Allianz National Football League Division 2 – Round 5
Derry . . . . . . 0-14 Longford . . . . . 0-5
Longford suffered a fifth defeat in Division 2 of the National Football League when they found the going too tough against Derry at Celtic Park on Saturday evening and as a result are relegated with still two games to play at home to Laois and away to Louth which is a very disappointing outcome for manager Glenn Ryan despite the injury problems and the decision to rest the U-21 players.
But for all the possession that the generally dominant Derry side enjoyed just the narrow margin of two points (0-6 to 0-4) separated the sides with 14 minutes of normal time remaining. Derry were guilty of kicking a total of 14 wides (nine in the first half) in failing to convert their superiority into scores but Longford gradually ran out of steam after working very hard to stay in touch.
After substitute Eoin Bradley converted a free in the 56th minute, three more points quickly followed from Daniel Heavron, another Bradley free and James Kielt and that decisive spell settled the issue.
Now trailing by 0-10 to 0-4, Longford hit back with a point from their best player Bernard McElvaney who blasted the ball over the bar in his close attempt to grab a badly needed goal in the 62nd minute but this proved to be nothing more than a consolation score as Derry finished very strongly indeed to open up the tired opposing defence.
Another of their influential substitutes Raymond Wilkinson shot over the bar in the 63rd minute and relentless pressure yielded three more points through Wilkinson, Eoin Bradley and Enda Lynn in the closing stages of the game as Derry ran out easy winners in the end.
Longford were left to reflect on a disappointing defeat and when the news came through that both Laois and Louth won their games against Galway and Armagh respectively the doom and gloom of relegation was confirmed as the midlanders were condemned to an immediate return to Division 3.
LONGFORD: Damien Sheridan (Dromard); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Declan Reilly (Colmcille); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara), Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets), John Keegan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Bernard McElvaney (Ballymore, 0-3), Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s), Aidan Rowan (Cashel); Francis McGee (Dromard), David Barden (Clonguish), Sean McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets, 0-2, frees).
Subs:- Peter Foy (Cashel, transferring to Longford Slashers) for D McElligott (half-time); JJ Matthews (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s) for A Rowan (54 mins); John Paul Reilly (Colmcille) for D Barden (58 mins); Shane Doyle (Kenagh) for CP Smyth (68 mins).
Read Padraic O’Brien’s full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday