Longford GAA NY are celebrating an historic and significant triumph this evening after they battled back to defeat Monaghan NY by the minimum margin, 0-12 to 0-11, in a keenly contested New York Senior Football Championship Final at Gaelic Park.
Armagh and Crossmaglen Rangers ace attacker, Jamie Clarke, was the star of the show for Longford NY, as he contributed eight points, including five of Longford’s six second half scores.
Longford, managed by Meath native Conor Maguire, led by 0-6 to 0-4 at half time and in a gripping second half where the pendulum swung to and fro, the teams were deadlocked on four separate occasions before Clarke landed the decisive winning point in the 57th minute.
There were scenes of great joy as Longford captain Darren ‘Chippy’ Farley was presented with the NY Senior Championship Trophy. The victory represents a meteoric rise for Longford NY as they have come up through the ranks, winning junior B, junior A and intermediate inside a very short space of time.
Longford, who were reformed as a club six years ago, got off to a flying start and they raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. Brian Kavanagh (two), Gary McGuire and Jamie Clarke kicked points, thereby helping the 2017 intermediate champions quickly into their stride.
Monaghan, the 2016 New York senior championship winners, fought back and midway during the half they had reduced the gap to the minimum, 0-4 to 0-3.
With some clever play, Longford lifted the siege and two points from the boot of the on-fire Jamie Clarke, one from a ‘45 and the other from play, made it 0-6 to 0-3. Monaghan kicked their fourth point in the 20th minute and that proved to be the final score of the opening half.
Half-time: Longford 0-6 Monaghan 0-4.
Shortly after the resumption, plucky Monaghan drew level at 0-6 apiece. Longford regained the initiative and scores from Robert Maloney Derham (Cavan Gaels) and that man Clarke, from a free, made it 0-8 to 0-6.
Monaghan, who featured Tom Cunniffe and Darren Freeman in their ranks, once again rallied and they responded with three points in-a-row, giving them the lead for only for the first time in the final, 0-8 to 0-9.
Clarke levelled proceedings for the third occasion as the pendulum continued to swing in this highly entertaining final.
Monaghan, beaten in the 2017 senior final, were determined not to suffer another loss and with 47 minutes elapsed at Gaelic Park, the Farney Men were back in front and two points to the good, 0-9 to 0-11.
Longford dug deep and they closed out the final very impressively. Armagh and Crossmaglen wizard Clarke kicked a brace of points, levelling the encounter for the fourth time, 0-11 to 0-11 apiece with 55 minutes elapsed.
The outcome was now in the melting pot and Longford showed nerves of steel as they carved out a free opportunity in the 57th minute which Clarke calmly slotted over - it was his 8th point of the final, to add to the 1-4 he scored in Longford’s 1-15 to 1-10 semi-final win over Donegal.
SCORERS for Longford NY: Jamie Clarke 0-8 (0-3 frees & 0-1 ‘45), Brian Kavanagh 0-2 (0-1 free), Gary McGuire 0-1 (free) and Robert Maloney Derham 0-1.
LONGFORD NY (starting XV): Alan O’Mara; Cian Brady, Keith Scally, Ryan McGuill; Aidan Long, Declan Lally, Damien Farley (capt); Tommy Doyle, Robert Maloney Derham; Mickey Lenihan, JJ Matthews, Dalton McDonagh; Jamie Clarke, Brian Kavanagh, Gary Maguire.
Subs: Martin Brady, John Connefrey, Jimmy Creegan, Charles O'Loughlin, John Comerford, L McGuire, G Gurnan, Rob Mahon, Aaron Cunningham, Michael Ledwith.
Picture says it all pic.twitter.com/WafxQoVf2C— Longford GAA NY (@LongfordGAA_NY) September 9, 2018
Tommy Doyle Mostrim, Gary McGuire Dromard, Cian Brady Abbeylara pic.twitter.com/CIU1z0LrDV— Longford GAA NY (@LongfordGAA_NY) September 9, 2018