Coolderry defeat Mount Leinster Rangers
AIB Leinster SHC Quarter-Final
COOLDERRY OFFALY 1-22 MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS CARLOW 1-16
By Kevin Egan at Bord Na Mona OConnor Park
A clash to warm the heart and fire the soul at Bord na Mna OConnor Park in Tullamore this afternoon, as heroic performances from Kevin Connolly, Brian Carroll and Stephen Corcoran fired Coolderry to a six-point win over Mount Leinster Rangers and secured their slot in the semi-finals of a wide-open Leinster club championship.
Connolly fired over seven points from play while Brian Carroll blasted home a stunning first half goal for the Offaly club, but arguably the most valuable contributor was Corcoran in goal, who hit the target with five frees from either midfield or his own half, while also saving a late penalty from Kevin McDonald.
There was huge pressure on the Coolderry goal in the late stages as Mount Leinster Rangers tried to press home their numerical advantage after Kevin Brady second yellow, 35 minutes and Mark Bergin straight red, 57 minutes were sent off. However McDonalds penalty was the only clear attempt on goal that Corcoran had to deal with, as the Carlow champions ran out of ideas en route to their second successive Leinster championship defeat at this venue.
Mount Leinster Rangers were easily brushed aside by Kilcormac-Killoughey 12 months ago, but it was clear from the start here that they were ready to make amends in style. They shot four of the first six points of the game, all from play, with Chris Nolan in particular catching the eye with a superb strike from out on the right touchline.
Neither side wanted to take a backward step, but the Carlow men still enjoying fractionally more possession, largely through some good work under the shadow of the stand, where Eddie Byrne was going well as the primary target for Dean Grennans puckouts.
At the other end of the field Richard Kelly was in control of his battle with Coolderry veteran and man-mountain Joe Brady, so it fell to club captain Kevin Connolly to take the fight to Mount Leinster Rangers with a series of magnificent points from a variety of angles. Connolly gave Coolderry their first lead of the game after 17 minutes, only for Mount Leinster to reply with a fine team goal, Chris Nolan rifling the sliothar into the roof of the net after good approach play from Eddie and Diarmuid Byrne.
Coolderrys reply was instant and no less emphatic, Brian Carroll picking out the top corner of the net from 25 metres with a blistering drive at the end of the next attack.
Carroll and Connolly continued to terrorise the Mount Leinster defence and helped Coolderry to a 1-13 to 1-9 interval lead, while two excellent long-range points from Mark Bergin added to that advantage after half time.
However while the star men of the contest were wearing green, the more balanced threat came from Mount Leinster Rangers, as evidenced by the fact that all six starting forwards scored from play, as well as midfielder Diarmuid Byrnes and substitute Ted Joyce.
Once Kevin Brady saw red for his second bookable offence with still nearly 25 minutes to play, Mount Leinster Rangers were able to move the ball across the field to locate the free man, and while they went through a flurry of wides, they succeeded in cutting the gap to three points with ten minutes to play when Jack Murphy, Ted Joyce and Eddie Byrne all scored in quick succession.
That was to be as close as they got however as Coolderry held firm, with Mark Bergin picking off his third point from distance before he joined Brady on the sideline, while Brian Carroll earned a free in the left corner of the attack that he converted himself for the last score of the game.
There was still time for Eddie Byrne to drive at the Coolderry goal and earn a penalty, but Stephen Corcoran was on hand to dive low to his right and parry the ball away to safety.
Scorers for Coolderry: Brian Carroll 1-5 3fs, Kevin Connolly 0-7, Stephen Corcoran 0-5 5fs, Mark Bergin 0-3, Conor Molloy 0-2.
Mount Leinster Rangers: Chris Nolan 1-3, Diarmuid Byrne and Denis Murphy 2fs 0-3 each, Jack Murphy and Eddie Byrne 0-2 each, Michael Malone, Jon Nolan andTed Joyce 0-1 each.
COOLDERRY: Stephen Corcoran; Stephen Connolly, Trevor Corcoran, Stephen Burke; Barry Teehan, Kevin Brady, Brian Kelly; Mark Bergin, David King; Conor Molloy, Martin Corcoran, Eoghan Parlon; Brian Carroll, Joe Brady, Kevin Connolly.
Subs: Cathal Parlon for J Brady HT, Willie Malone for M Corcoran 45, Declan Parlon for E Parlon 47, Daniel Miller for Carroll 603
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS: Dean Grennan; Gary Kelly, Richard Kelly, Michael Doyle; Kevin McDonald, Richard Coady, Gary Lawlor; David Phelan, Diarmuid Byrne; Jack Murphy, Michael Malone, EddieByrne; Denis Murphy, Chris Nolan, Jon Nolan.
Subs: Paul Coady for D Murphy 37, Ted Joyce for Phelan 43, Willie Hickey for G Lawlor 52, James Kelly for J Nolan 601
REFEREE: John Keenan Wicklow.