The new Longford senior football management team pictured at Allen Park, Newtownforbes on Saturday night. (L to r): Paul Barden, Padraic Davis and Donal Ledwith. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Just a solitary point separated the sides in the finish in a winning start for new Longford senior football manager Padraic Davis as the county came out on top against Wicklow in the opening round of the 2019 O’Byrne Cup.
Longford . . . 1-7 Wicklow . . . 1-6
Played in difficult wet and windy conditions at Allen Park, Newtownforbes on Saturday night, scores were scarce with both sides guilty of shooting several wides and it was a terrific strike from Robbie Smyth in the 66th minute that eventually settled the issue.
Feilding a number of newcomers, Longford trailed by 1-3 to 1-2 at the break with Barry McKeon getting the goal from a speculative shot that skidded past the Wicklow keeper Rob Lambert in the 11th minute.
The experimental rules were in operation and Longford were reduced to 14 players for ten minutes when midfielder Peter Hanley was sent to the sin-bin after receiving a black card midway through the first half.
A strong start to the second half yielded three points in quick succession through Daniel Mimnagh, Colm P Smyth and Darren Quinn and the home side just done enough to secure a hard earned victory.
Longford's next O’Byrne Cup fixture is away to Meath at the Ashbourne grounds on Saturday evening next (5pm) and the group stage will conclude with a home game against Louth on Saturday January 5.
LONGFORD: Pat Farrell (St Brigid’s Killashee); Darren Quinn (Clonguish, 0-1), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond), Shane Donohoe (Rathcline); Peter Lynn (Longford Slashers), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og), Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1); Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard, 0-1, free), Peter Hanley (Clonguish); Nigel Rabbitte (Abbeylara), Ronan McEntire (Dromard), Barry McKeon (Colmcille, 1-0); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-3), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Iarla O’Sullivan (Rathcline).
Subs:- Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-1) for P Lynn (half-time); Mark Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og) for I O’Sullivan (half-time); Cillian Lee (St Brigid’s Killashee) for A Farrell (49 mins); Conor Shields (Clonguish) for P Hanley (60 mins); Joseph Hagan (Dromard) for N Rabbitte (66 mins).
WICKLOW: Rob Lambert; Karl Kirwan, Ross O’Brien, Jamie Snell; Conor Healy, Shane Mooney, Darragh Fitzgerald; Padraig O’Toole, Conor McGraynor (0-1); Gearoid Murphy (1-0), Anthony McLoughlin (0-2, frees), Rory Finn (0-2, frees); Mark Kenny, Chris O’Brien (0-1), Patrick O’Connor.
Subs used:- Mark Fitzsimons, Dan Keane, Fintan O’Shea, Niall Meldon, Tom Maher, Cormac O’Shea and Mark Doyle.
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath).