Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship Semi-Final
Longford . . . . 1-9 Meath . . . . 0-8
Colmcille’s Cathal McCabe scored the crucial only goal as the Longford minors produced a tremendous performance to score a surprise win over Meath at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday in making it through to the Leinster U-18 Football Championship Final for the first time since 2010 when the county won the title.
And by virtue of this surprise but well deserved success, Longford have booked a place in the All-Ireland Minor quarter-finals on the August Bank Holiday weekend which is a great achievement for manager Tony Devlin and his highly committed squad.
The players can now look forward to a Croke Park appearance in the provincial title decider against Dublin or Kildare on Sunday July 12th in the curtain-raiser to the senior final and the so determined manner in which they managed to beat a strongly fancied Meath team was inspirational stuff, to say the least.
Thanks to the McCabe goal in the 7th minute, Longford (showing a number of positional changes on the team) led by 1-3 to 0-3 at the break with two of the points coming from Conor Berry (‘45’ and play). Jayson Matthews got the other score while Berry was denied a goal in the 14th minute when his close range shot was blocked by Meath full-back Daniel O’Neill.
Two more cracking points from Matthews in the third quarter left Longford in a comfortable lead but they then squandered a few good chances of wrapping up the game, including a clear-cut goal chance that fell to Darragh Doherty but Berry got in the way of the shot.
Meath then came storming back to close the gap with Thomas O’Reilly the chief marksman and the sides were level when Padraig McGowan shot over the bar in the 55th minute. During this period Longford keeper Michael Hughes came to the rescue when making a fine save from O’Reilly’s goalbound effort.
But the home county were not going to be denied a famous win and produced a storming finish that yielded four points in a row - a brace from Conor Berry (free and play) with Cathal McCabe and Peter Lynn also on target for the boys in blue and gold.
LONGFORD: Michael Hughes (Killoe); Michael Cahill (Carrickedmond), Ronan Sheahan (Longford Slashers), Cillian Lee (Killashee); Cian Brady (Abbeylara), Conor Farrell (Cashel), Kevin Sorohan (Rathcline); Enda Farrell (Carrickedmond), Joe Heaney (Sean Connolly’s); Jayson Matthews (Mullinalaghta, 0-3), Peter Hanley (Clonguish), Cathal McCabe (Colmcille, 1-1); Darragh Doherty (Mostrim), Conor Berry (Abbeylara, 0-4, one free, one ‘45’), Peter Lynn (Young Grattans, 0-1).
Subs:- Rory Hawkins (Colmcille) for J Heaney (24 mins); Ryan Moffatt (Killoe) for C Farrell (injured, 47 mins); Russell Brady (Abbeylara) for D Doherty (54 mins); Liam Barry (Longford Slashers) for R Sheahan (55 mins); Ruairi Harkin (Colmcille) for C Brady (58 mins).
MEATH: Jordon Browne; Danny Quinn, Daniel O’Neill, Conor Harnan; Tomas McGuinness, Robin Clarke, Ronan Ryan; Ronan Jones, Conor Nash; Eamon O’Donnchadha, Thomas O’Reilly (0-5, three frees), Adam Carey; Padraig McGowan (0-1), Brian Conlon, Ross Ryan (0-1).
Subs:- James McKeown for A Carey (21 mins); Caolach Halligan for B Conlon (half-time); David McEntee (0-1) for Ross Ryan (35 mins); Shane Walsh for Ronan Ryan (44 mins); Eanna Kelly-Lynch for E O’Donnchadha (44 mins).
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).