Allianz National Football League Division 2 – Round 3
Armagh . . . . . . 3-8 Longford . . . . . . 2-9
Under considerable pressure for most of the first half with class act Jamie Clarke creating havoc in the Armagh full-forward-line, Longford were extremely fortunate to be trailing by just three points at the break (2-5 to 1-5) and while the visitors to the Athletic Grounds on Saturday evening proceeded to produce a better performance on the changeover some very poor finishing led to their eventual downfall in Division 2 of the National Football League.
With six minutes remaining and a goal separating the sides (2-7 to 1-7), Sean McCormack was impeded on the edge of the Armagh square but there was no whistle from referee Duffy who failed to award even a free in front of the posts and the home county launched an immediate counter-attack which yielded a killer goal from substitute Tony Kernan to leave Longford six points down and apparently dead and buried.
But resolute Longford showed a lot of character in recovering quickly from this shattering blow and after Sean McCormack converted a couple of frees in quick succession the same player was involved in the own goal conceded by Armagh in the 69th minute.
In his attempt to pick out Francis McGee, the effort from McCormack ended up with the ball deflecting off Armagh defender Declan McKenna into the back of the net as Longford were thrown a late lifeline. But the northern opposition did not panic in the tense and exciting finish and clinched a hard earned victory when Tony Kernan pointed a ‘45’ in stoppage time.
At least there was some good news for the county manager Glenn Ryan with the return of Paul Barden to the team while David Barden, Colm P Smyth and Niall Mulligan have also recovered from their respective injuries and were all brought on in the second half.
LONGFORD: Damien Sheridan (Dromard); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Peter Foy (Cashel, transferring to Longford Slashers); Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets), Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); John Keegan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s), Michael Brady (Longford Slashers); Bernard McElvaney (Ballymore), Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s), Aidan Rowan (Cashel); Francis McGee (Dromard, 1-2), Paul Barden (Clonguish), Sean McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets, 0-7, six frees).
Subs:- (Blood): Enda Dalton (St. Jude’s, Dublin) for S McCormack (8 mins); S McCormack for E Dalton (14 mins); David Barden (Clonguish) for P Barden (half-time); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara) for K Diffley (half-time); Niall Mulligan (Longford Slashers) for J Keegan (58 mins).
Read Padraic O’Brien’s full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday