relegation a major blow for longford

Paul Barden in action for Longford against Wexford. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Longford senior footballers suffered a major blow when they crashed to a second consecutive relegation in the National League and will be operating in Division 4 next season after losing the make or break game away to Wexford on Sunday last.

Longford senior footballers suffered a major blow when they crashed to a second consecutive relegation in the National League and will be operating in Division 4 next season after losing the make or break game away to Wexford on Sunday last.

Behind by eight points with time almost up, Longford staged a dramatic last gasp comeback which yielded late, late goals in stoppage time from Colm P Smyth and Paul Barden but it was not enough to save the midlanders from the dreaded drop as they relinquished their Division 3 status.

From the high of getting promoted to Division 2 and who were taking on the strength of Derry last season, the slide continues for Longford football who have struggled this year under the guidance of new manager Jack Sheedy. And the former Dublin star is now facing considerable pressure to get something out of a poor campaign so far.

The supporters are obviously angry with the disappointing results this year. And while there was a glimmer of hope with the remarkable recovery that was staged to snatch victory away from Fermanagh at Pearse Park, followed up by a second win away to Offaly, that was as good as it got for Longford in their failure to survive in the so competitive Division 3.

The home defeats against the promoted sides, Roscommon and Cavan, certainly did not help the cause but the most significant setback was the loss against Limerick at the Gaelic grounds when the game was there for the taking.

The subsequent disappointment of losing away to Sligo left Longford with the most difficult task of getting a result against their old rivals Wexford and while there was some good news with Paul Barden making his first start this season at Wexford Park on Sunday last, the absence of the injured Brian Kavanagh proved to be a decisive factor. Things are not going well for Jack Sheedy in his first experience of senior inter-county management and he must lift the ailing morale of a team in transition.

The target has to be a win over Offaly (also relegated from Division 3) in the Leinster Championship first round clash at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday May 18th. And despite the current crisis it must be said that Longford have at least a 50/50 chance of making further progress and the opportunity to earn another crack at Wexford along with the bonus of home advantage in the quarter-final.