The LSL emerged from the FAI Intermediate Inter League Tournament unbeaten but uncrowned champions after a controversial weekend of action.
Leinster’s intermediate select failed to retain the Michael Ward after three draws with Ulster, Munster and Connacht in Sligo over the weekend.
Liam Kelly’s side were left feeling disgruntled after the conceded four penalties and as a result four goals in their final two games meaning Ulster were crowned this years champions.
Even worse both of the decisive leveling spot kicks were awarded in injury time in the games against Connacht and Ulster respectfully.
First up for the LSL was a Friday night game with Ulster. Considering the sides opened the tournament with a spectacular 5-5 draw last term fireworks were predicted. However, much to the disappointment of the watching Sligo crowd the provincial selects played out a scoreless draw.
Munster were the opposition on the Saturday and more controversial stalemate ensued after two Mark O’Sullivan penalties in the last 15 minutes denied the LSL win and three points.
Liam Kelly’s side had bossed the tie for 70 plus minutes. Darren Lacey nodded home from two yards after Crumlin captain James Lee sent Malahide midfielder Ray Whelehan’s corner goal ward to give The Blues a deserved lead.
Tolka Rovers’ star midfielder Dennis Moran doubled the advantage when he closed down the keeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.
A rout looked on the cards at that stage, but when O’Sullivan finished from 12 yards with 15 minuted remaining Munster were given a much needed shot in the arm.
The Munster Senior League outfit pushed on and where rewarded in injury time when Avondale’s O’Sullivan was given another chance from 12 yards, which he took to leave it 2-2 at full time.
Consecutive draws and the fact Ulster managed to defeat Connacht by a 9-0 scoreline meant the LSL needed to beat Connacht by 10 clear goals on Sunday, while hoping the Munster versus Ulster game ended all square.
The LSL might have felt a miracle was on the cards when Lacey finished off an Andy Doolin’s cross after just four minutes, but a flurry of cards not goals followed.
Four LSL players found themselves on yellow cards by the turn while Crumlin talisman James Lee was booked twice meaning his tournament was over with over 45 minutes to play.
LSL, were upset but tried to take their frustration out on the home provinces goal. Lacey grabbed his and his sides second minutes after the restart before Ger Pender made it 3-0 minutes later.
The LSL could dream again, but again with just 15 minutes left things went wrong for the Leinster outfit.
Stephen Cunningham had his side dreaming of a comeback when he netted from just outside the area, before the penalty jinx struck again.
With 10 minutes remaining Cunnigham was granted a chance to put one between the side and took it from 12 yards.
The LSL’s hopes of retaining their title were well and truly gone, but to add insult to injury Cunningham went down in the box five minutes into injury time and Keith Ward this time stepped up to level the tie.
As it turned out a 10 goal drubbing wouldn’t have been enough as Ulster managed to beat Connacht and were crowned the best province in the land.
Leinster 0 Ulster 0
Munster 4 Connaught 2
Leinster 2 Munster 2
Connacht 0- Ulster 9
Connaught 3 Leinster 3
LSL Squad: Andy McNulty, Glen Madden, Peter Sherlock (Bluebell United), Ronan Ivory, Darren lacey, Ger Pender (Wayside Celtic), Hugh Davey (UCD), Noel Murray, Dennis Moran, Brian Fitzpatrick (Tolka Rovers), Derek Griffin, James Lee (Crumlin United), Victor Ekanem, Tadhg Murphy (Phoenix), Lar Dunne (Bangor Celtic), Ray Whelehan (Malahide United), Andy Doolin (St Pats CY), Reece McEnteer, Rory O’Connor, Stephen Chambers (Glebe North).