AFL News: Longford earn a point v Leitrim

Leitrim 0-15 Longford 1-12

It was a game that could have gone either way, but in the end Longford had to settle for a point in their opening game of Division 4 against near neighbours Leitrim.

Trailing by five points in the 45th minute the signs looked ominous for Longford but credit to them they fought back and in a 10 minute spell leveled the game. They did go ahead for the first time in the 67th minute but couldn’t keep that lead as Leitrim levelled one minute later. Longford had chances near the end but couldn’t claim a dramatic winner.

Playing a neat blend of football Leitrim made a good start to the game and were two points up in the 12th minute. Longford created their first goal chance in the 14th minute but Paul McKeon blasted his low shot wide.

Leitrim went three ahead in the 19th minute when Derek Wrynne fisted the ball over the bar. Points from Sean McCormack and Paul McKeon cut the gap to just one in the 21st minute. Leitrim were back ahead by three in the 32nd minute but McCormack hit over Longford’s fifth point to leave them trailing by two at the break.

Longford created another goal chance two minutes into the second half but Leitrim keeper Cathal McCrann saved McCormack’s shot with his feet, the loose ball was picked up by Aidan Rowan and fired over the bar to leave the minimum between them again.

Leitrim though hit a purple patch and four unanswered points gave them a five point lead in the 45th minute. Longford had looked sluggish and were struggling to contain their opponents who were not missing anything and punishing a lot of Longford’s silly mistakes.

Another goal chance fell Longford’s way in the 47th minute but they’d to make do with a point from Michael Quinn. McCormack followed up with a good effort and then points from Francie McGee and Brian Kavanagh brought Longford to within one of Leitrim in the 53rd minute.

Leitrim had a chance to extend their lead one minute later but Niall Woods’ shot hit the corner of the post. Another Kavanagh free in the 55th levelled the game. Longford then went on the attack looking to go ahead for the first time but they lost possession and from that Ciaran Gilheaney put his side ahead.

The sides were level again in the 63rd when Kavanagh hit over an excellent point. Leitrim replied with points from Fergal Clancy and Kevin Conlan (free) to go ahead by two in the 66th minute. Longford response was terrific and they went ahead in the 67th minute when McCormack found the back of the net. The lead didn’t last long and one minute later Gilheaney drew the home side level.

In second half stoppage time Longford had chances to win the game but Kavanagh’s effort was short and McCrann was able to gather while defender Colm P. Smyth put his effort wide.

Leitrim: C McCrann; B Prior, R Gallagher, N Woods; C Farrell, G Reynolds, S McWeeney (0-1); P McGowan (0-2), J McGrail; K Conlan (0-3,2f), F Clancy (0-3), D Beck; T Mulvey, D Wrynne (0-4), C Gilheaney (0-2).

Subs: M McWeeney for Prior (5), C Clinton for Mulvey (40), M Murphy for Farrell (50, black card), S Moran (56), A McLoughlin for Wrynne (63).

Longford: P Collum; D Brady, B Farrell, P Foy; C P. Smyth, D Masterson, E Williams; B Gilleran, M Quinn (0-1); R McEntire, P McKeon (0-1), A Rowan (0-1); R McNerney, B Kavanagh (0-5,1f), S McCormack (1-3).

Subs: C Farrelly for Williams inj (16), F McGee (0-1) for Gilleran (ht), P Gill for Rowan (47), S Doyle for McKeon (61), M Hughes for McGee (70)

Referee: Liam Devenny (Mayo)