Connacht Senior Football Championship Quarter Final
New York 0-15 Leitrim 0-15 (aet)
(New York win 2-0 on penalties)
By Michael Dorgan at Gaelic Park in New York
New York created history on Saturday by winning the county’s first ever game in the Connacht Senior Football Championship, edging Leitrim in a dramatic penalty shootout following extra time at Gaelic Park in the Bronx.
The Exiles have been in search of the milestone since first entering the competition in 1999, and the victory was sealed by the right boot of hometown hero Mike Brosnan who rifled the winning penalty into the top left hand corner sparking scenes of wild celebrations as an avalanche of New York supporters surged onto the pitch.
American-born Brosnan, 22, wasn’t even born when New York succumbed to that initial first loss against Mayo but the young St. Barnabas club man finally got the county over the line in an extraordinary shootout that saw both teams miss their opening two penalties.
New York’s Niall Madine eventually broke the deadlock and then Shane Quinn’s effort for Leitrim crashed down off the crossbar.
Jack Reilly then hit the woodwork for the Empire State but Evan Sweeney couldn’t equalize and sent his effort wide – which left it to Brosnan to blast New York into the semi-finals where they will face Division 4 League winners Sligo while Leitrim will head for the Tailteann Cup.
In what was a cliffhanger from start to finish, Leitrim were denied goals at vital stages of the game by New York’s impenetrable shot stopper Mick Cunningham who denied Keith Beirne twice in the opening half. The second stop, on 25 minutes, would have put Leitrim five points ahead but instead New York went up the other end and Dan Sullivan slotted over to bring New York to within a point on a scoreline of 0-6 to 0-5.
Leitrim’s Jack Heslin then hit the side netting before Adrian Varley brought the sides level and then the ex-Dublin footballer Shane Carthy – who was pulling the strings all evening dropping deep into midfield – put the Exiles ahead with a left footer going into the break.
It was tit-for tat upon resumption before the red-hot Beirne hit three on the bounce – bringing his tally to 7 – to put Leitrim 0-10 to 0-8 ahead.
A brace by New York substitute Ahearne had the sides level going into the last 15 as both teams attacked with abandonment – New York inspired by the powerful running of Gavin O’Brien who was well partnered in midfield by captain Johnny Glynn, while Pearse Dolan was just as effective for Leitrim along with Mark Plunkett and speedster Jack Heslin.
Evan Sweeney was soon introduced for Leitrim and he had an immediate impact – kicking the score of the game with a booming right footer from the left to draw the sides level.
He soon followed up from the same angle before Jack Reilly leveled matters again and then sharpshooter Beirne sent Leitrim ahead with his eight of the game in the fifth minute of injury time — and it looked like Leitrim had just done enough to get out of jail.
But Carthy, who has been commuting from Boston to hook up with the squad, then rescued the tie in the eight minute of stoppage time with his third point to send the game to extra time. All-Ireland winner Carthy, who grew up in New York, made his intercounty debut with the county in 2009 before returning to Dublin.
Sweeney got Leitrim off to the perfect restart with a lovely point on the turn before Oisin McLoughlin’s goal bound chance was heroically saved by the outstretched right hand of Cunningham, who also stopped two penalty kicks in the shootout. New York were reinvigorated and Ahearne pounced with a brace to send them ahead at half time of extra time 0-15 to 0-14.
Beirne leveled matters with a mark on the right-hand side with seven minutes to go but that was to be the last score of the game.
Plunkett agonizingly failed with the spectacular from the outside of his right foot and then Sweeney dropped an effort short to send the game to spotters where New York completed the upset.
Scorers for New York: Connell Ahearne 0-4 (0-2f, 0-2m), Shane Carthy 0-3, (0-1f), Mick Cunningham 0-1 (0-1f), Shane Brosnan 0-1, Adrian Varley 0-2 (0-1f), Mikey Brosnan 0-1, Peter Fox 0-1, Daniel O’Sullivan 0-1, Jack Reilly 0-1.
Scorers for Leitrim: Keith Beirne 0-9, (0-5f, 0-1m), Evan Sweeney 0-3, Mark Plunkett 0-2, Paul Keaney 0-1 (0-1f)
New York: Mick Cunningham; Jamie Boyle, Alan Campbell, Eoghan Kerin; Bill Maher, Rob Wharton, Shane Brosnan; Johnny Glynn, Gavin O’Brien; Mark Ellis, Adrian Varley, Shane Carthy; Mikey Brosnan, Peter Fox, Daniel O’Sullivan.
Subs: Connell Ahearne for Mike Brosnan (half-time), Killian Butler for Adrian Varley (53), Matthew Queenan for Bill Maher (53), Jack Reilly for Peter Fox, Niall Madine for Dan O’Sullivan (71), Luke Kelly for Shane Brosnan (75), Tiernan Mathers for Johnny Glynn (80), Mike Brosnan for Shane Carthy (83), Paddy Boyle for Rob Wharton (87).
Leitrim: Nevin O’Donnell; Paddy Maguire, Mark Diffley, Conor Reynolds; Conor Farrell, Shane Quinn, James Rooney; Pearce Dolan, Donal Wrynn; Jack Heslin, Mark Plunkett, Paul Keaney; Aidan Flynn, Keith Beirne, Tom Prior.
Subs: Adam Reynolds for Conor Reynolds (31), Barry McNulty for Conor Farrell (half-time), Evan Sweeney (0-03) for Tom Prior (57), Domhnaill Flynn for Paul Keaney (60), Oisin McLoughlin for Jack Heslin (69), Diarmuid Kelleher for James Rooney (71), Cillian McGloin for Aidan Flynn (73), Paul Keaney for Donal Wrynn (81).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).