Longford’s winning streak

Martin Skelly, on behalf of the Leinster Council, presents the Leinster Minor Football League Cup to Longford captain Shane Kenny from Lanesboro. Photo: Declan Gilmore
What a week it was for Longford football as the county teams enjoyed a winning streak that was started by the U-21s in the Leinster Championship first round replay against Westmeath on Wednesday night last.

What a week it was for Longford football as the county teams enjoyed a winning streak that was started by the U-21s in the Leinster Championship first round replay against Westmeath on Wednesday night last.

Then the minors overcame Offaly in the Leinster league final and the clean sweep was complete when the seniors came from nine points down to beat Fermanagh to end a long losing run in the National League.

It was Longford’s first victory in the league since the Division 3 title triumph back at the end of April 2012 when they came out on top against Wexford in the final at Croke Park and is a badly needed boost for the new manager Jack Sheedy who is also in charge of the county U-21 squad.

The action continues at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise this Wednesday night (throw-in 7.30pm) as Longford take on Laois in the Leinster Under 21 quarter-final with a good chance of making further progress.

And then the seniors head to Tullamore on Sunday for a real crunch fixture against Offaly who are pointless at the bottom of the Division 3 table after losing to Wexford, Cavan and Sligo.

The fact that the counties will clash again in the opening round of the Leinster Championship at Pearse Park on Sunday May 18th adds extra significance to the league showdown at O’Connor Park (throw-in 2pm) and a win for Longford will ease their relegation worries considerably.

However, it will develop into a fierce battle to avoid the dreaded drop into Division 4 should Offaly succeed in getting their first victory in the current league campaign and they are generally difficult to beat in Tullamore.

With class act Niall McNamee leading the charge in attack, assisted by another quality forward in Anton Sullivan, Offaly could be capable of collecting the vital points in the desperate scrap for survival in Division 3 and Longford are facing a tough task.

Midfielder Michael Brady is set to be ruled out, after unfortunately suffering concussion that forced him to be stretchered off in the first half of the game against Fermanagh, but he should be back for the big local derby against Cavan at Pearse Park the following Sunday.

Brady’s probable replacement will be Ballymahon clubman Kevin Diffley and while there is still no sign of a return for Paul Barden, at least Brian Kavanagh is back in action after recovering from injury and he will be in better shape for the Offaly game with a lot at stake on Sunday.