Mullinalaghta claim Longford three in a row
Longford SFC Final Replay
ST COLUMBA'S, MULLINALAGHTA 2-14 ABBEYLARA 1-12
By Conor McKenna at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
Mullinalaghta were simply brilliant as Mickey Graham’s side claimed the Longford Senior Football Championship title for the third year in succession.
The victors opted to deploy David McGivney, John Keegan and Aidan Mc Elligott deep, which paid dividends as Abbeylara struggled to gain a foothold in the game.
It was a scrappy affair last week with the teams evenly matched, but it was a completely different story this week, as Mullinalaghta were superb.
This was the fifth county final in four years that Abbeylara have failed to win, with Danny Brady’s side unable to get over the line.
It was Abbeylara who had a dream start to the game, with midfielder Colm P Smyth finding the net with two minutes on the clock, after an excellent move involving Cian Brady and Brian Smyth.
Mullinalaghta responded, though,, with the goal not appearing to impact too much on their game plan and various players added their name to the score-sheet, as the victors took control.
The key moment came on the stroke of half time, when Rian Brady finished to the back of the net, at the end of an excellent Mullinalaghta move.
This goal was of great quality, with Aidan Mc Elligott picking out Jayson Matthews, who played the ball to David McGivney, with the midfielder finding Brady with a precision pass and Brady made no mistake with the finish.
This sent the reigning champions into half time with a 1-8 to 1-1 lead and it was always going to be a long way back for Abbeylara.
Rian Brady, who was otherwise magnificent, coughed up two fabulous goal chances to kill the game.
James McGivney could not convert from the penalty spot after Gary Rogers was fouled and McGivney’s goalbound effort was again saved by Gavin Kelly with 48 minutes on the clock.
Mullinalaghta finally did manage to register a goal to kill off the game and it was worth the wait, as a solo run from centre half Shane Mulligan, was followed up with a fabulous close range finish.
If Mickey Graham’s side can replicate this performance in the Leinster Club Championship they will be very hard beaten, with the champions of Offaly or Wicklow next up for the Longford champions.
Scorers for Mullinalagtha: Rian Brady 1-3, Shane Mulligan 1-1, David McGivney (3fs) and Jayson Matthews 0-3 each, Michael Cunningham 0-2, John Keegan and Brendan Fox 0-1 each.
Scorers for Abbeylara: Colm P Smyth 1-0, Nigel Rabbitte (1f) and Robbie Smyth 0-1 each.
MULLINALAGHTA: Patrick Rogers; Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Conan Brady; Francis Mulligan, Shane Mulligan, Donal Mc Elligott; David McGivney, John Keegan,; Gary Rogers, James McGivney, Brendan Fox; Jayson Matthews, Rian Brady, Aidan Mc Elligott.
Subs: Michael Cunningham for Patrick Fox (51), Conor McElligott for Francis Mulligan (59), Luke Meehan for Conan Brady (60 + 2).
ABBEYLARA: Gavin Kelly; Michael McHugh, Fergal Battrim, Cathal Lynch; Russell Brady, Shane Mahon, PJ Masterson; Colm P Smyth, Barry McKiernan; Cian Brady, Conor Berry, Jason Kelly; Robbie Smyth, Brian Smyth, Nigel Rabbitte.
Subs: Padraig Berry for Jason Kelly (26), Mel Brady for Barry McKiernan (38), Michael Battrim for Cathal Lynch (46, b/c), Padraig Battrim for Conor Berry (56).
REFEREE: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).