Daniel Connell pictured in action for Longford against Louth in the National Hurling League Division 3A game at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last. Photo: Declan Gilmore
A seven point defeat against Louth at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last, coupled with Tyrone getting the better of Roscommon, resulted in the Longford senior hurlers relegation to Division 3B of the National League.
Louth . . . 4-17 Longford . . . 5-7
Clare native Niall Arthur was outstanding for Louth scoring 4-12 of his side’s 4-17. Longford were also dealt a huge blow just before the break when Cathal Mullane was harshly sent off for a supposed off the ball incident. They also lost Daniel Connell right at the end while Louth substitute John Crosbie was sent off in the 62nd minute.
Credit to Longford they battled in this game but with Arthur in superb form and with the loss of Mullane it was always going to be hard for the 14 men.
Just 15 seconds had gone on the clock when Arthur got his side’s first goal. Mark Molloy followed up with a point in the 2nd minute before Cathal Mullane got Longford’s first score when he fired over a free in the 4th minute.
Louth stretched their lead to seven points in the 13th minute with four points in a row. Longford then had two goal chances; Daniel Connell firing wide in the 15th minute and five minutes later Cathal Mullane was unlucky with his effort.
In the 27th minute Longford got a goal through Paddy Walsh. Arthur then hit over a free before Walsh got his second goal in the 29th minute.
Minutes later Mullane was shown a straight red card and that was a severe setback.
A ball in from Joe O’Brien was excellently fired to the net by substitute Reuben Murray to put Longford ahead for the first time but wo points in stoppage time saw Louth lead by the minimum of margins at half-time; 1-8 to 3-1.
Joe O’Brien drew Longford level just after the break and then a fantastic point from Daniel Connell put them ahead again but that was to be the last time Longford would lead. In the 40th minute Niall Arthur got a second goal for Louth and followed up with a free.
Arthur got a third goal from a free in the 47th minute to extend the lead to six but Longford were awarded a penalty which Joe O’Brien converted for a goal to keep his side in the game.
Both sides hit over points before Gerard Smyth brought a fine save out of Longford Conor Gallagher with Arthur hitting over the ‘65. Another penalty goal from Joe O’Brien made it a three point game in the 58th minute.
Two O’Brien frees cut the deficit to one by the 63rd minute but a fourth goal from Niall Arthur in the 67th minute finally killed off Longford’s brave challenge and consign them to Division 3B hurling next year.
LONGFORD: Conor Gallagher (Longford Slashers); Karl Murray (Longford Slashers), Seamus Hannon (Wolfe Tones Mostrim), Gerard Moore (Clonguish); Daire Duggan (Wolfe Tones), Paddy Walsh (Clonkill, Westmeath, 2-0), Aidan Sheridan (Wolfe Tones); Sean Stakelum (Longford Slashers), Paul Barden (Clonguish); Paddy Corcoran (Clonguish), Daniel Connell (Wolfe Tones, 0-1), Jody Leonard (Ballinamere, Offaly); Joe O’Brien (Clonguish, 2-4, goals from penalties, 2f), Cathal Mullane (Killeedy, Co Limerick, 0-1f), Johnny Casey (Longford Slashers, 0-1).
Subs:- Reuben Murray (Longford Slashers, 1-0) for S Stakelum (20 mins); PJ Masterson (Wolfe Tones) for P Corcoran (22 mins); Paul Leonard (Longford Slashers) for P Barden (52 mins); Ray O’Brien (Clonguish) for P Walsh (69 mins); Cian McLoughlin (Wolfe Tones) for G Moore (two minutes into stoppage time).
LOUTH: Stephen Hackett; Mark Wallace, Mike Lyons, Conor Matthews; Stephen Kettle, Ronan Byrne, Andrew McCrave; Donal Ryan, Mark Molloy (0-2); Shane Callan, Gerry Arthur (0-1), Gerard Smyth; Seaghan Conneely (0-1), Niall Arthur (4-12, 6f, 1 ’65), Paddy Lynch (0-1).
Subs:- Diarmuid Murphy for S Callan (57 mins); John Crosbie for G Smyth (61 mins); Michael Ryan for D Ryan (70 mins).
Referee: Chris Mooney (Dublin).