Leo Kenny Cup Final
By Danny Jones
The final of the Leo Kenny Memorial Cup took place in Kilcoyne Park, Tubbercurry on Friday evening last between two Sligo clubs, Tourlestrane and Curry. The late Leo Kenny hailed from Leitrim, was a former Vice-President of the Connacht Council who together with his family run this annual competition open to all senior clubs in the province.
Both teams defeated opposition from Roscommon in the semi-finals and as always between these neighbouring clubs a large crowd attended in anticipation of a thrilling encounter. Curry lined out without their two young midfielders Coffey and McDonagh due to injury, whilst Tourlestrane rested veteran Eamon Haran. Of course, both clubs are without their leading galaticos Sean Davey and Eamon O’Hara due to long term injuries.
The game started at break neck speed with both teams eager to claim the spoils, Curry where unfortunate to lose David Wynne in the opening minutes following a clash with Brendan Egan. Indeed, the teak tough Egan was back to his best and was hugely influenticial throughout this contest.
Adrian Marren opened the scoring for Curry in the 6th minute when he converted a free following a foul on Brian McDonagh. Tourlestrane squandered a number of early chances and had to wait until ten minutes elapsed before Captain Gary Gaughan linked with John Marren to score a point with his left foot. Curry responded immediately when the impressive Paul Henry was at the end of a neatly worked move to grab their second point. John Quinn replied with a pointed free and later added another with an angled shot to leave Tourlestrane ahead by the minimum.
The pace of the game was unrelenting with Paul Henry levelling matters following a jinking run through the winners defence. Gaughan replied with a pointed free and at this stage Tourlestrane began to assert their authority around the middle through Egan and Henry thus ensuring a good supply of ball to their speedy forwards. A 60 metre free from Brian Egan pushed the “green and Gold” further ahead, and this was increased further in the 27th minute when all six forwards combined to create space for the towering Quinn to score a fine point to leave a gap of three points. Brendan Egan knocked over another point but this was negated by Adrian Marren’s pointed free and in the final action of the half we saw Brian Egan convert a 45 with consummate ease to leave the score 8 points to 4.
At halftime, Curry supremo and exTourlestrane Manager Anthony Brennan made a number of positional changes including the introduction of Sean Haran in an attempt to release veteran defender Kenny Morley to act as sweeper in front of the Tourlestrane lively forwards Marren and McGowan.
An uncharacteristic fumble by the winners keeper Seamus Gildea allowed County star Adrian Marren to increase his total by adding a simple point. The tireless Shane Dunne combined with the two Egans to give Brian an opportunity from twenty metres to again increase the margin to 4 points. In the 5th minute the strangely subdued David Maye found Cathal Brennan with a wonderful pass and the strong running forward rounded his marker to get an inspirational point. Curry began to lift the siege at midfield and it was no surprise when their best player Adrian Marren found space to score a beautiful point from 40 metres out on the left.
Tourlestrane responded when Quinn found McGowan inside the defence, but clever positioning play by Curry keeper Jeffrey Durcan only allowed him to take a fisted point.
David Maye pointed a “45” in the 17 minute to reduce the gap to two points and it looked like we would have a grand stand finish however, both teams visibly tired in the final ten minutes as the intensity of the battle began to take its toll.
Stephen Henry began to lord midfield at this stage and he released substitute Diarmuid Dunne on a long run where he found the veteran McGowan who pointed from an acute angle. With minutes to go Brian Egan sealed victory for Tourlestrane when he scored his fourth point following a great build up with Alan Dunne.
Afterwards Joe Taaffe on behalf of the Connacht GAA presented the Leo Kenny Cup to Tourlestrane’s Captain Gary Gaughan. In his acceptance speech he was delighted to be the recipient of their second trophy this year as earlier they claimed the Pick and Choose league. He went on to thank Curry for the memorable match, Tubbercurry on the excellent facilities and lastly, to Michael Leydon and his officials from Leitrim on their magnificent handling of the game.
Scorers. Tourlestrane; Brian Egan 4, J Quinn 3, G McGowan 2, Brendan Egan 1, J Marren 1, G Gaughan 1.
Curry; A Marren 4, P Henry 2, D Maye 1, C Brennan 1.
Tourlestrane; S Gildea B Kirrane B Kennedy C Neary N Gaughan S Dunne J Leonard B Egan A McIntyre J Quinn G McGowan G Gaughan Brian Egan S Henry J Marren. Subs D Dunne for B Kirrane, A Dunne for J Marren.
Curry; J Durcan P Walsh S Marren K Morley S Kilcoyne D McDonagh E Marren D Maye D Wynne K Davey P Henry B McDonagh A Marren J Marren C Brennan. Subs K Giblin for D Wynne, S Haran for K Davey, C Brennan for J Marren, S Maher for P Henry, S Colleary for K Giblin.
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