Longford squandered a six point lead as a couple of second half goals from Fermanagh secured a narrow win for the visitors in the National Hurling League Division 3A game at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
Twice in the game Longford were up by 6 and appeared to be in control but when Fermanagh got their first goal in the 49th minute to cut the gap to just 3 points the pressure got to Longford. In the 61st minute Fermanagh levelled with their second goal and despite being reduced to 13 men one minute later, they got the decisive winning point 3 minutes from time.
Sean Corrigan opened the scoring for the Ernesiders with a free in the 1st minute but Longford were level two minutes later through an Eoin Donnellan free. They then took control of the game and created a goal chance in the 4th minute; Gareth Ghee’s effort was well saved by Fermanagh keeper Mark Curry, the breaking ball came back out to Ghee but he shot wide.
Longford tagged on four points in a row including two Eoin Donnellan frees to put 4 between the sides by the 21st minute. That lead should have been more but they hit a number of wides. Fermanagh points either side of a fine Eoin Donnellan score from play cut the deficit to 3 but Longford ended the first half well with Cathal Mullane and two Eoin Donnellan points (one ’65) giving them a 6 point lead at the break, 0-9 to 0-3.
Fermanagh got the first score of the second half just 2 minutes in but were dealt a blow in the 41st minute when John Paul McGarry was sent-off. Twice in the space of six minutes Longford were 6 points ahead; Eoin Donnellan with 2 points (one free) and a neat Cathal Mullane point in the 48th minute.
But Fermanagh were just 3 behind one minute later when Martin Beggan found the back of the net. It was the score they needed to get back into the game. Ghee fired over a point for Longford in the 55th minute but that was to be their final score of the game.
A Corrigan free put 3 between them again by the 57th minute and then minutes later they got their second goal through wing-back Francis McBrien. They were then reduced to 13 men when Ryan Bogue received a second yellow card.
Despite their numerical advantage Longford struggled to get back into the game and as the clock ticked down the momentum was firmly with Fermanagh. Three minutes from time they went ahead for the first time since the 1st minute; Sean Corrigan converting a free.
Try as they might Longford just couldn’t get the point they needed to level the game and in the closing stages they went for goals instead of points. Right at the end Joe O’Brien had a great chance but his kicked effort just went inches wide of the post as Fermanagh held out for a vital victory.
Longford must now avoid defeat away to Louth at Darver on Sunday next (12.45pm) to get away from the relegation zone.
LONGFORD: Paddy Cullen; Gerard Moore, Brendan Stakem, Karl Murray; Conor Egan, Declan Tanner, Rory Donnellan; Paul Barden (Jnr), Cathal Mullane (0-3); Paddy Corcoran, Martin Coyle (0-1), Joe O’Brien; Gareth Ghee (0-1), John Newman, Eoin Donnellan (0-8, 4f, 1’65).
Subs:- Kevin Connelly for M Coyle (64 mins); Johnny Casey for E Donnellan (67 mins).
FERMANAGH: Mark Curry; Shane Mulholland, Eoin Morrisey, Eoin Mahon; Andrew Breslin (0-1), Brendan McGarry, Francis McBrien (1-0); Ryan Bogue, Matthew Teague; John Paul McGarry, Shea Curran (0-2), Thomas Cleary; Paul McGoldrick, Declan McGarry (0-2), Sean Corrigan (0-3,3f).
Subs:- Rory Porteous for P McGoldrick (14 mins), Martin Beggan (1-0) for T Cleary (47 mins), Barry Duffy for D McGarry (52 mins).
Referee: Gearoid McGrath (Dublin).