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Remember the Game: Knockbeg lose Leinster Final in Extra Time thriller in 2004

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Knockbeg 0-8 St Pat’s Navan 0-11 (AET)
Leinster College’s Senior ‘A Football Final 2004

They came so close to upsetting the aristocrats of Leinster college’s football.

Knockbeg College did all in their power to record a famous victory over St Pat’s, Navan in O’Connor Park, Tullamore 15 years ago but their almighty effort to win the Leinster Colleges Senior Football ‘A’ final just fell short on the day.

With an ankle injury ruling star forward Donie Brennan out of the game, Knockbeg’s chances of winning the game beforehand looked alarmingly slim.

Colm Begely led the Knockbeg tremendously well from centre half back throughout and the midfield partnership of Tipperary’s Stephen Murphy and Graiguecullen’s Shane O’Neill were hugely effective.

Knockbeg went into the dressing room at half time trailing 0-6 to 0-4.

At the start of the second half, St Pats had the chance to finish the game but couldn’t and it shook Knockbeg into life.

Sean O’Shea and David Conway pointed within seconds of each other.

Amazingly there wouldn’t be another score for 21 minutes but even that failed to detract from the excitement.

Some breath taking high fielding and great passages of football made it thoroughly enjoyable spectacle, but Knockbeg’s delivering in critical areas proved their downfall.

St Pat’s Henry Finnegan got their only point of the second half to put the Navan side in front with three minutes remaining.

This was not to be the last action of the day with Knockbeg awarded a free 55 yards out and goalkeeper Colm Munnelly was brought out to save the day.

His effort tailed wide but from the resulting kick-out David Conway got the ball and was fouled. Conway pointed the free and brought the game back level.

Four minutes into injury time, Conway was presented with a free from a similar distance but he couldn’t win the game for Knockbeg and we headed for extra time.

Stephen O’Toole and David Conway exchanged points but scores from Cian Ward and Fingleton moved St Pat’s 0-10 to 0-8 ahead at the end of the first period of extra time.

Knockbeg battled heroically all afternoon but they would not score again as Shane O’Rourke made the game safe for St Pat’s.

Heartbreak for Knockbeg on this occasion but there would be ecstasy for Chris Conway’s charges 12 months later as they went on to claim Leinster and All-Ireland glory in 2005.

SCORERS: St Pat’s Navan – Cian Ward 0-4 (2f, 1 ’45), Henry Finnegan 0-3, Shane O’Rourke 0-2, Kevin O’Toole and Steven O’Toole 0-1 each Knockbeg College – David Conway 0-3 (20. Colm Doran 0-2, Ian Fleming, Stephen Murphy and Sean O’Shea 0-1 each.

St Pat’s, Navan: Daryl Clare; Cormac McGuinness, Kevin Reilly, Niall McMahon; Patrick Murray, Ciaran Kenny, Wayne Donnegan; Shane O’Rourke. Brian Meade; Steven OToole, Henry Finnegan, Daire Corcoran; Kevin Mulvaney, Cian Ward, Patrick Smyth. Subs: Brendan O’Donncll for McGuinness, Cathal O’Dwyer for Smyth, Cian Byrne for O’ Rourke, Ciaran Martin for Murray, O’Rourke for Donnegan, Sean Connty for Meade, John Fagan for O’Rourke, Meade for Mulvaney

Knockbeg College: Colm Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise); Kevin O’Neill (Tinryland, Carlow), Paddy Kelly (Old Leighlin Carlow), Martin Stapleton (Annanough); Barry Cox (Fenagh, Carlow), Colm Begley (Stradbally), David Lynskey (St Joseph’s); Shane O’Neill (Graiguecullen), Stephen Murphy (Kilraane McDonagh’s, Tipperary); Colm Doran (Tinryland Carlow), Paul O’Shea (Arles-Kilcruise), Brendan Byrne (Monasterevin, Kildare) Sean O’Shea (Arles-Kileen), Ian Fleming (Graiguecullen), David Conway (Arles-Kilcruise). Sub: Brendan O’Shea (Arles-Killeen) for Cox.

Referee: John Bannon (Longford)

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