Smyth snatches crucial goal as Longford sink Lake County

AFTER losing to Kildare in the opening round, title-holders Longford made the most of their second chance in getting the better of neighbouring rivals Westmeath in the Leinster Minor Football Championship Qualifier Round 1 game at Pearse Park, and will have home advantage again when they take on Wicklow on Tuesday evening next with a place in the quarter-final at stake.

While six points separated the sides in the finish, this was a lot tighter contest than the final scoreline would appear to suggest and after trailing by 0-6 to 0-3 in the early stages of the second half, Westmeath got back on level terms with three quick scores in a row through Lorcan Dolan, David McCormack and Robbie Henshaw.

The visitors then kicked a couple of costly wides and Longford proceeded to regain the upper hand with a brace of points from frees converted by James McGivney before Robbie Smyth got the only goal in the 46th minute from a well-struck penalty after Meath referee David Gough ruled that Barry McKeon was fouled in the square.

The impressive McKeon fired over the final score for Longford in the 54th minute, not long after Westmeath suffered the setback of losing centre half-back Paddy Holloway, who received a straight red card at a stage when they were already fighting a losing battle.

LONGFORD: G Higgins; M McHugh, B O’Farrell, J Gill; S Clarke, B Collum, C Farrelly; J McGivney (0-4, 3f), T Jackson; D Mimnagh, C Clarke (0-1), C Lynn (0-1, ‘45’); B McKeon (0-2), R Smyth (1-2, 1-0 pen, 0-2f), G Maguire.

Subs: M Mulligan for M McHugh (inj. 16 mins); R McNerney for G Maguire (28 mins); B Walsh for C Lynn (35 mins); P Gill for T Jackson (44 mins); E Noonan for S Clarke (59 mins).

WESTMEATH: M McMahon; D Lynch, J Ganley, K Daly (0-1); G Greville, P Holloway, J Rock (0-1); R Henshaw (0-1), R Connellan; D Fennell, D McCormack (0-1), R Greville; L Dolan (0-1), D McNicholas, G Leech (0-1, f).

Subs: A O’Sullivan for D Fennell (44 mins); P Maxwell for D Lynch (46 mins); P Fennell for D McCormack (49 mins); C Bradley for R Greville (54 mins); D Whelan (0-1) for R Connellan (58 mins).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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