The last occasion that Longford and Laois collided in the Leinster Senior Football Championship was on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park and on that occasion a terrific second half comeback helped Glenn Ryan’s Longford charges to a minimum margin victory.
So ahead of Sunday’s provincial championship opener at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise involving the counties, in this special #ThrowbackThursday we recall the match from five years ago and hopefully it will evoke sweet memories for Longford supporters.
Longford stage terrific second half comeback to deny Laois
by Padraic O'Brien
For the first time since 2007 Longford managed to cross the first hurdle in the Leinster Senior Football Championship and the so spirited manner in which they came from six points down at the break to stage a terrific second half comeback to eventually beat Laois was a joy to behold for the thrilled home supporters among the official attendance of 5,587 at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
A Paul Barden goal with five minutes gone on the changeover gave Longford the belief to rescue the situation after appearing to be in big trouble and while Laois then consolidated their grip on the game with a point apiece from Ross Munnelly (free) and Gary Walsh, the latter converting a well struck '45' in the 46th minute, the visitors faded out of contention in failing to register another score until virtually the last kick of this remarkable encounter.
After producing a very poor first half performance that looked like leaving their Leinster Championship hopes in tatters for yet another season, Longford woke up to finally get theit act together and played some excellent football at a fast pace in the process of scoring seven points in a row – three from Sean McCormack (one free) with David Barden, Paul Barden, Michael Quinn (a tremendous strike) and Brian Kavanagh also on target.
Kavanagh kicked the ball over the bar from a tight angle in the 70th minute to leave Longford leading by two points, 1-10 to 0-11, but then came a real dramatic moment as Kevin Meaney finished a Colm Begley free to the net in stoppage time. However, joy quickly turned to despair for the Laois players and their supporters as Sligo referee Michael Duffy rightly disallowed the goal as the change to the square ball rule only applies to a delivery from open play.
Meaney was in the square when he got the touch to the set piece, as was Padraig Clancy in a crowded goalmouth, and Clancy then had a flicked goal attempt saved by Longford keeper Damien Sheridan in a hectic finish. While there was still time for Laois to close the gap to the minimum of margins when substitute Colm Kelly fired over a close range free in the third minute of stoppage time, the final whistle was sounded moments later as the home county held out for a famous win in earning another crack at Wexford in Croke Park on June 3.
LONGFORD: Damien Sheridan (Dromard); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Declan Reilly (Colmcille); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara), Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets, 0-1), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St Columba's); Bernard McElvaney (Ballymore), John Keegan (Mullinalaghta St Columba's) Niall Mulligan (Longford Slashers), Paul Barden (Clonguish, 1-2) David Barden (Clonguish, 0-1); Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta St Columba's), Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes, 0-2), Sean McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets, 0-4, two frees).
Subs:- Paul Kelly (Longford Slashers) for J Keegan (half time); Padraig McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets) for N Mulligan (half time); Francis McGee (Dromard) for D McElligott (50 mins); Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon) for D Barden (66 mins); Noel Farrell (Colmcille) for B McElvaney (72 mins).
LAOIS: Eoin Culliton; Cahir Healy, Peter O'Leary, Kieran Lillis; Darren Strong (0-2), Shane Julian, Conor Boyle (0-1); John O'Loughlin, Brendan Quigley; Colm Begley (0-1), Billy Sheehan Kevin Meaney (0-1); Ross Munnelly (0-2, one free), Padraig Clancy, Gary Walsh (0-4, two frees, one '45).
Subs:- Mark Timmons for S Julian (41 mins); Colm Kelly (0-1, free) for R Munnelly (63 mins); Damien O'Connor for G Walsh (66 mins).
REFEREE: Michael Duffy (Sligo)