Rian Brady on the attack for Longford against Tipperary in the NFL Division 3 game at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday Picture: Declan Gilmore
Longford got back on track in Division 3 of the National Football League with a fine win over Tipperary in a high scoring contest at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday to keep their promotion hopes alive.
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Longford . . . 3-12 Tipperary . . . 3-7
This positive result, a third home victory, means that Longford’s hard earned Division 3 status is secured for another season. They are still in contention to join the table toppers Cork in Tier 1 of the All-Ireland Championship this year if a place in Division 2 of the league can be achieved for the squad managed so astutely by the shrewd Padraic Davis.
Just a single point (2-4 to 1-6) separated the sides at the break with Liam Connerton and Dessie Reynolds getting the crucial goals for Longford while Conor Sweeney scored the Tipperary goal in the first half.
The decisive turning point was the black card dismissal of Tipperary half-time substitute Liam Boland in the 44th minute and Longford made great use of the extra man advantage during the ten minute ‘sin bin’ period to open up a significant gap.
A glorious spell yielded 1-3 without reply with Oran Kenny scoring a cracking goal in the 55th minute to put the wind assisted home side in a commanding 3-7 to 1-6 lead and they never looked like letting victory slip from their grasp despite a determined Tipperary revival.
The visitors reduced the deficit with goals from Conor Sweeney (penalty) and substitute Kevin O’Halloran, the latter shooting to the net from close range in the 65th minute, but Longford kept the scoreboard ticking and made absolutely certain of the vital win with points from Darren Gallagher (free) and Oran Kenny deep into stoppage time.
The National League takes a break next weekend and Longford’s Round 6 Division 3 game is against Derry at Celtic Park on Sunday March 15.
Longford are in joint second place on the table alongside Down but the mourne men are in a better position for promotion due to the head-to-head result between the counties and their remaining fixtures are at home to Leitrim and away to Louth.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels, 0-1, free); Patrick Fox (Mullinalaghta), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond); Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta, 0-1), Gary Rogers (Mullinalaghta, 0-1), Gerard Flynn (Longford Slashers); Darren Gallagher (Granard, 0-4, two frees), Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon); Michael Quinn (Killoe), Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s, 1-0); Rian Brady (Mullinalaghta, 0-3, all frees), Liam Connerton (Rathcline, 1-0), Oran Kenny (Rathcline, 1-2).
Subs:- Darragh Doherty (Mostrim) for G Flynn (55 mins); Joseph Hagan (Dromard) for R Brady (70 mins).
TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, John Meagher, Tadhg Fitzgerald; Padraic Looram (0-1), Robbie Kiely, Bill Maher; Steven O’Brien, Conal Kennedy; Emmet Moloney, Jack Kennedy, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney (2-4, one goal from penalty, three points from frees), Sean O’Connor (0-1), Rian Quigley.
Subs:- Liam Boland (0-1) for C Kennedy (half-time); Philip Austin for P Looram (43 mins); Kevin O’Halloran (1-0) for S O’Connor (48 mins); Jack Harney for B Maher (61 mins); Alan Moloney for R Quigley (64 mins).
Referee: Niall McKenna (Monaghan).