Longford dig deep to weather late Cavan onslaught

Mark Duffy lets the ball go for Longford as Cavan player Chris Conroy gives chase during the Leinster Junior Football Championship Semi Final on Wednesday of last week at Pearse Park. Pic: Ray Donlon
A gritty performance saw Longford dethrone reigning Leinster champions Cavan and book their place in the provincial decider against Kildare.

A gritty performance saw Longford dethrone reigning Leinster champions Cavan and book their place in the provincial decider against Kildare.

Seamus McCormack’s men displayed great character and composure as they dug deep in the trying weather conditions to withstand a late onsalaught from a determined Cavan side.

Longford’s reward for this gutsy victory is a final showdown with Kildare on Wednesday, June 26 in Newbridge.

With just two points separating the teams coming into the final few minutes Cavan pressed for a goal but there was to be no repeat of last year’s late late show and relieved Longford held on for a very deserved victory.

It was Cavan who started well and raced into a two point lead inside the opening five minutes; 0-03 to 0-01. Longford then took a hold on proceedings and two Paddy Dowd frees along with excellent points from Shane Doyle turned a two point deficit into a two point lead in the 13th minute.

Cavan tried to rally and in the 20th minute Longford goalkeeper Paddy Collum pulled off a terrific double save to deny Turloc Mooney and then Paul O’Connor. Longford twice extended their lead to five points before the break but Mooney scored a fantastic point right before the half-time whistle.

Doyle restored Longford’s five point advantage one minute after the interval but Cavan replied and three unanswered points cut the deficit to two points in the 37th minute.

The Breffni men were then guilty of being wasteful in front of the posts while Longford were on the receiving end of some strange refereeing decisions.

Two great efforts from substitutes Barry McKeon and John P Reilly put Longford ahead by four in the 50th minute. Cavan brought it back to two points in the 55th minute but try as they might they couldn’t add on anymore scores and Longford held on for victory.

LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Ronan Keogh, Barry O’Farrell, Brendan Devine; Shane Powell, Darragh Bennett, Mark Duffy (0-1); Johnny Kane, Darren Gallagher; Daniel Mimnagh (0-1), Paul McKeon, Shane Doyle (0-3); Kevin Burke, Paddy Dowd (0-5,5f), Marty Mulvey.

Subs: Mark Hughes for Mulvey (24 mins), John Paul Reilly (0-1) for Doyle (38 mins), Barry McKeon (0-1) for Devine (43 mins), Jamesie Martin for P McKeon (48 mins), Darren Quinn for Duffy (56 mins).

CAVAN: Alan O’Mara; James Morris, Turloc Mooney (0-1), Oisin Minagh; Darragh Sexton, Damien Barkey, Michael Brady; Marc Leddy, Michael Argue (0-1); Chris Conroy (0-1,1f), Barry Reilly (0-2), Niall Murray; Darragh McVitty, Conor Madden (0-3), Paul O’Connor (0-2).

Subs: Paul Graham for Conroy (39 mins), Tomas Moore for Sexton and Padraig Faulkner for Leddy (58 mins).

Referee: Stephen Murphy (Louth).