Daniel Mimnagh on the ball for Longford in this tight tussle against Fermanagh defenders Kane Connor and Declan McCusker at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Needing a draw to gain promotion to Division 2 next season and who were looking good when they led by two points at the end of normal time, it turned out to be heartbreak for Longford who somehow managed to lose in a very dramatic finish at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.
Longford . . . 1-9 Fermanagh . . . 1-10
The Longford supporters among the big attendance in the region of 3,000 were left frustrated and angry with a couple of controversial decisions by Down referee Paul Faloon as Fermanagh came storming back in stoppage time to snatch a last gasp win.
A brilliant penetrating run from Conor Berry should have been rewarded with a free in the 70th minute and in this same attack Rian Brady also appeared to be fouled with Robbie Smyth shooting wide in missing the chance of putting Longford three points in front and surely in a safe position to get the result they required.
It was all Fermanagh in the four additional minutes and after Seamus Quigley fired over a couple of frees to leave the sides all square the worst case scenario materialised with time almost up.
The northern official awarded Fermanagh another free, which was harsh on Longford, and while it was a massive pressure kick from a difficult position the clever Seamus Quigley was allowed steal a few yards on his way to slotting the ball over the bar for the winning point.
The final whistle sounded seconds later as the Fermanagh players celebrated their version of the great escape and Rory Gallagher’s ultra defensive side can now look forward to a Croke Park clash against Armagh in the Division 3 Final on Saturday next.
It was extremely hard luck on Longford (minus Michael Quinn and Sean McCormack) who enjoyed the greater share of the possession in this real war of attrition and the focus for Denis Connerton and his players now switches to the Leinster SF Championship quarter-final clash against Meath in Pearse Park at the end of May.
Fermanagh trailed by a point at the break, 0-7 to 0-6, but took the lead right at the start of the second half with a goal from a penalty converted by their chief marksman Seamus Quigley.
Longford eventually unlocked the tight opposing defence when Daniel Mimnagh weaved his way through to set up Robbie Smyth for a flicked goal in the 42nd minute but they managed just two more points during the remainder of this gruelling match through Darren Gallagher (61 mins) and Robbie Smyth (free, 65 mins).
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels); Patrick Fox (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Padraig McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og), Barry McKeon (Colmcille); Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Diarmuid Masterson (Dromard, 0-1); Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard, 0-2), David McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1), Conor Berry (Abbeylara), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 1-5, four points from frees, one from sideline kick), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Rian Brady (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s).
Subs:- Pauric Gill (Fr Manning Gaels) for A Farrell (50 mins); James McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s) for C Berry (70 mins); Darren Quinn (Clonguish) for D McElligott (black card, a minute into stoppage time); Ronan McEntire (Dromard) for D Reynolds (a minute into stoppage time).
FERMANAGH: Patrick Cadden; Mickey Jones, Che Cullen, James McMahon; Barry Mulrone, Kane Connor, Declan McCusker; Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones (0-1); Tomas Corrigan, Ciaran Corrigan (0-1), Aidan Breen (0-2); Conor McGee, Conall Jones, Seamus Quigley (1-5, goal from penalty, four points from frees).
Subs:- Paul McCusker for T Corrigan (half-time); Sean Quigley (0-1) for C McGee (45 mins); Danny Teague for C Corrigan (50 mins); Eamon Maguire for C Jones (54 mins); Tommy McCaffrey for C Cullen (64 mins); Ruairi Corrigan for J McMahon (66 mins).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down).