Leinster Junior Football Championship Semi-Final
Longford . . . . 2-18 Meath . . . . 2-12
Longford will battle it out with neighbouring rivals Cavan in the Leinster Junior Football Championship final at Pearse Park on Wednesday June 25th, throw-in 7.30pm.
While Cavan (competing in Leinster because there is no Ulster Championship in the junior grade) cruised to a comprehensive 0-17 to 0-8 win away to Louth to clinch their place in the title decider, Longford almost blew it against Meath in the other semi-final at Pearse Park on Wednesday evening.
It looked all over as a contest when Longford surged ten points clear (1-13 to 0-6) in the early stages of the second half with the scores coming from Padraig Gill (2), Brian Farrell (1-2), Diarmuid Cooney, Rory Connor (two frees) along with a brace from midfielder Darren Gallagher (play and ‘45’).
But Meath were given a glimmer of hope when Chris O’Connor grabbed a goal in the 45th minute and the comeback continued when the same player shot to the back of the net again in the 51st minute to leave just two points separating the sides, 1-15 to 2-10.
The other Longford scores were registered by Brian Farrell and Andrew Dalton and while Paul McKeon shot over the bar immediately after the second Meath goal to ease the pressure, the royal county never know when they are beaten and managed to close the gap to the minimum of margins, 1-16 to 2-12.
But Longford struck the killer blow in the 57th minute when James McGivney burst his way through to create a clear-cut opportunity for Paul McKeon to flick the ball into the back of the net.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Peter Brady (Longford Slashers), Gerard Smith (Mostrim); James McGivney (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s, 0-1), Fergal Reilly (Fr. Manning Gaels), Diarmuid Cooney (Fr. Manning Gaels, 0-1); Darren Gallagher (St. Mary’s Granard, 0-2, one ‘45’), Ronan McEntire (Dromard); Barry McKeon (Colmcille, 0-1), Paul McKeon (Colmcille, 1-1), Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers, 0-1); Brian Farrell (Mostrim, 1-3), Padraig Gill (Fr. Manning Gaels, 0-6, one free), Rory Connor (Kenagh, 0-2, frees).
Subs:- Darren Farrelly (Fr. Manning Gaels) for A Farrell (injured, 12 mins); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og) for D Gallagher (57 mins); Paddy Kiernan (Killoe Emmet Og) for R Connor (60 mins); Dylan Quinn (Fr. Manning Gaels) for G Smith (61 mins).
MEATH: David Quirke; Nicky Judge, Barry McConnon, Diarmuid Rogers; Ross Geraghty, Cormac Rowe, Oisin Kiernan (0-2); James Toher (0-1), Kevin Traynor; Bobby O’Brien (0-3), Ben Brennan (0-1, free), Chris O’Connor (2-0); James McEntee (0-1, free), Stephen Crosby (0-1), Anthony Burke (0-2).
Subs:- Dara Rowe (0-1) for C Rowe (36 mins); Adam Gannon for A Burke (36 mins); Conor Smith for J Toher (60 mins).
Referee: Stephen Johnson (Louth).