers. The rest as they say.....

Mickey Graham was the mastermind of the win.

As newly appointed Cavan bainisteoir the result in Tullamore may be a hint of great things to come for the Breffni county but that's all in the future.

There are other matters to attend to right now.

"There is going to be one hell of a party in Mullinalaghta for the next week, and up to Christmas because what this club has done is a fairytale."

Despite trailing by three points after 55 minutes, Graham still believed his side could work their magic.

"We felt in the second half that if we could keep it tight and we didn't let them get away from us, come the last five minutes or ten minutes, we'd absolutely go for it. That's what we did and the lads got their reward," he said.

And what about the scenes and celebrations afterwards?!

With a big game in the new year, once things calm down the Longford and Leinster senior club football champions will be taking it fairly handy with the festive celebrations given that next up are Kerry and Munster champions Dr. Crokes on February 16.

Who would bet against the Longford boys?

Believe people!

 

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