Longford come from nine points behind to win first junior ladies football title in 19 years

Longford come from nine points behind to win first junior ladies football title in 19 years

By Jackie Cahill at Croke Park

Longford 4-10 Antrim 1-12

A second-half goal glut sealed a first TG4 All-Ireland junior ladies football title since 1997 for Michael Bohan’s Longford at Croke Park this afternoon.

Midfielder Jacinta Brady claimed the player of the match award as the Midlanders ended a 19-year wait for national silverware.

In a quite incredible game, Longford overturned a nine-point half-time deficit to win with seven to spare.

Seven minutes before half-time, Longford trailed by 0-2 to 1-8 but three unanswered points before the break kept Bohan’s charges in touch, down by 0-5 to 1-8.

The second half was superb from a Longford viewpoint as substitutes Aoife Darcy and Aisling Reynolds made big scoring impacts.

Bohan ran his bench early – three subs introduced in the first half and another at the break.

Ultimately, it was a run of 3-8 without reply that ensured West County Hotel Cup glory for Longford – as they tagged on an unanswered 3-5 after the interval.

Antrim went without a score from the 23rd minute until 12 minutes from time as Longford ran riot.

Brady’s 34th minute goal sparked the revival but Longford’s next two goals had more than a hint of good fortune about them.

The approach work was excellent, however, but Emer Heaney’s 36th minute goal was deflected into the net by back-tracking Sarah Haughey.

And two minutes later, Darcy’s shot was deflected in by Antrim wing-back Eleanor Mallon.

As Longford continued to press, they were eight points clear when Orla Noonan fired over a fine point in the 42nd minute – a score that represented a massive 17-point turnaround when their first half deficit is taken into account.

It appeared that Antrim were on their way to a third junior title win in eight seasons when they stormed into that big first half lead.

Claire Timoney banged home a super goal in the 12th minute to rock Longford back on their heels and it appeared that Longford were out of luck before half-time when Heaney’s shot struck the crossbar.

But they were rewarded with a sparkling second half display and Aishling Greene’s goal with six minutes remaining was the icing on the cake for electric Longford.

Teams and scorers:

Scorers for Longford: A Reynolds 0-5 (1f), J Brady, A Greene & A Darcy 1-1 each, E Heaney 1-0, O Noonan & L Burke 0-1 each.

Scorers for Antrim: C Timoney 1-3 (0-2f), E Gallagher 0-4 (1f), M Cooper & M McGourty 0-2 each, Á Devlin 0-1.

LONGFORD: M Kilkenny; S Hughes, L Keegan, M O’Reilly; C Farrell, E Dooley, M Moore; J Brady, M Reynolds; C Delaney, O Noonan, A.M. Bratton; A Greene, E Heaney, L Burke.

Subs: M Noonan for O’Reilly (15), A Darcy for Delaney (20), A Reynolds for Burke (23), M Farrell for Dooley (h.t.), A Duffy for Moore (53).

ANTRIM: C Drain; S Tennyson, E Kelly, S Haughey; E Mallon, S Cochrane, J McCavana; C Carey, D O’Kane; M Cooper, C Timoney, M McGourty; A McFarland, E Gallagher, Á Devlin.

Subs: Á Tubridy for O’Kane (32), A McCann for Drain (43), C Dahunsi for E Kelly (48), N Kelly for Cochrane (53), M McCurdy for McGourty (55).

Referee: J Murphy (Carlow).

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