Longford stage fine comeback against Limerick to claim first league win

Longford 0-13 Limerick 1-08

By Deniese O’Flaherty

Seven points in a row saw Longford come from five points down to register their first league win at a wet and miserable Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.

When Limerick’s Tom Lee scored the goal that put his side ahead by five points in the 52nd minute it looked like the Shannonsiders would kick on from there but instead it was Longford. A point from Mark Hughes straight after the goal was Longford’s response as they staged a fine comeback. They added on six more points as Limerick failed to score in the final 18 minutes of the game.

In a tight first half the sides were level five times. A free from the boot of Ian Ryan opened the scoring inside the opening minute. A fine Francie McGee point and a Brian Kavanagh free put Longford ahead in the third minute.

A great effort from Danny Neville drew Limerick level in fourth minute. The next score of the game didn’t come until the 12th minute as Longford gave away possession and were forced to concede a free. The free was taken quick to Peter Nash who pointed over.

Two minutes later a good move involving Robbie Smyth and McGee ended with a Kavanagh point. In the 15th minute Smyth was unlucky to see his shot come off the crossbar and Limerick cleared.

A neat McGee point put Longford ahead again in the 21st minute but another free from the boot of Ryan levelled matters in the 26th minute. Ryan was on target again two minute later to edge Limerick ahead in the 28th minute but in first half stoppage time a free from Kavanagh meant the sides went in at the break level.

One minute into the second half Cian Sheehan had a chance for Limerick but fisted his effort wide. Liam Connerton replied with a point to put Longford ahead.

Darren Gallagher was harshly penalised for an excellent tackle in the 42nd minute and Ryan pointed over the resulting free. Longford then lost Diarmuid Masterson in the 46th minute and Limerick then went ahead with another Ryan free.

A good Nash point put two between the sides and in the 52nd minute the lead was extended to five when Lee found the back of the net; although it did look to be a square ball.

Longford’s reply was a point straight away from substitute Hughes. Points from Barry McKeon and Dessie Reynolds cut the gap to two in the 56th minute. Another free from the boot of Kavanagh put one between the sides before a fantastic point from James McGivney drew Longford level.

With the momentum now firmly with them Longford went ahead in the 69th minute with a pointed Kavanagh free; shortly after he received a black card. Robbie Smyth was shown a black card in stoppage time as Longford had to finish the game with 14 players. Right at the end substitute Brian Farrell hit over an excellent point as Longford completed a great comeback.

 Longford: Paddy Collum; Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Colm P. Smyth; Donal McElligott, James McGivney (0-1), Dessie Reynolds (0-1); Michael Brady, Diarmuid Masterson; Barry McKeon (0-1), Brian Kavanagh (0-5,4f), Robbie Smyth; Darren Gallagher, Liam Connerton (0-1), Francis McGee (0-2).

Subs: Mark Hughes (0-1) for M Brady (half-time), Andrew Dalton for D Masterson (bc 46), Brian Farrell (0-1) for B McKeon (63), Paul McKeon for D Gallagher, Rory Connor for F McGee (67), F McGee for B Kavanagh (bc 70).

 Limerick: Donal O’Sulivan; Johnny McCarthy, Paudie Browne, Sean O’Dea; Stephen Cahill, Iain Corbett, Brian Fanning; Gearoid Hegarty, Darragh Tracey; Cian Sheehan, Pa Ranahan, Seanie Buckley; Danny Neville (0-1), Ian Ryan (0-5,5f), Peter Nash (0-2).

Subs: Paul White for D Tracey (26), Tom Lee (1-0) for P Ranahan (ht), Tommy Childs for G Hegarty (63)

Referee: James Molloy (Galway)