Allianz National Football League Division 3 - Round 4
Longford . . . . . 1-15 Offaly . . . . . 1-10
Longford collected two more vital points in their quest to consolidate their Division 3 status in the National Football League when they dominated the final quarter to overcome Offaly at O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Sunday.
But Jack Sheedy’s side squandered no less than four goal scoring chances during the course of this crunch fixture and looked to be in bother when Offaly substitute Joe Maher fired home a well-taken goal with five minutes gone in the second half, the direct result of a costly mistake by keeper Damien Sheridan in his attempt to clear the danger.
That left the faithful county leading by 1-8 to 1-6 and when impressive wing forward Peter Cunningham shot over the bar soon after (his fifth score from play) the pressure was firmly on Longford. But changes were made by manager Jack Sheedy and had the desired effect as the visitors stepped up another couple of gears to outscore Offaly 0-9 to 0-1 during the remainder of this relegation battle.
And the main difference between the sides on this occasion was the scoring quality of the deadly accurate Sean McCormack, who kicked over a total of eight points (seven frees) and also grabbed a gift goal in the 30th minute. There was more good news for Longford with the return of Paul Barden for his first appearance this season. Paul was brought on with time almost up and he will probably play a bigger part against Cavan at Pearse Park on Sunday next, throw-in 2pm.
OFFALY: Alan Mulhall; Daithi Brady, Paul McConway, David Hanlon; Niall Darby, Johnny Maloney, Michael Brazil; Eoin Carroll, Niall Smith; Conor McNamee, Anton Sullivan (0-1), Peter Cunningham (0-5); Padraic Sullivan, Niall McNamee (0-2, frees), Ciaran Hurley.
Subs:- Graham Guilfoyle (0-2) for P Sullivan (21 mins); Joe Maher (1-0) for C McNamee (half-time); Darragh Corbett for N Darby (48 mins); Nigel Dunne for A Sullivan (63 mins); Ruairi Allen for C Hurley (68 mins); Joseph O’Connor for N Dunne (black card, 70 mins).
LONGFORD: Damien Sheridan (Dromard); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers, captain), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-1), Fergal Reilly (Fr. Manning Gaels), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Simon Kiernan (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1, making his National League debut), Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon); Brian Farrell (Mostrim, 0-1), Mark Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og); Paul McKeon (Colmcille), Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes, 0-1), Sean McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og, 1-8, seven points from frees).
Subs:- Darren Gallagher (St. Mary’s Granard, 0-1, ‘45) for S Kiernan (black card, 42 mins); Enda Williams (Clonguish, 0-1) for F Reilly (45 mins); Padraig Gill (Fr. Manning Gaels) for B Farrell (48 mins); Peter Foy (Longford Slashers) for K Diffley (62 mins); Cian Mimnagh (Dromard) for P McKeon (65 mins); Paul Barden (Clonguish) for S McCormack (71 mins).
Referee: Damien Maher (Westmeath).
Read the full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday