The draw has worked out well for Longford in their quest to make progress in the 2014 Leinster Senior Football Championship and new manager Jack Sheedy could well guide the county to a semi-final spot, probably against his native Dublin who are the red-hot favourites to beat Laois or Wicklow.
Standing in Longford’s way are Offaly, who come to Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday May 18th, and if Sheedy’s side succeed in crossing the first hurdle the reward is another home tie against recent arch rivals Wexford on Saturday June 7th or Sunday June 8th after winning the toss for the venue.
That surely gives Longford at least a 50/50 chance of achieving a last four spot and the bonus of a Croke Park appearance on Sunday June 29th. Should they overcome Offaly on home ground, Longford will then be facing a Wexford side without a couple of key players as resolute defender David Murphy and quality forward Redmond Barry have retired from inter-county football.
Longford’s home run in Leinster against fellow Division 3 opponents is a great boost for the players but before that the focus will be on the National League campaign which begins with a local derby against Roscommon at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday February 2nd.
Jack Sheedy’s first competitive game in charge is away against Carlow in Round 1 of the O’Byrne Cup, which will be played at Dr. Cullen Park on Sunday January 5th, and Longford will then be at home to Kildare in a floodlit midweek fixture on Wednesday January 8th. The final fixture in Group B is at home to Athlone I.T. on Sunday January 12th with the eventual top team advancing to the semi-finals the following week.
In the 2014 Leinster U-21 Football Championship (all midweek floodlit fixtures), Longford have home advantage against neighbouring rivals Westmeath in the first round on Wednesday February 19th with the winners away to Wicklow or Laois in the quarter-final on Wednesday March 5th. Jack Sheedy is also in charge of this squad and his selectors are former county players Frank McNamee and Liam Belton.
The Longford minors will meet Dublin at Pearse Park on Saturday April 19th in the first round of the 2014 Leinster Championship with the losers getting a second chance in the qualifiers.