Leinster Senior Football Championship First Round
Wicklow . . . . . . . 1-15 Longford . . . . . . 0-16
Padraic O’Brien reporting from Aughrim
Longford’s terrible season is going from bad to worse and after losing all seven fixtures in getting relegated from Division 2 of the National League, the serious slide continued as the county senior footballers suffered a bitterly disappointing defeat against Wicklow at the Aughrim grounds on Sunday in crashing to a demoralising early exit from the Leinster Championship.
A well-taken goal by Wicklow’s chief tormentor, full-forward Seanie Furlong, with a couple of minutes gone on the changeover proved to be the decisive matchwinning score and at that stage Longford trailed by six points (1-9 to 0-6) after producing a very poor first half performance that left them fighting a real uphill battle.
It must be said that the midlanders cause suffered a significant setback when centre-half-back Michael Quinn was forced to retire injured with just 19 minutes gone in the game but they still had enough chances in the second half to salvage the situation and a crucial moment materialised in the 50th minute when Francis McGee had a goal attempt, only to have his shot from a very tight angle saved by the Wicklow keeper John Flynn.
The closest Longford got to Wicklow was a two-point margin on a few occasions and the visitors were extremely fortunate not to concede another couple of goals in the second half before eventually losing out narrowly.
LONGFORD: Damien Sheridan (Dromard); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Declan Reilly (Colmcille); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara), Michael Quinn (Killoe), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta); John Keegan (Mullinalaghta, 0-1), Michael Brady (Longford Slashers); Bernard McElvaney (Ballymore, 0-1), Paul Barden (Clonguish, 0-2), Padraig McCormack (Killoe); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-1), Francis McGee (Dromard, 0-2), Sean McCormack (Killoe, 0-6, four frees).
Subs:- Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta, 0-2) for M Quinn (injured, 19 mins); Aidan Rowan (Cashel) for M Brady (29 mins); Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara) for CP Smyth (41 mins); JJ Matthews (Mullinalaghta, 0-1) for R Smyth (54 mins); Niall Mulligan (Longford Slashers) for D McElligott (68 mins).
Read the full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday