Longford steal the limelight as they see off 14-man Meath



Sean Wall

Magnificent Longford were not prepared to allow Carlow steal all the limelight as they too created a massive shock when seeing off the challenge of 14-man Meath in the Leinster SFC quarter final at Pearse Park.

Full credit to the midlanders who had to endure a few anxious moments in the closing stages as Meath hit back from a five point deficit in a six minute spell in the closing stages to close the gap to the minimum.

However a resilient Longford held their nerve and a point from veteran substitute Sean McCormack in the second of four added minutes sealed a thoroughly deserved win for Denis Connerton.

Robbie Smyth, left, and Rian Brady of Longford celebrate after the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Longford and Meath at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

Connerton is presently in the third year of his second spell having served a three year term back in the early noughties as boss and it was his first ever Leinster championship victory.

His side now face into their first provincial semi-final in 30 years when they face All- Ireland champions Dublin.

The sides were level seven times in the opening half as it ended 0-7 each at the break.

Meath spurned three gilt edge goal chances in that opening half with Donal Keogan, Bryan McMahon and Cillian O’Sullivan all failing to hit the target.

Longford had claims for a penalty turned down when Robbie Smyth seemed to be bundled over as he attempted to shoot on nine minutes.

A Dessie Reynolds point two minutes into the restart gave Longford a lead they were never to relinquish. The midlanders cut loose in that second half with James McGivney outstanding at full forward while Darren Gallagher hit a number of fine points as his side opened up a 0-15 to 0-10 lead by the 58th minute.

At that stage Meath were down to 14 following the dismissal of Shane McEntee following an off the ball incident involving Rian Brady.

The introduction of Joey and Eamon Wallace added pace to the Meath attack and the brothers were both on the mark as the Royals threatened a revival.

However Longford held out for a famous win, their first in the Leinster championship since they defeated Offaly in 2015.

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