Longford made a swift return to Division 3B of the National Hurling League as they were relegated after losing to Roscommon at the Athleague grounds on Sunday last.
It was another dismal performance from Longford. Apart from their first two games against Monaghan and Donegal they have been poor and after suffering defeat to Louth the previous weekend it was always going to be tough against a good Roscommon side who won by the wide margin of 13 points in the finish. It could have been worse for Longford had Paddy Cullen not saved a penalty just before the break and if Roscommon had put away a lot of the chances they created. The Rossies ended the game with 12 players while Longford had 14 on the pitch for most of the game.
Early points were traded between Tomas Seale and Eoin Donnellan (free) before Roscommon took control of the game. In the 6th minute Adrian Murphy grabbed their first goal and a long range free from Jerry Fallon stretched their lead to five by the 8th minute.
Donnellan replied with a free for Longford before Thomas Stakem was shown a straight red card. Numerical advantage didn’t last too long for Roscommon and they lost Jerry Fallon in the 18th minute.
Another Eoin Donnellan free in the 19th minute cut the gap to just two but that was the closest they were to get to Roscommon. In the 25th minute Michael Kelly converted a penalty after Robbie Fallon was fouled. Gary Fallon (free) and a wonderful sideline cut from Shane Curley put seven between the sides by the 30th minute.
Declan Tanner scored a nice point from play just after but that was to be Longford’s only score from play in the entire game. Robbie Fallon and Donnellan (free) exchanged points before Fallon fired over an excellent point.
Just before the break Roscommon could have extended their lead further but Paddy Cullen saved Kelly’s penalty after Brendan Kelly was fouled.
Roscommon started the second half well and by the 47th minute they were nine points ahead. Eoin Donnellan was Longford’s only scoring outlet and he hit over another free in the 49th minute.
Two points in quick succession from Roscommon saw them 10 ahead by the 53rd minute. As the Roscommon defence cleaned up everything that came their way, Longford relied heavily on Donnellan to get scores from deadball situations and he was on target again with two more frees before he was surprisingly taken off in the 59th minute.
Another fantastic point from corner-back Shane Curley was followed by a Robbie Fallon effort in the 62nd minute. Ros were reduced to 13 men one minute later when Cathal Dolan received a second yellow card.
In the 66th minute substitute David Dolan scored Roscommon’s third goal before another substitute Cormac Kelly was sent-off.
Dolan hit over a late free with the last score of the game coming from Longford’s Joe O’Brien (free) and Frank Browne’s side now turn their attention to the Lory Meagher Cup which starts in May.
ROSCOMMON: Padraig Dolan; Mark McLoughlin, Ronan O’Meara, Shane Curley (0-2); Sean Melia, Michael Kelly (1-0), Cathal Dolan; Tomas Seale (0-1), John Moran (0-2); Adrian Murphy (1-0), Gary Fallon (0-2, 2 frees), Jerry Fallon (0-1, free); Robbie Fallon (0-3, 1 free), Naos Connaughton, Cillian Egan (0-1).
Subs:- Brendan Kelly (0-1) for N Connaughton (26 mins); Cathal Kelly for C Egan (47 mins); David Dolan (1-1, 1 free) for Gary Fallon (47 mins); Cormac Kelly for A Murphy (63 mins); Hugh Rooney for R Fallon (68 mins).
LONGFORD: Paddy Cullen; Rory Breslin, Brendan Stakem, Conor Egan; Paddy Corcoran, Conor Flanagan, Rory Donnellan; Declan Tanner (0-1), Martin Coyle; Joe O’Brien (0-1, 1 free), Kevin Conneely, Eoin Donnellan (0-8, 8 frees); John Newman, Thomas Stakem, Gareth Ghee.
Subs:- Kealan Cox for J Newman (46 mins); Paul Barden Jnr for M Coyle (injured, 58 mins); Conor Keegan for E Donnellan (59 mins).
Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly).