By Jack Flynn
Longford 1-14, Celtics 1-10
Longford used brilliant runs by Brendan Donohue and timely scoring from Colin Balle and Kevin Lally to pull out a tantalizing 1-14 to 1-10 victory over Celtics in a Senior Football Div. 2 battle at Gaelic Park on Sunday.
“This was playoff football for the two of us, since we were both 0-2,” Lally, who had four points, said. “We still have some improving to do, but I’m happy with the win.”
Celtics took an early 0-3 to 0-2 lead in the match, mainly because Longford were making too many passes instead of converting easy points.
Once the extra passes stopped, the scoring for Longford started. A run of four consecutive points, including two from Donohue, gave Longford an 0-6 to 0-3 advantage.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
After David O’Sullivan’s third point for Celtics left two points between the sides, Daniel O’Sullivan was fouled and a penalty kick was whistled. Bernard Connelly’s initial volley was brilliantly saved by Longford’s Gerry Fox. No one picked up Celtics’ Kenneth Cox, however, and he sent home the rebound to give his side a 1-4 to 0-6 advantage.
Donohue’s runs set up several scoring opportunities for Longford, but his teammates often failed to convert. A halftime score of 0-8 to 1-5 could easily have been a Longford advantage if not for their lack of fundamentals.
Perhaps determined to atone for previous failures, Longford got off to a roaring start in the second half, using points from Donohue and Brendan Lennon to go up 0-10 to 1-5.
Instead of the number 13 that he began the match with, Lally seemed to be wearing a bull’s eye on his back in the second half. Moments after recovering from a hard hit by Celtics’ Aidan Traynor, Lally was poked in the eye by an errant swinging hand from an opposing player. He recovered enough to score his third point in the afternoon and give his side an 0-11 to 1-6 lead.
Balle’s well played goal minutes later iced the match for Longford. Although a late flurry by Celtics narrowed the gap to a point, they would pull no closer.
Again the difference in points between the sides would have been longer for Longford had Donohue, Lally and Colin Hanniffy been able to convert on opportunities. Regardless, two strong runs followed by points from Donohue cemented the win for Longford.
Longford scorers: Balle 1-1, Donohue 0-5, Lally 0-4, C. Hanniffy, D. Hanniffy, McKenna and Lennon 0-1.
Celtics: D. O’Sullivan 0-4, Traynor and Connelly 0-2, Burns and Donohue 0-1, Cox 1-0.