GAA: Longford overcome Offaly in first round of the Leinster Championship
Last Updated: 18/05/14 8:14pm
Longford manager Jack Sheedy congratulates Colm Smyth after the final whistle
Longford overturned a half-time deficit to defeat Offaly by 0-19 to 0-15 in a high-scoring thriller at Pearse Park.
The home side trailed by two points at the interval but dominated proceedings after the restart as they booked a Leinster Championship quarter-final with Wexford.
Despite dismal National League campaigns, both counties played with a positive outlook and it was Offaly who were the better side in the opening period.
Captain Niall McNamee was in deadly form for the Faithful County, converting a free while setting up another during the opening exchanges as the visitors surged into a two-point lead.
Offaly had extended their advantage to four points by the 25th minute and it took a crucial block from Longford corner-back Dermot Brady to deny McNamee a goal.
Longford also had their chances, with Paul Barden having a goal ruled out before then firing well wide from a decent position.
Sean McCormack’s brace and a Brian Kavanagh score narrowed the gap but a late point from McNamee saw Offaly lead by 0-10 to 0-8 at the break.
Further scores from McCormack and Kavanagh (2) put Longford back in front early in the second half, and although McNamee equalised, Michael Quinn and McCormack responded for the home side.
McCormack was in superb scoring form and he kicked three more points as Longford extended their lead to five, but Offaly set up a tense finish with scores from Peter Cunningham, McNamee and Ciaran Hurley.
But the visitors’ challenge was ended by the dismissal of David Hanlon for a second bookable offence, and injury-time scores from Barden and Kavanagh secured a first championship win for Longford over Offaly since 1965.
Longford: S McCormack 0-7 (5f), B Kavanagh, F McGee 0-3 each, P Barden, M Hughes 0-2 each, S Mulligan, M Quinn 0-1 each.
Offaly: N McNamee 0-7 (3f), P Cunningham, G Guilfoyle, J Maher 0-2 each, R Allen, C Hurley 0-1 each.