Russell Brady on the ball for Longford against Westmeath in the Hastings Cup Under 21 Football Tournament first round game at the Tubberclair grounds on Tuesday night. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Although they had to depend on Shane Kenny firing over a free for the equalising score in the second minute of stoppage time, this was a game Longford (minus the Mullinalaghta players) should have won as they let a four point lead slip from their grasp in the Hastings Cup Under 21 Football Tournament first round round game at the Tubberclair grounds on Tuesday night.
Hastings Cup Under 21 Football Tournament Group 2 - Round 1
Westmeath . . . . . 2-10 Longford . . . . . 1-13
While Westmeath got right back into contention with a goal from a penalty converted by Ronan O’Toole midway through the second half, followed quickly by a point from Boidu Sayeh to leave the sides all square (1-10 to 1-10), Longford regained the lead with a point from Nigel Rabbitte in the 54th minute.
Substitute Cillian Lee increased the advantage when he landed a cracking point but Westmeath hit the front when Ronan O’Toole broke through to blast the ball to the back of the net in the final minute of normal time.
That was a severe setback for Longford but Shane Kenny came to the rescue with his late point and the visitors should have been awarded another free when Cian Brady was clearly fouled right on the stroke of the full-time whistle but Offaly referee Chris Dwyer failed to punish the tough tackle.
Longford were furious and particularly midfielder Conor Berry who lost his cool in remonstrating with the match official, resulting in a red card which rules the Abbeylara player out of the next Hastings Cup game against Cavan at Sheelin Park, Ballymachugh on Saturday next, throw-in 3pm.
WESTMEATH: Kevin Fagan; Matty Darling, Ronan Wallace (0-1, ‘45), Peter Murray; Gavin Murray, Mark Kelly, Ian McGovern (0-1); Isreal Ilunga, Val Sizychas; Boidu Sayeh (0-4, two frees), Ronan O’Toole (2-0, one from penalty), Robbie Curley; Brandon Carey, Shane Clavin (0-2), Tye Adamson (0-2).
Subs:- Jack Reid for B Carey (half-time); Conor Dillon for V Sizychas (43 mins); Jack Quinn for T Adamson (49 mins); Eoin Fox for I Ilunga (50 mins); Niall Mitchell for I McGovern (50 mins); Finbarr Coyne for B Sayeh (57 mins).
LONGFORD: Conor Gallagher (Young Grattans); James Moran (Young Grattans), Daire Duggan (Sean Connolly’s), Kevin Sorohan (Rathcline); Eoin Higgins (St Mary’s Granard), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s), Russell Brady (Abbeylara); Conor Berry (Abbeylara, 0-2), Shane Kenny (Rathcline, 1-6, four points from frees); Daniel Smith (Longford Slashers, 0-2, one free), Nigel Rabbitte (Abbeylara, 0-2), Peter Lynn (Young Grattans); Robbie Clarke (Longford Slashers), Joe Kelly (Ballymahon), Darragh Doherty (Mostrim).
Subs:- Cillian Lee (St Brigid’s Killashee, 0-1) for D Smith (40 mins); Peter Hanley (Clonguish) for D Doherty (43 mins); Cian Brady (Abbeylara) for D Duggan (black card, 45 mins); Cathal McCabe (Colmcille) for R Clarke (53 mins); Ruairi Harkin (Colmcille) for P Lynn (57 mins).
Referee: Chris Dwyer (Offaly).