Cadbury’s Leinster U-21 Football Championship Quarter-Final.
Longford . . . . . . 1-6 Dublin . . . . . . . 1-5
A magnificent performance full of heart and determination saw the Longford U-21 footballers spring a massive shock to knock reigning Leinster and All-Ireland Champions Dublin out of the 2013 provincial championship in difficult conditions at wet and windy Parnell Park on Wednesday night.
In a sensational success Eugene McCormack’s side were deserving of their famous victory in the quarter-final but they know they need to build on this win. Wexford await in the semi-final, the county who beat them two years ago in the Leinster U-21 decider, and the eagerly awaited last four clash is down for decision at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Wednesday evening next, March 20th, throw-in 7.30pm.
Wexford showed a lot of character to beat a strongly fancied Westmeath side after extra-time in their quarter-final tie at the St. Loman’s GAA grounds in Mullingar last week and their challenge certainly cannot be taken for granted even if they are something of an unknown quantity.
There were Longford heroes all around the pitch in the memorable win over Dublin but two players who really stood out were defender Barry O’Farrell who was exceptional in his marking of the Dublin dangerman Ciaran Kilkenny and also forward Robbie Smyth who scored the decisive goal in the 53rd minute that set Longford up for this wonderful win.
Longford had to play out the final few minutes with 14 men after Padraig McCormack received a second yellow card; it was a harsh decision because his first booking seemed to be a case of mistaken identity. Dublin could have snatched a dramatic draw right at the end when Ciaran Kilkenny had a chance to level matters but he blasted his free high and wide and seconds later the final whistle was blown to spark off jubilant scenes.
The large and vociferous crowd from Longford meant that it was more like a home game for them than Dublin who were really outnumbered. The away supporters really got behind their team and no doubt it was a vital factor in the eventual outcome.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond), Ronan Keogh (Killoe Young Emmets), Darragh Bennett (Killoe Young Emmets); Diarmuid Cooney (Fr. Manning Gaels, 0-1), Padraig McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets), Darren Farrelly (Fr. Manning Gaels); Paddy Thompson (Killoe Young Emmets), Darren Gallagher (Granard St. Mary’s); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Young Emmets), Barry McKeon (Colmcille), Rory Connor (Kenagh, 0-1); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 1-3, one free), Mark Hughes (Killoe Young Emmets, 0-1, free), James McGivney (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s).
Subs used:- Cillian Lynn (Mostrim) for P Thompson (51 mins); Andrew Dalton (Longford Slashers) for J McGivney (58 mins).
Read the full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday