Damage done in the first half as Dublin knock Longford out

Longford were made to rue missed chances as Dublin’s class and clinical finishing saw the title holders through to the Leinster Minor Football Championship semi-final in emphatic fashion with the wide margin of 12 points separating the sides at Parnell Park on Saturday last.

It was a miserable afternoon all round for Longford as they ended this quarter- final clash with only 12 men. Liam Sullivan was shown a straight red card while Larry Moran and Cian Farrelly were also sent-off after receiving second yellow cards.

Dublin made a flying start to the game and held a 1-2 to 0-0 lead with just seven minutes gone on the clock. David Campbell and Shane Cunningham got their points while Conor McHugh grabbed the goal in the 7th minute.

Longford’s first score of the game came in the 8th minute when Larry Moran pointed a free but Dublin then took over in terms of scoring. Longford had the chances but were wasteful with their shooting while the home county made no mistake in front of the posts.

Cunningham and Campbell fired over points to put six between the sides with 14 minutes played before midfielder Shane Carthy got on the scoresheet. Campbell had a chance to score a second goal for Dublin the in the 18th minute but he blasted his effort over the bar and two minutes later Cunningham was on target again.

Cunningham and Campbell were a real handful throughout and Longford just couldn’t contain them. Robbie Gaughan then got another point for Dublin in the 22nd minute to stretch their lead to 10 points.

After going 17 minutes without a score, Longford got their second point of the game in the 25th minute from a free converted by Rory Connor and the Kenagh lad followed that up with an excellent point from play one minute later.

Dublin keeper Lorcan Molloy then pulled off a fine save in the 27th minute to deny David McGivney a badly needed goal for Longford and just before the break Conor McHugh got a point for Dublin to leave them in a commanding 1-9 to 0-3 lead at half-time.

Two minutes into the second half there was 10 between the sides again when Neil Walsh pointed but then Longford enjoyed a good spell and created a few scoring chances. First Rory Connor was unlucky to see his free go wide and in the 34th minute the Dublin keeper was on hand to deny Longford again; this time saving from Aidan McElligott who was on target one minute later to register Longford’s fourth point.

But Dublin responded with another point from Walsh and Longford’s tale of woe continued when Liam Sullivan was sent-off after a clash with Matias Mac Donncha who went to ground but the Dublin player was quick to get to his feet after he saw the colour of the card produced.

Substitute Ciaran Mallon fired over Longford’s fifth point in the 45th minute but Dublin substitute Cormac Costello, not long on the pitch, shot over the bar for Dublin who continued to consolidate their firm grip on the game.

A shot from Longford substitute Killian Farrell then hit the top of the post before Larry Moran got a consolation goal for Longford in the 50th minute for what proved to be the last score of the game for the visitors who found the going really tough against a strong Dublin side.

Unfortunately Moran was dismissed soon after for a second yellow card offence and Costello then kicked another point for the reigning champions before Gaughan grabbed Dublin’s second goal with a superb finish that Longford keeper Colm Farrell could not stop in the 54th minute.

Three minutes from the end Longford’s misery was complete when they were reduced to 12 men after Cian Farrelly was sent-off after receiving a rather harsh second yellow card. Costello then stepped up to fire over a free to leave 12 points between the sides at the final whistle but the scoreline did not give a true reflection of the game as Martin Mulleady’s side deserved better in their exit from the Leinster Championship.

DUBLIN: Lorcan Molloy; Brendan Bentley, David Byrne, Eoin Fletcher; Gavin Burke, Conor Mullally, Maitias Mac Donncha; Shane Carthy (0-1), Stephen Cunningham; Neil Walsh (0-2), Shane Cunningham (0-5, one free), Niall Scully; Conor McHugh (1-1), David Campbell (0-1), Robbie Gaughan (1-1).

Subs:- Ross McGowan for B Bentley (38 mins); Cormac Costello (0-3, two frees) for D Campbell (43 mins); Joseph Fitzgibbon for R Gaughan ( 55 mins); Michael O’Duignan for C McHugh (58 mins).

LONGFORD: Colm Farrell (Longford Slashers); John Gill (Kenagh), Cian Farrelly (Killoe), Martin Mulligan (Colmcille); Shane Clarke (Killoe), Aidan McElligott (Mullinalaghta, 0-1), Liam Sullivan (Granard/Ballymore); Timmy Jackson (Granard/Ballymore), David McGivney (Mullinalaghta); Ross McNerney (Colmcille), Liam Connerton (Rathcline), Patrick Kiernan (Killoe); Larry Moran (Killoe, 1-1, one free ), Rory Connor (Kenagh, 0-2, one free), Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers).

Subs:- Gary Connell (Drumlish) for T Jackson (19 mins); Ciaran Mallon (Granard/Ballymore, 0-1) for R McNerney (36 mins); Brian Walsh (Longford Slashers) for R Connor (36 mins); Killian Farrell (Ardagh) for P Kiernan (48 mins); Mattie Gorman (Granard/Ballymore) for A McElligott (57 mins).

Referee: Gareth Whelan (Wicklow).