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Cookstown 1-8 Charlestown 1-7

Tyrone and Ulster champions Cookstown are back in their second All-Ireland Intermediate final in four years after beating Charlestown in Longford yesterday afternoon in a contest that went the full distance and beyond.

The Connaught champions led by five points at half-time but Cookstown refused to throw in the towel as they battled back to force extra time before winning it.

Their manager, John McKeever, was delighted at the final whistle.

“What can I say about our boys? They just never know when they are beaten,” he said.

“They were five down at halftime but they fought hard to get back into the game.

“I’m just delighted for the players as well as the supporters who travelled down.

“It’s just crazy to think that we won after having a lot of work to do and we can now look forward to Croke Park.”

The Mayo men had the wind at their backs in the opening half and they made a confident start with Mark Caffrey and Colm Maye both notching early points.

Former All-Ireland minor winning captain Shea McGarrity then helped Cookstown draw level with two splendid points before wind- assisted Charlestown got a grip on proceedings.

Full forward Anthony Mulligan struck for an opportunist goal after a dozen minutes and with Richard Haran [2] and Maye both converting frees they established a 1-5 to 0-3 interval advantage, Martin Murray with Cookstown’s sole reply.

Cookstown needed a good start to the second half and they got it with Tyrone star Owen Mulligan splitting the posts from play before following that up with a converted free.

Haran replied with a placed ball for the Mayo men but the momentum was now with Cookstown.

Man of the match Murray sent in a high ball from the left wing which deceived Charlestown keeper David Sloyan and ended up in the net to leave it all square with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Charlestown immediately responded with another Haran free but a fabulous effort from Conor O’Hare levelled matters before his midfield partner Conor Mullan was unlucky not to win it when his long-range effort came back of the post.

In the first attack in extra time Cookstown substitute James McGahan scored what proved to be the winner with a fine point from

out on the right wing. Both sides gave it everything in the trying weather conditions and, right at the end, Maye had a chance to equalise when Charlestown took him back on to hit a 13-metre free but he failed to convert the pressure kick as the Ulster champions held on.

Cookstown: M Rea, P McGurk, S Monaghan, D Hughes, R Pickering, M Murray [1-1], M Hughes, C Mullan [0-1], C O’Hare [0-1], S McGarrity [0-2], B Hughes, B Mulligan, J Gilmore, O Mulligan [0-2], J Quinn. Subs – J McGahan [0-1] for M Hughes, P Kelly for B Mulligan, R Mullan for Monaghan, B Kelly for D Hughes, M O’Connor for P Kelly, B Mulligan for Quinn

Charlestown: D Sloyan, G McLoughlin, D McMeel, S Lenehan, A Higgins, G O’Donnell, D Higgins, T Parsons, E Casey, R Haran [0-4], M Caffrey [0-1], P Ward, J Owens, A Mulligan [1-0], C Maye [0-2]. Subs – D Tiernan for Maye, O Conway for Ward, B Parsons for D Higgins, S Morris for Owens, C Maye for T Parsons

Referee: G McCormack, Dublin

Belfast Telegraph