Garrycastle 2-13 St Loman's Mullingar 3-06
A dramatic comeback in the second half saw Garrycastle regain the Flanagan Cup after a five-year gap in Mullingar this afternoon, the former All-Ireland finalists coming from eight points down to deservedly win a pulsating Westmeath SFC final by four points.
The action came thick and fast in the first half. The sides were tied at 0-1 each when Luke Dempsey’s troops pounced for their first goal in the eighth minute, former Offaly player Ken Casey finding the net after Paul Whelehan’s initial shot had been saved by Sean Brennan.
Three minutes later, a foul on the overlapping Sean Flanagan resulted in a penalty for the Mullingar side. John Heslin’s penalty wasn’t overly well struck but it still found the net.
Fola Ayorinde almost got in for a third goal in the 14th minute, but there was to be no denying Heslin in the 19th minute when he produced a delightful low finish after being cleverly picked out by Casey.
Garrycastle got a lifeline in the 20th minute when Tom O’Halloran was adjudged to have been fouled, but Jason Daly pulled off a great save from Alex Gardiner’s spot kick. At the break, St Loman’s led by 3-4 to 0-5.
However, Gary Dolan’s charges were a changed team on the change of ends and they gradually reduced the deficit.
Four unanswered points by the 39th minute - the last of them from sub Conor Cosgrove with his first kick of the ball from a free - left them four points down. In the 41st minute, a foul on James Sheerin (who had replaced 40-year-old Dessie Dolan at half-time) gave man of the match Gardiner a second chance from the spot, and this time he made no mistake.
A second Cosgrove free levelled the scoring. TJ Cox briefly restored St Loman’s lead, but they were to only add a converted free by Heslin to their tally in the closing stages.
A fired-up Garrycastle, who shot no wides in the second period, sealed their victory with classy late points from Eoin Monaghan, Cosgrove and Gardiner.
St Loman’s woes were compounded by the red-carding of Conradh Reilly deep into injury-time.
Garrycastle: S Brennan; M Guiheen, J Donohue, M McCallon; D Harte, J Gaffey, G McCallon; J Barrett, J Dolan (0-01); T O’Halloran (0-01, 0-01f), E Monaghan (1-02), M Monaghan (0-01); J Nugent, A Gardiner (1-04, 1-0 pen), D Dolan.
Subs: J Sheerin for D Dolan (h-t), C Cosgrove (0-04, 0-03f) for Nugent (37), G Heneghan for M Monaghan (53), E Mulvihill for O’Halloran (60), C Mannion for E Monaghan (60 + 3).
St Loman’s Mullingar: J Daly; S Kelly, S Flanagan, P Dowdall; D Whelan, K Reilly, P Whelehan; F Ayorinde, C Reilly; S McCartan (0-01), R O’Toole (0-01), D Windsor; K Casey (1-01), J Heslin (2-02, 1-0pen, 0-02f), TJ Cox (0-01).
Subs: K Regan for Ayorinde (48), C O’Donoghue for Whelan (58), G Hickey for O’Toole (inj., 60), J Cox for Casey (60 + 1).
Referee: Damien Maher (Ballynacargy).