Barry O'Farrell pictured in action for Longford against Louth in the O'Byrne Cup game at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Longford maintained their unbeaten start to the new season under new manager Padraic Davis with a draw against Louth in the entertaining O’Byrne Cup Round 3 game played in front of a small attendance at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday.
Longford . . . 1-16 Louth . . . . 1-16
That result was good enough to get Longford (missing many players for different reasons) through to the semi-final of the Leinster senior football tournament away to neighbouring rivals Westmeath next Saturday after withstanding a strong second half comeback by revitalised Louth who made no less than four changes at the break.
It was looking good for the home county when they established what appeared to be a comfortable 1-12 to 1-6 lead at half-time. Tadgh McEneaney scored the Louth goal in the 17th minute while Peter Lynn found the back of net for Longford in the 28th minute after connecting with the perfect pass from another prominent newcomer Darragh Doherty.
But it was a completely different story on the changeover as the visitors began to dominate in shooting several points and hit the front (1-14 to 1-13) in the 61st minute when Sam Mulroy converted a free.
Back came Longford to regain the lead with a brace of points from Robbie Smyth (frees) and Louth suffered a significant setback in between these crucial scores.
One of their eight substitutes, Jim McEneaney, was sent to the sin-bin for the remainder of the match after receiving a black card in the 64th minute - in accordance with one of the new experimental rules.
The last of the Louth replacements, Ross Nally, landed the equalising point before Longford went ahead again with a point from Robbie Smyth (play) in the 69th minute.
Moments later Smyth had a great chance of a goal but his shot was well saved by the opposing keeper Alan McGauley before Louth, despite down to 14 players for the closing stages of the game, snatched a draw following a last gasp point from Declan Byrne in the third minute of stoppage time.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-1), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond), Darren Quinn (Clonguish); Conor Shields (Clonguish), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og), Barry McKeon (Colmcille); Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard, 0-4, three frees), Peter Hanley (Clonguish); Shane Donohoe (Rathcline, 0-1), Pauric Gill (Fr Manning Gaels, 0-1), Andrew Farrell (Cashel); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara, 0-6, three frees), Peter Lynn (Longford Slashers, 1-1), Darragh Doherty (Mostrim, 0-2).
Subs:- PJ Masterson (Abbeylara) for C Shields (57 mins); Liam Connerton (Rathcline) for P Gill (57 mins); Cillian Lee (St Brigid’s Killashee) for A Farrell (60 mins).
LOUTH: Alan McGauley; Fergal Donohue, Darren Marks, James Craven; Leonard Grey, Anthony Williams (0-1), Eoghan Callaghan; Bevan Duffy, Tommy Durnin; Ciaran Downey (0-2), Ronan Holcroft (0-2), Declan Byrne (0-4); Niall Conlon, Sam Mulroy (0-2, frees), Tadhg McEneaney (1-2, one point from free).
Subs:- John Clutterbuck for L Grey (19 mins); Conor Earley for E Callaghan (half-time); Dan Corcoran for F Donohue (half-time); Conal McKeever (0-1) for N Conlon (half-time); Conor Brannigan for T McEneaney (half-time); Jim McEneaney (0-1) for R Holcroft (43 mins); Eoghan Duffy for C Downey (59 mins); Ross Nally (0-1) for S Mulroy (62 mins).
Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly).