Longford senior football manager Padraic Davis
A goal from James Guinness in the 69th minute proved to be decisive as Longford suffered their first defeat in Division 3 of the National Football League after an entertaining encounter at Pairc Esler in Newry on Saturday evening.
Down . . . 2-13 Longford . . . 1-14
There was just one point between the sides when Guinness found the back of the net. Longford replied with two pointed frees from Daniel Mimnagh but it was too little too late for Padraic Davis’ charges.
Longford were dealt a blow before the game with key forward Rian Brady ruled out with a chest infection. His replacement Peter Lynn who scored two points in the early exchanges but he had to go off injured after 23 minutes.
Down looked dangerous in the first half but it was Lynn who opened the scoring inside the first minute. The Mournemen replied with points from Darren O’Hagan and Barry O’Hagan (free).
After Darren Gallagher kicked over his first free in the 19th minute Down enjoyed a purple patch with Donal O’Hare and the excellent Cory Quinn both denied goals by excellent Longford defending.
In the 25th minute Down were ahead by two points but Longford hit back with frees from Gallagher and keeper Paddy Collum to draw level. Another well struck free from Gallagher levelled matters again in the first minute of stoppage time.
Longford keeper Paddy Collum pulled off a superb save to deny the impressive Liam Kerr but he fired the ball over the bar minutes later with Barry O’Hagan putting two between the sides right on the stroke of half-time: 0-9 to 0-7.
Down dictated the early stages of the second half and went four points ahead by the 50th minute when Cory Quinn pointed. But Longford were right back in the game three minutes later when Michael Quinn set up Liam Connerton and he palmed the ball to the net.
Then a wonderful catch by Darren Gallagher ended with Dessie Reynolds pointing to level matters.
Once again Gallagher excelled for the midlanders and he fired over a superb point to put Longford ahead for the first time since the first minute. He then pointed a free to put two between the sides.
Down levelled matters in the 63rd minute before a goal from Quinn edged the home side back in front. Longford tried hard to get back into the game but James Guinness ended their brave comeback with a killer goal in the 69th minute.
DOWN: Rory Burns; Shane Annett, Patrick Murdock, Ryan McAleenan; Gerard Collins, Darren O’Hagan (0-1), Brendan McArdle; Johnny Flynn (0-2), Daniel Guinness; Barry O’Hagan (0-3, two frees), Kevin McKernan (0-1), Liam Kerr (0-2); Donal O’Hare (0-2, one free), Aaron Morgan, Cory Quinn (1-2).
Subs:- Peter Fegan for S Annett (25 mins); James Guinness (1-0) for G Collins (51 mins); Owen McCabe for A Morgan (56 mins); Ceilum Doherty for K McKernan (59 mins): Niall Donnelly for C Quinn (two minutes into stoppage time).
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels, 0-2, frees); Patrick Fox (Mullinalaghta), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond); Iarla O’Sullivan (Rathcline), Gary Rogers (Mullinalaghta), Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara); Darren Gallagher (Granard, 0-5, three frees), Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon); Michael Quinn (Killoe), Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s, 0-1); Peter Lynn (Longford Slashers, 0-2), Liam Connerton (Rathcline, 1-1), Oran Kenny (Rathcline).
Subs:- Darragh Doherty (Mostrim) for P Lynn (injured, 23 mins); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe, 0-3, two frees) for CP Smyth (53 mins); Joseph Hagan (Dromard) for L Connerton (63 mins).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).
Our coverage of Longford's Allianz National Football League campaign is brought to you in association with Supermac's Longford