Cadbury’s Leinster Under 21 Football Championship Semi-Final
Dublin . . . . . . . 3-7 Longford . . . . . 0-6
Shattered by a terrible start which left them trailing by 2-2 to 0-0 with just 12 minutes gone in the game, Longford were always fighting a losing battle against a much superior Dublin team in the Leinster U-21 Football Championship semi-final at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise on Wednesday night.
Jack Sheedy’s side were a nervous wreck in the first quarter of the contest with Paul Mannion (one of several Dublin seniors in action for the U-21s) inflicting most of the damage to fire home the killer goals in the 10th and 12th minutes and the wide margin of ten points separated the sides in the finish.
The red-hot favourites Dublin were playing against the strong wind in the first half and while Longford were in deep trouble when they trailed by 2-4 to 0-4 at the break - the scores coming from Paddy Kiernan, Robbie Smyth (two frees) and Barry McKeon - they showed a lot of character in making it more difficult for their highly rated opponents on the changeover.
When Robbie Smyth fired over his fourth free in the 47th minute, Dublin held the same six-point lead and did not score their third goal until the 56th minute when substitute Emmet O Conghaile burst his way through to finish the ball to the net.
DUBLIN: Lorcan Molloy; Robert McDaid, David Byrne, Ross McGowan; John Small, Stephen Cunningham, Jack McCaffrey; Patrick O’Higgins, Shane Carthy; Niall Scully, Eric Lowndes (0-1), Cormac Costello (0-4, one free); Conor McHugh (0-1), Michael Deegan, Paul Mannion (2-1).
Subs:- Shane Cunningham for M Deegan (39 mins); Emmet O Conghaile (1-0) for J Small (47 mins); Niall Walsh for C McHugh (59 mins); Gavin Ivory for C Costello (injured, 60 mins).
LONGFORD: Gareth Higgins (Carrickedmond); Cian Farrelly (Killoe Emmet Og), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond), Andrew Farrell (Cashel); Shane Clarke (Killoe Emmet Og), Stephen McLoughlin (Clonguish), Conor Shields (Clonguish); Barry McKeon (Colmcille, 0-1), James McGivney (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Emmet Noonan (Fr. Manning Gaels), Rory Connor (Kenagh), Paddy Kiernan (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1); Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers), Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-4, all frees), Liam Connerton (Rathcline).
Subs:- Mattie Gorman (Ballymore) for S Clarke (17 mins); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og) for E Noonan (44 mins); Ross McNerney (Dromard) for R Connor (57 mins).
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath).
Read the full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday