Dylan Farrell on the ball for Longford against Wicklow in the Leinster U-17 Special Football Championship first round game in Aughrim on Wednesday evening last week. Photo: Declan Gilmore
As the GAA prepares for the introduction of the new All-Ireland U-17 Football Championship in 2018 to replace the minor grade which will cease to exist this year, a special U-17 competition is currently in progress and Longford were in action away to Wicklow on Wednesday evening last.
Longford . . . 2-13 Wicklow . . . 1-7
Joule Park in Aughrim was the venue for the Leinster first round clash and Longford scored a fine win to book their place in the quarter-finals of the U-17 championship away to Laois on Wednesday evening next, July 12th, at O'Moore Park.
It was tight enough in the first quarter of the contest against Wicklow but Longford gradually got on top to establish a fairly comfortable 0-7 to 0-3 lead with Dylan Farrell firing over four of the points.
Aidan McGuire, defender Dylan Cassidy and Oran Kenny were also on target for Longford, managed by Mullinalaghta clubman Karl Dermody who was also in charge of the county minors this year.
A decisive factor in the eventual outcome was the penalty awarded to Longford in first half stoppage time and up stepped Aidan McGuire to plant the ball in the back of the Wicklow net for a crucial goal.
Leading by 1-7 to 0-3 at the break, Longford were never in any danger of letting victory slip from their grasp as they added another six points to their tally in the second half - three from Oran Kenny with Aidan McGuire, wing back Eoghan McCormack and Joseph Hagan also on the mark.
Wicklow scored a consolation goal in the closing stages of the game but Longford had the last say when Oran Kenny found the back of the net to leave the wide margin of nine points separating the sides in the finish.
Most impressive for Longford were Eoghan McCormack and captain Kian Gilmore in the half-back-line while goalkeeper Eoin McGuinness made three great point-blank saves during the course of the game. Best in attack were Aidan McGuire, Dylan Farrell and Oran Kenny who clocked up a total of 2-10 between them.
Also through to the Leinster U-17 quarter-finals are Kildare, Laois, Westmeath, Meath, Dublin, Carlow and Wexford and the draw is as follows:
Kildare v Wexford
Dublin v Westmeath
Meath v Carlow
Laois v Longford
LONGFORD: Eoin McGuinness (Longford Slashers); Evan Farrelly (Killoe Emmet Og), Dylan Cassidy (Mostrim, 0-1), Michael McCann (Clonguish); Ronan Lynch (Abbeylara), Kian Gilmore (Rathcline), Eoghan McCormack (Carrickedmond, 0-1); Daire O’Brien (Longford Slashers), Euan Finneran (Killoe Emmet Og); Joseph Hagan (Dromard, 0-1), Aidan McGuire (Carrickedmond, 1-2), Darragh O’Connell (Longford Slashers); Dylan Farrell (St Brigid’s Killashee, 0-4), Diarmuid Sheahan (Longford Slashers), Oran Kenny (Rathcline, 1-4).
Subs:- Paulius Merkelis (Longford Slashers) for R Lynch (20 mins); Jordan Shiels (St Mary’s Granard) for D O’Connell (52 mins); Cian Dooner (Killoe) for J Hagan (56 mins); Sean Donohoe (Carrickedmond) for E Finneran (57 mins); Cian Belton (Clonguish) for K Gilmore (60 mins).
WICKLOW: Joe McDonald; Colm Keogh, Conal Gallagher, Mark Reid; Jack Manley, Tadhg O’Toole, Andy Maher; Eoin Higgins, Pierce Lawlor; James Hedderman, Jack Dunne, Cian Lohan; Daniel Ging, Ross Ward, Oisin McGraynor.