When Longford last won the O’Byrne Cup 20 years ago thanks to a 2-6 to 0-7 win over Westmeath at Mullingar, current manager Padraic Davis and selector Paul Barden started in the forward line, kicking 0-3 between them.
Fellow selector Donal Ledwith lined out at full back while goalkeeping coach Gavin Tonra manned the posts.
All four men were on the sideline in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore this afternoon to watch their native county bridge the two-decade gap and win just their third ever O’Byrne Cup title.
It was a fully deserved win, secured thanks to a strong finish in which they outscored Offaly by 0-8 to 0-3 over the last half an hour.
The Faithful County had been a good match for their visitors up to that point, despite losing Shane Nally and Anton Sullivan for ten-minute spells at various stages due to black cards, but Michael Quinn’s goal after 16 minutes meant the tie was still very much in the balance at that stage and Longford duly powered on through to the finish line, aided in no small part by strong contributions from Darragh Doherty (0-2) and Peter Lynn (0-1) off the bench.
Bernard Allen (twice), Anton Sullivan and Shane Horan were all on the scoresheet as Offaly moved 0-4 to 0-1 in front in the opening quarter hour, before out of nowhere a seemingly innocuous possession for Michael Quinn turned into a crucial play as he turned, burst through one tackler and while holding off another, placed a low shot under Paddy Dunican for the game’s only goal.
Offaly continued to play the better football and struck the next two points, but they were rocked again when Quinn drove through on goal and Shane Nally was forced to drag him down, conceding the free and drawing a black card for his foul.
Longford used the extra man well and created a series of good chances before half time, though they only took one, a free from Rian Brady to send the sides into the dressing room level.
Brady had two glorious goal chances into the bargain, crashing one off the crossbar and finding Dunican too good with another, but that proved insignificant as they found a higher gear when they needed it after half time.
Michael Quinn 1-1, Dessie Reynolds, Rian Brady (0-2f), Oran Kenny, Darren Gallagher (0-1f), Darragh Doherty 0-2 each, Peter Lynn 0-1.
Bernard Allen 0-5 (0-2f), Anton Sullivan 0-3, Shane Horan 0-2, Aaron Leavy 0-1.
Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Barry O'Farrell; Iarla O'Sullivan, Gary Rogers, Colm P Smyth; Darren Gallagher, Kevin Diffley; Dessie Reynolds, Daniel Mimnagh, Michael Quinn; Rian Brady, Oran Kenny, Joseph Hagan.
Peter Lynn for O’Sullivan (half-time), Darragh Doherty for Diffley (44), Liam Connerton for Reynolds (67), Aidan McGuire (Carrickedmond) for Brady (70+1).
Paddy Dunican; David Dempsey, Eoin Rigney, Niall Darby; Cian Donohue, Shane Nally, Jordan Hayes; Cathal Mangan, Michael Brazil; Eoin Carroll, Conor McNamee, Shane Horan; Anton Sullivan, Bernard Allen, Rúairí McNamee.
Declan Hogan for Nally (half-time), Cian Johnson for C McNamee (44), Aaron Leavy for Brazil (51), Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh) for Donohue (54), Cian Farrell (Edenderry) for R McNamee (60).
Seamus Mulhare (Laois)