Rian Brady on the attack for Longford against Leitrim in the Hastings Cup Under 21 Football Tournament semi-final at Allen Park, Newtownforbes on Friday night. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Despite conceding three goals in the second half, Longford still managed to come out on top against Leitrim in the highly entertaining Hastings Cup under 21 football tournament semi-final with the local derby attracting a big attendance to Allen Park, Newtownforbes on Friday night.
Hastings Cup Under 21 Football Tournament Semi-Final
Longford . . . . . 2-13 Leitrim . . . . . 3-8
Frank McNamee’s side trailed by four points (3-8 to 1-10) with just eight minutes of normal time remaining but got right back into contention with a decisive goal from a penalty converted by Nigel Rabbitte and three points followed through David McGivney (two frees) and substitute Robbie Clarke to clinch a fine victory.
Even though they were reduced to 14 players when another replacement Cillian Lee was sent-off for a second yellow card offence in the 58th minute, Longford finished the stronger and can now look forward to a crack at Meath in the Hastings Cup final next weekend.
After suffering the significant setback of losing midfielder Shane Kenny, who was forced to retire injured with just two minutes gone in the game, Longford were still good enough to establish what appeared to be a comfortable 1-7 to 0-6 lead at the break with Aidan McElligott getting the vital touch for the goal in the 26th minute.
David McGivney (three frees) and a brace apiece from Rian Brady (free and play) and Dessie Reynolds (play) accounted for the Longford points in the first half and the lead was extended when Darragh Doherty shot over the bar immediately on the changeover.
While Leitrim came storming back with goals from Robbie Cunningham (42 mins), Jack Heslin (44 mins) and Oisin Madden (51 mins) to hit the front, Longford managed to remain in touch thanks to good scores from David McGivney and Rian Brady.
Showing a lot of character, the home county regained the upper hand to score 1-3 without reply in the closing stages to book their place in the Hastings Cup U-21 title decider against Meath who beat Cavan 2-9 to 1-8 in the other semi-final on Saturday.
LONGFORD: Micheal Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og); James Moran (Young Grattans), Ronan Sweeney (Clonguish), Conor Farrell (Cashel); Cian Brady (Abbeylara), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly's, 0-2), Russell Brady (Abbeylara); David McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba's, 0-6, five frees), Shane Kenny (Rathcline); Joe Kelly (Ballymahon), Nigel Rabbitte (Abbeylara, 1-0, penalty), Peter Lynn (Young Grattans); Rian Brady (Mullinalaghta St Columba's, 0-3, one free), Darragh Doherty (Mostrim, 0-1), Conor Berry (Abbeylara).
Subs:- Aidan McElligott (Mullinalaghta St Columba's, 1-0) for S Kenny (injured, 2 mins); Eoin Higgins (St Mary's Granard) for C Brady (injured, 26 mins); Cillian Lee (St Brigid's Killashee) for J Kelly (35 mins); Jayson Matthews (Mullinalaghta St Columba's) for A McElligott (40 mins); Ruairi Harkin (Colmcille) for P Lynn (49 mins); Robbie Clarke (Longford Slashers, 0-1) for D Doherty (52 mins); Sean Kelly (Carrickedmond) for D McGivney (black card, three minutes into stoppage time).
LEITRIM: Jack Burke; Philip Dolan, David Mulvey, Oisin Madden (1-0); Donal Feely, Keith Keegan (0-1), David Bruen; Dean McGovern, Conor Cullen; Jack Heslin (1-1), Ryan O'Rourke (0-1), Francis Flynn; Conor Gaffney (0-1), Keith Beirne (0-4, three frees), Robbie Cunningham (1-0).
Subs:- Brian Leyden for C Cullen (injured, 30 mins); James Mitchell for D Bruen (half-time); Luke Murphy for F Flynn (40 mins).
Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan).