Honours Shared in Allianz League Opener.
Leitrim 0-15 Longford 1-12
Neighbours Leitrim and Longford shared the Allianz League Division 4 points after an always entertaining and full blooded encounter in sunny, but bitterly cold Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada earlier this afternoon in front of the 1000 attendance . A match that looked to be heading the way of the home side towards the end of the third quarter, at which stage they held a handsome five points lead, was turned on its head by a spirited Longford revival, sparked by three points in as many minutes. As it turned out both sets of supporters were on the edge of their seats wondering who would take the spoils after a thrilling final quarter. At the end most would agree a draw was perhaps the fairest outcome.
After a scoreless opening period, Leitrim were first to exercise the scoreboard after seven minutes with a Paddy McGowan point. Fergal Clancy with left footed effort doubled the advantage before Brian KavanÓgh with a 35m free opened the visitors account. Kevin Conlan with a fine free from distance restored the home side’s two point cushion. An excellent Longford goal chance was spurned as KavanÓgh pulled his shot across the face of the goal and Leitrim supporters breathed a sigh of relief. A period of missed chances for both sides followed before Donal Wrynn fisted over a Fergal Clancy delivery to open a three point lead. In the 20th minute Sean McCormack pointed for Longford to keep them in touch and shortly afterwards Paul McKeon, set up by KavanÓgh, pointed to leave the minimum between the teams. Wrynn and McGowan, with points had Leitrim 0-6 to 0-3 ahead again before an exchange of scores from Wrynn and KavanÓgh maintained the margin heading towards the interval. McCormack had the last say to reduce the margin to two as the teams headed to the changing rooms, Leitrim holding a 0-7 to 0-5 lead.
Early in the second period Aidan Rowan and Kevin Conlan exchanged points. Leitrim made a possible match winning charge and by the end of the tenth minute points from Sean McWeeney, Wrynn and Clancy had their side in a commanding position. However Longford were not to be undone and points from Michael Quinn, McCormack and Francis McGee in as many minutes had Longford breathing down the Green and Gold necks yet again. KavanÓgh with two pointed frees had the sides on level terms and it was anybodys game at this stage. With 12 minutes remaining Ciaran Gilheaney settled Leitrim nerves with point but that man KavanÓgh equalised. Fergal Clancy and Kevin Conlan opened a two point Leitrim lead but this match was far from over. Following a flowing Longford move McCormack was in onÓgoal and duly raised the green flag to give Longford the lead for the first time all afternoon as the match entered its dying minutes. Gilheaney responded with the next attack with what turned out to be the last score of this exciting encounter. There were chances for either side to claim the victory but it wasn’t to be and respective opposition had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Both management teams will probably reflect on what might have been after today’s encounter. From a Leitrim perspective, a young team with eight Allianz League debutants in action today can look forward with confidence to a competitive league campaign in the months ahead. Next week the action moves to Aughrim as the lads face Wicklow in Round 2.
Leitrim: Cathal McCrann, Barry Prior, RonanÓgallagher, Niall Woods, Conor Farrell, Gary Reynolds, Sean McWeeney (0-1), Paddy McGowan (0-2), James McGrail, Kevin Conlan (0-3), Fergal Clancy (0-3), Danny Beck, Thomas Mulvey, Donal Wrynn (0-4), Ciaran Gilheaney (0-2). Subs used: Micheal McWeeney, Shane Moran, Cian Clinton, Matthew Murphy, Alan McLoughlin.
Longford: Paddy Columb, Dermot Brady, Barry Farrell, Peter Foy, Colm P Smyth, Diarmuid Masterson, Enda Williams, Barry Gilleran, Michael Quinn (0-1), Ronan McEntire, Paul McKeon (0-1), Aidan Rowan (0-1), Ross McNerney, Brian KavanÓgh (0-5), Sean McCormack (1-3). Subs used: Cian Farrelly, Francis McGee (0-1), Padraig Gill, Shane Doyle, Mark Hughes.
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)
01-Feb-15 by Declan Bohan – PRO