[caption id="attachment_67367" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Adrian O'Connor."][/caption]
Leitrim continue to dominate the New York football scene as they picked up their second trophy of the year by beating Cavan in the final of the knock-out competition. They have now completed the double in consecutive years. It was a game of very fluctuating fortunes as both side experienced bouts of dominance, but Leitrim's big men in particular the O'Connor brothers, Adrian and Ken, Pat Madden and Rory Woods, played big parts at vital times to give Leitrim the edge.
In the opening ten minutes Cavan had much the better of the exchanges and were quickly out of the blocks. Ciaran Shields opened the Breffni account as he fired over after Kevin Cardin had carried the ball from deep within his own half.
At the other end early attacks by Ken O'Connor and Pa Ryan came up short until Leitrim's most prolific scorer, Rory Woods hit the target from play. Indeed the former Monaghan player had a very productive after noon, both as play maker and score getter as his tally reached double digits.
However in the early stages it was Cavan that were doing the scoring as sweeping moves from defense ended with Brendan Reilly and Ian McKiernan splitting the posts. Kieran Tavey landed Leitrim's second point after twelve minute and then the tide turned as Leitrim took control. Adrian O'Connor and Woods had shots stopped on the goal line before a bout of blistering speed by the Big Bird ended with the burly man fisting over.
The pressure remained on the Cavan goal as Woods was making his presence felt in the air and on the score board as he fielded well in traffic and then soloed in for a fine score. The Big Bird was also making his considerable presence felt as Tavey set him up for a score plus he was unlucky to see his fisted effort come back off the cross bar after a good center from Pa Ryan. Cavan's best forward McGinn did manage to hit a point on a rare counter attack but it was basically all Leitrim for the remainder of the period as they would hit for six unanswered points. With mid field dominant and defenders Goldrick, Mathews, Keane, Farrell and Scannell eagerly picking up the breaks, and the forwards raining over points frequently and fluently, Leitrim went in leading comfortably by 0-11 to 0-4 at the break.
However the second half was a totally different kettle of fish as a scoring spree by Cavan soon wiped out the seven points deficit.
Straight from the throw in Kevin Cardin picked up the breaking ball and drove it into McGinn who weaved his way around the defense to blast a powerful shot to the net. He was again on the mark with a minor as he punished for a foul on Justin O'Halloran.
Soon the thirteen a side became twelve a side as referee Brendan Moran banished Johnny Goldrick and Sean McGivney for ignoring the football as they became mutually embroiled in a prolonged bout of body gripping. Cavan continued to bombard the Leitrim goal with Dan Doona being forced to execute two critical saves. Indeed Doona acquitted himself well in his new role with some fine shot blocking plus his kick outs were strategically deployed to good effect.
However his aerial acrobatics were no match for Cavan's second goal as Brendan Reilly drove a bullet to the corner to tie up the game. With just ten minutes gone Cavan edged ahead as an incisive run by Tommy Warburton ended with McGinn pointing the resultant free.
Leitrim had yet to score in the period so it was left to the old war horse and the franchise player Ken O'Connor to get them back on course. He latched on to a long ball from Dermot Keane to curl over from a very acute angle to tie up the game.
Soon the accurate Woods had his team in front before he dished off a quick "45" to the alert Danny O'Sullivan who fed the inrushing Keane for him to extend the lead to two. O Sullivan was also instrumental in the next score as he spotted the Eagle soaring up the wing and directed a well-placed ball into the big man's path for him to send over.
Cavan did rally for the last ten minutes as Ian McKiernan, Warburton and McGinn hit for three points but they were all negated as Woods had the hottest boots in Gaelic Park last Sunday. His last four points made sure that Leitrim were not leaving without the second cup. Leitrim got good production throughout the field from all players including manager Mitchell.
For Cavan defenders Martin, Warburton and Shields were most prominent while mid fielders McKiernan and Cardin tried hard but they had an unenviable task coping with Leitrim's towering duo. Up front McGinn, Fahey, Reilly and O'Halloran kept battling to the end. Now with the football trophies secured, the word in the Leitrim camp is that several players are concentrating on matrimonial matters for the closed season.
Leitrim: Dan Doona, John Goldrick, Cathal Mathews, Jeff Farrell, Ciaran Scannell, James Mitchell, Pat Madden, Adrian O'Connor(0-3), Kieran Tavey(0-2), Rory Woods(0-10), Pa Ryan, Ken O'Connor(0-3), Tom O'Brien. Subs. Dermot Keane(0-1), Danny O'Sullivan.
Cavan: Maurice Power, Ciaran Martin, Alan Caolan, Tommy Warburton(0-1), Ciaran Shields(0-1), Joe McKeon, Ian McKiernan(0-2), Kevin Cardin, Brendan Reilly(1-1), Justin O'Halloran, Paul Lambe, Barry McGinn(1-4), Sean McGivney. Subs. Padraigh Kyne, Jack Reilly, Shane Reilly, Thomas Fahey
Referee: Brendan Moran, Man of Match Rory Woods.