By Deniese O'Flaherty
A strong second-half performance saw Longford overturn a four-point half-time deficit into a six-point winning margin to retain their intermediate championship status for next year and relegate Fermanagh back to junior.
Michelle Farrell was superb for the Midlanders in this game as they showed real character and determination in claiming their first championship win of the year and it was the most important one.
Fermanagh made a bright start to the game but Longford weren’t happy with the way they conceded the first goal; a lineball decision went against them and Eimear Smyth went through to raise the green flag.
Two frees from Michelle Farrell and a powerful goal from Imelda Reynolds put Longford ahead in the ninth minute. The lead didn’t last long and in the space of four five minutes Fermanagh were three points ahead.
In the 20th minute the Erne County were awarded a penalty and despite Longford’s protests Smyth put away the spot-kick to put six between them.
Longford battled hard and two fantastic points from Farrell saw them trail by four at the break: 2-07 to 1-06.
Two minutes into the second-half and Fermanagh were awarded another penalty but this time Smyth shot wide. Once again Longford raised their game and a second goal from Reynolds in the 39th minute.
Reynolds completed her hat-trick of goals in the 43rd minute when she finished to the net from a tight angle.
Fermanagh cut the gap in the 50th minute but with Farrell leading the way for Longford they were four ahead in the 54th minute with Farrell and Aisling Greene kicking over fine efforts.
Fermanagh were stunned and couldn’t contain the Midlanders as they added more points to their score to extend their lead to six points in the 57th minute and they held on for the win.
Scorers – Longford: I Reynolds 3-0, M Farrell 0-8 (2f), A Greene 0-2, A Darcy, E O’Brien, M Reynolds 0-1 each. Fermanagh: E Smyth 2-4 (1-0pen, 4f), J Doonan 0-4, B Bogue 0-2
Longford: M Kilkenny; M Kelleher, L Keegan, A Noonan; A Cosgrove, C Moore, E O’Brien; M Reynolds, M Farrell; A Darcy, T Lee, M McManus; I Reynolds, S Reynolds, A Greene.
Subs: A Barry for Kelleher 4,
Fermanagh: D Owens; N McManus, C Murphy, E Corrigan; C Clarke, A Maguire, S Brittan; D Maguire, R O’Reilly; O Leonard, A Boyle, R McCusker; J Doonan, E Smyth, B Bogue.
Subs: C McGee for McCusker 33, N McManus for E Corrigan 36.
Referee: S McLaughlin (Donegal)