Two early second half goals helped Longford get their Fr Manning Cup campaign off to a winning start at Laois’ expense last Wednesday evening in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Trailing by three points at the break, 0-4 to 0-7, Longford made a terrific start on the resumption, blasting home two goals inside the opening three minutes, courtesy of Justin McCormack and David Callaghan.
Laois ,though, fought back twice to level the game. However, Longford notched some vital points at the end to give them the win.
Longford’s second assignment in the competition takes place this evening, (Wednesday, July 8) where they host Sligo at 7.30pm in Pearse Park.
With sunshine beaming down, last week’s encounter was an entertaining one between two committed teams. Longford were forced to work hard for their win and over the hour mark they deserved to come away with the spoils.
It was Laois who got off to the brightest start and they registered three points in a row. Longford got their first point in the ninth minute through Dylan McCormack. Laois replied and added two more points to give them a four point lead, 0-1 to 0-5, by the 19th minute.
Points from David Callaghan, Ciaran Reilly, and Ross Claffey brought Longford to within a point of the visitors but just before the break two points from Alan Kinsella (son of mentor and inter-county referee Eddie) gave them a three point lead, 0-4 to 0-7.
Longford levelled two minutes into the second half when Callaghan found Justin McCormack and he got his side’s first goal.
Callaghan burst through for a goal himself a few moments later after he was put in the clear by his Granard/Ballymore team-mate Reilly, 2-4 to 0-7.
Kinsella replied for Laois but Longford hit back with good points from Reilly and Claffey, 2-6 to 0-8. Longford were guilty of wasting chances to extend their lead and this allowed Laois back into the game.
They got two points in two minutes to cut the gap to two and then in the 48th minute Longford keeper Jack Fox brought off a fine save to deny Padraig Kirwan.
Laois tacked on two more points to draw the game level in the 53rd minute, 2-6 to 0-12. Longford responded with a fine point from Callaghan. Laois were reduced to 14 players in the 55th minute when wing-back Conor Kelly was dismissed.
Longford themselves were dealt a blow two minutes later when Eamon Keogh was black carded. A nice point from substitute Colm Dunne drew Laois level again, 2-7 to 0-13, in the 57th minute and it was all to play for.
Substitute Gerard Flynn edged Longford in front in the 59th minute and down the other end Laois had a chance to level proceedings but Diarmuid Whelan kicked his free wide.
Just one point separated the teams as the game entered stoppage time and Longford broke down the field with Flynn bringing a save out of Laois netminder Sean McCormack. Reilly stepped up to take the ’45 and coolly slotted it over the bar to give his side a two point winning margin.
LONGFORD: Jack Fox (Ballymahon); Niall Casey (Cashel), Daryl Sexton (Colmcille), Paddy Duggan (Longford Slashers); Niall Farrelly (Emmet Óg), PJ Masterson (Abbeylara), Shane Farrell (Kenagh); David Callaghan (St Mary’s, 1-2), Ross Claffey (Ballymahon, 0-2); Edward Smyth (St Mary’s), Robbie O’Connell (Longford Slashers), Eamon Keogh (Emmet Óg); Dylan McCormack (Dromard, 0-1), Ciaran Reilly (Ballymore, 0-3,1’45), Justin McCormack (Carrickedmond, 1-0).
Subs: Ciaran McKeown (Colmcille) for D McCormack (half-time), Tom Meehan (St Columba’s) for N Casey (39 mins), Gerard Flynn (Longford Slashers, 0-1) for J McCormack (46 mins), Evan Murphy (Mostrim) for E Keogh bc (56 mins).
LAOIS: Sean McCormack; Kevin Byrne, Steven McDonnell, Jack Langton; Cian Langford (0-1), Seamus Lacey, Conor Kelly; Robert Tyrrell, Ciaran Comerford; Daniel Comerford, Diarmuid Whelan (0-1 f), Ronan McEvoy (0-1); Alan Kinsella (0-5, 2f), Charlie O’Brien (0-1), Sean Doyle.
Subs: Colm Dunne (0-2,1’45) for D Comerford (41 mins), Padraig Kirwan for R Tyrell (44 mins), Jack Carroll for S Doyle (55 mins), Callum Lafford for C Langford (57 mins).
Referee: Marty Parker