Leisnter Minor Football Final

November 8, 2018

LONGFORD’s minor footballers produced a massive shock in turning around a 22-point first-round defeat to beat Offaly and claim the title.

Anyone in Tullamore for the first-round clash would never have seen this coming after the Faithful destroyed their opponents.

But Longford stuck to their task, taking the scenic route to the final and they took the momentum of their semi-final win over a fancied Kildare team to Croke Park.

They were under pressure early on, but after Offaly missed some early chances they began to believe and came from a point down at half-time to outscore the Faithful by 0-10 to 0-3 after the break.

‘We’ve had a great couple of wins since that game on April 17,’ said Longford manager Ciaran Fox.

‘And every win built us up. In the dressing-room after that game we definitely didn’t know how good we were, but we knew we weren’t that bad. From there we picked up results and the momentum built.’

Captain Noel Andrew Graham has been Offaly’s talisman all season and although he started well, a couple of missed frees dented his, and his side’s, confidence, although they led by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time.

Longford came out in superb style after the break as midfield duo Diarmuid Cooney and Darren Gallagher sent over long-rangers to sandwich a Graham free, followed by a similar score to take the lead by Padraig McCormack.

They were now rampant, corner-forward Robert Smith scoring four points, aided by Barry McKeon, with two, and Darren Farrelly as they claimed a famous win.

SCORERS — Longford: R Smith 0-6 (0-4f), D Mimnagh (0-1f), B McKeon 0-2 each, D Farrelly, D Cooney, P McCormack, D Gallagher 0-1 each. Offaly: NA Graham (0-4f, 0-1 ’45) 0-5, D Kelly, S Cullen, P Cunningham 0-1 each.

LONGFORD — P Collum; D Bennett, D Quinn, R Keogh; C Clarke, J McGivney, S Donohoe; D Cooney, D Gallagher; J Noonan, P McCormack, D Farrelly; R Smith, B McKeon, D Mimnagh. Subs: T Madden for Donohoe (27), C Lynch for Farrelly (53).

OFFALY — M Carragher; C Lowry, E Rigney, C Donohoe; S Hannon, D Hogan, D Hanlon; NA Graham, P Camon; S Cullen, D Kelly, P Cunningham; P McPadden, B Cushen, J O’Connor. Subs: J Brickland for Camon (40), J Gethings for Hanlon (50), I Curry for Lowry (58), A McDonagh for Cullen (60), E McCabe for Kelly (62).

REF — J Curley (Meath).