All-Ireland SFC Qualifier: Longford overpower Louth
All-Ireland football Qualifier Round1A
LONGFORD 2-15 LOUTH 1-10
By Dan Bannon at the Gaelic Grounds
Longford once again built on their reputation as a qualifier specialists as Denis Connerton’s side showed all their back door pedigree to emphatically put fellow Leinster side Louth to the sword.
Robbie Smyth’s impact from the inside forward line was the difference between two sides. The Abbeylara man was in fine form and his score from a sideline ball was the game's real highlight.
Both sides met in the same venue earlier in the year during the National league. Louth came out on top that day, but just like the ground hardening the outcome also changed.
The suffocating heat of the beautiful summer's evening in Drogheda had a ugly effect on the pace of the game from the outset. Both sides opted to slow the game down and conserve their energy.
The powerful running Michael Quinn got the scoreboard ticking after four minutes - the Killoe man well acclimatised to the heat after his stint in the AFL with Essendon - then Robbie Smyth pushed the visitors further ahead.
After some wayward shooting it took Louth a quarter of an hour to get off the mark with a brace of frees from midfielder James Califf either side of a John Bingham point.
Jim McEneaney, son of Monaghan legend Eamonn, tried to ignite the Louth attack with a sublime effort from way out on the sideline from play.
Over the run into half time Longford built up a solid foundation for victory by scoring four on the trot. The lead could well have been more for the midlanders as they kicked seven wides in the opening period.
Right from the resumption Liam Connerton scored a penalty. Anthony Williams touched the ball on the ground in an effort to block the Connertons shot and the game was effectively over.
Louth Substitute Ryan Burns pointed with his first touch and Eoin O’Connor brought it back to a three point game with a well taken goal.
However that was all Louth could muster as they lost their discipline completely in the second period, Tommy Durnin, Ryan Burns and Paddy Reilly all saw the line.
Barry McKeon confirmed Louth’s exit from the championship with a well taken major.
Longford advance to the next round of the qualifiers, where every other county will look to avoid them.
Scorers for Longford: Robbie Smyth 0-7 (4f, 1sl), Liam Connerton 1-1 (1pen), Barry McKeon 1-0, David McGivney 0-2 (2f), Larry Moran 0-1, Micheal Quinn 0-1, Barry Gilleran 0-1, Dessie Reynolds 0-1, John Keegan 0-1
Scorers for Louth: Eoin O’Connor 1-0, James Califf 0-3 (2f), John Bingham 0-2, Ryan Burns 0-2 (1f), Gerard McSorley 0-1 (1free), Tommy Durnin 0-1, Jim McEneaney 0-1.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Dermot Brady,Pádraig McCormack; Barry Gilleran; Donal McElligott, Michael Quinn, Dessie Reynolds; John Keegan, David McGivney; Diarmuid Masterson, James McGivney, Daniel Mimnagh; Robbie Smyth, Liam Connerton, Barry McKeon. Subs: Andrew Farrell for B Gilleran (61), Larry Moran for J McGivney(65), Conor Berry for D McGivney (67), Cian Farrell for B McKeon (70), Paul McGee for D Reynolds (71),Rían Brady for D Brady (74).
LOUTH: Craig Lynch; Padraig Rath, John Bingham, Kurt Murphy; James Stewart, Darren McMahon, Anthony Williams; James Califf, Andy McDonnell; Ruairí Moore, Páraic Smith, Bevan Duffy; Patrick Reilly,Eoin O’Connor,Jim McEneaney. Subs: Declan Byrne for J Stewart (28), Adrian Reid for K Murphy (37) Ryan Burns for P Smith (40), Tommy Durnin for R Moore (40), Gerard McSorley for J McEneaney(46) Derek Crilly for J Califf (55).
Ref: Noel Mooney (Cavan)