It was All-Ireland Intermediate Championship quarter-final heartbreak yet again for Longford as they were defeated by Roscommon after extra-time at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday last.
Just like last year at the same stage against Tipperary, Longford worked hard to get back into the game and had chances to claim victory but credit to Roscommon they levelled matters deep in second half stoppage time and got the vital scores in extra-time to triumph.
In truth Roscommon were the better team throughout and deserved the victory. Longford produced a poor performance, by their standards, and yet could have won the game. They showed determination in coming back from four points down to take the lead in the second minute of stoppage time but they couldn’t get the scores to close out the game and Roscommon drew level with the last kick in normal time; a Jenny Downey free.
Downey was terrific throughout and put her side into an early three point lead from frees. Midfielder Jenny Higgins got Roscommon’s first point from play in the 15th minute to put four between the sides.
After a sluggish start, Longford registered their first score in the 19th minute when Michelle Farrell found the back of the net. The Colmcille girl was a real threat throughout but herself and the other full-forwards didn’t get the right supply of the ball.
The next score of the game came in the 27th minute when Caitriona Regan pointed after good build-up play to leave two between them going in at the break, 0-5 to 1-0.
Jenny Downey then hit over another free in the 34th minute before she registered her first point from play. It was all Roscommon at this stage and they were unlucky not to grab a goal in the 42nd minute when Joanne Cregg’s powerful strike hit the crossbar.
After 24 minutes without a score, Longford got their first point of the game in the 43rd minute through Michelle Farrell. Points were then exchanged between Roscommon wing-back Amanda McCloone and Longford forward Aoife Darcy.
Longford keeper Michelle Kilkenny then made a great save in the 50th minute to deny Siobhan Tully. This spurred Longford on and points from Aoife Darcy (free) and Michelle Farrell closed the gap to the minimum of margins by the 52nd minute before Joanne Cregg was sinbinned for Roscommon.
Michelle Farrell levelled for Longford in the 55th minute but in the 59th minute Jenny Downey put her side back in front. Farrell again drew Longford level and two minutes into stoppage time Siobhan McGowan put the home county ahead for the first time. But in the 6th minute of stoppage time, Jenny Downey brought the game to extra-time when she converted a Roscommon free for the equalising point.
There was nothing between the sides in extra-time. Michelle Farrell fired over a free in the 2nd minute but Longford couldn’t build on that and in the 7th minute Jenny Higgins levelled the game.
Roscommon were the better team in the second half of extra-time. They were ahead by two in the 71st minute but Aoife Darcy hit over a free to cut the deficit to one in the 74th minute.
Jenny Downey restored that two point advantage in the 76th minute and despite Ruth Finlass getting sinbinned in the 77th minute, Roscommon held out to book their place in the All-Ireland semi-final.
LONGFORD: Michelle Kilkenny (Dromard); Leanne Keegan (Mostrim), Geraldine McManus (Ballymahon/Forgney), Mairead Moore (Clonguish); Michelle Noonan (Carrickedmond), Sinead Farrell (Rathcline), Orla Noonan (St. Helen’s); Siobhan McGowan (Clonguish, 0-1), Gemma Kenny (Mostrim); Aisling Reynolds (Ballymore), Anne Marie Bratten (Killoe), Anna McDonnell (Killoe); Emer Heaney (Ballymore), Michelle Farrell (Colmcille, 1-5, 1 free), Aoife Darcy (Clonguish, 0-3, 3 frees).
Subs:- Louise Monaghan (Mostrim) for G McManus (half-time); Claire Farrell (Longford Slashers) for G Kenny (42 mins); Claire Greene (Rathcline) for A Reynolds (44 mins); Emma Farrelly (St. Helen’s) for Anna McDonnell (78 mins); Aisling Greene (Clonguish) for A Darcy (78 mins).
ROSCOMMON: Rachael Timothy; Feena Beirne, Sarah Brady, Gillian Dufficey; Amanda McCloone (0-1), Sinead Kenny, Joanne Cregg; Caitriona Regan (0-1), Jenny Higgins (0-3); Laura Fleming, Claire Rafferty (0-1), Siobhan Tully; Jenny Condon, Jenny Downey (0-8, 5 frees), Ruth Finlass.
Subs:- Deirdre Regan for J Condon (47 mins); Martina Frayne for C Regan (54 mins); Laura McCloone for A McCloone (injured, 58 mins); Niamh Ward for S Brady (injured, 69 mins).
Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan).