Tailteann Cup: Carlow earn home preliminary quarter-final
Tailteann Cup Group Three
Carlow 2-13 Longford 1-14
By Kieran Murphy at Laois Hire O'Moore Park
It took almost 10 minutes for this Tailteann Cup third round Group Three game to come to life but once it did both sides served up an exciting opening half. After absorbing Longford’s early press, Carlow went in front with a Colm Hulton point. Oran Kenny levelled with the first of his five points in the opening half.
Carlow turned the game on its head when full-back, Mikey Bambrick cut through the Longford defence and squeezed the ball past goalkeeper Patrick Collum.
The midlanders' hit back and stretched into a 0-7 to 1-2 lead on 22 minutes. Once again, the Longford defence backed off a Carlow ball carrier. This time Conor Crowley found acres of space and his pass to the supporting Shane Clarke drew the penalty. His brother, Jamie Clarke, expertly guided the ball inside the right-hand post with a great finish.
In the concluding stages of the half, Kenny and Joe Hagan were on the mark for Longford while Ross Dunphy and Crowley added to the Carlow total to help them into a 2-5 to 0-9 interval lead.
There was no shortage of second half talking points. Carlow could have had two goals, but Conor Doyle blazed wide from a difficult angle and Ciaran Moran just failed to pick up a pass which would have put him through on goal.
Longford, on the other hand, were unlucky when Darren Gallagher was denied by a brilliant block from Carlow keeper, Johnny Furey.
Longford finally breached the Carlow cover and Gallagher’s high fetch and perfect pass put in Patrick Fox. The defender placed his shot past an advancing Carlow keeper.
That should have been the tonic Longford needed to refresh themselves and go on and clinch victory. Instead, Michael Quinn was black-carded. Carlow turned the screw.
Darragh Foley became Carlow’s highest ever senior football scorer when he converted two frees. He went on to add four more points in the second period with one a curling effort from a tight right-hand angle.
Aaron Amond’s dash forward saw the dual player punch a point for Carlow. That left three between them. Longford found another point from Joe Hagan, but Carlow held out for a great win.
Scorers for Carlow: Darragh Foley 0-8 (7fs), Jamie Clarke 1-0 (pen), Mikey Bambrick 1-0, Colm Hulton 0-2, Conor Crowley, Ross Dunphy, Aaron Amond 0-1 each
Scorers for Longford: Oran Kenny 0-6 (4fs), Dylan Farrell 0-4 (fs), Patrick Fox 1-0, Joe Hagan 0-2, Darragh Doherty, Aaron Farrell 0-1 each.
Carlow: Johnny Furey; Shane Buggy, Mikey Bambrick, Josh Moore; Shane Clarke, Mark Furey, Niall Hickey; Conor Doyle, Jordan Morrissey; Conor Crowley, Ciaran Moran, Ross Dunphy; Colm Hulton, Darragh Foley, Jamie Clarke.
Subs: Aaron Amond for Buggy (58), Jonah Dunne for Moran (58), Eric Molloy for Hickey (65), Liam Brennan for Doyle (72), Finbarr Kavanagh for Hulton (72).
Longford: Patrick Collum; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Bryan Masterson; Iarla O’Sullivan, Michael Quinn, Peter Lynn; Ryan Moffat, Darren Gallagher; Joseph Hagan, Dessie Reynolds, Aaron Farrell; Keelin McGann, Dylan Farrell, Oran Kenny.
Subs: Darragh Doherty for Kenny (43), Tadhg McNevin for A Farrell (49), Barry O’Farrell for Lynn (63), Matt Duffy for D Farrell (70).
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin).