Longford show their resolve
ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIERS FIRST ROUND: Longford 0-17 Derry 2-8LONGFORD MANAGER Glenn Ryan believes the hurt felt after their defeat to Wexford in the Leinster quarter-final replay inspired his team to a well-deserved win over Derry in Round One of the All-Ireland qualifiers.
“We learned hard lessons a couple of weeks ago (Wexford defeat). That was a huge hurt that we suffered and thankfully the lads learned from it and put it to good use against Derry,” he said.
Six years ago a late pointed free from Paul Barden knocked Derry out of the qualifiers. On Saturday, Seán McCormack was the main man for the midlanders; the forward scored 11 points (nine frees). Corner back Declan Reilly was also exceptional for Longford.
There wasn’t much between the two sides in a very tight first half with the score level three times inside the opening 11 minutes.
Longford had a great chance to grab a goal in the 13th minute but McCormack’s effort was saved by Derry goalkeeper Danny Devlin. Michael Quinn put over the resulting 45 to put the Longford back in front.
Three fantastic points from John McCamley (two) and McCormack saw the sides level for the fifth time in the 22nd minute.
But as half-time approached Longford took control of the game; two frees from the boot of McCormack and a good effort from Bernard McElvaney gave Glenn Ryan’s charges a three- point lead going in at the break.
Derry manager John Brennan felt those few minutes before half-time proved pivotal.
“The last 10 minutes of the first half we let the game slip. That was the only point in the game that Longford dominated us. We were careless, gave the ball away and were punished. Good luck to Longford.”
Play was held up for 10 minutes seconds into the second half after Longford midfielder John Keegan sustained a neck injury. When play resumed Eoin Bradley fired over a point for Derry.
The game was level again in the 52nd minute when Barry McGoldrick found the back of the net after a superb pass from Paddy Bradley.
Longford responded well and points from McCormack (free) and wing back Colm P Smyth edged them in front by two in the 62nd minute before a wonderful score from Paddy Bradley cut the deficit to just one.
McCormack was on target again before Shane Mulligan wasted a great opportunity to extend Longford’s lead further in the 66th minute. It was to prove a costly mistake because minutes later McGoldrick grabbed his second goal of the game to put his side back in front by a point – 2-8 to 0-13 – but that was to be their last score of the game.
Longford’s hunger and desire was evident as they dug in deep near the end; McCormack (two), Kavanagh and Pádraig McCormack all found the range with excellent efforts.
The fight showed pleased their manager. “They showed great resolve, great fight and commitment. That’s the most important thing.” Derry’s misery was compounded near the end when goalscorer McGoldrick was shown a second yellow card.
LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; CP Smyth (0-1), M Quinn (0-1, 45), S Mulligan; B McElvaney (0-1), J Keegan; F McGee (0-1), P Barden, N Mulligan; D McElligott, B Kavanagh (0-1), S McCormack (0-11, 0-9f). Subs: D Barden for Keegan (45 mins), P McCormack (0-1) for Mulligan (57), Foy for McGee (71), P Gill for McElligott (76).
DERRY: D Devlin; R Dillon, C McKaigue, B McGoldrick; R Scott, M Craig, S McGoldrick (2-0); M Friel, Patsy Bradley; M Donaghy, M Lynch (0-1), J McCamley (0-2); E Bradley (0-1), Paddy Bradley (0-3, 0-1 free), E McGuckin (0-1). Subs: C Gilligan for Donaghy (56 mins), N Forrester for E Bradley (74), J Diver for Patsy Bradley (75), B McCallion for Lynch (78).
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).