Eirgrid Leinster Under 21 Football Championship First Round
Longford . . . . 4-13 Wicklow . . . . 1-5
The Longford U-21 footballers stormed to a most emphatic victory in the opening round of the Leinster Championship, hammering Wicklow by the wide margin of 17 points in windy conditions at Pairc Chiaran, Newtowncashel on Wednesday night.
Just a couple of points separated the sides at the end of the first quarter as Longford led by 1-2 to 0-3, the goal coming in the 9th minute after the alert Larry Moran capitalised on a mistake in the Wicklow defence, but the home county then stepped up another gear to shoot five points in a row through Dessie Reynolds, Moran (2), Paddy Kiernan and Andrew Dalton.
That left them in a comfortable 1-7 to 0-3 advantage at the break and while Wicklow had the advantage of the wind in the second half, any hopes of a dramatic comeback were dashed when Longford corner-back Conor Shields joined the attack to fire home a cracking goal with five minutes gone on the changeover.
A further two goals followed from Rory Connor (41 mins) and Liam Connerton (45 mins) and it was all too easy for Francis McNamee’s talented team who are back in action at the Newtowncashel grounds next Wednesday night (March 4th) for a quarter-final clash (7.30pm) against Louth who overcame Carlow by four points in their first round tie.
Marc Lennon scored a consolation goal for Wicklow in the 53rd minute as they trailed by 4-8 to 1-4 but Longford refused to sit on the cushion of their commanding lead as they added another five points to their impressive total - a brace from substitute Killian Farrell with Rory Connor, Andrew Dalton and Larry Moran (free) also on target.
LONGFORD: Colm Farrell (Longford Slashers); Ronan Sweeney (Clonguish), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Conor Shields (Clonguish, 1-0); Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s, 0-1), Cian Farrelly (Killoe Emmet Og), Liam Sullivan (St Mary’s Granard); Fergal Sheridan (Colmcille), Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers, 0-2); Ross McNerney (Dromard), Emmet Noonan (Fr Manning Gaels), Shane Kenny (Rathcline, 0-1, free); Larry Moran (Killoe Emmet Og, 1-4, three points from frees), Paddy Kiernan (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1), Liam Connerton (Rathcline, 1-1).
Subs:- Rory Connor (Kenagh, 1-1) for E Noonan (18 mins); David McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s) for P Kiernan (39 mins); Killian Farrell (Ardagh St Patrick’s, 0-2) for F Sheridan (45 mins); Patrick Farrell (Carrickedmond) for R McNerney (51 mins); Mattie Gorman (Ballymore) for L Sullivan (52 mins); Martin Mulligan (Colmcille) for A Farrell (56 mins).
WICKLOW: Andy Murphy; Barry Finan, James Kavanagh, Eoin Kelly; John Crowe (0-1), Daire Lohan, Conor Hatton; David Boothman (0-2, frees), Thomas Donohoe (0-1); Daire Henderson (0-1), Paul Ellis, Patrick Phelan; Conor French, Johnny Delahunt, Marc Lennon (1-0).
Subs:- Eoghan Marah for E Kelly (23 mins); Conor Healy for B Finan (half-time); Michael O’Connor for P Ellis (34 mins); Sean O’Brien for J Kavanagh (43 mins); Patrick O’Connor for P Phelan (51 mins).
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).