Longford’s interest in the 2013 Leinster Minor Football League came to a probable end on Saturday last when they lost out to Tipperary at Emmet Park, Killoe and Martin Mulleady’s squad must now beat reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin (away) by at least six points this Wednesday night in the remaining Group C fixture to keep their title hopes alive in this useful competition.
Longford began with nine changes to the team which started in the win over Westmeath the previous week and the mentors were forced to make two more changes in the first 8 minutes when they lost both Shane Rodgers and David McGivney to injury.
At this stage Tipperary were 0-3 to 0-0 ahead with their full-forward causing huge problems. Martin Cassidy finally put Longford on the board when he converted a free and they proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the first half with a further three points through Paddy Kiernan, Larry Moran (both from play) and another Cassidy free.
The home county then conceded a penalty which yielded a crucial goal for Tipperary, who ended up leading by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break, and the midlanders managed to remain in contention thanks to another brace of points from Martin Cassidy (free and play).
The Longford management team then introduced six substitutes in a brave attempt to rescue the situation but Tipperary made a great start to the second half in adding a goal and a point to their tally to establish a commanding advantage.
Longford responded shortly afterwards with a point from Niall Kelly before another substitute Liam Sullivan scored a well-taken goal at the end of a move he started as the gap was closed. Both sides then swapped points entering the final 10 minutes with Martin Cassidy and Larry Moran on target for the home side as things started to get tough with some late tackles and off the ball incidents which culminated with three players being sent-off following a melee.
LONGFORD (starting team): Shane Fitzpatrick (Killoe Og); Shane Cosgrove (Southern Gaels), Damien Bennett (Killoe Og), Shane Rodgers (Longford Slashers); Ronan Duffy (Clonguish Og), Cormac Hughes (St. Colmcille’s), Alan Sorohan (Clonguish Og); Fergal Sheridan (St. Colmcille’s), David McGivney (Northern Gaels); Mattie Gorman (Granard/ Ballymore), Paddy Kiernan (Killoe Og, 0-1), Shane Tully (Killoe Og); Martin Cassidy (St. Vincent’s, 0-5, 3 frees), Larry Moran (Killoe Og, 0-2), Ciaran Donohoe (Killoe Og).
Also on the scoresheet for Longford were substitutes Niall Kelly (Longford Slashers, 0-1) and Liam Sullivan (Granard/Ballymore, 1-0).