There was only four games up for grabs this week in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge but fear not as there was still plenty of quality on show across the country.
Dublin Plunketts fought from seven down to catch Laois in a thrilling second-half performance while Monaghan were made to sweat all the way by Longford.
Leitrim were hit by a string of injuries following a strong showing last week and ultimately fell to a powerful Roscommon side and Westmeath defeated Carlow on a scoreline of 5-18 to 2-9.
Here is our round-up from this week’s games.
Late Flurry Sees Dublin Plunkett Take Spoils In O’Moore Park Cracker
Dublin Plunkett 0-23
A brilliant second half from Dublin Plunkett saw them claim victory in this well-contested Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge Group C contest at O’Toole Park on Wednesday night.
Dublin Plunketts trailed by eight points at the half-time interval but had the better of a windy second half to run out deserving two-point victors over the O’Moore County. It was a very uplifting way to conclude the group phase for Dublin Plunkett after they had lost their three earlier games in the tournament.
Rhys McDonald struck four stylish points between the eighth and 14th minute for Dublin Plunkett to lead 0-6 to 0-2 after 14 minutes, however, Laois got a run on Dublin Plunkett into the second quarter and struck for goal on three occasions. Goals from Jim O’Connor, Jack Foyle and Ryan Costigan steered the visitors an eight-point half-time advantage.
Dublin Plunkett faced an uphill task at the break but showed great attitude to reel off seven points in-a-row after the restart.
The interplay between the Dublin Plunkett forwards improved and the first four scores of the second half all came from unselfish play and options running off the shoulder. Seán Cooney got Dublin up and running following the change of ends after a good lay-off from Michael Mahon. Points followed from the influential Daniel Peel, the pacey Eoin Wilde, and Peel again following a clever quick-release from McDonald to make it 3-9 to 0-14 after 39 minutes.
Dublin Plunkett kept their momentum going with three fress from Peel eventually cutting the gap to one point inside the last ten minutes. Points from Jack Foyle and Cillian Dunne kept Laois in front heading into the final five minutes but Dublin Plunkett outscored their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 in the concluding stages to secure victory.
Full-forward Gordon Rodgers pointed off his left after Peel’s original goal effort was brilliantly saved by Laois goalkeeper Ben Campion before Josh O’Brien-Holmes momentarily edged Laois in front with a point in the 57th minute but Dublin Plunkett struck the last four scores to seal the deal.
Dublin Plunkett: D Peel 0-9 (0-6f), R McDonald 0-5, E Wilde 0-4, G Rodgers 0-2, J Crennan, S Cooney, C Morrissey 0-1 each.
Laois: C Dunne 0-6 (0-5f), J Foyle 1-1, J O’Connor, R Costigan 1-0 each, D Bowe 0-2 (0-1f), P Tynan, J Corby, J O’Brien-Holmes 0-1 each.
Report by: Colm Burtchaell
Roscommon Prove Too Powerful For Leitrim
Leitrim travelled to Athleague with great hope having beaten Mayo in the previous Wednesday, however, it was not to be. Missing six of the team that played the previous day they simply had no answer to the power of Roscommon. Leitrim felt the loss of Cormac White in particular after he chipped in with 2-8 in their previous outing.
Adam Donnelly of Four Roads proved the major difference between the teams finishing with a personal tally of 5-4. Leitrim moved Paul Lenehan to centre half-back whilst Shane Rynn retreated to the edge of the square to try and stem the Donnelly tide but the towering full-forward knew only one route which was direct to the back of the net.
Eoin Kiernan and Leitrim’s Shane Mallon traded goals before half time to leave the score at 4-7 to 1-4.
Leitrim to their credit did not lie down and continued to take the game to Roscommon. However, Donnelly again proved the difference. Despite being marshalled well by Shane Rynn his power and skill produced two more net rattlers in the second half.
For Leitrim, a wholehearted display from a gritty team can only stand to them in the next stage of the Celtic Challenge. Again, Hackett, Mc Nabola & Rynn left everything they had on the field but it was the relocated Lenehan who caught the eye and was named Leitrim’s best and fairest.
