O’Byrne Cup Senior Football Tournament Group 3 - Round 2
Meath . . . . . 1-17 Longford . . . . . 1-9
Looking good at one stage of the first half when they established a five-point lead (1-4 to 0-2) with the advantage of the strong wind, Longford collapsed on the changeover as Meath cruised to victory in the O’Byrne Cup Round 2 clash at Pairc Tailteann, Navan on Wednesday night.
Colm P Smyth, on a penetrating run, was the architect of the Longford goal in the 17th minute with Padraig Gill providing the perfect final pass into McGee who made no mistake from close range.
But Meath got right back into contention when a flicked attempt from Sean Tobin hit the post and deflected off opposing keeper Paddy Collum into the back of the net.
The sides ended up all square at the break, 1-5 to 1-5, as Longford were left to rue the kicking of eight wides in the first half. Losing Francis McGee (the effective playmaker in the attack) with a hamstring injury (replaced by Brian Kavanagh in the 24th minute) proved to be a severe setback as a bad fade out gradually developed.
The Longford points in the first half were fired over by Sean McCormack (2), Ronan McEntire, Paul McKeon (free) and Barry Gilleran (‘45’). But the visitors failed to register another score for half an hour whereas Meath came storming back from a position of trailing by 1-5 to 1-2 in the 30th minute to clock up 12 points without reply.
The rampant home county totally dominated the third quarter of the contest to put the issue beyond all doubt before Longford eventually registered their first score of the second half in the 59th minute - a goal attempt from Brian Kavanagh that was parried over the bar by Meath keeper Paddy O’Rourke.
Further points followed from Aidan Rowan and a brace from Kavanagh (free and play) but Longford were well beaten in the finish.
MEATH: Paddy O’Rourke; Simon Carty, Mickey Burke, Nicky Judge; Darren Brennan, Neil Shortall, Bryan Menton (0-2); Jamie Queeney (0-3), Andy Tormey (0-2); Sean Tobin (1-0), Mark O’Sullivan (0-2, one free), David Toner (0-1); Ruairi O’Dowd (0-4), Tom McCullen, David Bray (0-1).
Subs:- David Dalton for D Brennan (25 mins); Shane Melia for N Shortall (half-time); Joseph Wallace (0-2) for D Bray (half-time); Harry Rooney for T McCullen (half-time); Damien Carroll for S Tobin (47 mins); Donnacha Tobin for M O’Sullivan (56 mins).
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Thomas Gallagher (St. Mary’s Granard), Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond), Enda Williams (Clonguish); Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers, 0-1, ‘45’), Ronan McEntire (Dromard, 0-1); Padraig Gill (Fr. Manning Gaels), Francis McGee (Dromard, 1-0), Aidan Rowan (Cashel, 0-1); Paul McKeon (Colmcille, 0-1, free), Sean McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-2), Peter Foy (Longford Slashers).
Subs:- Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes, 0-3, one free) for F McGee (injured, 24 mins); Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers) for P Gill (half-time); Brendan Devine (Clonguish) for F Battrim (43 mins); Diarmuid Cooney (Fr. Manning Gaels) for P McKeon (56 mins); Ross McNerney (Dromard) for S McCormack (56 mins); Conor Quaine (Legan Sarsfields) for B Gilleran (59 mins).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).