Longford representatives Sean Connolly's fall at the first hurdle in the Leinster Club Junior Championship

AIB Leinster Club Junior Football Championship First Round

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Longford representatives Sean Connolly's fall at the first hurdle in the Leinster Club Junior Championship

Dessie Reynolds figured prominently for Sean Connolly's against Erin Rovers (Offaly), scoring 1-4 in the Leinster Club Junior Football Championship first round game in Pullough last Saturday.

Sean Connollys, as runners-up in the recent Intermediate final, represented Longford in the Leinster Junior Club Championship last Saturday against the Offaly Intermediate champions, Erin Rovers, on their home patch in Pullough.

Erin Rovers (Offaly) . . . 0-20   Sean Connolly’s . . . 2-9

Connolly’s played with a stiff breeze in first half but were very slow to find their rhythm whereas Erin Rovers tore into the visitors from the word go. Connolly’s found it difficult to get possession at midfield and in turn to get the ball into their forward line.

After finding themselves facing a two points deficit, Paddy O'Neill finally got Connolly’s off the mark with a good score from far out on the left.

Slowly the Ballinalee started to settle but still struggled to get possession around midfield and Erin Rovers continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with points from play and frees.

Meanwhile, Dessie Reynolds and Stephen Lynch added points for Connolly’s in a forgettable first half for the Longford representatives.

At half-time the score was 0-10 to 0-4 in favour of the Offaly champions and they had the advantage of the breeze in the second  half.

On the resumption Sean Connolly’s upped the intensity and general performance greatly and put Erin Rovers under a lot of  pressure despite playing against the wind.

Good points from Dessie Reynolds and Paddy McDonnell edged them closer to the Offaly side and when Reynolds ran 50 yards to strike a great goal into the bottom corner of the net it was suddenly all to play for.

Both sides then exchanged points and increased pressure from Connolly’s saw them win a penalty which was well dispatched to the net by Gregory Masterson.

Suddenly there were only two points in the game and Connolly’s had all the momentum. Unfortunately, a few turnovers at vital times gave the initiative back to Erin Rovers and they responded with three points in succession to regain their grip on the game.

A dubious penalty (which was pointed) awarded to the home side did not help the cause of the Connolly’s but to their credit they responded again and only the crossbar prevented Paddy McDonnell from finding the roof of the net as time ran out.

In the end Erin Rovers had done enough in the first half to emerge deserved five point winners in advancing to meet the Kildare Junior champions Ballymore-Eustace in the next round.

ERIN ROVERS:  Neville Dunne; Dean Bracken, Andrew Buckley, Aaron  Buckley; Declan Cooney 0-1, Richard Fox, Declan Buckley; Danny Spain 0-1, Tom Spain 0-2; Conor Lynam 0-7, Ryan Delaney 0-1 (f), Barry Buckley 0-2; Stephen Buckley, Nathan Poland 0-4 (3f), Gio Russo 0-1.

Subs:- Declan Kelly 0-1 (penalty) for N Poland (injured); Conor Owens for Stephen Buckley' Ollie Buckley for Andrew Buckley.

Sean Connolly’s scorers: Dessie Reynolds 1-4 (2f), Gregory Masterson 1-0 (penalty), Stephen Lynch 0-3 (2f), Paddy O'Neill (0-1), Paddy McDonnell (0-1).

SEAN CONNOLLY’S:  Stephen Murtagh; Andy McNamee, Ciaran MacEoin, Thomas Keogh; John McKenna, Daire Duggan, Gregory Masterson; Stephen Lynch, Frank Reynolds; Sean Kenny, Dessie Reynolds, Trevor Murtagh; Paddy O'Neill, Paddy McDonnell, Joe Heaney.

Subs used: Brendan Treacy, Eugene Murtagh, Micheal McGlynn, Padraig Brady.

Referee: P Coyle (Meath).