Allianz National Football League Division 4 - Round 7
Carlow . . . . 1-12 Longford . . . . 1-18
Fielding just four members of the team that started in the promotion clinching win over Offaly at Pearse Park the previous week - notably Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Michael Quinn and Brian Kavanagh - Longford still proved too strong for Carlow in the final round fixture in Division 4 of the National League at Dr Cullen Park on Sunday last.
With nothing at stake, manager Jack Sheedy availed of the opportunity to give other members of the squad a run in preparation for the league final at Croke Park on Saturday April 25th, which is a rematch against Offaly who made the move up to Division 3 next season by virtue of their six points win over Antrim at O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Sunday last.
U-21 players Cian Farrelly, Ross McNerney and Liam Connerton all started against Carlow while another of the promising youngsters, Dessie Reynolds, was brought on during the course of the second half to make his debut for the county seniors and was one of a number of substitutes used.
Reynolds made his mark by getting the Longford goal in the 56th minute, the end result of a well-worked move that was created by Connerton who weaved his way through the Carlow defence before providing the perfect pass into the Sean Connolly’s clubman.
That decisive goal made sure that Longford would go on to register their sixth win on the trot in the National League and thus remain unbeaten in Division 4 with the eagerly awaited title decider to come against Offaly at Croke Park at the end of the month.
While Carlow struggled to compete with a lively Longford side for most of the first half, they were thrown a lifeline with a goal from Ed Finnegan in the 29th minute which closed the gap to just two points, 0-9 to 1-4.
But Longford finished the first half strongly with further scores from Brian Kavanagh (2) and Michael Quinn to lead by 0-12 to 1-6 at the break. Kavanagh was in fine form with six points (three frees) to his credit while also on target in the first half were Ross McNerney (3) and Padraig Gill (2).
Longford made a flying start to the second half with four further scores through Ross McNerney (free), Liam Connerton, Brian Kavanagh and Michael Quinn but Carlow came storming back to clock up five points in a row to make it very interesting indeed.
But another Ross McNerney point from a free, along with the decisive Dessie Reynolds goal, put Longford back in control and the impressive McNerney brought the scoring to a close when converting another free.
Longford Scorers:- Brian Kavanagh (0-7), Ross McNerney (0-6), Dessie Reynolds (1-0), Padraig Gill (0-2), Michael Quinn (0-2), Liam Connerton (0-1).
The Longford team that started against Carlow was: Gareth Higgins (Carrickedmond); Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara), Thomas Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard), Brendan Devine (Clonguish); Aidan Rowan (Cashel), Cian Farrelly (KIlloe Emmet Og), Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers); Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Conor Quaine (Legan Sarsfields); Shane Doyle (Kenagh), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og), Padraig Gill (Fr Manning Gaels); Ross McNerney (Dromard), Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes), Liam Connerton (Rathcline).