Longford outplayed Leitrim from almost the start and right up to the finish in Sunday’s National Hurling League Division 3B game in Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, Carrick and were very worthy double scores winners in this entertaining Round 1 encounter.
Eoin Donnellan proved to be Longford’s scorer-in-chief over the seventy minutes of action when shooting nine points with two coming from play and the rest from well-struck frees.
In what was otherwise a sporting game Leitrim ended it with 13 players and Longford with 14 players. Colm Moreton saw a 47th minute red following a dangerous pull in a midfield contest with Longford’s Kevin Mealiff.
Before the finish Longford’s Conáire Flanagan and Leitrim’s Liam Moreton were giving their marching orders after a clash between them.
Longford played with the advantage of a strong breeze in the first half. In the opening five minutes of the action Eoin Donnellan for Longford and Padraig O’Donnell for Leitrim exchanged points from frees.
Then Joe O’Brien put Longford into a lead they never subsequently surrendered when his 10th minute shot from out on the left wing went into the Leitrim net past ‘keeper Paul McKiernan at the butt of the near post.
Over the next four minutes Martin Coyle from play and Eoin Donnellan from a free increased Longford’s lead to 1-3 to 0-1. But Padraig O’Donnell kept Leitrim in the hunt by the 19th minute when he replied with two Leitrim free conversions on the trot.
However Longford went seven points clear of the home side in the following five minutes after Joe O’Brien shot over from play with Eoin Donnellan finding the target from successive long distance frees (one from 70 metres) and Martin Coyle also adding a point from play.
Padraig O’Donnell slightly reduced the deficit for Leitrim when he replied with a point from a 25th minute free. In the next nine minutes Eoin Donnellan from a free and Cathal Mullane from play replied with Longford points.
Before the half-time whistle Fergal Earley from play and Eoin Donnellan from a free traded points to leave Longford leading by 1-10 to 0-5 at the break.
Leitrim managed to cut the deficit slightly in the opening four minutes of the second half when Padraig O’Donnell whipped over two frees. But Eoin Donnellan kept Longford in the driving seat when he put over his first point from play on 44 minutes.
Padraig O’Donnell for Leitrim from a free and Eoin Donnellan from play for Longford swapped points by the 52nd minute. During the next three minutes Longford’s Gerard Moore received a yellow card while Leitrim managed to close gap to five points in this period with Padraig O’Donnell converting a free and John Ryan shooting over from play.
However, Leitrim failed to score after this while Longford hit over five unanswered points before the finish. In this spell Cathal Mullane added two points while Kevin Mealiff, Eoin Donnellan (free) and Karl Murray scored a point each.
LEITRIM: Paul McKiernan; Paul Earley, Michael Dominican, Joe Earley; Kevin O’Connor, Clement Cunniffe, James Glancy; David McGovern, Liam Moreton; Zemnako Moradi, John Ryan 0-1, Padraig O’Donnell 0-8 (7 frees); Fergal Earley 0-1, Colm Moreton, Kevin Clerkin.
Subs:- Kieran Kilkenny for K Clerkin (37 mins); Karl McDermott for Z Moradi (65 mins).
LONGFORD: Dara Duggan; Gerard Moore, Brendan Stakem, Conáire Flanagan; Paddy Corcoran, Bart Hanley, Karl Murray 0-1; Johnny Casey, Martin Coyle 0-2; Cathal Mullane 0-3, Kevin Mealiff 0-1, Luke Kelly; Eoin Donnellan 0-9 (7 freess), John Mulhern, Joe O’Brien 1-1.
Subs:- Cian Kavanagh for J O’Brien (32 mins); Paul Barden Jnr for J Casey (61 mins); Jamie Rosney for E Donnellan (70 mins).
Referee: Kevin McGeeney (Roscommon).