Longford defender Barry Gilleran breaking away from Meath opponent Cillian O'Sullivan. Action from the 2016 O'Byrne Cup SF Final at Pairc Tailteann in Navan. Photo: Declan Gilmore
For the first time since 1995, Longford and Meath will clash in the Leinster Senior Football Championship with Denis Connerton’s side receiving a bye through to the quarter-final as the odd team out among the seven unseeded counties in the draw that was made live on RTE on Thursday night.
The winners of the Longford v Meath match will advance to a semi-final showdown against three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions Dublin, Offaly or Wicklow and the complete 2018 Leinster SFC draw is as follows:
Laois v Wexford
Louth v Carlow
Offaly v Wicklow
Laois or Wexford v Westmeath
Louth or Carlow v Kildare
Offaly or Wicklow v Dublin
Longford v Meath
Laois, Wexford or Westmeath v Louth, Carlow or Kildare
Offaly, Wicklow or Dublin v Longford or Meath
2016 O'Byrne Cup Final
Longford last played Meath in a competitive senior fixture when the counties clashed in the 2016 O’Byrne Cup Final at the end of January in Pairc Tailteann, Navan in front of a 5,000 attendance.
After beating Dublin in the semi-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park the previous week, Denis Connerton’s charges were in a confident frame of mind but Meath proved to be the masters in emerging victorious on a 1-17 to 1-11 scoreline.
1995 Leinster SFC Quarter-Final
Meath . . . 4-15 Longford . . . 0-10
When Longford and Meath renew rivalry in the Leinster Senior Football Championship next season it will be 23 years since the previous meeting between the counties in the Delaney Cup.
Back in 1995, it took a strong Meath team quite some time to assert their superiority over Longford in front of a 7,000 attendance at Pearse Park and a Colm O’Rourke goal was all that separated the sides at the break, 1-5 to 0-5.
Sean Boylan's side gradually pulled away in the second half to register a very easy win in the finish as the Longford defence finally cracked under severe pressure, conceding 3-6 in the space of 16 minutes.
Longford were managerless back then as the Tullamore based boss Tom Donoghue vacated the post after the county seniors failed to muster 15 players for a challenge game against Offaly for a variety of reasons.
The then County Board Chairman TJ Ward, along with Brendan Gilmore and Jimmy Fox, took charge of Longford for the Leinster SF Championship match against Meath and the line-out was as follows:
LONGFORD: Brian Greene (Ardagh St Patrick’s); Paul McCormack (Fr Manning Gaels), Cathal Lee (Colmcille), Padraig Farrell (Sean Connolly’s); Colin Hannify (Fr Manning Gaels), Francis McNamee (Fr Manning Gaels), Seamus Killian (Cashel); John James Reilly (Rathcline, 0-3), Eddie Farrell (Ardagh St Patrick’s); Jimmy Tully (Fr Manning Gaels), Joe O’Donnell (St Mary’s Granard), Seamus Gallagher (Fr Manning Gaels); Dessie Barry (Longford Slashers, 0-2, one free), Gerry Lynn (Mostrim), Michael O’Brien (Civil Service Dublin, 0-5, four frees).
Subs:- Richie Culhane (Colmcille) for J O’Donnell (half-time); Niall Caslin (Longford Slashers) for E Farrell (55 mins); Paul Victory (Ardagh St Patrick’s) for S Gallagher (57 mins).