25 May 2022

Lively Longford put Carlow to the sword in action packed Leinster championship opener

Leinster Senior Football Championship First Round: Longford 0-25 Carlow 2-13

Lively Longford put Carlow to the sword in action packed Leinster championship opener

Longford's Darren Gallagher has a shot on goal saved by Carlow 'keeper Ciaran Cunningham Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Longford advanced to a Leinster quarter-final meeting with Meath next Sunday after they defeated a dogged Carlow side in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park this afternoon.

Leinster Senior Football Championship First Round: Longford 0-25 Carlow 2-13

In the end the margin of victory was six points; that could’ve been more but it could’ve went to other way as both teams were denied several goal chances by the opposition keeper.

Longford keeper Paddy Collum, in particular, pulled off two superb saves in the second half to keep his goal intact.

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Darren Gallagher once again proved why he’s one of the best midfielders around with a an excellent display while in the forward line Robbie Smyth and Rian Brady scored five points apiece. 

Early points were traded between Kevin Diffley and Darragh Foley (free) before Longford took a hold of the game with Gallagher involved in a lot of their scores.

Gallagher’s kick pass to Mickey Quinn restored their lead in the seventh minute and two minutes later the Granard man got on the scoresheet, pointing over a free after Robbie Smyth was fouled.

In the 10th minute Gallagher brought a save out of Carlow keeper Ciaran Cunningham. Rian Brady then kicked over a neat point to put three between the sides.

Gallagher was denied again by Cunningham in the 16th minute. Foley hit over another free before Sean Gannon’s goalbound shot was blocked by Andrew Farrell.

Longford then kicked four points in a row; Robbie Smyth with two, Rian Brady and a Gallagher free. Carlow just couldn’t gain possession and got their third point in the 25th minute; another Foley free.

Once again Longford replied with four unanswered points; Gallagher (free), Dessie Reynolds, Smyth and Donie McElligott all on the mark. Carlow’s first point from play came in the 32nd minute through Colm Hulton. 

Rian Brady got a third point in stoppage time with Carlow firing over two more points as Longford led 0-13 to 0-06 at the break.

The lead was just four in the 39th minute as Carlow kicked over three points in the opening stages of the second half; Paddy Collum did very well from a tight angle to push Paul Broderick’s effort over for a point when a goal was on. 

Longford hit back with points from Reynolds, McGivney and Brady but they couldn’t shrug off Carlow. In the 48th minute Conor Crowley scored a goal to bring them to within five of Longford. Joseph Hagan scored two while Smyth and Brady got one apiece to put Longford ahead by nine in the 56th minute.

There was drama in the final 10 minutes as first Collum brought off a great save to deny Chris Blake but Darragh Foley was to get a second goal for Carlow in the 69th minute with an excellent strike.

Longford finished the game with a point from debutant Dylan Farrell after Cunningham had saved Liam Connerton’s effort with his feet. Both sides ended with 14 as Kevin Diffley and Mikey Bambrick received black cards in stoppage time.

Longford: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox (0-1), Andrew Farrell, Enda Macken; Iarla O’Sullivan, Mickey Quinn (0-1), Colm P. Smyth; Kevin Diffley (0-1), Darren Gallagher (0-4, 0-3 frees); Dessie Reynolds (0-2), David McGivney (0-2), Donie McElligott (0-1); Robbie Smyth (0-5), Joseph Hagan (0-2), Rian Brady (0-5).

Subs: Daniel Mimnagh for CP Smyth (33 mins), Liam Connerton for McElligott (56 mins), Oran Kenny for Brady (58 mins), Darragh Doherty for Smyth (61 mins), Dylan Farrell (0-1) for Reynolds (66 mins)

Carlow: Ciaran Cunningham; Liam Roberts, Shane Redmond, Josh Moore; Jordan Morrissey, John Murphy, Seanie Bambrick; Sean Gannon, Eoghan Ruth; Ross Murphy, Colm Hulton (0-2), Jamie Clarke; Conor Crowley (1-0), Chris Blake (0-3), Darragh Foley (1-4, 0-3fs).

Subs: Mikey Bambrick for Ruth and Paul Broderick (0-4, 0-3fs) for Dunphy (33 mins), Jordan Lowry for Roberts and Tomás Kenny for Murphy (half-time), Conor Lawlor for S Bambrick (67 mins)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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