Longford 2-13 Monaghan 1-13
Longford produced a huge upset at St Tiernach's Park in Clones as they defeated Monaghan by three points in round 2B of the 2016 All Ireland SFC qualifiers today, writes Ciarán McGreal.
Monaghan, the reigning Ulster champions, were playing their third game in 14 days and in the end had no answer to a powerful display from Denis Connerton's men.
Goals from Mickey Quinn and Robbie Smyth proved crucial for the visitors as they secured progression to the next round of the qualifiers.
Despite leading 1-9 to 1-6 at the interval, Monaghan's season is over as they failed to break down Longford's defence after Smyth's goal on 62 minutes.
Longford raced into an early lead as Quinn found the net on four minutes.
Liam Connerton's shot was partially saved by Rory Beggan and as the ball trickled towards the goal-line, Quinn helped it on its way to put Longford 1-1 to 0-0 up after Smyth's earlier pointed free.
Conor McManus responded for Monaghan with two points in quick succession before three unanswered scores from Longford gave them some breathing space.
James McGivney (2) and Brian Kavanagh (free) kept the scoreboard ticking to give Longford a five point lead after 15 minutes.
But with the wind behind them, Monaghan finished the half strongly as they scored 1-5 without reply before half time.
Conor McCarthy chipped over a couple of points and Jack McCarron also grabbed a score before Colin Walshe netted for the home side.
McCarron's shot was saved by Paddy Collum, but corner-back Walshe was on hand to slot the ball to the net on 34 minutes.
Points from McManus and Ryan McAnespie in injury time gave Monaghan a decent lead going into half time.
Longford needed a good start to the second half and they got it as Diarmuid Masterson and Kavanagh scored a point each to narrow the gap.
Rory Beggan pointed a free for Monaghan on 40 minutes but four unanswered points for Longford proved crucial. Masterson, McGivney, Kavanagh and Connerton all scored to give the visitors a two point lead after 54 minutes.
Conor McCarthy had a good goal chance during this spell of Longford points.
The Monaghan corner-forward tried to place his shot into the top corner of Collum's net but his left-footed shot went narrowly wide.
Monaghan substitute Shane Carey levelled the match with 12 minutes to go after McCarthy had scored his fourth point just a minute earlier.
Masterson edged Longford in front again with his third point of the contest before Robbie Smyth grabbed the crucial score.
Connerton supplied the pass and Smyth held his nerve to beat Beggan on 62 minutes.
Monagahan poured forward after Smyth's goal in search of a goal of their own but Longford held firm and limited Monaghan to just a late pointed free from McManus to keep their 2016 campaign alive.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McCarthy & C McManus (0-3f) 0-4 each; C Walshe 1-0; J McCarron 0-2; R Beggan (0-1f), R McAnespie & S Carey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: R Smyth 1-3 (0-2f); D Masterson, J McGivney & B Kavanagh (0-1f, 0-1 s-l) 0-3 each; M Quinn 1-0; L Connerton 0-1.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, C Boyle; K O'Connell, V Corey, F Kelly; N McAdam, D Hughes; R McAnespie, D Malone, T Kerr; J McCarron, C McManus, C McCarthy.
Subs: O Duffy for Malone (h-t), S Carey for O'Connell (h-t), D Mone for Kerr (50), K Hughes for McCarron (56), S Gollogly for Duffy (63).
Longford: P Collum; C Farrelly, P McGee, B Gilleran; D McElligott, M Quinn, B McKeon; M Brady, D Gallagher; D Masterson, D Brady, J McGivney; R Smyth, B Kavanagh, L Connerton.
Subs: B O'Farrell for McGee (24), D Reynolds for McElligott (31, black card), M Hughes for M Brady (h-t), R Connor for McKeon (60, black card), B Farrell for Gallagher (65), S Hannon for Smyth (72).
Referee: C Branagan (Down)