There was no doubting that Adam Donnelly was the pick of the two teams and was duly awarded the best and fairest award for Roscommon.
Athleague, as always was turned out perfectly for the game. Referee James Judge took charge and with the aid of officials did an excellent job as has become the norm in this excellent competition.
Leitrim: B. Goldrick, Brian King, P. Lenehan, Pearse Kenny, N. Crowe, S. Rynn, T. Mc Nabola, C. Hackett, S. Mallon (0-4), C. Farry (0-1), F.Mc Loughlin (0-1), S. Carthy (0-2), C. Kane, P. Kane, R. King P. Keane, , T. Taylor.
Roscommon: Michael Corcoran, Sean Creaven, David Gacquin, Ethan Glennon, Naoise Coyle, Dara Finneran (0-2), Michael Dillon, Kyle Kelly, Michael Lohan (0-1), Trevor Fallon (0-1), Eoin Kiernan (1-1), Michael Brennan (0-1), Daniel O’Brien (0-1), Adam Donnelly (5-4), Daragh O’Sullivan, Ronan Lambe, Eoin Bracken, Niall Brennan, Joe Kelly (0-1), James Mooney, James Dillon, James Mannion, Mark Purcell, Sean Trundle, Liam Egan.
Report by: Hilary Phelan
Monaghan Edge Out Longford In Classic
Monaghan 3 – 14
Longford 2 – 11
Monaghan and Longford squared off in the last round of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge Competition, on a wet cold evening in Cavan.
Longford got off to a great start following some great points from play by Ali Iqbal, Liam Browne, and Donal Sheahan. Monaghan eventually got their game going with a fine point by James Slevin followed closely by two points from Conal Mc Hugh and Slevin. Both teams traded points, before Longford’s Stephen Murray struck for the game’s first goal following a super save from Monaghan goalkeeper, Cillian Hanratty.
Just before half-time, Monaghan’s Cathal Mc Cooey landed their first goal in similar circumstances following a great save from Longford goalkeeper, Daniel Gallagher.
Monaghan got off to a great start in the second half with Slevin hitting 1-1 from play in the opening minutes. Longford seemed to take a while to settle getting their first point from Iqbal. Longford’s Dean Wykes scored a great goal from play following another save from Hanratty. However, Monaghan then upped the intensity scoring a goal through Slevin and several points from Mikey Carville, Leo Moloney and Conal Mc Hugh. Longford kept going making but Monaghan had their running game in fine shape and Longford found it hard to keep up at times. Just before the end came Monaghan’s third goal came through Slevin followed by a point from Longford’s Adam Murray.
The Longford lads showed great fight and spirit in the second half, but Monaghan had the better of the exchanges. It wasn’t to be Longford’s day, in the end, the day belonged to Monaghan. The amount of work, desire and passion displayed on the field is what the competition is all about.
Well done to Longford’s Stephen Murray and Cillian Hanratty Monaghan who received the best and fairest awards.
Referee: James Clarke
Longford: Jack Linnane , Shane Courtney, Adam Halpin, Iarlaith Dolan , Pearse Mc Nally, Ali Iqbal(0-2) , Donal Sheahan (0-2), Dean Wykes (1-0) , Christopher Faherty, Adam Murray (0- 5), Liam Browne(0 -2), John Murray, Adam Connaughton , Stephen Murray (1- 0), Daniel Gallagher, Dan Crossan, Zach Tunstead.
Monaghan: Pauric Bolger, Zach Mc Ardle, Caleb Mc Ardle, Paudie Heavin, Senan O Brien, Daniel Boyle, Darragh O Callaghan, Thomas Keenan, Shane Slevin, Leo Moloney (0-1), Conal Mc Hugh(0-4), James Slevin (2-8), Niall Bermingham, Micky Carville(0-1), David Moorehead, Cillian Hanratty, Connor Brennan, Cathal Mc Cooey (1-0), Jack Cassidy, Darragh Watters, Jack Mohan, Kieran Martin, Aidan Mc Kenna, Padraig Treanor.
Report by: Carol Murray