Experimental Longford got Jack Sheedy’s reign as senior manager off to a winning start as they disposed of a poor Carlow side in Round 1 of the O’Byrne Cup at Dr. Cullen Park on Sunday last.
The game was over as a contest at half-time as Longford held a very commanding 1-13 to 0-0 lead, the goal coming from the industrious Francie McGee in the 31st minute.
Longford were boosted by the return of Brian Kavanagh after missing the entire 2013 season and the quality forward certainly proved how vital he will be for his county this year with an impressive display.
The first score of the game yielded the first black card when Carlow defender Barry John Molloy cynically brought down Kavanagh in the 6th minute and the Ardagh man pointed the free. McGee was on target one minute later before Kavanagh got his first point from play.
A nice move involving McGee and Kavanagh saw Mostrim’s Brian Farrell get his name on the scoresheet in the 13th minute. Two Kavanagh points and one from McGee saw Longford lead by 0-7 to 0-0 by the 18th minute.
Paul McKeon fired over his first point just after before McGee was accurate with a ’45 and then Farrell brought a fine save out of Carlow keeper Andrew O’Brien in the 27th minute as the Longford attack went in search of more scores. Another McGee ’45 and two McKeon scores extended Longford’s lead to 12 points by the 29th minute. Two minutes later McGee found the back of the net with a well-taken goal.
Carlow had efforts in the first half but were devoid of ideas in the forward line. Just before the break Ronan O’Brien had a chance to register their first score but his tame free failed to find the target.
The home county were not going to be as bad in the second half and with a minute gone on the changeover influential interval substitute Brendan Murphy got their first score of the game before Daniel St. Ledger converted a free.
Cian Mimnagh got his first score for Longford in the 38th minute with a nice point from a tight angle and Brian Kavanagh was on target minutes later from a free. Darragh Foley got another point for Carlow in the 44th minute before they grabbed their first goal through Shane McGrath.
Longford replied with a Mimnagh point before Paddy Collum pulled off an excellent save to deny O’Brien. Minutes later Carlow did got another goal; a free from Seamus Kinsella caused confusion in the goalmouth and in a scramble the ball ended up in the net.
They then lost Mark Curry through the black card rule in the 56th minute before Longford tagged on more scores with a free from Paul McKeon and a point from substitute Padraig Gill. Kinsella (free) and St. Ledger added points for Carlow before McKeon got Longford’s last score of the game in the 63rd minute with a fisted effort. Kinsella fired over two frees near the end for Carlow consolation scores.
It was a good work-out for Longford and a chance for fringe players to prove themselves but Kildare in Round 2 of the O’Byrne Cup in Newtowncashel this Wednesday night (8th) will be a completely different proposition.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Daniel Keogh (Killoe Emmet Og), Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara), Aidan Rowan (Cashel); Gerard Farrell (Ardagh St. Patrick’s), Fergal Reilly (Fr. Manning Gaels), Gerard Smith (Mostrim); Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon, 0-1), John Keegan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Brian Farrell (Mostrim, 0-1), Francis McGee (Dromard, 1-4, two ‘45s), Diarmuid Cooney (Fr. Manning Gaels); Paul Mc Keon (Colmcille, 0-5, one free), Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes, 0-5, two frees), Cian Mimnagh (Dromard 0-2).
Subs:- Padraig Gill (Fr. Manning Gaels, 0-1) for F McGee (injured, 39 mins); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara) for G Smith (injured, 53 mins), Shane Cox (Legan Sarsfields) for F Reilly (61 mins); Shane Doyle (Kenagh) for P Mc Keon (65 mins); Peter Brady (Longford Slashers) for D Keogh (69 mins); Enda Williams (Clonguish) for G Farrell (69 mins).
CARLOW: Andrew O’Brien; Barry John Molloy, Michael Meaney, Richard Mahon; Kieran Nolan, Brendan Kavanagh, Graham Power; Hugh Gahan, Darragh Foley (0-1); Ronan O’Brien, Daniel St. Ledger (0-2, one free), David Bambrick; Shane McGrath (1-0), Jason Kane, Seamus Kinsella (1-3, frees).
Subs:- Jeffrey O’Donoghue for BJ Molloy (black card, 6 mins); Mark Curry for M Meaney (21 mins); Brendan Murphy (0-1) for J Kane (half-time); David Kinsella for M Curry (black card, 56 mins).
Referee: Eddie Kinsella