South Dublin Swans have qualified to play Leeside Lions in the 2017 ARFLI men’s Grand Final after a dramatic after the siren goal secured their spot. It was Ronan Cull who kicked the wonder goal. He was on the boundary kicking into a strong cross wind from 40 metres out. But his booming kick flew between the posts to seal victory over the Galway Magpies and send the Swans into their fourth Grand Final of the decade.
The semi-final round saw Belfast Redbacks, Galway Magpies and the Swans play off with the team with the most points or best percentage qualifying to play the Lions in next Saturday’s Grand Final in Cork. In a wind effected day that meant the scoring tended to happen at one end of the ground the Belfast Redbacks opened with a comfortable win against the Galway Magpies. The Redbacks entered game two knowing a win against the Swans would secure a Grand Final spot. However with the Swans playing with the wind they had the advantage at half-time in the 20 minute half games. The Redbacks came back to within a goal but the Swans pulled away in the final minutes to secure the win.
This meant a win for the Swans against the Magpies would guarantee Grand Final entry with the Magpies having only a very slim chance of qualifying because of their game one heavy defeat to the Redbacks. The Magpies started better playing with the strong wind and were 1.4 to 0.0 at half time. Soon after play resumed for the second half, the Pies went 2.4 to 0.0 ahead and it looked like the Redbacks would make the Grand Final on percentage. However slowly the Swans reeled in the lead, although they had difficulty finding goals. Entering the closing minutes they were still behind needing at least a draw to reach the Grand Final. Eventually their persistence paid off and with less than a minute remaining they managed to get a behind to level the scores. The next kick out went over the boundary on the full and Ronan Cull kicked the goal the sealed victory and the Grand Final spot, much to the delight of the Swans players who mobbed the 2017 International Cup player.
Grand Final fixed for the Mardyke Arena, Cork City at 2pm Saturday Sept 16th.