Leinster Junior Football Championship Quarter-Final: Longford 2-9 Kildare 0-10
The winning streak for the Longford football teams continued when the juniors knocked Kildare out of the Leinster Championship to set up a home semi-final clash against Wexford on Wednesday June 10th.
Goals from Andrew Dalton and Vinny Hourican at crucial stages of the quarter-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Wednesday evening of last week clinched the win for the Longford junior team, mainly featuring eligible players from the U-21 and senior squads this season.
The manager of the visitors was none other than Longford native Tony Kelly, who now lives in Kildare, and the Edgeworthstown man is currently in his second season in charge of the Mostrim senior footballers.
But there was nothing Kelly could do to stop Longford moving a step closer to a third successive appearance in the Leinster Junior decider, after losing to Kildare in 2013 and Cavan in 2014.
While Longford will be hoping to take the title this season, they could be hard pressed to beat what appears to be a strong Wexford outfit on the evidence of their landslide 3-18 to 0-6 win over Wicklow in the opening round.
A sparse attendance of less than 100 spectators gathered at Pearse Park to watch this low key game and Longford manager Francis McNamee and his fellow selectors Ciaran Fox and Karl Dermody will obviously be pleased with the performance.
Kildare were restricted to lining out players from intermediate and junior clubs in the Leinster Junior Championship and were generally second best against Longford who led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.
Patrick Farrell put Andrew Dalton through for the goal in the 26th minute while three of Longford’s first half points were fired over by centre-half-forward Darren Gallagher (two frees) with Conor Shields and Larry Moran (free) also on target.
Kildare trailed by 0-3 to 0-0 before they eventually got their opening score from a free converted by full-forward Cian Bolton in the 11th minute who accounted for another couple of points (play and free) in the first half.
Wing forwards Jason Acton and Niall Devane also got their names on the scoresheet for Kildare and the gap was closed to just two points when Seamus Hanafin converted a free in the early stages of the second half.
But Longford struck the killer blow in the 37th minute when a perfect pass from Larry Moran picked out Vinny Hourican in front of the posts and he planted the ball in the back of the net for the decisive second goal.
Kildare fell even further behind when Darren Gallagher (free) and Conor Shields kicked a point apiece for Longford and further scores followed from Fergal Sheridan (when a goal was there for the taking) and Andrew Dalton as they ran out comfortable winners.
To their credit, Kildare tried hard throughout the second half and managed to add four more points to their tally through Cian Bolton, substitute Andy O’Neill and Seamus Hanafin (two frees).
LONGFORD: Garret Higgins (Carrickedmond); Ronan Sweeney (Clonguish), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Thomas Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard); Brendan Devine (Clonguish), Enda Macken (Colmcille), Mattie Gorman (Ballymore); Fergal Sheridan (Colmcille, 0-1), Conor Quaine (Legan Sarsfields); Vinny Hourican (Colmcille, 1-0), Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard, 0-4, three frees), Patrick Farrell (Carrickedmond); Larry Moran (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1, free), Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers, 1-1), Conor Shields (Clonguish, 0-2).
Subs:- Stephen Lynch (St Mary’s Granard) for P Farrell (41 mins); Gavin Kelly (Cashel) for D Gallagher (injured, 54 mins); Kevin Moran (Legan Sarsfields) for M Gorman (59 mins).
KILDARE: Mark Herbert; Eoin Powderly, Ronan Walsh, Mark Hyland; Colin O’Shea, John Mulpeter, Colm Fagan; Gavin Farrell, Mark Donnelly; Jason Acton (0-1), Seamus Hanafin (0-3, all frees), Niall Devane (0-1); Aaron Mullins, Cian Bolton (0-4, two frees), Brian Mullally.
Subs:- Andy O’Neill (0-1) for B Mullally (half-time); Chris Byrne for N Devane (38 mins); Shane Maughan for M Donnelly (39 mins); Chris Julian for A Mullins (46 mins); Shane O’Flynn for J Acton (50 mins); Kevin Corrigan for C Fagan (57 mins).
Referee: David Fedigan (Louth).