After scoring three goals in the first half to remain in contention, Longford Slashers eventually snatched a last gasp draw against Killoe Emmet Og in Round 1 of the All County Football League at Michael Fay Park on Friday night last.
Receiving the ball from substitute Niall Kelly, the pressure was on Peter Foy to fire over the equalising point in the final minute of normal time and he kept his composure to land a cracking point after Slashers had squandered a number of scoring chances.
A draw was probably the fairest result in a tough encounter that is a taste of things to come should the fierce rivals (both of whom were missing a number of regulars on this occasion) clash again in the championship later in the year.
The highlight of the opening game of the new season was a superb goal from Niall Mulligan who raced through to plant an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net in the fifth minute of first half stoppage time and thus the sides ended up all square at the break, 3-1 to 1-7.
Trevor Clendenning got Slashers off to a great start with a goal in the 1st minute and found the back of the Emmet Og net again in the 26th minute with Colin Smith setting up the score after a shot from Peter Foy came back off the post.
Paddy Kiernan scored a well-taken goal for Killoe in the 18th minute and a point apiece quickly followed from Sean McCormack and wing back Darragh Bennett to leave the 2012 county champions leading by 1-4 to 1-1 and looking in control.
And Slashers could have been in even bigger trouble as Denis McGoldrick shot badly wide when a goal was there for the taking in the 21st minute. Killoe went on to register three points in the lengthy stoppage time through Michael Quinn (landing his second ‘45), Sean McCormack and Mark Hughes. Also on the scoresheet for Emmet Og was Daniel Mimnagh while Colin Smith got Slashers solitary point (play) in the first half.
But scores were very scarce in a scrappy second half and while Killoe hit the front with a great effort from play by Michael Quinn, Slashers battled back with a point apiece from Colin Smith (free) and Niall Mulligan - the latter landing a terrific strike in the 39th minute.
That left the current county champions leading by the minimum of margins (3-3 to 1-8) and the ding-dong battle continued with Sean McCormack kicking over a couple of well struck long range scores, the first a free and the second a fine effort from play in the 50th minute.
Niall Mulligan then burst his way through on another penetrating run but shot badly wide when a goal was on. And after Killoe were reduced to 14 players when Michael Quinn was sent-off for a second yellow card offence in the 57th minute, Slashers finally got back on level terms when Peter Foy came to the rescue with time running out.
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Colm Farrell; Shane Rodgers, Barry Gilleran, Gareth Ghee; Peter Brady, Dermot Brady, Sean Flynn; David Sheridan, Michael Brady; Andrew Dalton, Niall Mulligan (1-1), Trevor Clendenning (2-0); Martin Tarmey, Peter Foy (0-1), Colin Smith (0-2, one free).
Subs:- Shane O’Connell for S Rodgers (half-time); Brian Walsh for M Tarmey (injured, 34 mins); Niall Kelly for B Walsh (48 mins).
KILLOE EMMET OG: Cillian Burns; Damien Bratten, Daniel Keogh, Cian Farrelly; Darragh Bennett (0-1), Joe McCormack, Ronan Keogh; Paddy Kiernan (1-0), Simon Kiernan; Denis McGoldrick, Daniel Mimnagh (0-1), Tommy Reilly; Mark Hughes (0-1), Sean McCormack (0-4, one free), Michael Quinn (0-3, two ‘45s).
Subs:- Paddy Hughes for D Bratten (injured, 29 mins); Andrew Thompson for D Bennett (injured, 39 mins); Ronan McGoldrick for P Hughes (injured, 59 mins).
Referee: Michael Flynn