Leitrim A team retain InterCounty Knockout Cup

Wayne Kilmartin, Gavin Donnelly, Jamie Gaffney, Lee McShary, Kevin McWeeney

The Leitrim County A team have retained the IPA Intercounty Knockout Cup. It was the same team that won the title last year and indeed with this competition running for 5 years now, Leitrim have won the title on 3 occasions with Wexford and Mayo the other two counties.

The format for the knockout Cup was 2 sets of 5 singles, 1 set of 5 scotch doubles and another 2 sets of 5 singles. So with a possible 25 frames to be played the team that reaches 13 first goes through.

In the semi final Leitrim faced Tyrone, a side packed with quality and out for revenge having lost to Leitrim in last years tournament. Leitrim got off to a fast start and after the first 10 singles frames, Leitrim were 7-3 up going into the scotch doubles. Tyrone tried to slow the pace of the game down by playing a couple long tactical frames but the Leitrim lads showed their patience and tactical knowledge and won that set 4-1 leaving them just 2 frames from victory. It was all over after 3 frames of the 4th set and Leitrim qualified for the final winning 13-5.

In the final Leitrim faced Donegal, a county that Leitrim have faced on numerous occasions over the years and got the better of them most of the time. Recently though and at the Irish Championships in May last year Donegal bet Leitrim 14-13 effectively knocking Leitrim out and with Irish Captain Shaun Sharkey leading them out, Donegal would be motivated, confident and ready for victory. This match would prove to be one of high quality and ebbed and flowed all the way to the end. From 3-2 up Leitrim went 5-3 down before eventually levelling at 7-7. At 8-8 Leitrim found another gear and won 3 on the bounce to lead 11-8. Donegal though were not going to lie down that easily and won the next 2 with big celebrations putting the Leitrim lads under pressure. The next 2 frames were shared and so with the match at 12-11 to Leitrim the last 2 frames were started. Gavin Donnelly was involved in a tactical battle in one frame but long before that could be finished Jamie Gaffney decided to take the match out of Donegals hands by going for the frame from the break. Under huge pressure and with a difficult table layout, Jamie held his nerve and potted the black to give Leitrim the win and their 3rd Intercounty Knockout cup title in 4 years.

Well done lads and unlucky to Donegal who played their part in a brilliant match.