Such was Slashers’ dominance in the opening period taht they held a commanding 10-point lead at the break, 3-6 to 0-5.
Rathnew held a one point lead in the eighth minute when points from Tommy Gill (free) and Stephen Kavanagh cancelled out Niall Mulligan’s first minute point for Slashers. But when the Longford champions went ahead again in the 11th minute through wing-back Marc Diffley it was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Goals by Trevor Clendenning, Mark and Colin Smith gave the a cushion they would not relinquish and 39 minutes into the game they led by 15 points. Rathnew came more into the game late on but could not prevent Slashers plans to host Portlaoise next Sunday.
Scorers for Longford Slashers: C Smith (2fs), M Smith (3fs) (1-3 each), T Clendenning (1-1), M Diffley, N Mullligan (0-2 each), P Brady, P Dobson (0-1 each).
Scorers for Rathnew: T Gill (0-6, 5fs), S Kavanagh, J Hollingsworth, Glynn, Doyle (f) (0-1 each).
LONGFORD SLASHERS: C Farrell; D Glennon (D Flaherty), B Gilleran, G Ghee; P Brady, D Brady, M Diffley (S Flynn 56); N Mulligan, D Sheridan; M Nevin (A Dalton 50), C Smith, T Clendenning; M Smith (M Tarmey 58), P Foy (P Dobson 50), M Brady.
RATHNEW: P Duignan; J Manley, D Power, J Snell; M Doyle (R O’Brien 11), A Merriman, E Glynn (P Merrigan 33); J Stafford, S Murphy; E Doyle (J Hollingsworth 40), T Smith, N Mernagh (A Clarke 48); T Gill, S Kavanagh (C Healy 36), L Glynn.
Referee: Fergal Barry (Kildare).