Longford 2-15 Carlow 1-08
Longford bounced back from their heavy defeat to Dublin with a 10-point win over Carlow in Round One of the qualifiers.
In a lacklustre first half Carlow put it up to Longford and trailed by three at the break. They stayed in contention in the second half and their response to Longford’s first goal was to score one even better but Longford’s second killed off their brave challenge.
Longford manager Jack Sheedy admitted that his side’s second goal was crucial: “We needed to get a second goal. I was very disappointed that we conceded a goal after getting our first goal. But that’s when you are most vulnerable.”
After Carlow drew level in the 27th minute Longford ended the half well with excellent points from Brian Kavanagh, Liam Connerton and wing-back Diarmuid Masterson.
Dessie Reynolds got Longford’s first goal in the 47th minute but Carlow responded with a fantastic goal from Daryl Power before Connerton got Longford’s second and they kicked on from there.
Sheedy was delighted with the contribution of Reynolds and Connerton who both were starting their first championship game.
“Good footballers are good footballers, it doesn’t matter what age they are. A game like that allowed us to play all those young lads. We had a lot of experience on the bench that would’ve been fantastic to have them in there. Once we got into a strong position it was more beneficial to get the young lads in to get game time and experience.”
Despite the defeat Carlow manager Turlough O’Brien is hopeful that things can improve in the county and looks at Longford as an example of how a small county can be successful. “You have to change the mindset in the county; let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and let’s get the best out of ourselves. Longford have been fantastic over the last number of ours and they’ve made progress at underage level. It would be great if we could follow in their footsteps.
LONGFORD: P Collum; D Brady, B O'Farrell, F Battrim (0-1); CP Smyth, B Gilleran, D Masterson (0-2); M Quinn (0-1), K Diffley; P Foy, R McEntire (0-1), R Connor; L Connerton (1-2), B Kavanagh (0-7, six frees), D Reynolds (1-1).
Subs: P Gill for Foy (47 mins), T Gallagher for Masterson (62 mins), C Quaine for Kavanagh (68 mins), A Farrell for Gilleran (70 mins).
CARLOW: R Molloy; D Kelly, S Redmond, K Nolan; G Power (0-1), D St Ledger (0-1, free), B Kavanagh; S Gannon (0-1), E Ruth; M Meaney (0-1), D Foley, D Bambrick (0-1); B Murphy (0-3, two frees), D Hayden, D Roberts (1-0).
Subs: D Moran for Kelly (22 mins); C Moran for Bambrick (56 mins); E Finnegan for Meaney (62 mins); D O'Brien for Roberts (63 mins); M Fitzgerald for Kavanagh, A Kelly for Ruth (both 67 mins).