Club SHC semi-final: the dream lives on for MLR

February 08, 2014

Mount Leinster's Derek Byrne in action against Loughgiel's Declan Laverty
Mount Leinster Rangers 0-18
Loughgiel Shamrocks 2-11

The fairytale continues for Mount Leinster Rangers of Carlow who edged a thrilling All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final against Loughgiel Shamrocks in Pairc Esler, Newry today.

2012 champions Loughgiel Shamrocks were left to rue two late missed frees by Liam Watson but there could be no disputing that the team in black and red deserved there place in the final on St Patrick's day.

The Antrim side finished with 14 men after Mark McFadden was red-carded and, to make matters worse, referee Cathal McAllister reversed a decision to award a free in to the team in red and white.

Eddie McCloskey and Murphy exchanged points early on but the Carlow champions enjoyed the better of the first half exchanges and went in at the break holding a 0-10 to 0-6 lead.

Murphy put his name to seven of his side's first half points and he struck again soon after the resumption to extend their lead to five.

Watson pulled a point back for the 2012 champions but his effort was soon cancelled out by John Coady as Tom Mullally's charges continued to pile on the pressure.

But Benny McGarry netted for Loughgiel against the run of play in the 35th minute and extra-time looked a distinct possibility when Watson raised a second green flag in the 53rd minute to leave the scoreboard reading 2-10 to 0-16.

An inspirational point on the run from Diarmuid Byrne edged Mount Leinster Rangers back in front but Watson restored parity shortly after.

It was fitting that Murphy should have the final say as the David Phelan captained side prevailed in a nail biting climax and they will make history on March 17th when becoming the first Carlow club to contest an All-Ireland Club SHC final.

They will be hoping to repeat their All-Ireland IHC final success of two years ago when they take on Portumna or Na Piarsaigh.

Mount Leinster Rangers - F Foley; M Doyle, G Doyle, G Kelly; Diarmuid Byrne (0-1), R Coady, E Coady; Derek Byrne (0-1), P Nolan (0-1); P Coady, E Byrne, D Phelan (0-1); D Murphy (0-11, 7f), J Coady (0-1), E Doyle (0-2). Subs: J Murphy for Nolan, HP O'Byrne for J Coady, W Hickey for E Doyle, J Hickey for E Coady.

Loughgiel Shamrocks - D Quinn; P Gillan, N McGarry, R McCloskey; M Scullion, B McAuley, O McFadden; M McFadden (0-1), T McCloskey; J Scullion (0-1), D Laverty, E McCloskey (0-2); B McCarry (1-0), S Casey (0-1), L Watson (1-6, 0-3f). Subs: T Coyle for R McCloskey, J Campbell for Scullion, D McCloskey for J Scullion, M Connolly for T McCloskey.

Referee - C McAllister.

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